Hi all! I feel like this is a must read! For breast feeding mothers AND for those of you with young infants (below 6 months in particular) to better prepare you in case , God forbid, illness makes it's way to your house. After having to take N to the ped on an emergency visit Friday (1/3) and then the ER later that night, keeping her "quarantined" from her sister (only to have her catch the same bug anyways, as well as both me and hubby) I sure have learned a lot! The only silver lining to this whole experience (in my head) was "man this will make for one heck of an entry!!!!" lol (ya, i'm that dedicated! Plus, one day the girls will look back (hopefully) and be like DAMN lol) I don't even know where to start.... between all these breast feeding facts and illness in infants facts there is SO much info trying to escape my finger tips right now! Let's start with the sick stuff first (and save the best for last?)
So, obviously infants under 6 months can not have flu shots. Nor can they take any medications except for Children's Tylenol. Makes life a little bit tricky! First thing is first, if your child is running a fever DO NOT BUNDLE THEM UP!!! My instinctive reaction when I confirmed Nadia''s temperature was "quick, she needs to sweat it out!" The KEY thing to remember here is that their bodies and immune systems (in their young life) has not yet developed ANY antibodies or immunities to any kind of virus or bug. Therefore, their immune reactions will differ GREATLY from ours! Our trip to the ER was probably the most educating experience for us. So, the dr informed us that because their young bodies have never been exposed to anything for their immune system to "ward off," their fever will last for 3-5 days. Their bodies will spike in fever for an hour or two by about one degree from the initial fever. This is the bodies way of "filling up the virus cells" with antibodies (mostly provided through breast milk... more to come on that) and then those virus cells will burst. The temp will go back down to the initial (so for Nadi the spike to 103.4 was cause by the bursting cells since her initial temps at the ped office were 102.4) and the cycle will restart all over again. He also informed us that Tylenol WILL NOT (I REPEAT WILL NOT) kill the fever!!!!! (i already knew this thanks to Fairy Cami and her mother who is a nurse) He was rather shocked to not get the appalled mother response from me! He told us that it simply assists the children with the "discomforts* that fever can cause... They minimize those symptoms, but the fever will remain, so stay calm if you notice the fever remains even after giving the suggested doses..... Things you want to look for when diagnosing a big/virus: decrease appetite (first sign for me with N bc she did not take her AM feeding), look to see if breathing is labored. Ways to find out if breathing is labored is to watch the chest/stomach, if you can see the stomach suck into the ribcage IMMEDIATELY see your dr or go to an ER! Also, diarrhea is a symptom... if you see this happen be sure to supplement feedings with PediaLite to ensure your infant does not dehydrate! Be sure to administer saline drops frequently to prevent congestion. Use a COLD MIST humidifier! (I have always been unsure whether to do warm or cold, hence the reason we have yet to have purchased one!) COLD MIST promotes moisture in the air! Warm is acceptable for adults, but for children it can cause bacteria to harbor in the air (since duh, cold kills germs lol) and can cause the illness to remain in the baby and the air! DO NOT alternate with motrin (not advised for babies under 6 mo), use vicks, or of course give and honey! (honey is for 1 and over!) The only thing (unfort) you can do when your baby is coughing and breaking your heart at the same time is keep the cool mist going! If the cough gets persist ant, (as did with M) run a steam shower and sit in the bathroom with a towel rolled at the bottom of the door. Johnson and Johnson makes a WONDERFUL vapor baby bath wash with vapors which i poured into the steaming shower for "fumes." Babywearing saved us so many times these past few days... when they didnt want to be put down, when they were drawing blood, to get the fever down through skin to skin. (Pix are available on our facebook page www.facebook.com/twinmommy101) Breastfeeding mommies, be cautious of menthol........ and here we go with the fun stuff!
