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My Top 5 Favorite Breastfeeding Must-Haves

“Wether pumping or exclusively breastfeeding, it is hard work!!”

First of all, take a second to congratulate yourself because if you’re reading this you’re thinking about or are currently breastfeeding your little babe. Wether pumping or exclusively breastfeeding, it is hard work!! Now let’s talk about breastfeeding must have items. Every breastfeeding journey is different so I am sharing my favorite things to have available when nursing. This is my third breastfeeding experience, second successful one. I think three’s a charm because I feel the most confident this time around because of all the things I have learned from before.

So before baby when you’re gathering things for your nursing cart(I’ll share about this in a separate blog) or station, think about what you need most for comfort, health and convenience. My must haves for breastfeeding are…

  • A blanket, it doesn’t have to be big I just like to have it in case I need a cover, or just to cover baby and me to stay warm and cozy.
  • A hand pump, I have had mastitis, clogged ducts and engorged too many times and I have found through trial and error a good hand pump along with massage is the best way for me to get relief. It also is great because it is milk that dad can feed baby from the bottle.
  • Coconut oil, this is my first time using only coconut oil for massaging the breast tissue and for sore nipples and it works so well. You can buy it almost anywhere. It should be food grade. It is super convenient because even if you just applied it is safe for baby to feed with it on.
  • Water bottle, just like when I was pregnant, it is still important to stay hydrated plus I swear when your nursing you stay thirsty 24/7.
  • A snack, this could be anything from a banana to oatmeal cookies or lactation treats. Staying well nourished is important to making milk and staying healthy. You can’t pour from an empty cup!

While this is definitely not everything, these are the most important things to me, to have at an arms length when I’m nursing my little. Also most of these can be packed in your diaper bag for on the go use. I hope this is helpful, and I would love to hear some of your favorite items for nursing in the comments below!

Invisible Autism

Motherhood unplugged moment..I decided to get real and share some real life things today…usually I share real life but this is more personal I guess. A little story about my oldest son Jackson shown here on the right.

First time roller skating!!

Unpopular share today that might get some hate, but I feel like it’s something important for people to know and learn more about. So while some people may be aware already of high functioning autism, do you know what it is? Do you understand something that you can’t always “see” or that isn’t always obvious?
It’s not easy! Also if you have a family member who is on the spectrum while that makes us not feel so alone I want you to know that no two people with autism are the same….

They may exhibit some of the same general common traits but like every person they have unique personalities and behaviors(quirks). I have been with my sons unique journey since his diagnosis in 2017. I know all of his traits like it was nothing and to me it is now normalized I know most of the time what to expect with flexibility because things change he is growing up. Mainly I am writing this today because my son attended a birthday party yesterday and it was amazing. But it was a skating party. I am comfortable with him so I didn’t stop and think oh he has a fm delay, low muscle tone and sensory issues. I just wanted him to join and celebrate his friend because he’s a kid. But it can never go that smoothly right? We got there and got him to give it a try, it helped having his little brother excited to do it (he has no fear he was ready and willing). Not even a minute later while I am watching he slides and bounces on the carpet. Well, if you “know” someone with HFA Can have exaggerated reactions to certain things and for Jackson anything to do with “hurts” or just the thought of hurts he freaks out and I mean screams and cries as if he has broken bones kind of freaking out. And he did that. I expected it. I tried to talk him down but I needed to change up his current state to distract him. But I couldn’t do that in the moment people were horrified at the skate rink because they by nature rushed over to him to see if he was hurt. Meanwhile I’m trying to explain to everyone over the loud music he’s fine!, I saw it happen, I know my son, he gently bounced, he gets worked up!, finally I just shouted he’s AUTISTIC!!! I said I know you can’t tell he’s smart cute and sweet but this is a reaction he has in these situations even when not hurt. I know everyone had good intentions and I am grateful I told everyone thank you. I am thankful. But i also want people to understand that even high functioning autism has its downfalls and while it isn’t as obvious the ones dealing with it do struggle. I hope one day it is more talked about so people stop shrugging it off and they will understand it more because it does not come without struggles….and with that being said I am so proud of my son because he did get back up and try again and he is doing great for a first timer skating. And we are already planning more trips to the skating rink and looking for ones that offer sensory friendly days.

RSV:Is It Taking Over?

“It’s RSV a common childhood infection that affects the throat windpipe and/or lungs.”

So Im not sure if you have read or seen in the news that different hospitals across the nation are becoming overwhelmed and so full that they are diverting patients to neighboring cities. New COVID strain? Nope. Not even a new virus. It’s RSV a common childhood infection that affects the throat windpipe and/or lungs. It can lead to bronchiolitis and pneumonia. And it is highly contagious. It is spread by droplets so wether directly or from touching a contaminated surface it can spread. It’s usually more severe for kids younger than 2, kids born prematurely, and kids born with heart or lung disease, Down syndrome or any other chronic conditions. It’s most common from November to April. RSV has been affecting kids and adults of all ages across the US. Typically RSV season doesn’t start this early, nor has the virus been so severe for such a large portion of those infected. This makes for many issues from children missing school, to hospitals and doctors offices completely backed up and overwhelmed. This means kids with broken limbs and appendicitis have to be triaged in the waiting room because there is no longer space or beds due to so many needing treatment in the hospital. Doctors aren’t quite sure yet what has led this virus to being so severe this year as it typically in healthy individuals, other than babies and newborns, causes only cold like symptoms.

