Breast Pump Hacks

I have recently been amazed by all the items, applications, shortcuts and “hacks” I have come across that have simplified my life and saved me money. I am currently learning tons about nutrition by viewing videos when and where I have the time to do it. Amazon Prime has saved me time and money on several occasions. Applications on my phone keep me up to date with my finances, help me track workouts, call an Uber, listen to a Podcast, and order a lunch pick up at the nearest Panera. All good things as far as I am concerned!

However, I am increasingly seeing hacks that Moms are using related to breastfeeding that are having detrimental effects on their milk supply. Often, I get involved too late and am unable to reverse the situation, much to the dismay of the women I care for. The first hack is demonstrated in the many YouTube videos showing Moms how to use their Medela breast pump parts with their new Spectra pump. Eager to have more than one set of pumps parts to use, Moms are reconfiguring their old parts to work with the pump of a different manufacturer. And it does “work.” You will get suction and probably some milk too. But it doesn’t work as it is intended to. Each pump manufacturer has created their pump and its parts with a considerable amount of biomedically engineered research and development. Manufacturers then go through a strict FDA approval process. When the pump is used as intended, the results are great.

However, when the pump isn’t used as intended, it often has very detrimental results for women intent on giving their babies breastmilk. Women using these parts incorrectly at a time when they are trying to establish their supply, or increase it, are often crushed when it just doesn’t happen in the way that they had hoped. And rather than questioning the pump or the set up they are using, they assume it is the fault of their body. Convinced something is wrong with them, they give up. But, they saved themselves $50 in new pump parts.

Another new hack are the Freemie Collection Cups that can be used to allow you to pump discreetly and hands free with any compatible pump. These cups connect to your pump and advertise the convenience afforded with hands free pumping. You can now leave Women and Infants Hospital with both your pump and this device. Because it was given to Moms at the hospital, many assume it means they should use it immediately. I am seeing women using this when they are unable to nurse and are trying to establish their supply. In this situation, Moms should be using a hospital grade rental pump, and when they don’t, the results are not good. When I teach them how to use their pump without the Freemies, Moms are amazed at the difference in the strength of suction and the increase in the amount of milk they obtain. Again, the manufacturers don’t engineer pumps to be used with an additional product and it decreases the effectiveness of the pump. And at the most critical time of establishing your milk supply, you are not giving your body the best option to get things going.

Lastly, I need to say a word (or several) about pumping with an individual patient pump that has been used by another woman. The pumps are all warrantied for a year and intended to be used by one woman. This is both for sanitary reasons, and the effectiveness of the pump. Eventually, these pumps will die and you will notice a decrease in suction, unless of course the suction was low when you started using it. I have had patients that have 3 pumps: one upstairs, one downstairs and one at the office. The one upstairs is new. Downstairs is the one her sister used for two kids, but is in “great shape.” The one at the office is her girlfriend’s, who is done with babies and doesn’t need it anymore. She gets different amounts of milk with each, and attributes that to a defect in her body’s ability to produce milk, rather than the age and past use of the pumps. Ultimately, her supply has been affected, which is why she is calling me.

One of the greatest things about the Affordable Care Act is the insurance coverage of a new breast pump for each mother with each pregnancy. If you will need to pump, please take advantage of that. Get a new pump for yourself. Use it as it was intended to be used. Insist that the Durable Medical Equipment Provider that gives it to you, shows you how to use it. If they can’t teach you how to use it, they shouldn’t be providing it for you. Be sceptical of the need to purchase any additional attachments to make pumping “better”. Order your pump before you have your baby and know how to use it before you need it. This way you are not making decisions or purchases at the last minute when engorged, hormonal or overwhelmed in the hospital. And if you have questions about what pump is best for you, ask them. Don’t let anyone tell you that you only have one option. It often means you are getting the pump that is most profitable for the provider, and not necessarily the best option for you.

