Breastfeeding with a Lip or Tongue Tie

Before and directly after my daughters lip revision

Both of my babies being born with lip AND tongue ties is one of the things I was least prepared for in motherhood. I knew nothing about how common these were, or what a serious problem they impose on your attempts to breastfeed. I want to take a moment to address all the mamas out there just finding out their babies struggle with this, or mamas-to-be that should be informed on potential breastfeeding obstacles like this!

A lip and tongue tie are conditions that cause the skin of the upper lip and underneath the tongue to have limited movement.

I knew my first baby had troubles latching but I didn’t know what those reasons were until she was 5 months old and diagnosed with a lip and tongue tie. Her lip was much more severe than her tongue so we made the decision to revise it, and she breastfed perfectly after that!

If I could go back in time and have knowledge of this problem, it could have saved us months of stress, feedings with a nipple shield, and the gradual decline in weight my baby had from not eating well enough.

The second time around our tongue tied girl is a little bit different and that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

We have (for now) decided not to revise our second daughter’s tongue tie.

Our reasons for this decision are that a) this is procedure that comes with pain and potential risks and b) she is breastfeeding and gaining weight so its affect on her is not severe.

So what are some things that can help if this is a decision you’ve made? Here are a few of the things that have really helped me in being successful while breastfeeding my lip and tongue tied baby.

  1. Become familiar with what a perfect latch is, and aware of the latch your baby is receiving at every feed. Most moms can just put their baby near their chest and let the baby do all the work because latching is not an issue for them. But with a lip/tongue tied baby YOU will have to help do that work. A good latch involves a wide open mouth, flanged out lips, and their chin against you. This perfect latch will not come naturally to your baby. This is of course the single greatest obstacle of a lip/tongue tied baby. Therefore, it is extremely important that you become familiar with a good latch and get as close as possible to it at every feeding.
  2. Do not be afraid to pull baby off and reattempt the latch when something is off. A bad latch can lead to a vast array of problems such as, pain or chapping of your nipples and too much air intake creating gas bubbles for your baby. That is why if baby is showing signs of a bad latch- do not be afraid to immediately remove them and reattach. A few signs of a bad latch- milk leaking, baby making a clicking noise, or no swallowing noise.
  3. Combat the milk leakage with extra burp cloths. Sometimes your baby may need a little extra help in getting their latch right. You may be soaking your bra with the milk dripping out in between that latching/unlatching and repositioning. For this reason I bring two burp cloths with me to every feeding- one to tuck into my bra underneath baby, and one to actually burp her on.
  4. Find the angle your baby finds easiest. My first girl did best with her latch the more perpendicular she was to me. I tried to cradle her in more of a sitting on my lap position to encourage the good latch she gets this way. So try moving around, try different holds or positions and use the support of a nursing pillow!
  5. Keep up your milk supply! A low supply can mean a slow let down of milk. While your baby is waiting for let down, their latch can become shallow and they may pull away getting frustrated. Your baby’s lip/tongue tie is already frustrating in their attempts to eat. Attempting to get a frustrated baby to latch is much more difficult than a relaxed baby. Make the milk more abundant and easily accessible to them so they don’t have to work harder than they already have to for it!

Here is a link to some really genuinely good tasting lactation cookies that I used to help boost my supply, for any mamas in need of a boost!

Hang in there mamas! If breastfeeding your lip/tongue tied baby is your goal, don’t give up. You aren’t alone in this and you can do it!

