2 tips for navigating colic & a word on tongue ties

Doesn’t that picture just leave a knot in your stomach?! Our daughter was born with a tongue tie, lip tie and cheek ties which basically means that the soft tissues in her mouth restricted her mouth movement and ability to latch. Although it sounds straightforward, it was fairly difficult to diagnose and determine treatment options; we saw a lactation consultant in the hospital the day after she was born, my midwife the following day, a lactation consultant in our home the following week, an occupational therapist she recommended and finally a pediatric dentist specializing in tongue ties. Each person told us something slightly different about the severity of the ties, and in some cases, there was disagreement on whether she had them at all.

In the three weeks it took us to meet with specialists and chase down answers, I was pumping and attempting to nurse around the clock to keep my milk supply going. And unfortunately, our daughter felt the brunt of the many interventions we tried: different brands of bottles, multiple types of nipples, breast shields, paced bottle feeding…all with the intent of making her work for her food at the bottle like she would eventually have to do at the breast once her latch improved. The result was colic, frequent and intense fussiness for no apparent reason. My husband and I were up for hours each night trying to make her more comfortable, but for the most part, she was inconsolable. It was horrible to see her so miserable for such long periods of time. We felt completely helpless.

Through those many sleepless nights, we found only two things that helped relieve her colic symptoms:

Colic Calm Homeopathic Gripe Water. Wow, this stuff is a miracle. It gave our baby instant relief within minutes and also helps with gas, upset stomach, reflux and hiccups. It works by supporting the baby’s delicate digestive system as it develops and adjusts to new foods and liquids. The formula is extremely safe with no side effects and is free from sugar, soy, dairy, wheat, gluten, animal products, etc. I’m so glad I put this on our registry on a whim and had it on-hand when we needed it.

Yoga ball. This tip came from our occupational therapist during those first few weeks of trial and error when the colic showed up. She suggested that we bounce our daughter face up on a yoga ball to help relieve gas. I was always too nervous to try to balance her on the ball like that, but my husband did it basically every night for the first two months. On so many nights, it was the only way she would fall asleep. (We got ours from TJ Maxx; they have really good prices.)

Just before she turned two months old, the colic ended. Our theories are that 1) as her body continued to develop over time she simply grew out of it, and 2) we stopped the interventions we felt we were “supposed to do” and went with our instincts instead. We also backed out of the surgery to release her ties because something just didn’t feel right, and within days, her colic was gone. That said, I know so many parents who decided to go through with the surgery and saw amazing results.

The lesson we took away from the experience was that for the millions of complicated, nuanced decisions you have to make as a parent, there’s not always a straightforward answer. Now we try to approach them by gathering information from experts, but ultimately trusting ourselves to make the right decision for our family.

Gift guide for expecting moms

It’s that time of year! Below are the best products I used during (and after) pregnancy, plus a bonus gift idea that I regret not getting while I was expecting. Happy Holidays!

This pregnancy pillow helped support my growing belly and aching back and hips during my last two trimesters. And after the baby is born, the pillow can be used for breastfeeding, as a baby lounger (create a circle, cover with a blanket and place the baby in the center) and as a protective bumper when the baby is learning to sit.

We used our yoga ball throughout pregnancy, labor and postpartum. I swapped out my desk chair and sat on the ball while I worked. It helps strengthen your lower back, supports your pelvis and helps with the baby’s position (which is super important towards the end of pregnancy). During labor, I kneeled on it and leaned forward over it for support. You can also bounce on it during contractions to help speed things along. After our baby was born, an Occupational Therapist suggested that we bounce our daughter face up on it to help relieve gas. I was always too nervous to try to balance her on the ball like that, but my husband did it basically every night for the first two months. It was sometimes the only way she would fall asleep. (We got ours from TJ Maxx; they have really good prices.) Here’s a great article on choosing the right sized ball based on your height.

I love, love, love The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth and recommend it to everyone I know. It is so comprehensive, so accessible and such an easy reference guide. Don’t be intimidated by the word “natural” in the title; Genevieve gives advice that’s appropriate for all types of birth plans, not just non-medicated ones. The book has recipes, simple descriptions of complex healthcare terms and great advice for maximizing your health during and after pregnancy. I loved the ritual of reading the book at the beginning of every week, and the content was always spot on for the growth of the baby, how I was feeling and the decisions we were making at each stage.

Everyone swears by Hatch Belly Oil to nourish the skin and help prevent stretch marks. It’s made with calming botanicals like calendula, which is healing and soothing for the skin, so it’s safe for mom and baby. It’s a little on the pricey side, so it would be the perfect luxurious gift!

Beautycounter is the only clean brand I know of that’s Environmental Working Group (EWG) Verified for its skincare and makeup products. EWG is an amazing resource for information on a product’s toxicity, allergens, supply chain and animal testing policies. Clean products are important for everyone, but especially while pregnant, breastfeeding and even before trying to conceive.

I think MORROW+MINT has the most gorgeous alternatives to the utilitarian nursing bras that we’re all accustomed to. The brand focuses on designing bralettes that are as comfortable as they are beautiful. What an uplifting way to support a new mom! You can buy their gift cards online.

Other than not getting acupuncture to help with morning sickness during my first trimester, my only regret from pregnancy is not keeping a pregnancy journal. I love the idea of chronicling your pregnancy journey, your transition into a mother and all of the little details (cravings, dreams, growth milestones, etc.) that you’ll never want to forget. This Growing You journal is such a sweet, gender-neutral heirloom that can later be passed on to baby.