Tips on How to Dry up Your Milk Supply

Wednesday, August 28, 2019



Hey Tranquility Tribe! There’s a lot of talk in the mama-sphere about starting breastfeeding, but not much talk about how to stop once your nursing journey is done. Today we’re going to give you the lowdown on drying up your milk supply, so let’s get into all you need to know!

The best way to go about drying up your milk is to decrease feedings slowly until you are no longer feeding at all - the slower you wean, the less pain you’ll be in! Once you have weaned off of feeding, you should try to stimulate your nipples and breasts as little as possible to signal to your body that it no longer needs to be making milk - it’s a process of supply and demand, and once your body stops receiving the demand signals, the supply can be reduced! 

Just like everyone’s experience is different with breastfeeding itself, the process of stopping is unique for everyone. The length of time it will take to completely dry up really varies from person to person based on your circumstances when you stopped - the age of your child or stage of pregnancy and how much milk you were making at the time.

You don’t have to completely stop expressing milk, especially if you are in pain from your breasts feeling too full. However, only express a little at a time and only when you’re feeling really full - just enough to ease a little discomfort!

Along with classic cold compresses/packs and painkillers, cold cabbage leaves are going to be your lifeline during this! Wash and dry a couple of leaves, stick them in the fridge for a few hours, and then put a leaf in each bra cup for up to 2 hours - this will feel really soothing! 

Medicines are an option too, but of course should only be turned to after consultation with your doctor. These medications are not specifically made for stopping breastfeeding but are known to decrease milk supply. They include combination birth control pills (containing estrogen and progestin) and decongestants (specifically Sudafed).  If herbs are your thing, sage is known to help with weaning! A couple of cups of sage tea a day may really help you out.

Definitely don’t bind your breasts up tightly - this can just lead to more pain and even increase your risk for plugged ducts and infection. The biggest thing to look out for when weaning are symptoms of mastitis, an infection of the breasts. Mastitis often starts out as pain, redness, and increased temperature in the breasts and then develops to flu-like symptoms. If you experience this, be sure to get to your doctor ASAP! Slowly weaning can help prevent this. 

Let’s be real - engorgement is absolutely no fun, but there are many steps you can take to both prevent it from happening in the first place and relieving pain if you do experience it. Good luck on the finish of your breastfeeding journey and always remember to reach out your village whenever you need support during the process!


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Exploring Choices: Epidural

Wednesday, August 21, 2019



Hey Tranquility Tribe! In the mama-to-be world, there’s always tons of focus on medication-free childbirth and avoiding an epidural at all costs. However, there are plenty of women who get an epidural and make the choice to do so from the start. Today, we’re going to explore some of the reasons that a woman may want to get an epidural - it’s as valid of a choice as the one some women make to avoid an epidural at all costs!

Fear 
While childbirth is a natural part of life, it can still feel so unknown and simply be scary as heck! The pain of labor can be a huge cause of anxiety and the numbing of that pain can help relax a woman and calm those anxious thoughts. 

Feeling in control 
With the pain of birth, it can be nearly impossible to focus on anything besides either the grips of a contraction or bracing for the next one. This can leave some women with a feeling of loss of control over themselves, which can be even more anxiety-producing. With an epidural, some women may feel that they are the one in control of their body, not their uterus’ pain. 

No desire to feel sensations
For some women, they simply have no desire to feel the sensations of childbirth - and that’s okay! We live in the age of modern medicine and the opportunity to numb pain is a huge advantage of that. Some view the pain of labor as empowering - for others, it’s something that they would really rather avoid if possible. Some want to bask in the experience of birth without the pain distracting them from it, while others consider the pain to be the center of the experience. It is really a matter of preference!

At the end of the day, it’s about choice. If you want that epidural from the second you enter that hospital parking lot, that is your choice and you shouldn’t let others shame you into thinking less of yourself for it! Inform yourself of the risks and benefits long before you begin labor, make an informed choice, and advocate for yourself and that choice when you enter that hospital room.

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!


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Is a Membrane Sweep Right for You?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019



Hey Tranquility Tribe! When you’re an expecting mama, you’ve probably been anxious and ready to meet your baby since the day that test came back positive! Pregnancy is quite the journey, and as you get closer and closer to your due date, you may be counting down the seconds for that day to finally come. But what about when the big due date arrives and there has not even been a sign of labor starting anytime soon? Your mind need not automatically start to prepare for an induction - there’s another option too! Today we’re going to be giving you all the information you need to know in order to know if a membrane sweep is right for you!

First of all - what exactly is a membrane sweep? The name sounds a bit terrifying, but it’s a fairly low-key process! The sweep is done physically by your provider’s gloved finger, who inserts it in your cervix to physically, manually separate the membranes of the amniotic sac away from the uterine wall. The sweep is supposed to stimulate the release of prostaglandin, a hormone that aids in starting labor. At 40 weeks or more, 1 in 8 women went into labor within 48 hours post-sweep. Repeating it multiple times may be necessary in order for the effects to take place.

