Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Medication and Breastfeeding

I think it was about two hours after I pressed "publish" on my blog post about none of my kids being ill, that both kids came down with colds.  No big deal normally, but with an infant in the house I went on high alert.  There is nothing worse than an infant that can't breathe through his nose (how would breastfeeding work exactly?  Not sure).  So I broke out the hand sanitizer and told the kids they CANNOT TOUCH THE BABY.

Given that Casey (my 3 year old), hasn't even really acknowledged that there IS a baby in the house, and that Braden is 5 and actually can listen (if he chooses), they have pretty much left the baby alone.

But I wasn't spared.

About 24 hours later I came down with the sniffles myself.  Nothing major, but that kind of scratchy throat, I need to carry kleenex around in my purse, kind of illness.  But the bright side is, unlike the last few times I have been sick, I am not pregnant anymore!  I can take whatever medicine I want!

Well, not quite.

I am exclusively breastfeeding my six week old.  So my body isn't really my own quite yet. Accordingly, I have to think about everything I put into my body, including any and all medication. Ugh.

I'm not a big fan of taking medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  That being said, I did end up taking antibiotics during my pregnancy (after three miserable weeks of bronchitis ).  And I am taking anti-depressants for PPD right now.  Still, I like to use these medications only if I absolutely have to.

But does that mean I have to absolutely suffer through a cold?  Not necessarily.

OTC Safety has some great tips for breastfeeding moms and over the counter medication, which I have found really useful.  (You can find the link here).  For example:

- Avoid aspirin.
- Only take as much medication as you need.
- Only take medication for your exact symptoms.
- Don't take extra-strength, long-acting, or sustained-release formulas when possible.
- Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief.
- Take the medicine right after you breastfeed (so that way a smaller amount will pass to breastmilk)
- Look for signs of a reaction in your baby (like irritability, hyperactivity, loss of appetite, sleepiness, rash, vomiting, or diarrhea, and let your healthcare provider know right away).
- Use antihistamines and decongestants sparingly (these ingredients may decrease milk supply), and always use non-drowsy formulas.
- Check with your doctor before using certain skincare products (especially benzyl peroxide and Retin-A).

Within the above parameters, I have taken some medicine and am feeling good.  And the best news of all is that the baby, thus far, has been spared.

See, look how happy he is:

Happy holidays, and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Get Me to the Six Week Mark, Please.

When Casey, my middle child, was five weeks old, he came down with a fever.  This may sound like no big deal, but it ended up being a HUGE deal.  A call to our pediatrician resulted in an ER visit, and a subsequent hospital stay.  I  learned that it is standard procedure that anytime an infant younger than six weeks has a fever, it's an automatic hospital stay, which involves a spinal tap and IV antibiotics. Basically, they have to make sure it's not something really bad (like meningitis) until they know it's not.

It wasn't.  After three days, we left with a diagnosis of (drumroll)..... rhinovirus.  Aka, the common cold.  The diagnosis was an anti-climactic end to three very exhausting, traumatic days.

This time around, I want to avoid that at all costs.  Colin is four weeks today, meaning I have two more weeks to avoid illness resulting in a hospital stay.  This may seem straightforward.  Keep him away from crowds, sick people, etc., and be religious about washing hands.  But with a three year old and a five year old in the house, all bets are off.  

The odds aren't in my favor.  'Tis the season for coughs and colds. They are everywhere.  And given that, what are the chances that my two kids won't bring something home?  And if and when they do, how effective to you think the "wash your hands" mantra will be?  Ha!  They'll be sneezing and coughing and wiping their snot all around the house.  And don't even get me started on the stomach flu. I don't even want to consider that as a possibility, so I won't.  

Needless to say, I have been a bit OCD with monitoring illness in my house.  I have used the thermometer with both kids more often than I care to admit.  I analyze every sneeze, every cough, and hand sanitizer graces every room.  So far so good.

But I can't keep my baby in a bubble.  So all I ask for is two weeks more of health.  Just two weeks. Is that too much to ask ?

Wish me luck.  
And in return, I will wish you all illness-free holidays!  But in case you aren't so lucky, here are some helpful tips from OTC Safety regarding over the counter medicines for your little ones:

- Remember that you should never give cough/cold medicine to children under 4.  
- If you give infant acetaminophen, be sure to check the concentration - the makers of infant acetaminophen have changed the medicine from a highly concentrated dose to a less concentrated dose (80mg/0.8 mL to 160mg/mL).  During this transition, old medicines could still be on store shelves, so be sure to read the label carefully.
- You can alternate between acetaminophen and ibuprofen every 3-4 hours.
- Only use the measuring device that comes with the medicine.
- Always store your medicine up and away (and make sure all of your visitors do the same!).

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Highs and Lows of the Newborn Phase

I've done this whole newborn thing twice before, you know.  You would think I would be prepared - that I would know exactly what to expect, and exactly what I am doing.

Not so.

I had forgotten.  About the highs.  About the lows.  So here they are:

The Highs

The biggest high is that I am completely in love with this boy.

I could stare at him all day (and in fact, I do spend an inordinate amount of time staring at him).  I love his faces - his pooping face, his involuntary smiling face, his sleepy face, his stretching face, and any other type of face he happens to make.  I love watching him on the changing pad scrunching up his little body and looking at his little frog legs.  I love feeding him and all the funny sounds that he makes. I love having him fall asleep on my chest and feeling his breath against my body and just keeping him there for a while. I love his smell and his eyes and his cheeks and basically every single last thing about him.

I just love this little boy.

In other good news, I have lost 25 pounds.

The Lows

Okay, now that I have painted a pretty, romantic picture, let me be real about the lows: The newborn phase is its own unique form of hell.  For the following reasons:

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