But most importantly, know that you don’t have to pump. As great as the ACA is, this pump coverage has made women think that pumping is the most important part of breastfeeding, and somehow essential to success. Nothing could be further from the truth. The best way to get breastfeeding off to a great start is to nurse, and not to pump. In fact, early pumping can cause a host of problems and get you in a situation where you have to pump. Best case scenario, pumping can come in later, in preparation for your return to work, if necessary. Have confidence in yourself and trust your body.

Please advocate for yourself, and find someone that can help you with nursing, and pumping if necessary. As always, we are happy to assist you with this. I never leave a home visit without making sure my patient knows how to use her pump correctly. I always determine if what she is using is appropriate for her situation. And lastly, spend the money to get what you need-whether it is lactation support, or an appropriate pump. It will pay off in a excellent supply, a beautiful nursing experience, decreased (or no!) formula costs, and a healthy baby. Your family deserves it!

The 111 Benefits Of Breastfeeding – For Babies, Moms & Everyone Else

Learn more about the incredible benefits of breastfeeding your baby at Mom Loves Best

For the full article click here

In Defense of Demand Feeding

I have had several heartbroken Moms in the last month whose situations have prompted me to write this newsletter. Most have come to me for a lactation or sleep consult around 3 months, exclusively nursing, with a very unhappy baby who is not sleeping.   The baby’s great weight gain is starting to dip on the growth curve, and Mom is exhausting herself trying to make it all work. After asking all my pointed questions, I usually find out one of two things.  Either Mom is following a very strict EAT-PLAY-SLEEP schedule, and limiting feedings to every 3 or 4 hours during the day, or she is limiting the baby’s total intake to 32 ounces daily. 

The first scenario is a very popular child rearing theory popularized by the book BABY WISE.  This book advocates a schedule in which the baby is fed at certain intervals throughout the day, and not sooner, regardless of feeding cues.  In addition, if he happens to be asleep at the designated feeding time, he is woken to feed.  He then plays for a predetermined amount of time, and then is put to sleep, which he often doesn’t want to do, because he is hungry.   While this may work for younger babies, I am paid well for sleep consults around 3 months because suddenly (usually around the growth spurt) this isn’t working and the entire family is miserable.  Unfortunately, BABY WISE, is the beginning of the end of breastfeeding, as limiting feedings limits your supply.  I had two exclusively breastfeeding Moms come to me in this situation at this age this past month.  Despite their best efforts to increase their supply, they weren’t able to.  Both babies now get a significant amount of formula, while still nursing.  Everyone is happier, and the babies are thriving, but it isn’t what either of these women wanted.

The other scenario of limiting babies to 32 ounces daily, regardless of their weight, is out there on the internet. I have also been told that some pediatricians tell their patients this as well.  Confused, as it is contrary to what I have been taught, I finally Googled it myself.   Much to my surprise, I found it on a page about formula feeding on the AAP Healthychildren.org website!  I wrote them last night, let know about my experience with my patients, and asked them to remove it. The page has not been updated since 2009.  On that same page, it states that a baby should have 2-2.5 times their weight in ounces daily.  So a 16 pound baby should have 32-40 ounces daily. And it makes sense if you really think about it.  A baby’s calorie needs grow as he does.  And if you are nursing on demand, your supply will grow with him.

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What is a new mother to make of all this easily accessed inaccurate information?  Please remember that if this week is worse than last, and either you or your baby are unhappy, with no one getting sleep, what you are doing isn’t working. It doesn’t matter who told you to do it, even if it was me!  Babies change. Change with them. Trust your instincts.  You know your baby better than anyone. Do what makes sense to you.  Feed your baby when he is hungry.  Let him sleep when he is tired.   Hold him and rock him when he is out of sorts.  Nothing you do today is going to screw him up for the rest of his life.  I promise.

And if you can’t figure it out, please call us.  We are happy to help. Sometimes an objective person assessing the whole situation helps you see what isn’t working.  Often, when you are so tired, you just can’t see it for yourself.  Everyone needs a little help sometimes.  Seek it out.  You and your baby will be glad you did!

