Baby Merlin Magic Sleep Suit

As you guys all know, our household got hit pretty hard with the four month sleep regression. Our once great napper and almost sleeping through the night baby is now a horrible napper and even worse at night. He will nap for 10 to 20 minutes twice a day, and wake up every 30 to 45 minutes at night. To say we needed help was an understatement. After my third straight night of three hours of sleep or less, I took to the internet looking for something that will help my little man not only fall asleep, but stay asleep once he got that way. That’s when I found the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit.

The Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit features either a microfleece or soft cotton outer layer, a soft cotton inner layer, and a layer of poly-fil in the middle. The Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit is designed to give babies a comfy, cozy sleep environment, dull the startle reflex that can wake the baby, eliminates the need for additional blankets in the crib, helps minimize parental intervention in getting the baby back to sleep and was designed for back sleeping.

I ordered my son a yellow Microfleece sleep suit in size small, which is perfect for babies from 12 to 18 pounds (roughly 3-6 months old). I was thrilled when the package arrived in the mail a few days later. The outer microfleece layer and the inner cotton layer are both so soft. It felt like I was swaddling him in a fleece blanket.

20160103_182414307_iOS

I put the Magic Sleep Suit on my son the first night we got it. It was a bit short in the arms, and a bit long in the legs, but that is just the way my baby is shaped. The overall fit was really good. The Magic Sleep Suit was tight enough on him that it would feel like he was wrapped in a swaddle blanket, but loose enough that it wasn’t too constricting. The double zipper feature made it easy to get the sleep suit off and on, and the poly-fil layer provided enough warmth that all he needed underneath was a onsie.

20160105_043820509_iOS

We had fun just playing in the suit for about 5 minutes. I placed him in his pack n play and walked out of the room. When I came in just a few minutes later, he was sound asleep. Not only had he put himself to bed, but he stayed asleep for 4 hours! He woke up just long enough to eat and was back to sleep in no time. For someone who wasn’t getting more than 3-4 hours of sleep total for the night, we got almost 8 hours of sleep the first night we used the magic sleep suit.

20160105_145334465_iOS

I continued to try the sleep suit out over the next few days. While we weren’t able to achieve another 4 hour stretch at night, we did increase the length of time he was able to sleep from 20-30 minutes to 2-2.5 hours at a time. During the day his naps grew from 10-20 minutes to almost an hour. He would fuss occasionally, but was able to self soothe himself and get back to sleep (unless he was hungry, then he would wake up more). I did notice that the startle reflexes and twitches were not completely eliminated, and still woke him occasionally. I would say that the reflexes and twitches were drastically reduced, but not totally eliminated. Each morning he would wake up happy and ready to start the day.

20160105_145349515_iOS

We did have a bit of a diaper blowout the third day, and wound up swaddling little man while the sleep suit was in the dryer. I couldn’t say for certain, but he seemed to do just as well in the swaddle as he did in the sleep suit. Of course the next night he did really well in the sleep suit, so who is to say?

Without the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit, I couldn’t imagine what life would be like right now. We still wake up several times a night to eat, but for the most part my little man is able to fall asleep, stay asleep and get a great night’s rest.

**The Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit was provided to me by the Baby Merlin Company to test and review. While I received the Sleep Suit for testing purposes, all opinions are my own.**

Advertisements

Changes Are Happening!

For someone who absolutely, without a doubt HATES change, I am pretty excited about all the changes happening in our lives right now. There are changes all over the place! Changes with Luke, changes in our living situation, changes in my blogging efforts…….just changes everywhere.

Luke is doing about a billion times better than he was even a week ago. Yesterday was the first time in his life his poop didn’t contain any mucus or blood. I am so excited that the Elecare seems to be working. Today’s poop did have mucus in it, but no blood so I think we are on the right track! He’s sleeping better, and even spent his first night in the pack n play. It was great! Ronny got Luke to sleep while sitting on the couch playing on his iPad.

12360048_10100570926740753_3893548435300266984_n

It was the cutest thing in the world! I was pumping when Ronny brought Luke into the room so I had him lay Luke in the pack n play on the brand new pnp mattress we got. Luke didn’t even wake up when he was laid down. He slept in the pack n play until 5 am, waking at his normal times to eat and go back to sleep. He didn’t even really seem to notice he wasn’t snuggled up next to momma.