6 Myths You’ll Worry About During Your Second Pregnancy

  1. You won’t have any more special time to spend with your oldest. This one is huge! As soon as I saw the positive line on the pregnancy test when my baby was only 1 year old- I started to cry for this exact reason! Yes, it might take time for you to come out of the newborn haze and spend some special time with your oldest again. But hey, newborns sleep- A LOT. I’ll often ask my oldest what she wants to play with me once I’ve fed and changed the newborn and she’s nice and settled for a nap. Whether it’s running out for an ice cream, reading a book, playing in her sprinklers, or building some play-doh shapes- we have a little bit of time every day that’s just the two of us still. Don’t worry.
  2. They will NEVER sleep at the same time. As it is with anything in parenting, things are always shifting and changing. This includes bedtime and nap time schedules. Of course you will have those days where one woke up right when the other went to sleep and one kept you up all night long, but this will not be all the time, and it won’t last forever! I sleep way more now with two than I slept the whole time my oldest was under 10 months. Even if a no-sleep phase is lasting longer than you want it to, it WILL NOT last forever. Don’t worry.
  3. Will I love my second one the same way I love my first? It’s just so insane we even worry about this but it happens! It’s only because it’s hard to picture feeling the immense love you feel for this new baby you haven’t met when you have been getting to know and fall in love with your toddler since the moment they were born. Here’s the thing- first baby or tenth baby- they are still your baby. The moment you meet them, you’ll know you feel exactly the same. Don’t worry.
  4. I won’t get the same bonding time this time that I got with my first, because I will be too distracted by my toddler. Of course this is not a distraction you had to worry about last time. Every day with your firstborn was uninterrupted cuddles, bonding and being in your little newborn bubble. Well, your toddler WILL pop your newborn bubble that’s for sure. But just like you will still find balance to have that special time with your older child, you will find the same thing for your newborn. Maybe your toddler spends the afternoon with dad or Grandma, or takes a good, long nap. But at the very least, when your toddler goes to bed at night, you have those middle of the night times together. Yeah, you might be exhausted. But try to take at least one moment every night just to snuggle them close and enjoy that peace and calm where it’s just the two of you. Don’t worry.
  5. My toddler will hurt the newborn accidentally or on purpose. My babe is not necessarily rough or violent, but every toddler has the capacity for this behavior at any moment. I remember feeling so much anxiety about random things, like my toddler throwing a toy at her little head or running on the couch and stepping on her. Your toddler will quickly learn, this little baby is not to be played rough with. Maybe you have to yell a few times when they are flirting with disaster, but they will learn. And on some very hyper days, you’re just gonna have to play offense all day. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Don’t worry.
  6. My toddler will not adjust well to this big change in our family. I was so worried my older daughter would become super jealous of all the attention the new baby would get, and that she would stay super attached to me. She quickly figured out that she just needed to rely more on daddy for every day things and let mommy breastfeed and care for baby sissy at times. Like everything else, this could take time, or they could take right to the big bro/sis role from day one. Either way, DON’T WORRY mama!

Ember Knight- A Birth Story

As my 39th week kicked off with no signs of labor, my doctor decided the risks of induction outweighed the risks of waiting her out. I had a history with my first daughter of shoulder dystocia, macrosomia, and postpartum hemorrhage. So we packed our bags, tucked Ellie in bed at Grandma’s house and headed to the hospital at midnight for our second induction.

We had two or three scheduling complications. We were send home from our first induction because I was so sick and weak with a cold and sinus infection that they didn’t want to start the induction process. Three days later we went in again and they informed us that they had scheduled us for the precious night, and now we would have to wait and see if one of my doctors would be available to come in for an induction tonight. After a stressful wait in the lobby they finally told us we would be admitted, and wouldn’t be leaving the hospital without a baby again!

We spent 5 hours in a small triage room while the pitocin did its thing. My lovely husband got a nap in, while I mostly watched tv and attempted sleep over and over. The contractions were tight and uncomfortable but for the most part not painful. I finally drifted off around 5:45 a.m. to be rudely awoken by my water breaking at about 6:05 a.m.

Finally, it was time to make the move to our real labor room! Almost instantly after my water broke I was in real-deal pain! The doctors broke my water in my first labor, and I already had an epidural at that point! So this severe pain was new to me! I was ready for an epidural after about an hour of this, but of course it was time for a hospital shift change and I would have to wait another hour.

The epidural this time around brought some relief, but didn’t take on the left side of my body. I felt SO much pressure and pain compared to feeling nothing during my first labor.

