May 18th, 2009 | 8 Comments »

I have the weaning blues.

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LB isn’t calling the shots here. It’s all on me, since I pump exclusively. Something about dropping supply just gets to me. Maybe it’s because of how hard I work to maintain supply, it seems so contrary to intentionally reduce it. Part of me wants to be done, and to have that part of my life back, but part of me doesn’t want to let go. It’s all wrapped up in ‘this is my last baby, this is the last time I will ever get to do this’. I suppose that’s the source of the blues — I won’t be down this path again and it’s so hard and sad to close this door. I’m currently at 3x/day now, and working on dropping to 2x.  I have only managed to stretch to 9.5 hours, but yesterday hit a new low of 21 ounces, down from over 40, and with that, the blues hit me hard.

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In a way, I’m sort of addicted to pumping now and keep calculating in my head how I can keep things going if I just stick to 2x, once I get there, or even 1x. But then, if the supply is so low by then, part of me says why even bother trying to keep at it and why not just get my freedom back.

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I EP’ed for a full year with BB, and never had these blues.   Maybe because I was hoping to have more kids, and/or maybe because I never did make enough to give him 100%. I pumped 75% and supplemented with formula 25%, and when I decided to wean at the one year mark, it was easy as cake to dry up and be done. No emotional issues whatsoever (other than the obsession of milk production consuming my life for an entire year; I suppose if I went through my archives, they may tell a different story). This time is so different for me. I’m 44 now, have two beautiful boys, and the baby window is closed. If I’d been able to have kids earlier in life, I might have tried for 3 or 4, but as it turns out, it was a miracle for me to get what I got. I am eternally grateful and blessed for the opportunity to be a mother.

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Anyhow, it’s probably normal to get the weaning blues. Hormones are undoubtedly shifting, and there’s the whole letting go thing.

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I have a smokin’ hot new hairdo, though, and that makes me feel happy.  It’s the short choppy number again.  I really like short, these last several years.

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The Mac photo booth is a lot of fun, too.

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I prefer PC to Mac, for the most part.  If I were only going to play with Photo Booth, surf the web, and sync my iTouch, then I’d use the Mac — it handles those things nicely.  But I like my PC better for photo editing and general file keeping.  So I hop back and forth between both worlds, which for me is kind of annoying.  I’m the girl who likes to stay put, after all.

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And if I quit pumping, I won’t be playing with Photo Booth at midnight any more.  Or Facebook, for that matter.  Or Scrabble.  Or WordTwist.  Or Scramble.  Or Pathwords.  (I’m easily addicted to word games.)  The plus side is that I may actually be getting some more SLEEP!  I might even get my libido back.

Did I say that out loud?

I sure hope LB likes the milk I have stored in the freezer.

February 27th, 2009 | 3 Comments »

Six months of slobbery perfection!

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What can I say?  Every day his personality shines a bit more.  He’s been the best baby.  He’s very good at rolling over and back, and is starting to commando-crawl, and he’ll get up on his knees and face, but that extra push up on his arms isn’t quite mastered.  He’s so close, though.  It’s comical to see him using his head, literally.

He’s examining toys more, and playing more interactively.  And he loves to eat!  He loves spoon feeding, and he’s getting very good at it.  He gets so excited when he’s in his high chair and I have a bright bowl of food for him.  We’re sticking with the rice cereal mixed with milk for now, and I will very gradually start introducing other things.

So far, so many of his mannerisms are exactly the same as his brother’s.  He laughs and laughs when his brother teases him.  It’s delightful to see.

I’ve made it the first six months on the breast pump, and am in a reasonable routine now, so I’m patting myself on the back for a job well done.  The next goal is to make it to eight months on this schedule.  By then I should have nearly enough frozen stash to get him to the one year mark.  So at eight months I’m going to begin a very very slow weaning process, cutting down to three pumps a day for a little while, and then down to two.  It needs to be slow because I don’t want any problems with clogs or infections.  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to get there, because as it stands, I’ve not been very successful at stretching the time between pumps past eight hours, so to go to twelve is a bit lofty at this point.  I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.  For now, I’ve got a gorgeous, delicious, snuggly, slobbery little boy to dote on.