12360003_10100571001480973_5351845603258275224_n

I hadn’t planned on transitioning him last night, but I did.

We are also busy packing for our big move at the end of the week. We are literally moving across the street, but I’m trying to go through and purge what we don’t use/need so that I don’t have to move more stuff than I want in our new place. We are going today to get measurements for the apartment and take a peek inside. I’m kind of sad that we are moving from the place we conceived Luke in, but that’s okay.

The biggest change of all is coming to my blogging. I am in the process of starting up a product review blog. My hopes is to review children’s products and possibly get some paid sponsorships. I was torn between starting a new blog and posting here, but I really struggle with what to post on what days with only one blog. I don’t want to double post a few times a week, and feel like my daily updates would be incredibly long if I skipped a few days to do some other stuff. Problem solved: two blogs. I am estimating rolling the blog out on Wednesday if everything goes well (meaning Luke is low maintenance and I can get some stuff done).

I’m really excited to be giving this a go. I want to get into social media marketing, and feel like this would be a huge help in establishing myself in the market.

Wish me luck, I’ll probably be overwhelmed with the changes tomorrow.

Domperidone: Does It Work?

As someone who suffers from numerous breast feeding issues, I didn’t think Domperidone would work for me. We finally figured out what was going on with my body, and why despite my best efforts I could not increase my milk supply. My problem is three-fold: I suffer from mammary hypoplasia (also known as IGT), have a slow refill rate and low prolactin levels. Each problem in itself is easily rectified…..the three together is somewhat more of a challenge.

Mammary hypoplasia, IGT, occurs when a woman does not develop proper glandular tissue during adolescence. While breasts can be either small or large, the most common characteristics are narrow widely spaced breasts, swollen/puffy areolas, asymmetrical breasts where one is much larger than the other, and milk that either never comes in or comes in after 3-5 days after delivery. Women with hypoplasia will never be able to exclusively breast feed (or at least most won’t). The only thing that you can do is try to feed from the breast as much as possible and supplement using either donor milk or formula to meet the babies needs. At this point the maximum milk that my breasts can hold about an ounce and a half.

I also suffer from a slow refill rate. Basically milk making breasts never totally empty, but the more they are drained the quicker they fill back up. Somehow there has been a disconnect between my brain and my breasts to where I can empty them to a point of no milk able to come out and then it takes more than a few hours for them to refill back to the ounce to ounce and a half mark. Usually it takes about 4 hours to refill…..no matter how many times I pump or put Luke to the breast, it still takes a very long time for them to refill. The only way I have found to get them to refill faster is to put the baby to the breast more frequently….which hasn’t helped me out at all.

The last issue is low prolactin levels. I’m not sure how it works exactly (I don’t have much time to google it right now) but somehow prolactin is critical in breast milk production. If you have low prolactin levels, you will produce low levels of breast milk. This is easily fixable by increasing prolactin levels.

So on to the critical question: is Domperidone working?

Here is a picture of what took me all day to pump prior to the Domperidone:

20150918_031054121_iOS.jpg

I’ve seen a stead increase in my milk supply, but still not anywhere near where I would want it to be.

From upper left to lower right here is my results for the first 6 days. I have consistently pumped about 5 ounces each day, other than the first day. It does seem to have kind of plateaued so I have started today increasing from 90mg/day to 100mg/day and will go up gradually until I hit my max output.

Pump In Style Advanced Vs. Spectra S2

When it comes to breast pumps there are three big names out there: Medela’s Pump In Style Advanced (PISA), Ameda Purely Yours and Spectra S2. Depending on your location and insurance company, you may qualify for a free or greatly reduced PISA or Purely Yours. I know that when I was looking for the best pump on the market, I researched them all.

2901995-medela-metro-bag-03_updates_5-7-14

The first pump that I got was the PISA through Edgepark. Ordering was quick and easy, and I had my pump 2 days after hitting submit. The PISA features a two phase expression with an automatic let down phase, double electric pump that can also be used as a single pump, lightweight design and several options for carrying.

I was originally thrilled with the PISA. It was light weight, easy to use and easy to clean. I went out and bought extra flanges, extra bottles and a battery operated pack for traveling. The pump was extremely easy to set up, taking only minutes to go from out of the box to ready to use (after sterilizing of course). The one button operation is great when you only have one hand to use for pump operation.