They came in to check my dilation at noon and I was only at a 5. I felt really discouraged at that point, and thought that it was going to be a long, long day.

They continually came in to adjust my epidural as I was informing them (very calmly I’m sure) that it was not doing its job. 😂 I wasn’t sure why this hour was SO intense!

Around 1 o’clock I started feeling IMMENSE pressure and like I needed to push. They checked and sure enough I was at a 10. Now the intensity of that last hour made sense! They told me for what was probably about 20 minutes, but felt like two hours, that my doctor was on her way. 🙄 But I needed to push, like now. We gave all our family the call that it was time to head to the hospital!

When the doctor finally came in I was feeling it big time and ready to push!

This is where I felt an advantage over my first delivery. Last time, they had to tell me when to push because I couldn’t feel the contractions coming at all! This time, being able to feel it sped my process along as I was much more aware of what was happening with my body. It may have been more painful but if I had to do it again, I would choose this labor experience over my first one.

I was able to actually feel the moment I gave birth to her this time and immediately pull her up to me for skin to skin. There’s no feeling in the world like holding your baby for that first time and hearing that big cry that means they are healthy.

After about 20 minutes Ember was all cleaned up and we brought Ellie in to meet her. Ellie was tired from skipping her nap, and a little confused. But she was still really happy to see her “baby sissy.”

Ember was born at 2:10 p.m. weighing 9 lbs, and was 22 inches long. We got another big, healthy girl!

It all started to come back to me- the breastfeeding latching, spit up, swaddling, and newborn diapers.

I didn’t sleep much in our one night stay there, mostly because she kept spitting up/ choking on amniotic fluid. I didn’t know anything about this, but they told me it’s really common for babies who were born quicker. Less time in the birth canal=less time for them to get rid of the fluid. This was the first thing that told me, “Hey! This baby is going to come with a totally new set of problems you didn’t know about the first time around!”

24 hours after she was born, we got the clean bill of health to go home!

I couldn’t be happier thinking back on these two days we spent bringing Ember into the world. ❤️

Ellie-21 Months~Ember 2 weeks~Mama-Tired

Wow. The last two weeks have been a total whirlwind! But this is definitely a time of life I never want to forget!

Ellie-

What can I say about this girl? She has adjusted to being a big sister like a CHAMP! I am blown away by her, to be honest.

I was so worried that she would be jealous or rough with the baby. She has been a super generous helper and so gentle with baby sissy. She acts like her little sister has always been a part of her family and I’m so proud of the big girl she’s becoming.

She loves to give baby sissy toys and headbands and bring me diapers and wipes, and even water while I’m breastfeeding! Every night she asks to say night-night to baby sissy, and every morning she wakes up and asks where she is. I can’t believe the capacity for change and love Ellie has at such a young age. ❤️

Ember-

Ember has been a little dream baby! She is so mellow and cuddly! She is a little champion sleeper. At two weeks old she is still sleeping through the night. (Although I rouse her once in the middle of the night to feed her- per doctor’s instruction.)

The only problem we have is that she has a lip and tongue tie like her big sister, which is making breastfeeding a little harder. For a while, I could only get her to take pumped bottles. With lots of patience, we have gotten to a point where she can latch every time. It has been slightly exhausting, because I feel constantly worried that she wasn’t eating well enough. Tomorrow we have a consultation with the doctor who corrected Ellie’s lip tie, and we will decide if Ember’s needs corrected as well.

After a difficult pregnancy and being so sick during labor, I’m still just over the moon that she is here with us- happy and healthy.

Mama-

I am blown away by how quickly my body has recovered the second time around. The labor process may have been more difficult this time, but the recovery has been SO much smoother. My body seems to just remember how to heal. The pain and soreness wore off in a matter of days this time instead of weeks.