Posted in breastfeeding, children
December 2nd, 2008 | 5 Comments »

I wish it were easier to get started when it comes to exercise.  The combination of all things down makes even the prospect of exercise almost insurmountable.  If by some miraculous force of will I can push myself over that edge, and make my grudging self sweat a little, oh, the results!

I managed to spend a little time playing DDR again today.  I try to stick to the fast songs, and I try to do the difficult level.  The antics can be quite comical, and the result is a sweating, heart-pumping, chuckling me.  All good things.  The boost lasts quite some time, too.  Instead of a nap after work, I tidied BB’s room.  It wouldn’t be honest to say that I cleaned it, but where the floor was not visible prior to entry, it is now bravely exposed.  I gave up sorting the toys into their various bins.  It seems pointless, when they all end up on the floor together.  I think I’m the only one who appreciates the order of like things sorted with like things.  He’s nearly four.  He likes chaos.

I feel generally happier, and with that, hopeful.  Hope is a powerful thing.  Depression, on the other hand, is a life sapping force, and I wish it weren’t so easy for it to catch me in its suffocating grasp.

As for hope.  It prompts us to try things we might not otherwise try.  Breastfeeding, for example.  After a shower (bliss!) I noticed that milk was dripping from me.  Unprecedented!  So what do I do?  I take my beautifully content little boy and put him to the breast.  It’s the football hold, the milk is freely flowing, there is NO WORK INVOLVED.  What does he do?  Screws up his face and screams like there’s no tomorrow.  Gadget just laughs and shakes his head.  She’ll never learn, he says to LB.  The Gadget boys don’t like boobs.  It’s just the way it is.

My exercise endorphines are still hanging in there, so I don’t let this lapse of sanity crush my otherwise fragile feelings.  Pumping is more efficient, anyway.  I get both sides drained at the same time, and I get to use the time to read, surf, blog, or otherwise entertain myself on the computer.  It’s me-time!

Posted in breastfeeding, health, me
October 10th, 2008 | 2 Comments »

Because I’ve recently mentioned that I’ve spent a small fortune on baby bottles, all in the quest for that which my oh-so-particular child will tolerate, I thought I would provide a review, as a public service and all.  Because  I need to stop spending my pumping time and loads of money online shopping and do something less expensive and more constructive I’m kind and generous that way.

First.  We begin with what I use, and why.

(LOOK!  More than a full day’s worth of stockpiled liquid gold! Unbelievable!!)

I don’t know if my baby has colic, GER, GERD, or some other unspecified gastro-intestinal issue, but he tends to be fussy at times, and barely tolerates a bottle, let alone a breast.  There are a number of bottles on the market that claim to reduce or prevent colic, and there are camps of people who strongly favor one or another.  We seem to have the most success with the Dr. Brown’s line, but I’m not emotionally attached to it.  We used the wide neck version with BB nearly four years ago, and liked them well enough then.  They had a nice shape with a comfortable hold, and the wide mouth made them easy to clean.  We also used the Avent bottles, and liked them as well.  However, with the crisis du jour regarding BPA, I traded in my BPA Dr. Brown’s and Avent bottles for BPA-free Dr. Brown’s and Born Free bottles.

I started with the Dr. Brown’s preemie bottles, and really liked them for the preemie slowest of slow flow nipples and also the tiny two-ounce size, which was just right for my newborn.  However, they were still BPA bottles, so I decided to exchange them for non-BPA.  The options are 3.5 oz glass, 4 oz polypropylene, or 8 oz polypropylene.  I ended up with some of each.  Unfortunately, the valve reservoir stem is a different length for each different bottle size, and I could only find the long 8oz version reservoir stem available in the replacement parts section.

I don’t care for the actual bottle part of the Dr. Brown’s polypro line.  It’s a hard plastic, and it’s completely cylindrical.  It doesn’t feel particularly good to hold, and because of the special valve system, the bottles tend to be taller to accommodate the valve.  This makes them a bit bulky and unwieldy.  Especially the 8 oz size.  That bottle seems to be about as big as my baby, so I put the 8 oz bottles away for when he’s older and bigger, but harvested the valves and nipples for use with other bottles now.

The glass bottles are nice, but they’re heavy, and as soon as my baby can hold his own bottle, I’ll probably give them up, because the last thing I need is a heavy glass projectile in the hands of a wee one just getting used to his motor skills.