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World Health Organization (WHO) Breastfeeding Resolution

I woke up this morning to an email from some physician friends of mine letting me know about the United State’s opposition to the international breastfeeding resolution proposed at the recent World Health Organization assembly.   Irate, I closed my computer and put it out of my mind in light of my husband’s 53rd birthday and my hope to honor him by forgoing work for today.  I was mostly successful.  Fast forward to this evening, when we met two of our four sons at our favorite restaurant to celebrate the birthday. After our drinks arrived, my oldest, the 26 year old responsible for my beautiful website and all things tech at HBHM Inc, turns to all of us and says, “Did you hear about the US’s response to the WHO breastfeeding resolution?”  To which my 16 year old son and then my husband, chimed in about how they were well aware of it, and expressed their dismay at our country’s response. Imagine my surprise: that they knew about it, (and not from me!) had an opinion, and were as disappointed as I was. I was stunned. While they joked that it was in their best interests to know what is going on in the breastfeeding world in light of the “family business”, I could not have been prouder. As disappointing as this is, I really don’t think this generation is going to put up with policy changes that support business at the expense of public health or civil rights. I am going to continue to do what I can to advocate so that those who want to breastfeed can do so with the support they need. I will also continue to support those that need to or choose to use formula. And I will encourage my sons, who will hopefully be fathers one day, to do the same.

 You can read more about this disappointing act HERE 

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Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?

One of the biggest sources of anxiety for nursing mothers is the inability to determine exactly  how much milk their baby is getting. I get more calls about this than anything else, and I understand it. It’s an awesome responsibility, feeding a little person and being their sole source of nourishment. It doesn’t help that newborns want to nurse frequently, further convincing a tired woman that surely her baby isn’t getting enough to eat. Unfortunately, this anxiety will rear its ugly head over and over again throughout the nursing experience.  My hope is to teach Moms how to recognize the positive signs that things are going well, recognize when there is an issue, and most importantly, get help if they need it. 

I am constantly reminding the women I care for to look at the big picture. If you assess each data point and feeding individually, you’ll drive yourself crazy.  Some feedings will be good, some won’t. Here are the important questions to ask yourself:

Is your baby pooping and peeing? We are looking for at least 8 wet diapers daily and 3-5 stools for a newborn. The amount of stool a baby passes gets fewer with more time between (sometimes days!) as your baby gets older. But the volume gets larger when it happens, and it is often lovingly referred to as a “blowout.” This is perfectly normal and usually starts to happen at about 6 weeks. In addition, your baby should be gaining weight each time you go to the pediatrician.

The next question to ask yourself is if your baby is having periods of sound sleep? It will most definitely not be as much sleep as you want, but they should behave like a drunken sailor after most feedings and give you some longer stretches during the night.

Then ask yourself, is your baby mostly happy?  No baby will be 100% happy all the time. Babies often have at least one period daily, which usually settles into the evening hours, during which you just can’t seem to satisfy him. This fussiness is actually neurologically based, and written about by Dr. Weissbluth is in his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  Nursing is often very soothing to babies at that time, and the feeding frenzy can make even a confident Mom feel that their baby is starving. But again, look at the big picture. If you can answer yes, to the questions above, you are doing just fine.

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Two other situations often make Mom’s doubt their supply.  The first is a growth spurt, which happens predictably at 3 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months. During this time, your baby will nurse insatiably, having frequent quick sessions that often end in sleep.  Your baby will then wake immediately when you put him down, and demand to nurse again. It is exhausting and usually lasts for about two days, but the frequent feeding helps to increase your supply.   It is particularly concerning at 3 weeks, when the breasts that were overflowing with milk two weeks prior are now deflated, soft and feeling close to their pre pregnancy state. Your baby has now grown into your supply.  The good news is you should no longer be walking around like Dolly Parton. It might have been fun for a while, but do you really want to feel that way for a year?

Pumping also can undermine a Mom’s confidence in her ability to produce enough milk to feed her baby.  The most important thing to remember is that you should NEVER judge your supply based on what you get out of a pump.  There are too many variables to consider-what pump are you using? Is it new or did your girlfriend use it for her 3 kids?  Is it working properly? Did you just feed the baby? Are you pumping between feedings? Did you skip a nursing session altogether to pump? Are you stressed?  Working? Eating and drinking well? Pumping regularly? Occasionally? Have you been away from your baby for a long time? I am sure you understand what I mean.  When pumping, always remember that the pump just gets what is in the breast at that moment in time. When nursing, you are having a wonderful hormonal response that causes milk to be continually produced as long as the baby is taking it out.  This doesn’t happen with a piece of machinery.