I am mentally recovering a little slower than physically. Even though I generally feel happy and blessed to have these two beautiful girls, the postpartum hormones have made me more emotional than I’d like to be. It’s usually happy tears I’m crying, but I still wish I wasn’t this emotional! I can tell already that life with two under two will be difficult. However, so far those super stressful “they both need me at the same time” moments that I thought would happen all the time have been pretty few and far between.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have these two. Overall, this time period has been filled with lots of happiness, love and cuddles. What more can you hope for with a newborn in the house?

Bio-Oil Review

I just want to start this post by stating- this is not a sponsored post!

I love working with brands I love but I also love reviewing things that I am not affiliated with so you always know the opinions expressed are 100% real!

This before and after picture I will share will really speak for itself; but here is the bottom line- Bio-Oil is AMAZING.

With my first pregnancy I relied only on a stretch mark massage lotion, with the second pregnancy only on Bio-Oil.

I couldn’t believe that it was possible, but I had far less visible stretch marks after my second pregnancy than my first!

So not only did the oil keep me from getting more marks during the pregnancy, but it visibly lessened the look of the ones I had from the first time around!

Post Baby Number 1

Post Baby Number 2

*Both photos unedited and taken at 1 week postpartum.

I recommend this product to any mamas-to-be as the best way to combat stretch marks!

Ellie-20 months~ Mama- 38 weeks pregnant

Ellie- She just recently had her 18 month checkup and shots- because mama had a major case of pregnancy brain and forgot to bring her to her appointment last month. She had moved up into 84th percentile for weight and 62nd percentile for height! She’s come a long way from the baby who couldn’t gain weight using a nipple shield and kept falling way behind on the growth charts! So physically, she is getting bigger and stronger every day but she is still very clumsy right now!

Developmentally, she just blows me away. She started using 2-4 word sentences at about 17 months and her vocabulary is incredible at this point. She will repeat absolutely any words we say and is understanding concepts so clearly. She remembers processes so well. The other day she heard the shower turn off and said “Oh, daddy all done, towel!” And ran to bring him one. She also woke up in the morning and went to go get him to remind him he needs to turn the sprinklers on!

She’s also been getting a real sense of imagination, and loving to play dress up and match! Her favorite show is Spongebob, and her favorite movie is Frozen. She still sleeps with her purple owl “lovey” or as she pronounces it, “muffy.” Her favorite toy is Play-Doh! She’s still been sleeping 10 hours a night with a two hour nap during the day.

Mama- Oh, my, goodness. Am I ready to be done with this pregnancy! I’ve been struggling a lot with the ending stages. I’m worried every day now that this baby is growing too big, since Ellie was almost 10 pounds. The anxiety over this is really weighing on me during these last weeks. Coupled with the fact that her movements have slowed down, I’m nervous all the time. Im reminding myself that she moves less because she’s run out of space now, but then I go back to worrying about having another 10 pounder. 😂

Every person I see comments on how huge I am! I understand too, because the bump is OUT there! I keep under estimating where my bump sticks out to and brushing into door frames or tables or counters, and blistering the very thin skin on my belly.

Physically, it is very hard to lift Ellie as she’s just over 25 pounds and the weight limit for lifting while pregnant. Bedtime routine is when I really feel the full extend of this last month of pregnancy. Bathing her has become nearly impossible with the squatting, scrubbing, and even reaching the drain plug! Then I take her to her darkened room for lotion and pjs and getting myself up off the floor after and lowering her into her crib just take everything out of me! Nothing else will be easier once I have baby number two, but at least I won’t have these giant belly struggles anymore!

I go back and forth between the overwhelming desire to be done with this pregnancy and meet my second sweet girl already- and wanting to soak in every last moment of this special time with Ellie before life gets crazier.

Overall, I’m dwelling on the fact that this season of life I’m in is just truly wonderful and exciting. I’m Reminding myself to enjoy the adorable age Ellie is at and savor my one on one time with her. While looking forward to having another one of the most exciting moments of my life to meet my second baby! These two beautiful girls give me so much purpose and happiness. ❤️

How To: Take & Edit Bright, White Photos

Flatlays and white backdrop photos are one of the biggest trends on instagram right now. When posted regularity they create a great, bright aesthetic to your page that draws people in.