Breast feeding and illness! (I have learned so much!) FIRST AND FOREMOST!!! Did you know that menthol can decrease your supply??? That's right.... Using Vicks rub, mentholated cough drops, etc can DECREASE your supply! I did not know and thank the person that informed me that purchasing breezers cough drops instead was best for me as a breast feeding mother. Also...... fun facts about antibodies in breast milk. (lets start with the basics...) When you nurse, babies saliva triggers your body to know what kind of nutrients your growing baby needs. This is where the idea of "your milk changes as baby grows" comes into play.... As baby gets older, your milk adjusts to their growing needs. (if you think about it, you go from colostrum to milk... and as baby ages milk gets "thicker" so to speak) Ok with that in mind, if baby nurses and is ILL, your body will receive that info through their saliva as well and produce the antibodies needed to help them fight off their illness! (Who knew we mommies were also walking antibiotics!) Now, if MOMMY is ill, your body AUTOMATICALLY produces the antibody into the breast milk. This is why babies are less likely to fall ill if you are sick already! (been there, done that, got the healthy babies when i was sick to prove it!) It is a GREAT time to stock up (not that its whats on your mind) when either you or baby are sick, just because of all the extra "goodies" that come into your milk at that time!
I have to admit, I allowed N to have the boob whenever she wanted.... we actually fell asleep nursing about 75% of the time we were having cuddle time and watching movies! (no the girls are NOT allowed to watch TV at all, but sick soldiers deserve a few treats!) I would wash my breasts with warm, mild soapy water every time she finished nursing to keep the germies away from her sis (some great job we did :/ We also kept her in our bed room the whole time while M got free reign of the house.... I think one thing I have learned is that no matter what we do if one gets sick, eventually so will the other one... pray I prove myself wrong!) I also allowed M to do the same with the nurse on demand when it was her turn. I think between the excess in nursing and the slight drying out from washing i cracked.... I did not realize until monday (1/6) that I had gone from cracked to "incisioned"..... I was so sliced at the bottom of my nipples (where their tongues put pressure while sucking) that my nipples looked like they were almost about to DETACH from my boobies! EOWWWWWW! I was in SO much pain that not even the contact shields could help! I had to hand express in the shower (the warm water enables the "flow" to go more smoothly and quickly) and then slowly (and I mean slowly.... like on a 1-2) pump out my milk... my dream come true, they refused formula.... but at the time i needed them to drink any milk they could get :( Expressing milk and rubbing it onto sore and cracked nipples is the best medicine! I found out that our milk is highly concentrated with Vitamin E (which is GREAT for skin, espec when it comes to restoration) hence why every one always first says "well did you rub EBM on it?" Also, you can use neosporin, but then you have to wash it off prior to feedings, hence the reason I opted against this. I was still (tearfully) attempting to feed on demand/pump to keep from becoming engorged/ getting too full and decreasing supply. I opted to apply a thin layer of shea butter (I have the 100% all natural; see mommy questions for the link to my $5 infinite tub of shea butter link on amazon.com) on the "incision" and it healed in about a day! (I started with the shea butter a day after trying to heal with EBM and lanolin so I can positively and confidently attribute the shea butter to my rapid healing!) Let me just paint you a visual..... when I put EBM on my cuts, you could see the milk "sitting" in the cuts.... it was that deep..... but hey, if this paragraph alone doesn't persuade you that "breast is best" idk what will!
All in all it was quite the eventful week! This post is simply to inform you all of what I have learned.... You know the pictures are to come in the pending post (that got put on hold) recapping our holiday fun! Bundle up, be safe, and remember to not feel like a nazi whenever you don't want hand over your baby to someone with any kind of "discomfort" out of the norm.... (even a "food tummy ache").... Do what is best for your little ones! The Twincesses are back on lock down. Only Auntie (friends) can now handle them until further notice (and something tells me that further notice is packed away in their one year old birthday party gift bags!)
Please stay tuned for my pending/upcoming recap posts, as well as my posts about starting solids!!!! A HUGE milestone coming up and I am excited to share my researching and preparations for this! Def 99.99% sure we are going with the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) direction! Can't wait to learn more and keep the info flowing for my fellow mommies :)