The sweep can be really painful for some women and can also cause bleeding or an accidental rupture of those membranes. However, most women only experience a bit of discomfort during the process, similar to what is felt during a routine vaginal examination. If the sweep does rupture the membranes and labor does not begin soon, you will most likely need to be artificially induced with medication. 

It’s important to note that these sweeps haven’t been found to be effective unless you’re over 40 weeks, and they shouldn’t be done in conjunction with other labor-inducing techniques. The process is also only recommended for pregnancies that aren’t high-risk, as high-risk pregnancies usually require immediate use of medication for induction. Also, your cervix must be dilated even just a little bit in order for the sweep to be performed, as the membranes can’t be reached without some dilation. Above all, this is not a DIY type of situation! As with any vaginal procedure, there is a risk of infection, and that risk skyrockets up if you don’t know what you’re doing!

Overall, if you’re 40 weeks or over and have been on a low-risk pregnancy journey, a membrane sweep might be just what you need to get baby to begin to wiggle on out of you! However, if this doesn’t sound like your jam, this along with so many other aspects of pregnancy and labor are, at the end of the day, up to you! Do your research, talk with your doctor, chat with your village, and make an informed choice from there! 



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Is Nanny Care Right for Your Family?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


Is Nanny Care Right for Your Family?

Hey Tranquility Tribe! This week, HeHe sat down to chat with Sara Cook, founder of Cloud9 Nannies, a nanny agency serving the Boston area. HeHe and Sara get into all the real life issues that come with hiring a nanny, from establishing trust with a caregiver to the nitty gritty details of pay!

All About Sara
As a working mama, Sara knew reliable and trustworthy childcare would be crucial for her family’s lifestyle. Her first child was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth, so this made finding a nanny that would be the perfect fit extra important. Sara worked in the professional IT world for many years as a recruiter, which made her an expert in finding the right candidates for a job with a very specific skill set. She combined her motherly instinct and experience with finding nannies for her own two sons with her experience in the recruiting world to create Cloud9 Nannies, where she connects families all around the Boston area with full-time or part-time long-term nanny care. 

Starting the Search
Sara believes the most important step in the nanny search is sitting down with your partner to figure out who your ideal nanny would be: How much experience do they have? Did they study child education? Are they a mom themselves? What type of person is the best for your family?

In terms of finding the right agency to help you with your search, Sara suggests learning about the agency owner, the team, and their background. Finding an agency you connect with is essential as they’re going to be the “face” for your family as they interview nannies for the agency upfront. Even if you’ve already started the nanny search on your own, an agency like Sara’s can help you vet a candidate you have in mind.

Finding the Perfect Fit
Once an agency connects you with some potential candidates, it’s time for interviews! Sara takes care of figuring out logistical information from the nanny like transportation situation, schedule availability and desired pay so that you can spend your interview really getting to know your potential nanny. The interview is the perfect opportunity to really explore your nanny’s past experience and her values and practices when it comes to childcare.

What happens if you choose a candidate you initially loved but who turns out to not be the best fit? Sara’s agency offers a 90-day guarantee concerning satisfaction with placement which applies not only to the families but the nannies too. When a situation like this happens, she works ASAP to set up a new placement for a family at no extra cost or fee.

Safety and Trust
Welcoming someone into your home on such a personal level and trusting them with your children can be incredibly nerve wracking, especially for first-time parents. However, safety is an absolute priority for Cloud9’s nannies. Sara always checks the most recent reference that a potential nanny provides before even beginning to set her up with potential families. In addition to doing a comprehensive background check and requiring CPR training, Sara has potential nannies take a basic childcare skills assessment through the International Nanny Association. 

With safety comes the often controversial topic of nanny cams. Sara gets asked about them often and notes that if you’re going to choose to use them, it is imperative that you let the nanny know, preferably ahead of time in her contract. Sara’s stance on them is that if a nanny cam would make you feel more comfortable, that’s okay, but ultimately you need to be open to trusting the person who is caring for your children. HeHe agrees that it’s essential to have boundaries when it comes to these kinds of things, like only using the cam until the child’s first birthday, and sticking to that boundary. Otherwise, it can turn into an unhealthy crutch that may ripple out into other aspects of your parenting journey.

Getting Down to Details
Although it’s easy to view a nanny as just providing a helping hand and hopefully as a part of the family, at the end of the day, they are your employee and that comes with all the nuances that other forms of formal employment come with. 

In Boston, the going rate for nanny pay is between 20 and 25 dollars an hour for an average of 2 kids, with many families throwing in an annual or quarterly bonus. In Sara’s experience, families account for an average of 2 weeks of vacation time and 2 to 3 sick days. When you’re in a place like Boston, it’s also important to take snow days into account! It can be frustrating trying to work from home on a snow day and not have the nanny there, but if it’s not safe for you to drive into work, it’s most likely not safe for them either. Setting expectations about things like this upfront and establishing solid communication between you and your nanny is key to having a comfortable yet fair situation.

All in all, when it comes to building a successful nanny relationship between a caregiver and your family, trust and communication truly are key!

If you want to get in touch with Sara, you can check out her website at cloudnannies.com or send an email over to sara@cloud9nannies.com

Don’t forget to join our private Facebook, The Tranquility Tribe Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe!


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