I’m too big on outdoor shots to stick exclusively to an exclusively indoor, white aesthetic. However, I still love the way the look as an addition to my page anytime!

I’m going to share my tips on one of my latest photo projects to help you achieve that look for yourself!

Items needed-

If you’ll be photographing a newborn, or flat laying products I’d recommend buying a photo backdrop online. Here’s an example of one from amazon.

If you’re into family lifestyle shots or have older kids, shooting still in front of a small backdrop won’t be best. We got a great fluffy white comforter that has been great for these types of photos.

I love to use my Nikon for these photos to ensure I get crisp photos. If you’re using an iPhone, turn up the sharpness when editing.

Run into Hobby Lobby or Michaels if you need some easy photo props to add. I love to buy the wreaths or anything floral whenever it’s on sale so that I always have some cute things on hand to throw into a photo!

Photo technique-

Make sure you are directly centered above or in front of your subject.

If shooting a sleeping newborn/child add all props quietly around them once they are asleep. If the child is awake, have your area ready and be prepared to take your photos quickly so as not to irritate them.

You’ll also want to (attempt to) remove unwanted distractions like lumpy blankets or binkies.

Editing-

The quickest, easiest tip to instantly improve your photos without an app is to make a few adjustments in your photos app.

First, adjust orientation and cropping so photo is straight, and centered.

Second, turn up the shadows! Instantly lifts your photos brightness without washing out the subjects.

If you need any blemishes removed or lumps/wrinkles blurred out, I would recommend editing with the (free) Airbrush app.

These type of photos don’t need any heavy filters, that will just distract from the white aesthetic you’re trying to create.

Instead focus on adding clarity with sharpness, brightness with shadows, and saturation if more color is needed.

BeforeAfter

I hope that this will help you all to create some great photos!

Baby Breathing Monitors|Review

If you ask almost any new mom to be what their biggest fear entering motherhood is, it’s usually SIDS. As a first time mom, I had no idea what this even was, which scared me more. I feared every single time I tried to sleep.

Mamas, sleeping well whenever you get the chance to during the newborn phase is SO important. If you’re like me, and you’re worried about your tiny little babe’s breathing every time you go to sleep, luckily there are now devices we can use.

I am so passionate about this, like a lot of mamas that have bought one. That is because of just the one night at a couple weeks old where Ellie’s breathing alarm went off, and I saw her face pushed up against side of her bassinet. We had a little bassinet that went in between my husband and I in bed, and we didn’t realize that my husband’s side slightly dipped down causing her to roll and have her side pressed against the side of it. Needless to say we moved it out of our bed after that night! I can’t say for sure whether the monitor saved her life that night but I can tell you that $80 was beyond worth it to me.

So as a first time mom, I did plenty of research when considering which breathing monitor to get, and there was a wide array!

The first I considered was the Owlet monitor. This is a smart sock that not only monitors breathing, but oxygen levels. This information is then sent to your phone. This sounded absolutely incredible to me, however the price was just too steep for us when considering the long list of other baby products we still needed to buy. I also read a lot of reviews saying the sock either fell off easily, or gave their baby a slight rash. We ended up with a squirmy babe with sensitive skin so I’m happy we didn’t go with this one. However if you have a baby with breathing issues or a preemie, I’m sure this one would be worth the extra money and peace of mind.

The next product I looked into was the Angelcare movement monitor. This one monitors the movement of baby with a sensing pad that goes underneath them. This one is closer in price to the one I got so I heavily considered it. However, many moms said after about three months old their babe started rolling off the pad and they started getting a lot of false alarms. I also read it was quite hard to install and I am NOT tech savvy.

I could not be happier with the one I got.

Snuza go!

There are different types of Snuzas. The Snuza Hero has a feature that gently vibrates to try and stir the baby if no movement is detected for a certain amount of seconds. I felt this feature was unnecessary to me, I just wanted to be alerted if breathing movement stopped so I could try to rouse or just check on my baby. The Snuza Go! Is the less expensive version which was also very helpful to me and my budget!