What if you can’t answer yes to all my questions? Most often, the problem is easily fixed. Many times the baby is not nursing effectively, and once we fix the latch, the baby becomes a happy camper, and Mom notices an increase in her supply.  If it is truly a supply issue, there are many ways to fix that as well and it often can be rectified very quickly. The important thing is to get help as soon as you sense there is a problem. Please know that we are here for you, just to reassure you that you are doing great or assist with problems as they arise.  My guess is that you are doing much better than you think! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

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Managing Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation)

By Nadine Adams MSPT, Physical Therapist, Personal trainer, Pilates instructor and Educator

First, let me tell you how and why I got into helping people manage their Diastasis. I have over 25 years of experience working as a Physical Therapist and over 30 years working in the fitness industry as a Personal trainer and group exercise instructor.  The past 10 years I have worked primarily with pregnant and post partum woman helping them rehabilitate their core strength, physical fitness and regain functional strength in their day-to-day lives. 

During my 2nd pregnancy at the age of 41 years old I found a 3 finger Diastasis at 29 weeks pregnant, coincidently enough in a workshop on Diastasis Recti. Knowing I was going to have to take care of a 2.5 year old toddler, a newborn infant, try to return to teaching Fitness classes and lifting patients as a physical therapist, I set out to learn all I could about managing Diastasis Recti.

I started testing all my clients for the separation and found that it is was much more common than I realized and unfortunately very under diagnosed.  Through my own personal experience living with Diastasis and learning how to manage it I knew I had to share with others what I had learned through my research and that is how my program Restore Your Core REHAB™ evolved.

Fast forward 8 years later, countless hours of research, taking courses from other professionals specializing in this area, and most importantly from my experience working with 100's of clients with Diastasis Recti, I have learned so much about managing this condition. 

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Common Questions about Diastasis Recti

 What is a Diastasis Recti?

A Diastasis Recti is a separation of the two sides of the Rectus abdominus muscle caused by a weakening and stretching of the abdominal connective tissue.  There are different ways to measure the size of the separation but a 2+ finger width separation or larger is considered clinically significant.  

Here is a video demonstration on how to check yourself for a Diastasis Recti.  https://youtu.be/woMH7NqJHlQ

What causes this Separation?

Intra-abdominal pressure most commonly from a growing baby inside mothers uterus, but can also be caused by other forces that stretch and weaken the tissue. In pregnant women the increase release of hormones that loosen your ligaments and connective tissue to prepare for labor allow this stretching to happen. 

An umbilical hernia can also develop due to the weakened connective tissue, but that is a topic for another blog. Make sure to check back on www.restoreyourcorerehab.com for future blog posts on other complications with Diastasis recti and the testimonial page to hear what my clients have to say about the program www.restoreyourcorerehab.com/testimonials

How Do I know I have one?

One of the more common signs post baby is a protruding belly and a woman still looks pregnant even after she has lost most of her pregnancy weight gain.

During pregnancy a doming effect can often be seen when leaning back or bending forward from the hips as seen in the pictures below. Other symptoms can include lower back pain due to a weakened core and improper posture and body mechanics, various kinds of pelvic floor dysfunction often causing stress incontinence, and/or constipation and other digestive issues as in the following client example.

Client Example:

I had a client who came to me complaining of bloating, difficulty moving her bowels, lower back pain and always feeling constipated.  She had tried doing an elimination diet and gave up gluten and dairy thinking that it was something wrong in her gut causing her digestion problems, but didn't have any relief.  Once she started working on healing her Diastasis and knew how to connect into her deep core and pelvic floor muscles her constipation and bloating went away.   Her functional strength improved significantly and she was able to return to a normal diet and back to her love of horse back riding and hiking with her 4 children without worrying about any unwanted discomfort or digestive issues.