A little back story, over a week ago my kids were acting more tired than usual then started having a cough. My oldest has asthma and the weather is changing so with no fever no big deal right? This is just the beginning. A trip to the pediatrician, then again two days later to the hospital, and we find out what has been ravishing our entire household. My four year old tested positive for RSV. Because the entire family is sick we were told to assume we were all RSV positive. We took COVID tests at home to be sure we were not fighting off double viruses or something different and as predicted they were negative. My next thoughts were how do we protect our 11 week old son. As a mother all I know of RSV at this point is that we don’t want the baby to catch it because it can be very severe. So on Monday we went in to see the pediatrician so all of my kids could be rechecked because no one was getting better. This is on day 6. As worried parents we begin to start asking every question you can think of about RSV. And I wanted to share with others the things we have learned. We learned ways to manage symptoms and ways to prevent RSV.

First of all here are some symptoms that you can experience when you have RSV then I will talk about managing them.

  • Breathing issues such as pauses in breathing while asleep, wheezing, shortness of breath and general difficulty breathing.
  • Coughing. Often.
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Eating less or loss of appetite
  • Lethargic, less active than normal
  • Dehydration
  • Irritated eyes

It is diagnosed by a swab test, chest X-ray and or blood tests depending on severity.

Let’s talk about treatment or management rather of the symptoms. Also always check with your doctor they can give you the best information for you particular case. So because RSV is a virus there isn’t an antibiotic for it specifically. You may be given an antibiotic for an infection caused from the rsv, an example would be for an ear infection. Or to prevent bronchitis. Ways to manage symptoms can include:

  • Tylenol for fever or ibuprofen depending upon age and doctor recommendation.
  • Saline to keep your child or your nose clear. For babies this means following up with suctioning out all the mucus.
  • Humidifier in the room to loosen mucus
  • Drink lots of fluids. This can even be in the form of popsicles especially when they are really sick.
  • This is easier said than done (especially with two children who are sensory eaters) try to encourage a balanced diet
  • Always monitor the symptoms as they can change rapidly and always seek medical care if something seems worse.
  • Follow up with doctor visits if requested by the pediatrician.
  • Keep rooms well ventilated and cool not hot or stuffy.

Now that i have shared some management tips I wanted to share some ways to prevent this yucky virus!!

  1. WASH HANDS OFTEN!!!
  2. Wipe surfaces often
  3. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
  4. Avoid people who are sick
  5. Do not go out when you have symptoms because rsv is highly contagious!!
  6. Wear a mask if you are your child have to leave the house while your infected.
  7. Use hand sanitizer
  8. Try to teach your child not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth during the time they are sick.

My family was bedridden from this, and although it was terrible and we are still getting over it, it could have been much worse. And I didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into at first because in the beginning there hadn’t been much in the news about it and no one talks about it much because it’s not usually this bad. But this year it is. I want people aware of it because COVID has stolen the spotlight for so long we don’t even consider the other viruses out there. And I hope that in writing this it will either help another family or mom, or adult in preventing it or identifying it quickly so they can begin managing the virus without spreading it more. Tell me in the comments if you or your family has dealt with rsv in the past or if you have been introduced to it this year.

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Going Back to School during Covid

I only want the best for my son.

This has been at the top of every parents to do list for a while now. Going back to school during a pandemic. Is it safe? How will they do it? Will they have to close again? Why would they open when cases are rising? I’m sure I could have listed over 100 questions surging through parents minds all over America. This is something I never made room for when I had my firstborn, I always knew school would be the most important decision. But I never imagined making that choice during a deadly pandemic. My son is a rising kindergartener who is also autistic, and receives some therapy and goals for therapy through the education system. Our or my whole world has started crumbling in on me. It’s a temporary stressor, and feeling of being defeated..but nonetheless valid. And it is taking over right now. It’s hard to let these feelings just be because I never thought I would have feelings like this in my entire life. I have at this point tried to cover every scenario! My son has a spot at a Magnet school, he’s registered for virtual academy, and I have homeschool prepped and ready to go. I have tried to get all the private therapists I can to make sure he has everything he needs if we decide to homeschool. I have consulted with his pediatrician, therapists, past teachers, family and friends about this decision and about what they plan to do…we all have one thing in common. We all aren’t really sure and are having the same struggle. This is all the result of very inadequate leadership at the presidential level. But we can’t change things at this point, just try to stay safe. Learn from mistakes made. Collectively we can get through this if we lean in on every resource we have. All those dormant resources you never thought you would use check them out! You never know what you might learn and it may give you much needed peace about the choice you make for your child. Most of all during this have patience, allow yourself a chance to feel disappointed and then figure out your next move. Trust me when I say this is hard, but take this time to find your friends and tribe of people who can help and who you can help during this time.

Kindergarten 2020

Stay safe everyone and sign up with your email, I have lots of content coming.. mom hacks, homeschool, autism and tips on how to navigate the world of therapy and services offered, outdoor activities and indoor rainy day activities!! Sending you xx,

Brandy