Thursday, June 28, 2012


I'll admit it: as much as I dearly adore this tiny suckling piglet newborn phase, and try to inhale every moment and memorize the softness of Alex's skin...part of me is craving the months when he operates on some sort of routine.

NOT that I'm wishing away these days. I'm on maternity leave - what else do I have to do but sleep, eat, and shower on his schedule? But still, someday it would be nice to be able to say "he goes to bed at 7:30, wakes up at 2, and sleeps till 6" instead of "he goes to bed whenever the hell he wants to and wakes up every two and a half hours to eat until he's ready to be awake."

Or "he takes three naps a day", instead of "he sleeps on and off all day, waking up to eat and stare at me for a bit and then cry until he falls back asleep."

The main parenting book I've been consulting is Baby 411 and I love it. But it's leaving me in a bit of a limbo regarding sleep. They say several places that for the first two months you have to do whatever you have to do to get some sleep, and you can't form any "habits" during that time. And by month four, baby will start to set up his own routine. That leaves me in limbo for month three, which is rapidly approaching.

So, mommies, when did your little ones fall into a sort of routine? I am mostly interested in knowing when they stretched out their night eating. We have had one stretch of 4 hours of sleep, other than that it's been all 2-3 hours between feedings, around the clock.

Did you have to guide them into a routine, or did they find it all on their own?

PS- I got an email today from Emily, who is 6dp5dt and pregnant after five miscarriages. I've never met her but I'd appreciate it if you kept her in your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fussybutt part 2

On Sunday, I went to meet with the LLL leader here in town for a latch check. She made some adjustments and I'm trying to get used to the new way of doing it. Mainly, she reassured me that all the fussiness was not because I was breastfeeding wrong. I really needed that confidence boost.

But it still didn't help. Monday morning was another awful feeding and as I wiped tears from my eyes afterwards, I went out to check the mail and there was an Enfamil sample on my doorstep. Well played, Enfamil. Do you have spies in my neighborhood, waiting until I am most vulnerable to give me this sample?

So we went to the pediatrician on Tuesday and it was determined Alex has reflux. That's why he's been acting like he's in so much pain - because he has baby heartburn. So we put him on baby Zantac and I think it might already be helping a little bit. Breastfeeding is definitely going better already.

So within 48 hours I went from desperately wanting to quit to enjoying it again. Crazy.

Also, he's up to 8lb, 1oz!! We took him home at 5lb, 7oz so I'm quite proud. He is six weeks old.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Okay, I need some support here. I am so discouraged about breastfeeding! I thought it was supposed to get easier around 6 weeks - the past few days have been so difficult. 

Alex is so fussy now when he nurses. He'll latch for a few seconds and then unlatch and shake his head from side to side with his mouth wide open. He repeats this the entire nursing session. it's so frustrating, because not only do I constantly have to re-latch him, but I have no idea when he's done eating. 

He has also been so fussy in general lately, so it's not a breastfeeding thing, really, just that nursing is a casualty of the fussiness. He seems to be gassy pretty much all the time. He spends so much time red in the face, trying to squeeze something out. It makes me feel so bad. 

I don't think it's my diet, everything I read says that people unnecessarily blame themselves and change their diet for no reason. The pediatrician says the same thing. I've also read that they just get fussy around 5-6 weeks and it's normal. But we end up having these hour long nursing sessions because he just can't eat and by the end we're both so discouraged.

Does any of this sound familiar? I expect a baby to be fussy. It kills me that it seems like his tummy hurts, though, and that his latch has pretty much fallen apart.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

5 week update

- We have thrush. I first recognized my symptoms - the shooting pain deep in my breast. Sure enough, a couple of days later I saw a tiny white spot in Alex's mouth. So tiny that the pediatrician at first denied that it was thrush, until I pressed him and he said it's a "teensy" bit of thrush that I caught "very early". Baby has a rx diaper cream and antibiotic drops. My OBGYN says to just put some of his drops on my nipples and we should both be clear soon.

- at 4 weeks, 6 days, Alex weighed 7lb 8oz!! When we brought him home he was 5lb 7oz. I can definitely tell he's getting bigger. His little arms and legs are getting chubbier and he's getting a double chin : ) at 7 lb he's technically supposed to be able to wear his BumGenius 4.0s, which I'm really excited to start using, but now that we're on the diaper rash cream I need to keep using the darn disposables. I can't believe many babies are this big (or even way bigger!) when they are born. He seems so grown up to me.