The Snuza is a small clip that goes on the edge of their diaper, and the sensor feels their breathing from their stomach moving up and down. First of all, Ellie never noticed it was there and it never left a mark on her or anything. Secondly, I never had to change the battery! I used it EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. from birth until about 9 months. At 9 months I started getting false alarms as she became really active, rolling and wiggling and also able to take it off on her own. By then, I was naturally ready to stop using it and so was she. Third, and most importantly, it gave this super anxious mama peace of mind. I got so many more hours of sleep thanks to the Snuza. When she had bronchiolitis at 4 months old and I was terrified to sleep every night for weeks, knowing I had the Snuza on was the only thing that made me allow myself to get the sleep I needed.

*Please note, no breathing monitoring devices can prevent SIDS.

Our Sleep Through the Night Bed Time Routine


Bed time routines add another thing to your already jam packed to-do list as a mom. If you’re like me, by the time the clock strikes bedtime- I AM DONE. I want to be in bed, laying down, with no more toddler climbing on me.

But here’s the thing- it is SOOOO worth it. 

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to put in the extra time and effort to create a bedtime routine consistently, think of it this way. Any of the extra effort you put in before bedtime ensures that you put in less work in the middle of the night, and get a fuller, longer, more restful night of sleep. And so does your baby!

If you can’t already tell, bedtime routines are just my favorite thing in the universe. Even on nights where my little one seems wound up and not ready for bed at all right before I start the routine, it has never failed that by the time I set her in her crib she’s 100% ready to drift off.

As soon as I started this routine at around 10 months old, my daughter has slept through the night 10-12 hours. Combined with our gentle sleep-training method (see last post How to get your Co-Sleeping and Codependent Baby to Sleep Through the Night) she even learned how to soothe herself back to sleep if she awoke crying in the night. It’s saved me countless middle-of-the-night visits to her room!

Here is a detailed description of Ellie’s nightly routine.

Step One. Breastfeed.

If breastfeeding, it is vitally important not to breastfeed them to sleep. It creates a dependency on you to fall asleep, and if they awake in a place different from where they fell asleep it will always startle them. I had breastfed her to sleep for her entire first 10 months of life so imagining changing this was just crazy to me. But again, SO WORTH IT.

-If you are not breastfeeding, just make sure they have their bottle, water, or a snack right before you start the routine instead of directly before bedtime.

My absolute favorite nursing dress from Undercover Mama. Click the photo to check them out!

Step Two. Get their room ready.

I make sure her lovey is in her crib and a pacifier is nearby. Then, I turn on her night light and white noise machine. Now the room is all dimmed and ready for us to come in to get dressed for bed in at the end of the routine.

Step Three. Bath and Brush Teeth.


Ellie’s pediatrician recommended nightly baths for her eczema, to help remove the dirt that collects on her skin every day. Ellie loves bath time and it reminds her that she needs to start getting ready for bed. Also luckily, Ellie loves teeth brushing. (Maybe in part to her cool electric toothbrush with Paw Patrol characters on it!)

-If baths have never been associated with bedtime for you, or you don’t usually bathe every single day- still consider adding this step. Having a solid routine with a few consistent steps to it signals your child that they need to wind down for the day.

Step Four. Lotion, PJS, and a song.

Lastly, I lay Ellie down on a furry rug in her room. While lightly singing a song, I dress her in a night-time diaper, put lotion on her, a little bit of essential oil for sleep on her chest, and one for teething on her jaw-line. Then I wrap up my song, button up her pjs and give her a big hug and kiss before laying her down. She watches me leave the room, and quietly turns on her side and falls soundly asleep.

These are all the products I use in Ellie’s nightly routine.

The bed time caddy I made to keep all her routine products on hand.

It may be a lot of work, but it is also some of my sweetest, most cherished time with her. It is nice to relax, wind down and get ready for bed together. And best of all, it is followed by 10 beautiful, glorious hours of uninterrupted SLEEP.