I decided to find other bottles that could be used with the Dr. Brown’s valve system, but because each size bottle has a different length stem, and because replacement stems are only available for the long 8oz size, I had to cut the valve stems to fit the appropriate bottle.  This makes for a tangled and confusing mess of parts, which is best not left to the spouse, who will, without fail, grumble exceedingly if asked or expected to warm up a bottle of stored milk and find the appropriate nipple/collar/valve/reservoir stem, and who will, inevitably, select any stem without consideration, jam it onto any bottle, then curse and sputter when the bottle leaks or hand it to me to feed the by then screaming child, in which case I will mutter something unkind about general laziness and lack of attention to detail.  Not conducive to marital bliss.

The collars actually fit the Medela bottles that I use for pumping, however, the Medela bottles don’t have many threads and they sometimes leak.  They’re not all that comfortable to hold, either, so I just stick to them for collecting the milk, and transfer the expressed milk to the bottles that I like — the old fashioned inexpensive Evenflo hexagonal bottles.  If only they made them in a 5 or 6 oz size.  I buy the 4 oz size for now, and store the milk in 3 oz lots.

And now for the rejects.  Although I like the Born Free, the nipples tend to collapse a bit, and the baby doesn’t seem to like them as well, so they’re set aside for a few months, until he’s a bit more coordinated.

He struggled with most of the nipples pictured above.  The breast flow version is good in concept but the outer nipple completely collapses in use and seems nothing like a breast at all.  He chokes on the Soothie nipple and gets tangled up with the Nuk nipple.   The cheap Gerber style with the lime green collar leaks like a sieve, but the threads work with the Dr. Brown’s parts, so they’re the last resort storage bottles, used only when I run out of everything else (because I don’t care for the odd trapezoidal shape, which isn’t particularly comfortable to grasp).  The bottle on the far left is a different Gerber variety, and it actually is the best tolerated of the lot above.  It’s not BPA free though, so just in case, we’re letting it be.  I did try to do a BPA exchange at Babies -R- Us with the four outer bottles, but they weren’t on the list, like the Dr. Brown’s and Avent varieties, for whatever reason.

I was planning to be more comprehensive with the rejects, but I’ve grown weary of this post.  At least it kept me from Amazon.com and eBay for this particular expression session, and that was the point, in part.

October 1st, 2008 | 6 Comments »

What has been happening lately, one might ask?

My boy wonder is now five weeks old.  Five weeks already!  Which means I must return to work in three short weeks.  Thank the heavens I will be able to work from home for some time.  And that I have three weeks rather than one week left.


I just want to eat him up!  Here he is in all his squeezable goodness, modeling an outfit received from an aunt.  It may be the only time he wears that jacket — what business do babies have wearing things with big scratchy zippers?  He is wearing 3-6mos things now, so we may only get a few wears out of 0-3mos things like this anyway.  In fact, culling the closets has been on my to-do list for several days now.  For whatever reason, I still haven’t gotten to it.

So what have we been doing?

Ever working on milk supply, is what, and I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to produce enough to feed him breast milk exclusively for several days now!  I’m expressing between 24 and 26 ounces a day now, which is enough to keep up with my little guy (barely!  –and reviewing my logs from BB, it wasn’t enough for his voracious appetite –because I was actually making a bit more at this stage in his life than I am now, yet it’s enough for LB, thank the heavens above).  That’s not to say he has any interest in the breast itself.  Oh no, he’s just like his brother before him, screaming and shaking his head when given the prospect of warm soft skin, settling only when he feels the impersonal silicone and its ready flow of milk.  I’m not letting it get me down this time, and am looking at the bright side and advantages of a bottle feeding relationship.  I still get to snuggle him close.  We have a good thing going on.

There is the matter of poop, however.  I’ve resorted to brown sugar three times so far in his short life.  Our pediatrician said to use it if he goes over a day.  I gave him some on day two of the latest round, which was two days ago, and he still didn’t go until the evening of day three.  I’ve read online that breast milk fed babies may go some days without a poop, so am not freaking out over this, but I would like some more assurance.