- I had my 5 week postpartum checkup today. It was a disaster. The appointment was at 11:30, and even though I had just fed the baby at 10, he had a complete meltdown right as they called me back. Just screaming himself purple! They took my blood pressure while I was trying to calm him down - I didn't even ask what it was. I asked if they could let someone go in front of me so I could nurse him, but I was the last patient before my OB's lunch break. So the nurses took him while she did my pelvic exam. Even though I know people understand, I felt like a terrible mother while he was screaming bloody murder. I wanted to tell everyone, "I JUST fed him! I promise!"

- I have lost 20 of the 40 pounds I gained during pregnancy. I know I should be happy about this, but I'm not. I still have 20 to go, and they're going to go a lot more slowly than the first 20. Mainly, I'm just tired of not having any clothes to wear. My maternity clothes are sagging off of me and my pre-pregnancy clothes are laughably tight. There are only so many public places you can go in yoga pants.

- We had the birth control discussion, which I knew we'd have. I have been agonizing over what to do. I do not need birth control for contraception - OBVIOUSLY. It would be nice to just let my cycle do what it wanted to do for a while and sit back and observe. But I knew that if I didn't go on BCP, I'd constantly be wondering if I might be miraculously pregnant. I can't take that kind of heartache. Plus, she said the minipill might help my acne and other PCOS symptoms, so I wouldn't argue with that, and I filled the rx.

- Alex continues to go down for his first sleep of the night (around 8:30-10:30) in his bassinet (last night in his crib!!), and then wake up and want to sleep with me the rest of the night. I still feel iffy about this. I hope I'll know when the time is right to start teaching him how to put himself to sleep. It seems like a very scary job.

- We are thinking about going away for a night in July for my birthday. 24 hours I would be away. I'm desperately hoping I can get enough milk pumped before then to make it work, but pumping is a struggle again. The first couple of days with the hospital pump worked wonders but now we're back to where we were. Yesterday I pumped 5x and got 3.3 ounces. The sad thing is that's a good day! I hate pumping. It's hard to do when the baby's fussy, and hard to do when he's happy because I want to be playing with him, not hooked up to some damn machine. It's a lot of time to get settled pumping and clean everything up to get a freaking teaspoon of milk!

- Baby keeps getting cuter and cuter. I love his soft little hands and feet and how they brush up against me when we nap together. He does this thing sometimes where he latches onto my nose. Like, really latches, and starts sucking on my nose. My sister got a photo of it yesterday, and that's what I'll leave you with.

Friday, June 15, 2012

One month

Dear Alexander-

Today you are one month old! I can't believe it. A month ago today I woke up and you were still in my belly. Now, you are a real live person who has been around for four weeks and three days.

The past month has been the most amazing and also the most humbling in my life. You showed up in this world with your soft skin, your tiny cooing noises, and your beautiful face and you absolutely pulled the rug out from under me. I had no idea I could feel such powerful love for someone so small, and I also had no idea how much work someone so small could be.

The first couple of weeks were rough. I cried a lot from hormones and lack of sleep. But even in the most frustrating and exhausting moments, I loved you with every fiber of my being.

You have taught me so much already. You've taught me that I really can survive without a routine (mainly because I have no choice, but still). I've learned that my needs are so minor now. I don't care if I need to eat or I'm thirsty - if I'm feeding you and you look content, I can wait. It doesn't matter that I'd rather sleep on my tummy - if you are contentedly sleeping on my chest, I'll sleep on my back for hours.

Everyone who meets you falls in love with you. But, in a way, you are still all mine. Not quite as much as when I was pregnant with you, but I still know you in a way that others do not. I am the only one who can feed you. I understand you the best (daddy understands you well, too, but not quite like I do). Your face has started changing when you hear my voice. You sleep best in my arms. You are completely dependent on me, and it is as flattering as it is overwhelming. You need me at least every two and a half hours when you get hungry, and while it means I don't get much else done, there's nothing I'd rather be doing.

I think that motherhood, for me, is always going to include a bit of mourning. Already a whole month has passed of your life that I will never get back. You are still so small and cuddly - while I look forward to watching you grow up, I know that I will miss this time with an ache I can't imagine once you are running around, being a little boy.

Right now you are asleep on me because we just got done nursing. I want you to know that you are the perfect baby. You have made all of my dreams come true.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

super quick update

Pumping is going a lot better. I rented the hospital pump, and didn't get any immediate success. Then I talked to the LC who told me to turn the suction down. Impatient me was pumping at a 7 (the max) and getting nothing. When I pump at a 1, I actually get milk. This morning I got 2oz, the most I've ever gotten (without skipping a feeding). I also bought XL breast shields and that has helped a lot. I'm going to continue with the fenugreek (6 pills a day) although I don't know if I'll buy more when it runs out. All it seems to do is make me smell like maple syrup.

Last night little A slept from 10:30-7:30 with wake ups to nurse at 12:45, 1:45, and 4:45. A few nights ago he was awake from 12-5:30am, so I'm taking this as a huge win. His first two sleeps were in his bassinet and then he came to bed with me in the morning hours.

