Three months on from sleep school…

Frankie - harness free!

Frankie – harness free!

Why hello there! I can’t believe it’s been two months since I last posted here. Well, I can believe it, because I have been back in the land of work and things have been pretty hectic. But it’s definitely time for another update. Things are going really well on the Frankie-front (and the boob front – for those who read about my bad left boob). It’s now been a bit over three months since we “graduated” from Masada and Frankie is a completely different baby. Here are the highlights:

1. Frankie loves sleeping. I would even go so far to say that her cot is quite possibly her favourite place in the house. I can’t remember the last time she cried or even grizzled when I put her down to sleep and she will happily mutter away to herself (about god knows what) until she drifts off to sleep. And the same thing happens when she wakes up. If we weren’t paranoid parents who have a video monitor set up in Frankie’s room, we would actually have no idea when she wakes up because she LOVES BEING IN BED. She will easily spend half an hour just playing with her hands and having a little one-way chat to herself before we realise she is awake and it’s time to get her up. How crazy is that?

2. Frankie’s hips are almost normal. As you might remember, a week after coming home from Masada, Frankie was diagnosed with hip dysplasia so she was immediately put into a Pavlik harness. Not much fun, and definitely no Pat Pat for us. Well, I should say not much fun for me and Shannon, as Frankie didn’t seem to mind at all. But as of about three weeks ago, Frankie is out of the harness! This means we are free to use the Pat Pat technique again, although we ironically now have no use for it (see Point 1).

3. I haven’t had mastitis or blocked ducts in over three weeks. This is an all time new record for me. This is mentally exciting news (for me, anyway).

Highlights aside, I thought I’d also share Frankie’s current routine (as she is now 6.5 months old). I will preface this by saying that Frankie’s awake time is a bit shorter than what Masada recommend, but to be honest, we now take the Masada “rules” with a grain of salt and go with what seems to work best for Frankie.

7am – We wake up Frankie. Although by this time, Frankie is often awake and having little morning chats with herself. Breast feed, a bit of play, breakfast, a bit more play, then back to bed when she shows tired signs which inevitably happens around the 1.5 hour mark.

8.30am – Nap 1.

10.30am/11am – Frankie wakes from nap 1. Yes, it is quite the mega nap. Like I said, this girl loves her sleep. I started to wean about two weeks ago, so this feed is now a formula feed, followed by lunch. Incidentally, it took a week of frustration, tears (from both me and Frankie), and several different formulas before we could even get Frankie to have a drop of the stuff (she such a boob snob). How we got there in the end was dipping the tip of the bottle into some Rafferty’s fruit puree and “tricking” Frankie into sucking on the bottle. And after a couple of days of this, Frankie now loves formula almost as much as she loves sleep. After lunch, we have more play time and then it’s back to bed when the tired signs creep in – normally after 2 hours or a bit less.

12.30pm (ish) – Nap 2.

2.30pm (ish) – Nap 2 is normally another mega nap for Frankie – often lasting two hours. We do another breast feed at this time although I am now trying to drop this feed too, because I truly hate expressing milk at work. This week, some moron walked in on me expressing. Probably more awkward for him rather than me, but not great for me either. Apparently my putting a big “DO NOT ENTER” sign on the meeting room door didn’t compute in his head as meaning “Don’t enter this room you stupid idiot”.

4/4.30pm – Nap 3. This is usually just a cat nap, so we always end up waking Frankie after 1-1.5 hours.

5/5.30pm – Dinner, then a bit of play, then bath time. Then a final breast feed and off to bed. Frankie often gets grumpy after about an hour at this point in the day, although we do try to stretch her for 90 minutes.

6.30/7pm – Bedtime. 10pm – I am still doing a dream feed, although Frankie is drinking less and less from it, and Masada recommend dropping it at the seven month mark. Personally, I’d love to crawl into bed at 9pm so staying up until 10pm can be exhausting, which I realise makes me sound like an 80 year old woman.