All in all, I think the domperidone experiment is looking like a success, and I think I’d recommend it to anyone who is in the same boat as I am.  I haven’t noticed any side effects, and I’m not sure how much of my production is related to the drug, as opposed to the myriad other factors involved, but if it IS related, then it is well worth it.  And I’m thinking that I may need to name my good friend the breast pump, as we are spending so very much time together.  How does Old Bessie sound?

Posted in breastfeeding
September 22nd, 2008 | No Comments »

Run along now.  This is a post that will likely be long and laborious.  I’ve just got a load of disappointments that are eroding my sense of equilibrium, so I think it may behoove me to write it out.  Perhaps I’ll feel better at the end of it.

  • Much as I’m grateful for the magic and mystery that is the human body, and its ability (however challenged, in my case) to produce milk, and much as exclusive pumping has its advantages, I have to admit that I am, after all, disappointed that I don’t get to be one of those nursing mothers, completely attuned to her child, the child contentedly suckling away.  I suppose there is a bit of grief to process here.  It’s one of those experiences that I’d longed for and worked valiantly toward.  And it’s apparently not for me.  I’ve studied in earnest hundreds of pictures of nipples and breasts (dear me, I might actually get blog traffic for that combination of words) and suckling babes trying to determine what they have that I don’t have.  Yes, milk flow was and is certainly a handicap, but it appears that I come from a line of women who can not nurse.  Not my grandmother, not my mother, not my sister.  My nipples are wide and flat, and the aerolae are huge.  I could do without Gadget’s ever helpful mother’s suggestion that perhaps the baby would be able to nurse if he’d get his mouth past the nipple and on to the ‘dark circle part’.  No, dear MIL, I wasn’t aware of that.  Sigh.  She means well, so I shouldn’t be so sarcastic and short with her.  And she hasn’t seen what I have to work with.  Not that I plan to flash my breasts at her, but it would go a long way in explaining things.
  • I don’t like goodbyes.  My sister and her family came to spend LB’s first week with us, and she filled three freezers with amazing food for us, to tide us through many months.  She’s wonderful and generous and I love her to bits.  It’s always so hard to say goodbye, and I selfishly wish and hope that one day we can live closer, much much closer, to each other.
  • Shortly after my sister left, my mother and her husband (MH) arrived, to spend ten days with us, and they left this morning.  None of the siblings have a particularly close relationship with her, but we love her.  She’s our mother.  So I’m sad when she leaves.  It took a little arm twisting to convince her to stay as long as she did.  I don’t know how much of it is her, and how much is her husband, but they generally stay only a day or two, and they zip off long before sunrise, sometimes without even saying goodbye.  Well, they say goodbye at night before bed, but what’s the hurry?  They’re retired.  It’s easy to push buttons and tread on nerves (more on this later), but even so, it’s sad to say goodbye.
  • With a new baby, we’ve been trying to organize some family get togethers, so everyone can meet him.  One of my nieces planned a trip up, and wanted to make a dinner for us.  We gladly accepted, and as the time drew near, we all decided to get together at my SIL’s place, rather than my place, because she’s more centrally located to all of us, so the commute would be much easier for most people.  She planned to make Thai food, so Gadget said he’d stay home, since he doesn’t like Thai.  I gave him the evil eye, and later I told him that it would mean a lot to me if he’d go, regardless of what was being served for dinner, because it wasn’t really about the food in the first place.  He said he was only kidding (but he wasn’t) and that he’d go.  Then we were trying to figure out when to get together with Gadget’s family, because we wanted to do it while my mom was here, for more family bonding.  We weren’t certain of the dates, so the next thing we knew, my mother’s husband was dialing the phone.  He’d called my niece, and proceeded with the grand inquisition, which probably freaked her out a bit.  It would me.  He has a tendency of taking more initiative within the family than many of us are comfortable with.  For instance, he spanked my nephew once, and I’m not sure how my SIL handled that, but my sister who witnessed it was livid, as was my BIL, and because of that, MH is not welcome to stay in their home.  Somehow, I didn’t notice that event, but I kept a bit of an eye on him while here, because I didn’t want him to be disciplining my child in such a manner.  He came close, but didn’t cross the line where I’d have had to rear up as MAMA BEAR and tell him to leave the discipline to me.
  • The day for the niece dinner arrived, and we converged on my SIL’s home.  But where was the niece?  Dinner was to be around 6, and she didn’t even arrive until after 7.  She has two kids of her own, which she left at home for this trip, but surely she knew that kids can only wait so long while maintaining reasonably good behaviour.  Surely she knew that?  My SIL ended up putting together a quick kids meal to take care of the hoarde of hungry children.  Once my niece arrived, she seemed preoccupied, and went to work immediately in the kitchen, prepared a fine meal, grabbed a plate, took a bite or two at most, then left.  She left!  I don’t know….  I was disappointed because we were having this family get together that it seemed as though she didn’t even want to be a part of.  Maybe she didn’t really want it to be a big thing, and maybe she just wanted to come to my house by herself and cook dinner for just us, rather than for us, my mom and her husband, my sister, my nephew, and my SIL and her kids (half of whom are her half-siblings).  Maybe it was family overload and maybe she has a touch of social anxiety.  It runs in the family.  I just don’t know.  But I felt disappointed afterwards, and even now, thinking of it.  I’m certainly taking it personally, whether or not I should.  It feels sort of like rejection.
  • The next day was the Gadget family get together.  To make it easy, we bring all the food and we drive an hour and a half to get there, so they don’t have to do anything but show up at the MIL’s house.  The rest of them live only minutes from her, so it makes it very convenient.  But do they show up?  NO!  Only one of Gadget’s sisters came, apart from the brother who already lives there.  His other sister and dad, who live less than a mile away, didn’t come, nor did the other brother.  It will be a long time before I agree to a get-together up there again.  It was especially disappointing because it seemed like it should have been a big deal, to come meet a brand new baby in the family.  Plus, with my mother and her husband making the effort to extend themselves to the other side of the family, it all seems like a slap in the face.  And more rejection.
  • I’ve made the recent observation that there are several personalities within my family, that, were I not related, and should I cross paths in the course of living with people of these personalities, I wouldn’t befriend them, and probably would never even make any effort to introduce myself or interact with them at all.  At all.  This makes me sad, because these are my people.  What is it they say, that you can love someone, but not like them?  I suppose this is how it is.  And it makes me sad.  And maybe a bit ashamed.
  • I find it very sobering to recognize that those traits which I find most frustrating and least appealing in my mother are traits that I quite possibly manifest myself.