What are the common exercises to Avoid? 

Temporarily avoiding crunches, oblique twists, side bending movements, front loaded planks, and for some early on even avoiding exercises in the hands and knees position might be recommended. These either increase intra-abdominal pressure or put abnormal forces on the connective tissue. Once healed, most of these exercises can be performed again if done correctly with good core engagement. No two separations are the same, just as no two individuals are the same and a person’s ability to control these abnormal forces is something that should be continually assessed while returning back to exercise and during day to day functional tasks.   

Can it be healed? 

Finding a qualified health care specialist who has experience   treating Diastasis Recti and can guide you through an appropriate exercise program, exercise modifications, splinting, postural re education and management techniques is the best way to heal your Diastasis.  

To further expand on this question, a sub question could be:
What is considered a healed Diastasis Recti?  The goal is to promote connective tissue healing and prevent putting abnormal forces on the tissue to allow the two sides of the muscle to come back together.  The connective tissue also heals from the inside out and improvement of both the size and depth of the separation are signs of healing. 

The ultimate goal is to regain functional use of your core and pelvic floor to support your spine and pelvic girdle and minimize the abnormal forces on the connective tissue during day-to-day functional activities.   The goals and functional needs will vary from person to person, but managing Diastasis Recti needs a whole body treatment approach for successful functional use of the core and optimal performance.

Correct alignment, proper breathing to retrain the deep core muscles to support how the body moves and protecting the connective tissue from abnormal forces during day to day activities are some of the techniques used in Restore Your Core REHAB™ Diastasis Recti treatment and management program. 

To learn more about the author and the program please visit www.restoreyourcorerehab.com

Parent Reviews of Popular Baby Tracking Apps

Review of BabyConnect App

by Tony W.

Our doula told my wife and me about an app called BabyConnect. It’s available on iTunes for about $5 and is well worth the money. Instead of navigating a clunky paper sheet to log all the feedings and diaper changes, BabyConnect allows you to collect a host of information – including feeding times, food type, nursing, diaper changes, and much more – on your phone at the touch of a button. The app uses graphs and charts to break down the information into days and weeks, providing an easy-to-comprehend format that gives you great insight into your baby’s feedings and bathroom habits. 

To top it all off, the account allows multiple users and also allows users to log on through the web, making it easy for parents who care for heir babies at different time of the day to log all feedings and diaper changes and have them immediately accessible to either parent. I love this app. 

 

Baby Tracker Apps Favorite Features

By Carilyn C.

With each of my babies, I tried not to get too overwhelmed with a feeding schedule and focused more on watching for signs of hunger. However, I found that using a baby tracking app to keep a log of feedings and diapers on my phone gave me peace of mind. When you are a busy, exhausted new mom even remembering something simple, like what time the last feeding began, can be a challenge. Especially early on when you are feeding your baby 12+ times per day. I loved knowing exactly how long it had been between feedings with just a quick glace at my phone. With my first 2 babies, I used an app called Mom Brain. A couple years later when I had my twins, it was no longer available so after some quick research I chose an app called Total Baby. Unfortunately, Total Baby is also no longer available, but as I was thinking about it, I realized that I chose both of these apps for the same reasons.

While many baby tracker apps are loaded with features (tracking baths, doctor visits, medicine, milestones, photos, etc.), what was most important to me during the newborn phase was being able to quickly and easily log feedings and diapers. After the first month or so, when I knew my baby was growing and thriving, I stopped logging diapers. I continued to track feedings for a few months.  For feedings, I made sure the app I was using automatically calculated the time it had been since the last feeding. I didn’t want to have to do the math in my head all day long especially when I was feeding newborn twins who didn’t like to be fed at the same time. Also as a twin mom, it was of course important that I could track more than one baby and easily got back and forth.

Once we were ready for sleep training, around 3 months, I found the tracking apps very helpful for timing naps and nighttime sleep. After tracking sleep for just a couple of days, I could look at the summary charts and easily identify patterns that I used to establish a sleep schedule.

