11 lbs, 10 oz and a few other thoughts

Jemma and I trekked to Andaluz yesterday for her 3 week check-up. My little girl weighs a whopping 11 pounds, 10 ounces! She has gained a pound each week of her life!

I promise I’ll be writing and posting her birth story soon, but the bottom line is, we are indebted to our birth team. They are so knowledgeable and fabulous and caring and we just adore them. To show them our thanks, Jemma and I made these gift bags … 

They are filled with daffodil bulbs and the little cards with Jem’s picture say, “Thank you for helping us grow our family!” We made 6 total … one for each of our midwives, their apprentices and our 2 postpartum doulas.
Jemma is growing like a weed and I have mended quite well. My who-ha is back in one piece, my uterus has shrunk and I’m morphing into a mother quite well. I haven’t had a hormonal meltdown for quite some time, probably since I have the sweetest baby ever :) We visited about post-baby birth control, vitamin D supplements and storing/pumping breastmilk.
This is what I learned …

Post-Baby Birth Control
While nursing, the safest options for birth control are no/low hormone options. No hormones would be a barrier method or a copper IUD. Low hormone would be the Mirena IUD. Barrier method is pretty self explanatory, we all know what that means and although effective. It isn’t the coolest thing for a monogamous married couple. So, IUDs are one of the new things I’m researching. Here is a snippet from Dr. Kristen Belt-Shabaan:

There are a lot of theories on how IUD’s prevent pregnancy.  The stuff someone posted off of WebMD seems to be the accepted belief.  I always sum it up to the fact that IUDs make a hostile environment for fertilization so that the sperm and egg can’t meet up.

IUDs have been used for many thousands of years.  There is evidence that IUDs in some form were used in Egyptian times.  They have changed in style, shape and make up over these years but are still a great contraceptive option for women who are in a MONOGAMOUS RELATIONSHIP.

IUDs got a REALLY bad rap in the 70s when the Dalcon shield (a shield shaped IUD that could not be removed and was made of material that could harbor bacteria) caused a lot of pelvic infections and even some deaths.  This infamy followed the IUD until the mid to late 90’s when IUDs seemed to make a comeback. 

At that time the most common IUD was the Paragard, or copper IUD, which is non-hormonal.  The Paragard is completely non-hormonal but can cause some heavier periods and stronger cramping in some women. 

Because of these side effects and the fact that a lot of women wanted to use an IUD but couldn’t tolerate the Paragard, the Mirena was developed and came on the market around 2001.  The Mirena does have some progesterone hormone in it and is designed to give a topical effect on the uterine lining and cause a mucous plug to form in the cervix to keep the sperm out (similar to how the minipill works, which is not designed to prevent ovulation).  Some, but not all, women cease to have a period when they have a Mirena and some, but not all, women continue to ovulate when they have a Mirena.

IUDs do have some risk of pelvic infection but studies show that women with IUDs in monogamous relationships do not have any increased risk of pelvic infection when compared to monogamous women without IUDs.  The risk for pelvic infection increases in women with multiple partners who are also at risk for STDs.  These women are not good candidates for IUD.  Most providers try to decrease the risk of infections by checking for them prior to inserting an IUD.

Both IUDs are considered safe in breastfeeding and are very popular in new moms that don’t want to use a systemic (total body) hormone method.

If women are having any problems with their IUD (ongoing bleeding, pelvic pain, partner complaining of discomfort with intercourse)  I would encourage them to follow up with their provider as soon as possible.  I don’t think waiting for more than 4-6 weeks is going to make these women love their IUD more.  Some women and IUDs just don’t mix.  I always think it is a good idea to follow up 2-4 weeks after insertion anyway, to see how things are going.

Some women complain of heavy/long/painful periods while using an IUD. Others love it. It’s kind of one of those trial and error things. You have to see if it works for you.

Vitamin D Supplements
Last week our pediatrician gave me a prescription for Vitamin D drops for Jemma. Apparently breastmilk doesn’t have enough Vitamin D in it and exclusively breastfed babies need a supplement. I asked our midwives about this and they didn’t seem to think it was necessary. Breastmilk is everything a baby needs and mama’s produce milk specific to their babies needs. There are some cases where mama’s have a Vitamin D deficiency which means their babies have a deficiency, hence the supplement. But, it is much like all the pregnancy screenings (GBS, gestational diabetes, etc.) that screen everyone for the few who need it rather than evaluating each mama/baby duo as to their specific needs.

See why I baulked at the supplement? If Jemma doesn’t need it, why am I going to put something unnecessary in her body? So, to determine if I have a deficiency I think I am going to have my blood tested. Then we’ll go from there. 

This was a great resource on this topic … KellyMom has become my favorite resource for all breastfeeding questions.

Storing/Pumping Breastmilk
In preparation for my transition back to work I’m going to start pumping and storing milk. I’m a bit nervous about disrupting my supply since I am finally stabilizing, but I’m sure all will be well. My midwife gave me some great advice and steps to follow … here’s the scoop:
  • Start drinking Mother’s Milk tea, it helps with overall milk production
  • If I ever have issues with my supply dropping supplement with fenugreek, goatsrue and borage … usually found in a mother’s milk tincsure like this one from Herb Pharma
  • Milk supply is highest in the morning, so when I start pumping that’s the best time
  • Aim for 4 ounces at each pumping session
  • Milk can freeze for up to 1 year
  • Milk can be stored in the fridge for 24-48 hours
  • Once frozen, don’t add milk to it … for example, if I pump 2 ounces and want to make it 4 before freezing, put the 2 ounces in the fridge, add 2 more ounces within 48 hours, then freeze
  • Four ounce canning jars work great for freezing milk, not plastic and cheap at the end of canning season
  • Before freezing in jars, sterilize by boiling and then run through the dishwasher on sterilize setting between each use
This is why I adore my midwives. They are chalk full of knowledge and devote an hour of their time to Jemma and I at each of our appointments. Plus, they love on Jemma like no other which makes each visit wonderful. Ever mama loves to hear how sweet and beautiful her baby is :)
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  1. says

    I have the Mirena and LOVE it! I had it after Teagan and now, after Harper. I have had great results with it and really light and shorter periods(YAY!!) Sounds like things are going well and everyone is adjusting!!