Daily Schedule Series: Fresh out the womb. Now what?

So…. you just had a baby. This baby comes with no schedule, no routine, and definitely no instructions. Now what?

Let me just start by saying that in my opinion – when this baby arrives, you have the first shot at establishing a routine. Ball is in your court. I know some people believe that you have to go with what the baby does, etc. And I do agree to a certain extent. But – I don’t necessarily agree that the parent needs to just roll over and give in to all the demanding needs of this infant either.

So I went through 2 kids doing very similar things, however, I was much more organized I think the second time around – let alone I loved that Babybix had a phone app by then! Now you are thinking… what in the world did I do? Ok… here it goes. It might sound confusing, but somehow in my twisted neurotic mind, it makes perfect sense and I made it happen.

Baby debuts. Baby is hungry. You are anticipated to feed them about every 2-3 hours. AND you know those nurses are going to be on your ass about it – checking times, etc. (I loved being able to log in Babybix and just show them the app for them to check everything). Go ahead and go with that. That baby is going to be crying, sleeping, peeing, pooping… the works! But what I am being conscious of and trying my hardest to do from the get-go…. is time one feeding as close to 11:30pm as possible. That is equivalent to me making the first move. With an 11:30pm feeding time, then I’m targeting 12am as my starting “bedtime” for the baby (I’ll be doing a series on this whole sleep schedule/training craziness later… and you will understand why I target 12am). So again, my goal is those two times to start. Everything else the baby is doing in the first couple days outside of that… just let them. I’m logging feeding from Day 1, but about 5 days out, I start logging sleep as well. I continue to only log outside of those two times so that I can get a sense of the baby’s natural routine (ah ha! This is the part where you do have to allow the baby to be themself). But remember – YOU have set the tone for each day, but starting the last feeding at 11:30pm and bedtime at 12am.

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In the following week after that, you should definitely start to see SOME sort of pattern… sporadic, but potentially identifiable. Its based on this, that I start to then pick specific common feeding times that become “designated” feeding times. What that means is, by 2 weeks old, if the baby wakes up a little earlier than my designated time, I might hold out on the feediing until the designated time – or if the baby is still sleeping, I’d wake the baby up to feed and keep on schedule. Remember.. all this is still done while logging! Because it is going to continue to evolve, and you will have no idea what it is best evolving into unless you track it.

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Pumping the Boob Juice: Pump, Freeze, Thaw

  <—Check out my lil’ future milk machine aka pumping assistant.

Fresh BM is good at room temperature for about 6-8 hours. So usually, when I pump, I leave it out on the counter ready for the next feeding. The way I do stuff to start is that I pump at 7am, 11am, 3pm 7pm and 11pm. Baby feeds at 8am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, and 10pm. so you can see most of my pumping coorelates with one of the feeds. Since I have so much frozen, I give one bottle from the frozen stuff each day (the 7pm feed)… this is so that baby is continually used to the frozen BM taste AND I can slowly funnel out the older stuff as I freeze more recent BM (more plug in on this at the bottom). My daughter was feeding 8 times a day for a while… then by the end of the first month, she was at 7 feedings (once she dropped her middle of the night one)…. at 2 months she was 6 feeds… and just recently, I increased the amount in her bottle and only feed her 5 times now. whew! what a process right? Check back – I will post the daily feeding schedules at a later time.

When I do need to heat up BM, I just pop it in a bottle warmer for a few mins to bring the milk from cold to COOL temp. I never gave my kids fully warm milk because I didnt want them to get used to it and make it complicated later on when we would need to feed them while out and about (trust me – don’t start that habit with your kids. It will bite you in the ass later!). I bought a bottle warmer on craigslist for like $10. it works just fine for me since I never need the BM to get really warm.

But if you are warming up BM that was frozen first… then you gotta thaw it first. I usually take out a frozen bottle the night before and move it to the fridge. they say it takes 12 hrs to thaw and then from that point, its good for 24 hours so you gotta plan to use it. Once you have a routine for using a frozen bottle a day, it won’t be a big issue.

If you are gonna pump and leave milk out for someone to feed baby while you are at work… then milk is good in the fridge for about 7 days (if your temp is at 32 degrees).

Here are some links to check out:

http://www.justmommies.com/articles/breast-milk-storage.shtml

http://www.breastfeed-essentials.com/storagehandling.html

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/milkcalc.html

http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-ppexcluspump

Being the neurotic that I am, I love to log things. So I HAD to log my milk production. heehee. You’ll see me mention this site/app a lot because it was definitely useful for me during the first 18 months: www.babybix.com  I used it to keep track of my breastfeeding when I was in the hospital, but once I got home, it was great for logging my pumping  data. Check me out! On a good day, I was seriously pushing out like 46oz. Holla!

 

To track my frozen supply, I printed out a monthly calendar page and basically just tally marked for each 4oz bottle I froze per day. That’s what you see here. Each circle represents one 4oz frozen bottle. This made it easy for me to calculate how much frozen reserves I had stored. And as I pulled one out each day to thaw, then I would “X” out a circle. I know… no one else in their right mind would do this… but I just HAD to do it and I loved seeing my logs full!

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A word about starting baby on Frozen early:

DO IT…. the reason why I suggest this is so that the baby is used to the taste of it from the get go… you dont want to try to give it to the baby later and NOT like it. ugh. Here is what I did… so adjust it accordingly as you wish: to start, thaw out something that was previously frozen.. like an ounce or so, and mix it with the fresh stuff. Baby should take that just fine. then the next day, increase it to where its like 50/50 frozen/fresh… then the next day 75/25…. until you try giving him one whole bottle from frozen stuff. at that point, what you will want to do is use ONE feeding a day from the frozen stuff. The rest can be fresh. doesn’t really matter which feeding, just pick whatever is convenient for you to be home at the time, since its coming from the fridge and needs to be warmed up appropriately, etc.

So each day, take out one from the freezer and move to the fridge to thaw – since it takes 24 hours to thaw…. and take the one from the fridge to warm up and give him. Like I said, I like doing this so that the baby will continue to be used to frozen and it won’t be weird to them later. This also allows you to slowly funnel out the oldest stuff and store more of new boob juice.

When you warm it up… it doesn’t have to be super warm even… try to just get it to right above room temp. if you can train baby to be comfortable with room temp milk, it will make your life THAT much easier in the long run. When you warm it up, you will see that all the chunks are gone – no lumps, spotty areas in the milk.