…it doesn’t seem to have helped (much).  I’ve written it out, but don’t feel much better, if at all.

September 18th, 2008 | No Comments »

I ought to take a shower.  There is more milk than there was before, enough that I leak all over my shirt when LB screams, but still not enough to sustain my goliath of a boy.  He’s sporting quite the double chin and an extra roll at the back of his neck, though, so I’m not feeling any worries about him not getting enough to eat.  I seem to be producing around 19-20 oz/day now, which would be dandy if I had a 7 or 8 pounder, but he’s over 11 pounds now, so he needs 22-28 oz/day.  According to sources.  I’m trying to remember to write down how much formula we give him, so I can figure out just how much he’s consuming.  So far today he’s had 4 oz of formula.  If he wakes up before I finish pumping, then he gets another 2 oz of formula, otherwise he’ll get the good stuff.

The domperidone trial is in full swing now.  It came from Vanuatu, since it’s not FDA approved here.  Why do I get visions of Olivia Newton John singing Xanadu when I see that name?  I ordered a six week supply, to give it a fair shake, plus enough extra to gently taper off.  It would be heaven to produce enough milk that I could pump only four times a day.  I don’t mind bottle feeding at all, and in fact I find it quite endearing.  No, it’s not the same as breast feeding, but I’m not as emotionally tangled up over it as I was the first time through.  This time, if he’ll breastfeed, that’s wonderful, and if he won’t, well, it makes me a bit sad, but I’m not devastated over it.

Mostly, when we try, he gets all mad and turns beet red in the face and screams.  Nice.  But once in a while, when he’s not freaked out and he’s had a little nibble at the bottle, I can put him to the breast and he’ll have a go for a little while.  His latch is still not the best, but I’m not pushing it too much.  It becomes that beet mad experience, which we could both do without.  And this way, even though it’s not the best latch, since we’re not doing this a whole lot, it’s not excruciating like it was in the first days, when he mercilessly chewed my nipples to scabby, bleeding messes.  We can both do without that, too.