So that’s it for now. I’ll try to post a bit more regularly – and keep your comments and questions coming as I love hearing what you are all up to!

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My bad boob – and my top ten tips for dealing with blocked up breasts

For the last four weeks, I have been plagued with blocked ducts and mastitis. My left one is the faulty boob. It’s always been the poorer cousin to Righty. Slower milk flow, frustrates the hell out of Frankie. And it is a sucker for getting blocked up.

It all started with sleep school. While sleep school was brilliant for helping my daughter learn to be a better sleeper, it was bad for my boobs. My boobs went from feeding Frankie every 2-2.5 hours, to only feeding once every four hours. My left boob wasn’t happy about this at all and decided to go and get all blocked up and ouchy. I went to my GP, thinking that the nipple thrush I had had early on in my breastfeeding days had come back, but no, this time it was the dreaded mastitis.

Frankie still prefers my faulty left boob to pumpkin.

Frankie still prefers my faulty left boob to pumpkin.

Then, the day after this diagnosis, we saw Frankie’s paediatrician. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Frankie has always been on the lighter side of the scale, and during her week at Masada, she had only put on 80g. Our MCHN was worried so I asked our paed to weigh Frankie. Turns out she had only put on 50g in the week just gone. Our paed decided that it must be my milk supply that was the problem so he prescribed me a course of Motilium – a drug designed to increase milk supply. I started taking it and three days later, Hello Mastitis! Then, a week after this weigh in, we take Frankie back to our MCHN and guess what? Frankie had put on 450g in one week – which was clearly ridiculous being an exclusively breast fed baby. So we concluded that our paed clearly thought calibrating his scales was overrated, and that Frankie’s weight gain was actually going well. And now my boobs had no idea what was going on because apparently there was no problem with milk supply. I came off the Motilium, but my boobs took a couple of weeks to get the message to stop producing so much milk. And in those couple of weeks, Mastitis decided to rear its lumpy, painful head a couple more times.

The wonderful husband who does the middle of the night microwave heat pack runs.

The wonderful husband who does the middle of the night microwave heat pack runs.

But the good news is, I feel like I have become quite the expert in how to deal with blocked up boobs. So for any breastfeeding mums who have been unlucky enough to have problems such as mine, here are my top ten tips:

1. Apply heat before every single feed – even at 3am when the last thing you feel like doing is going to the microwave to heat up a heat pack. This helps loosen up the blocked duct and get things flowing. My husband has been brilliant at doing the middle of the night microwave run.
2. Apply cool packs after every feed. This helps reduce inflammation.
3. Take the maximum dose of Nurofen – this will also help reduce inflammation and help reduce pain too.
4. Take 4 x 1200 milligrams of Lecithin every day. You can read more about it here but a lot of people swear by it to help oil up the milk ducts.
5. If you have a massive oversupply of milk, Sage tea works wonders to get things back to normal. Just don’t take too much otherwise you could dry up your supply completely. You can read more about dosage here.
6. Get yourself some ultrasound treatment. This will help break up the blockage. Make sure you feed your bub within 30 minutes of receiving the treatment to get the full benefits from it. The physios here really know their stuff.
7. Try to position bub’s chin in the direction of the lump. This often requires some tricky and very uncomfortable positioning work – but trust me, it’s worth it.
8. Rest. Easier said than done. I found that this was the hardest thing to do. Whenever I came down with mastitis, I would try to take at least one nap during the day, but when I was “cured”, I would go back to trying to do a million things every hour and bam – I’d be back in mastitis hell.
9. Sleep on your back. Avoid tummy sleeping like the plague. Man, I miss sleeping on my tummy!
10. If all else fails, see a lactation consultant. Sue Shaw is amazing – I saw her early on in my breastfeeding days and she is not only super compassionate, but she really knows her stuff.

Have you had blocked boobs? I’d love to hear about what worked for you.