Ultimately I wasn’t very happy with the PISA after my son was born. I had to have the suction turned all the way up in order to be able express any milk at all, which caused swelling and painful nipples. The letdown feature never brought on a let down for me either. After a week of multiple daily uses the motor began to go out and I could only use it as a single pump. The suction was rough and the let down phase does not mimic that of a child. The pump was very loud, so loud that it would wake my husband and sleeping child. There was also a noticeable air leak sound that I could never find the cause of. A call to Medela for support yeilded a new pump being sent overnight, but I had the same issues with the new pump.

Next I tried the Ameda Purely Yours

61unqyj8-xl-_sl1500_

The Ameda Purely Yours features separate controls for speed and suction. It is a closed system pump meaning the milk does not go into the tubes or the motor. The dual pump can also be used as a single pump.

I really liked the speed and suction controls separate. It gave me more control over how quickly and strongly the pump was working. The built in bottle holders were a big help when done pumping so that milk wouldn’t spill all over if the bottles got tipped. The flanges fit nicely and can be switched out for smaller or larger sizes if need be. The tubing is long enough that you don’t have to sit right next to the pump or strain yourself trying to get the pump to work.

With all the benefits of the Purely Yours, it has a few major flaws. The biggest flaw I found with the pump was that the suction was pretty low even at the highest setting and the pump made an audible beeping noise when on. If you are trying to pump in a quite room, it is quite noisy. I found it quite hard to juggle both of the bottles and the dial at the same time. It doesn’t have the let down feature at the beginning so you have to constantly manually adjust speed and suction to maximize output. Eventually this pump began to lose suction and once it started it was a downward spiral. I tried to replace the tubing and the valves, but still the suction was worse and worse.

My last hope was the Spectra S2. I had read a few blogs from women who swore it was the best pump ever, and got a great deal on one from Amazon.

51h1dksq9-l-_sl1024_

The S2 is a hospital grade pump with a less than retail price. The S2 features a dual pump with adjustable speed and suction, separate letdown and expression phases, a closed system that prevents milk from getting into the tubes and motor, a nightlight and lightweight design. The S1 also has an internal rechargable battery that allows up to 3 hours of operation without being plugged in.

I love my S2. It was so easy to set up and use. I was able to adjust the cycle and suction to mimic that of my sons sucking patterns and the one button let down/expression allows you to easily switch between the two for maximum pumping output. The flanges fit really nicely and the suction even at its very highest is gentle and doesn’t hurt. I have found that the S2 can empty both of my breasts more quickly and thoroughly than either of the other pumps. The light weight design (less than 3 pounds) makes it really easy to move the pump from room to room. The pump is really quiet when in use and rarely wakes the baby. And the night light feature comes in really handy when you are trying to pump in the middle of the night in the dark.

The S2 does have a wide mouth collection system, which fits the Avent bottles. You can purchase a bottle adapter that will allow you to pump into the Medela collection bottles or any standard neck bottle.

There are of course a few things I don’t like about the S2. First and foremost, the collection bottles are not very sturdy and often tip over from the weight of the flange and valve system. I’ve lost multiple ounces of liquid gold from the bottle tipping over or falling off of the table. There is a built in bottle holder, but it only holds one bottle at a time and doesn’t even hold the one bottle well. When the bottles tip, milk gets into the valve system and causes loss of suction issues. I also don’t like how the pump automatically starts on the expression phase, so if you want to trigger a let down you have to first push the let down button and then switch back to expression once the milk gets flowing. The other thing I don’t like about the S2 is the tubing is sticky and constantly get wound up.

Of the three, I highly recommend spending the money for the S2. You get an amazing pump for half the cost of the PISA and Purely Yours. What you trade in convenience of parts in the store, you make up for in a durable and effective pump.

What pump do you use? 

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Bottle Review

It was never my intention to bottle feed my son, but when push came to shove I had to do what was best for him. We started out with the Tommee Tippee bottles (which will be reviewed here), but after some trial and error decided to switch to Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow bottles.