Lastly, while I wouldn’t say it is a vital feature, I did find it convenient that the apps I used both let me track baby’s height & weight. Since I always had my phone on me at doctor appointments, it was easy to keep updated stats stored right in the app.

Looking at what is currently available in the app store, there are a number of options, all between $0-5, that offer the features I found most helpful. Baby Tracker, Sprout Baby, and Baby Connect, just to name a few. 

Spectra S2 Plus Electric Breast Pump

by Jessica Adams RN IBCLC

The Spectra S2 Plus is one of the newest breast pump options provided by HBHM Inc. for expecting moms with BCBS, TriCare or Tufts insurance. The aesthetically pleasing rounded curves, ergonomic carrying handle with built-in LED lights, and soft silicone touch button combine to make this pump gentle and quiet, as well as powerful. 

 The most innovative feature of the Spectra S2 Plus is the gentle flutter-like suckling designed to mimic a baby’s natural suckling motion at the breast. It is fast, efficient and comfortable on breasts and nipples. The suckling speed and suction are independently controlled. The let-down mode has one set speed of 70 cycles per minute, as well as 5 suckling suction strength options.

Once let-down is achieved, a quick push of a button switches to the milk expression mode, which has 5 speed settings  ranging from 38 to 54 cycles per minute, and a whopping 12 suckling suction strength settings. Yes, this is a powerful, albeit very quiet and adjustable machine. Each mom can decide which cycle speed and suckling strength works best for her body and unique pumping needs.

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The insurance provided Spectra S2 Electric Pump package contains the following:

·       Spectra S2 Plus Pump motor unit, color pink

·       Power cord/AC Adapter

·       Two collection kits, including both 24mm and 28mm sized breast shields, silicone duck bill connectors, wide mouth bottles, bottle locking rings, bottle discs, wide mouth nipples, bottle caps

·       Two backflow connectors

·       Two individual silicone tubings

·       Spectra S1 Plus/S2 Plus Electric Breast Pump Instruction Manual

·       Warranty information card

Advantages and features of the Spectra S2 Plus that we appreciate:

·       Really quiet

·       Automatic safety shut off after 30 minutes

·       Built-in  digital timer

·       Attach a 12-volt car charger or battery pack and make this pump portable

·       Spectra Baby USA customer service and warranty fulfillment receive an A+

·       2 year warranty on the pump motor unit and 90 day warranty on accessory parts

·       Dual voltage 100V-240V so you can take overseas to many countries and safely use an adapter without need for a voltage converter

·       If the Spectra S1 Plus battery operated pump is preferred, an exchange can be made for an additional fee

·       Breast shield sizes available in 20mm, 24mm, 28mm and 32mm

·       Massager inserts for breast shields allow for a more comfortable pumping experience and turn the 24mm breast shield into a 23mm and the 28mm breast shield into a 27mm

A few areas that require vigilance:

·       Initial set-up of power cord requires that 2 separate parts be correctly snapped flush together or power will not reach the motor unit

·       The silicone tubing, duckbill valve and silicone membrane portion of the backflow protector should not be sterilized at all, ever.  Sterilizing will result is distortion of these parts.   To wash the duckbill valve, use warm soapy water. 

·       Recommended method of sterilization for other accessories is to place them in a clean, heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over accessories. Submerge accessories and allow to remain submerged for 3-5 minutes maximum, remove, allow to air dry, and cover

·       Pump will automatically return to the last previously used setting. This might be stronger than what you want to start on, so pay attention before attaching pump parts. 

·       Spectra silicone tubing length is ~31.5 inches, shorter than other pump brands, keeping you close to the pump.

Newborn Jaundice – What I Wish I Knew About Phototherapy

By Carilyn Cannon, Marketing Director at Healthy Babies, Happy Moms and Mom of 4

Carilyn has been the Marketing Director at Healthy Babies, Happy Moms since 2012.  Although you probably haven’t met her in person, if you follow us on social media, you have been seeing her posts for years. Recently, Carilyn gave birth to fraternal twin girls. After her experience being readmitted to the hospital when one of her newborn daughters was jaundiced, she felt compelled to share her story with other moms and moms-to-be.