We’re using the Dr. Brown’s preemie bottles for now.  They have the slowest flow nipples I could find.  There certainly is a lot of bottle washing going on around here.  That’s a mark in favor of breastfeeding.  Less bottle washing.

And we’re not going to call it colic, but there occur the off and on late night fits in which the babe cannot be solaced.  Well, he can, but he’s so very, very particular, and one’s body must be aligned just so, else his quite capable lungs will be exercised to their fullest.  Perhaps there are things that I’m eating that I shouldn’t be eating?  Some nights he’s a dream boat.  Others, inconsolable.

Posted in breastfeeding
September 14th, 2008 | 2 Comments »

  • What happened to my emailed blog comments?  Why are they not being sent?  Did they stop before or after the WordPress update?  Before, I think, but I can’t be sure.
  • When one is strapped to a breast pump every so many hours, one has time to do things like upgrade blog software, fiddle with graphics software and design birth announcements.  In half hour increments.
  • Heavens, I’m tired.
  • Feeling happy after a percoset a few days ago, I noted to Gadget that I’ve not noticed any real post partum depression yet.  He replied that he likes it when I’m depressed, because then I like to spend money and buy things.
  • Ha Ha Ha
  • He was (mostly) serious.
  • Every now and then I gently bring up the topic of the snip.  Most recently, Gadget said, “Tell you what, I get the snip, and you get me that motorcycle.”
  • Ha Ha Ha
  • He was serious.  (I’m fairly certain.  He really wants that stupid bike.)
  • If I were five years younger, I might want to consider having another child.  I’ve always wanted three, or at least for as long as I can remember.  Two boys and a girl.  But now that I’m 43, and have this most beautiful and wonderful baby, I’m feeling my age and can’t imagine how I could possibly go through the newborn days again.
  • I can’t fathom how mothers of three and more do it.
  • My mother had nine, and I’m finally beginning to cut her a bit of slack for how lackadaisical I perceived her mothering to be (back then).
  • Is it just mine, or do all three- going on four- year olds have serious obedience and defiance issues?
  • How does one teach a three- going on four- year old what a lie is, and why not to do it?
  • Today he played outside and got covered in mud.  As boys do.  Then he took a shower, all by himself.  He even remembered to take his socks off, and he set the water temperature correctly, and he even lathered himself up with soap.  I’m so proud of him!  It’s the most grown up thing he’s done so far.
  • Pumping isn’t so bad, really, but it certainly forces a particular structure into one’s life, for which there is very little latitude.
September 5th, 2008 | 4 Comments »

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This is all I had to show after a span of six hours.  Pathetic.  Things are improving.  They’ve gone from dismal to less dismal, but still pathetic.  Life in two hour increments was killing me.  It takes a full one of those hours to pump, decant, clean, feed, diaper, and burp, leaving the other hour to use the bathroom, sleep, shower, attend to the other child, etc etc etc.  So I switched to three hour compartments.  It’s so liberating!  That extra hour is pure wealth, and I can actually get reasonable naps in here and there.  I even made banana bread today, with such an abundance of time on my hands.

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I’m the luckiest mom ever, because LB is the best baby.  He’s so content, except when diapering.  He has the biggest, brightest eyes, when they’re open.

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He’s so laid back.  When he’s awake, he just kicks back and looks around, calm and content as can be. (Yes, I know the pictures are blurry; I thought they were in focus when I took them, but I’m living life in a blur right now, so what do I really know?)

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BB, on the other hand, is proving to be quite a challenge, with the adjustments of late.  He’s a love, really, but his one year old cousin is here all week, and sharing attention and toys and life in general with so many others is a difficult thing for a three year old. I think he will do better when it’s back to just the four of us.  Even so, he does need to learn how to behave and obey, regardless of how many other people are here.  I let him pretend he was a baby last night, and snuggled him in my lap and spoon fed him his lunch, then tucked him in for a nap, and stroked his face and talked to him, telling him that’s what I used to do when he was a baby.  He really liked that moment of attention, and took a nice, long, refreshing nap.  It was very good for him, to get some rest.

I simply do not know how mothers of more than two can function.