I originally purchased a double pack of the 2 ounce preemie bottles for $10.99 at Target. Dr. Brown’s bottles are known for their two part valve system that helps reduce colic, spit up and burping. Since my little man was (and still kind of is) having issues when it comes to bottle feeding, this sounded like a product that met our needs really well. The reason I chose the preemie bottles first is because the level 1 flow nipple is too fast for my little guy. After a few days using the two preemie bottles, I ordered a 3 pack of the 8 ounce options bottles and two 5 packs, with additional preemie nipples to put in each of the bottles.

There is a slight difference between the standard natural flow bottle with the blue vent and the options bottle with the green vent. I will do the pros and cons of each bottle down below.

What I love:

There are so many aspects to this bottle that I absolutely love.

*The two part vent system has drastically reduced the amount of air that my little guy swallows during a feeding. The frequency and amount that he spits up has drastically decreased since switching bottles.

*The vent creates a paced feed so he isn’t eating too quickly. The extra slow flow preemie nipple and vented bottle let my baby control how much he is getting out of the bottle.

*I really like how the vent system brings air into the bottom of the bottle so the nipple doesn’t collapse in on itself as my little guy is eating. That was a major problem in several bottles that we tried.

*The bottles are dishwasher and microwave safe. I don’t usually put bottles in the microwave, but with the microwaveable sterilizers coming out this is a really big benefit. I do put the bottles through the dishwasher on occasion after I have given them a good scrubbing for an added layer of clean.

*The bottles fit nicely in the hand. I have rather small hands. My husband on the other hand, has very large hands. Neither of us have any problems holding the bottles. They are comfortable to hold and fairly light weight, even when filled.

*The options bottle gives you the option to use the bottle with or without the vent. At 12 weeks old, we will be using the vent but as my son gets older he probably won’t need the vent any more. It’s nice to have the option to take it out….or use the bottle with out the vent if it’s dirty and you need a bottle quickly.

*The measurement lines on the 2 ounce and 4 ounce bottles are painted on in blue making it easy to tell exactly how much water/formula/breast milk is in the bottle. The easy to see lines make for a quicker and easier time filling the bottles.

What I Don’t Like So Much

*The measurement lines on the 8 ounce bottles are clear, making it difficult (for me) to see how much water I have put into the bottle. My personal opinion is that if the markings were consistently blue on all of the bottles it would be so much easier.

*The bottles leak sometimes when you are shaking the formula to mix it up. The top must be screwed on really tightly (so tightly that sometimes it’s hard to get off) and you have to plug the hole on the nipple so that the bottle won’t leak. There are times when I have taken the top off the bottle to feed my son, only to discover that I’ve lost 1/2 an ounce or more from the formula coming out of the nipple during transportation (I only make 4 ounces at a time right now).

*The options bottle leaks really badly both with and without the vent. I haven’t figured out a good way to keep this bottle from leaking yet.

*There are essentially 6 pieces to each bottle: the nipple, the cap, the collar, the vent cap, the vent insert and the bottle. It is a lot of pieces if you are in need of a bottle quickly. There is also a disc that you can put over the vent to keep the bottle from leaking, but you have to take that out before feeding, which adds time to preparation.

*Because there are so many pieces to the bottle, they take a long time to clean…..in comparison to a 3 piece bottle. You also have to use the regular bottle brush, and then a special vent brush to clean the inside of the vent.

*After several dozen uses, the bottles have lost some of their clearness and are now a cloudy color. This doesn’t really impact feeding or anything but looks odd on the counter.

Extra Bits Of Information:

*There are travel caps available that make mixing formula and transporting liquids much easier. I personally haven’t quite figured out what to do with the top of the bottle while the travel cap is on, but it’s a minor problem that I’m sure has a solution.

*The bottles can take on an unpleasant odor if formula is left in it for an extended period of time.

*You need a long bottle brush to clean the bottles. The regular  ones aren’t quite long enough.

What is your favorite baby bottle?

Bella Vox Box Final Review

I received the Bella vox box courtesy of influenster for testing purposes, but all product opinions are my own. If you are interested in joining Influenster click here!  The Bella Vox Box contained a few samples of health and beauty products, a card for a free bottle of wine from Club W and a bag of Dove chocolate covered blueberries. I will review each product below.

Dove Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries: $1.88-$2.69

I love chocolate covered things, and this is no exception! The chocolate is creamy and smooth, while the blueberries had a nice crunch to them. The blueberries were a bit smaller than I expected, but really it wasn’t that big of a deal because they are delicious. I actually went out and bought a second bag of these because they are so good.