When I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child, I was thrilled. As an experienced mom with a 4 and 2 year old, I was feeling prepared for what to expect. Famous last words, right? That feeling went right out the window at my 12 week ultrasound when I got the shock of a lifetime – we were having twins! I was happy, and excited, and overwhelmed, and felt so many different emotions. I instantly felt like a first time mom all over again. This was a whole new ball game.

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Start to finish it was not an easy pregnancy. But I was incredibly lucky that the 3 of us were healthy and made it to 38 weeks before the girls arrived. Two minutes apart, weighing 7lbs 2oz and 6lbs 9oz, Kate and Keira were born and I was a mom of 4. Just like there is a learning curve when you become a mom, there is another learning curve when you become a twin mom. Some things came naturally, like scooping up 2 newborns to hold in my arms, while others, including breastfeeding twins, took more help and practice. My husband and I were getting the hang of things and were excited to bring our girls home and have our whole family together. We were told at discharge that one of our daughters, Kate,  had a  bilirubin level that was “borderline” but we were sent home with a pediatrician appointment scheduled for the next morning.

The next few days were incredibly tough.  Even with the amazing help and support from my husband, family, and friends, caring for newborn twins, a toddler, and a preschooler while recovering from a tough pregnancy and childbirth was a lot to handle. Getting out of the house to see the pediatrician filled me with anxiety because the girls were eating one after another (we couldn’t quite master breastfeeding at the same time). It was not easy to leave the house when there was always a hungry newborn to feed. And as every mom knows, getting diapers, hats, blankets, and everything packed to go out even for a short trip is quite a process. I was constantly worried about Kate’s jaundice, and for a couple of days her levels were not great but not in the danger zone.  However,  we had to keep getting blood drawn to keep a close eye on it. Four days after coming home, Kate’s bilirubin level spiked and we were readmitted at the hospital so Kate could have phototherapy.   

I was already nervous because I know that jaundice can be extremely dangerous, and felt so helpless as she lay in the incubator alone. I was terrified she would damage her eyes since she kept knocking off the little goggles. Her twin sister came with us to stay in the hospital, but it was heartbreaking to leave my older son and daughter when we had just got home a few days ago. They were worried for their new baby sister and missed their mom. Thankfully, after 24 hours Kate’s bili level was in a safe range and we were able to go home.

Fast forward about 6 months, and I was getting back to work after being on maternity leave. Kathy, the Founder & CEO of Healthy Babies, Happy Moms, and I were updating the company website and other marketing material when for the first time I saw a photo of the Infant Home Phototherapy service - my jaw hit the desk. This was not the scary, goggles, incubator, hospital image I have burned in my brain from my own experience with Kate. Instead I saw a tiny baby sleeping in a little bassinet wearing with what looks like a cute, cozy blanket/sleeper. Plus, the service comes with daily home nurse visits where they provide an assessment, weight check, and bilirubin blood draw that they report to your pediatrician. On top of all that, they can help with breastfeeding while they are there. WHAT? Why, why, why didn’t I do this?

Now I do have to mention that of course while learning how to breastfeed twins I was talking to Kathy frequently, so she knew of Kate’s jaundice and reminded me of the home phototherapy if we were to need it. But when I got that call from the doctor that Kate’s bilirubin had spiked and we needed to get to the hospital I was scared, overwhelmed, and exhausted.  I didn’t stop to consider other options. I wish I had. I wish I had seen the photo and remembered it. Having the level of care Healthy Babies, Happy Moms provides in the convenience of my home would have been so much easier for my entire family. Eliminating all of the trips to the pediatrician’s office for bilirubin checks and instead having a nurse come to us would have been amazing. So yes, I love working for this company and I truly believe in the work done by the amazing team of nurses. But I am sharing my story as a mom. A mom who would have greatly benefited from knowing more about Infant Home Phototherapy, and a mom who wants other moms to know that this incredible service is available.

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For more information on Healthy Babies, Happy Moms' Infant Home Phototherapy click here