August 31st, 2008 | 3 Comments »

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First, I want to thank everyone for all the wonderful, sweet, and kind comments.  Thank you so!

We are home, safe and sound.  Our first stop, en route from hospital to home, was Costco, to fill the prescriptions.  It’s Labor Day weekend, and the last thing I wanted was to be home with no pain meds!  Because I’m a wuss.

Seriously, though, you know this attempted breastfeeding business is tough stuff if narcotics are necessary in order to bolster oneself enough to overcome the pain to try yet again.  And gosh, I’ve been trying.  The thing is, some will say that these giant babies still have teensy tiny tummies and can survive just fine on the meager quantities of colostrum produced until the milk comes in, but so far, not my boys.  No, they whither away at an alarming rate, plummeting past that x% normal baby weight drop, right on by, so the doctors recommend the alternate therapies begin.

I was all ready for this, though, and I started pumping in the hospital, just to see what was there, and to try and encourage things.  The lactation specialists were so good, too, and I was feeling so confident.  They noted that my milk was working its way down, and we had a plan to keep on pumping after feedings, use a supplemental tube to add the pumped milk to what the baby is trying to pull from the breast, and occasionally supplement with formula if necessary.  And some formula was necessary, at that point, due to the massive drop in weight.  The lactation specialist deemed that although LB doesn’t suck properly when there is no flow (and hence chomps the nipples mercilessly, just like his brother before him, resulting in bleeding, cracked, swollen, horrible protrusions that hurt like holy hell), once flow is present, he’ll switch his pattern to the normal suck.  Which is GOOD!  He can latch!  They estimated that I’d only have to use the tube for one or two days at most, because by then the milk would be flowing, and off we’d go.

So last night the boobs got all swollen, huge, and hard.  (I can only imagine what visitors Google might send my way, with that combination of words.)   Practically engorged, or what I remembered engorgement to be.  I was a bit surprised that this would happen, since I’m pumping regularly, every 2-3 hours, after each attempted feeding, and that’s supposed to help bypass the whole engorgement phase.  I assumed that the milk would come.  I knew that LB wasn’t getting much, because I couldn’t hear swallows, and he never switched to the sucking pattern, but continued chomping.  I expected to see more, once I pumped.  But no.

It has become too excruciating, even for me, and I actually have quite a high pain threshold, even though I called myself a wuss at the beginning of this post.  So I decided to take a break from nipple chomping, and just pump exclusively for a while to give things a chance to heal.  Meanwhile, the plan was to use the tube and my finger, to feed the expressed milk.  This is all under the assumption that there will be milk.

I’ve been pumping every two hours, and each time, what do I get?  A measly 10 mLs.  And that’s from BOTH breasts.  I brought out my diary from BB, and I was getting 30 mLs at this point, and I was distraught then, for that piddly amount, and my poor starving (giant of a) child.  (Who, we all know, is far far from starving, and is indeed a very robust boy!)

And then I noticed the whites of LB’s eyes turning yellow.  Jaundice.  Dear Lord, these things freak me out to the point where I want to curse these useless humongous bags of flesh.  All show and no go.  And really, hardly a worthwhile show at that.  I’ve been feeding LB every drop of expressed milk, and giving him as much formula as I can coax him to take.  Two days ago, the lactation consultant estimated he should be getting 45-55mL per feed, and feeding every 3 hours, increasing each day by another 10-15mL per feed.  So today he should be getting 70-90mL per feed.  I’m producing only about 120mL a DAY.

I’ve been trying all day to get him to eat, and have only managed to get him to take 40mL at any given feeding with the supplement tube, and at that, it takes a good hour and much coaxing.

So tonight I say, screw the nipple confusion, my boy must feed.  If I’m not making milk, I’m not making milk.  God knows why, or why not.  I’ll keep pumping like this and see what happens. Maybe there will be more milk.  Nature and science both say there should be.  We shall see.  In the mean time, bring on the formula, my boy must eat.  I got him to take 67 mLs, from a bottle, and it made me SO happy.  And afterwards, he stayed awake for a couple of hours, and I hope it’s not my imagination, but the whites of his eyes look more white.  I am relieved.

My beautiful, precious boy.

Posted in breastfeeding