Club W: $39/month

Club W is a revolutionary new subscription service that offers various wines starting at only $13 a bottle. You start the experience by completing the Palate profile quiz, which is 6 simple questions. You then get personalized recommendations based on your taste, or you can mix and match bottles. Every month they offer new bottles of wine. Because I am pregnant, I actually didn’t take advantage of this offer, but definitely referred many friends to give it a try. If you use the code: REFERME you get one free bottle of wine with the purchase of 2. One thing I really liked about the website was that it has a recipe center for real food with a wine pairing recommendation.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Mascara by Kate Moss: $6.99

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you know that I don’t wear a ton of makeup. Especially around the eyes. This mascara was actually pretty good. It went on smooth and was a great color. I did find that it shed throughout the day and I did experience some clumping with the mascara, but what mascara doesn’t? I did not like the applicator brush that came along with the mascara. I found it to be too bulky to get the lashes in the corner of my eyes. I do love the fact that Rimmel London does not use animals for testing purposes.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss – $5.49

I have never been big on wearing lipstick. I do not like the way it feels on my lips and hate that I always get really dry clumpy lips when I try to use lipstick. I actually really liked this lipstick. It went on really smooth and didn’t cake the way most lipsticks do. It smells and tastes like cherry chapstick does. I wore it throughout the day and it did not fade or rub off, but was very easy to wash off with no staining at the end of the day. The color I received #31 is a bit dark for me, but they offer numerous other colors so I will probably go out and buy a shade that I think would look good on me.

EcoTools Complexion Collection Mattifying Finish Brush: $8.99 

When I took this brush out of the package I was admittedly a bit skeptical on its ability to apply powder to skin without making it look heavy or being really messy. The brush is surprisingly soft to the touch. You can use this brush for both loose and pressed powders. It handles both flawlessly. I found that the powder went on easily with little mess and didn’t look heavy on my face at all. I will definitely be buying the rest of the ecotools complexion collection brushes.

Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs: $13.99

This is a product that I have used before, only last time I used the aerosol can rather than the creamy leg makeup. This product does a really good job of giving you an even skin tone appearance on your legs (it also hides varicose veins mommy to be friends). I personally prefer the spray to the liquid foundation but was still really impressed by the coverage. It doesn’t streak or rub off on your clothes and it is a rich color.

Not Your Mother’s De Ja Vu Do Style Extender: $9

I couldn’t really figure this product out. I think that it is supposed to protect against frizz and humidity (something that we don’t really have in Colorado), but for me it did nothing but make my hair smell like apples. It is similar in application to mouse or a lightweight gel. You put it on damp hair and then style as you normally would. It says that you can leave the product in for days and still have clean hair. By the end of the day though my hair was so oily and dirty feeling that I needed to wash it out.

Venus Embrace Sensitive Review

IMG_2015.JPG

I received the Gillette Venus Embrace Sensitive from influenster for testing purposes. I have had the razor for a few weeks now, and was putting off writing a review because I wanted to really try it out before reviewing the razor.

The Venus Sensitive razor has 5 blades surrounded by a ring of aloe. The package says that there is less feel of irritation on sensitive skin than the Venus original 3 blade razor. The package also came with a razor holder that suction cups onto the shower wall, and 2 razor blades.

I am going to start with the outside packaging. I had a really hard time getting the package open. There is a little tab that you are supposed to pull on to separate the perforated plastic package. I couldn’t get it apart and wound up having my husband pull it apart. It is the traditional Venus packaging otherwise.

The razor is a pale green color. I really like the rubberized handle. It is made of a soft rubber that seems to be pretty durable and slip resistant. The razor isn’t all that heavy, even with the blades in. Each razor cartridge comes individually packaged. I did have a little bit of trouble with getting the blade onto the head of the razor. It was a tight fit. I really like the smoothness of the aloe surrounding the blade.

I don’t really know that having more blades leads to a closer shave or smoother finish. As far as shaving capabilities go, I found it similar to that of the traditional 3 blade razor I had been using for years. I would say that the aloe barrier does help with those pesky bumps and redness following a shave.

Overall, I would recommend these razor blades to others. You get a great razor, a close shave and no irritation!