He is napping right now, and for the first time I put him down in his crib. Of course I have the monitor on and all the way up and will probably still go upstairs to check on him every few minutes.

Here's a peek at one of our newborn portraits!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pumping is the devil

I am really starting to worry that my supply is drying up.

I had gotten to the point where I'd reliably get an ounce or so when pumping. Last Monday started this terrible run of getting next to nothing during pumping - hardly enough to cover the bottom of the bottles.

So Monday I started Fenugreek. I've been on that seven days now, and no improvement. I've tried pumping right after he eats, pumping an hour after he eats, pumping in the steamy bathroom when I get out of the shower.

Tomorrow I'm going to call the hospital and ask about renting a pump. Does anyone else have experience with this? I've heard that the hospital pumps are more powerful and help you increase your supply, which is not the intended purpose of the retail pumps.

The other reason I'm worried about my supply is that he still continues to eat every 2-2.5 hours. He's almost four weeks old now, so I thought that would have started lengthening by now. Maybe that was wishful thinking?

The only encouraging sign I've had this week was on Thursday, when my husband and I went out for a date*. My sister came over and I gave her a bottle with 3 ounces and a bottle with 2.5 ounces. I was engorged when we got back and I pumped immediately and got 4.5 ounces. I hope this means that I have an adequate supply, since I pumped out almost exactly what he ate?

I guess I will only be blogging now when I need advice, because here I am again asking for it! You all were so helpful and comforting on my co-sleeping post, you're doing it to yourselves ; )

*we went out for Mexican and I had my first margarita since September! We also saw "What to Expect When You're Expecting", which was a great movie. It seems like it'd be an infertile woman's nightmare, but there is actually a heavy dose of IF storyline. We both enjoyed it and it was amazing to spend some time with my husband. Of course we argued in the car over who got to cuddle the baby first when we got home ; )

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


(Disclaimer: since writing my last post, everything went to hell in a handbasket. We started having latch issues for the first time, and now when I pump I can barely cover the bottom of the bottles. I think we're slowly getting back on track, but just goes to show you can't get too confident.)

So here we are writing the inevitable newborn sleep post.

I had never planned on co-sleeping, yet here we are. Long story short - my baby sleeps so much better in my arms than in his bassinet. And here's the shocker - I sleep better when he's in my arms, too.

When he's in the bassinet, I spend a long time lying there listening for him to fuss. There's nothing more exhausting than when you juuuust fall asleep and then you have to rouse yourself immediately to tend to the baby.

But when he's next to me, I'm so much more in tune with him, I can get better rest because I can tell when he's about to start fussing without lying there awake.

Last night, he slept in his bassinet from 11-1:30, then I fed him (we have gotten better at the side-lying latch, which is great because I hardly had to wake up!), then I went to put him in his bassinet, but he fussed. So I pulled him into bed with me and we slept from 2:15-5:30. Those three hours were my best sleep since I had him.

I am struggling with the co-sleeping thing. I never intended to do it, and I guess I'm having a hard time checking my ego and doing what my baby wants, regardless of my own parenting intentions.

I don't feel like he's in danger when we're sleeping together. I can tell that I'm aware of him even when I'm asleep. There may be evidence that shows it's dangerous, but on a very primal level, I know he's not in danger. So that's not the issue.

It's just that I do, eventually, want him in his crib. And I don't know how long I should allow him to sleep with me before I have to buck up and put in him there. I don't want this to become a lasting habit.

Will something like this help with eventually weaning him to his crib? I don't want to invest $150-$200 in a co-sleeping bassinet when we already have a bassinet.

I'm open to any advice anyone has.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Leaky Boob chronicles

Update: I have started to kind of enjoy breastfeeding.

First, I have to issue the disclaimer that my son is an incredible breastfeeder. His latch is flawless, he's great at sucking, and now that he's a bit older, he doesn't even fall asleep on the breast quite as much. So I can't take any credit for our success breastfeeding thus far - it's all him. My nipples don't even hurt!

Also, I have been lucky not to have any supply issues. For a while now I have been pumping three times a day and have a nice, small stash built up. I have left him once with my husband, and have been able to let others bottle feed him while they're visiting, which they enjoy. (Another great thing about my baby: he'll take any nipple you give him, he doesn't care!)

Here is what I like about breastfeeding:
1. I can kind of tell when he'll need to eat, without even looking at a clock.
2. My breasts get so hard and uncomfortable that it's a symbiotic thing - I need him to eat as much as he needs to eat. It feels so good when he drains them for me!
3. It's so snuggly.
4. It's kind of a nice excuse to get out of the room when visitors get overwhelming.

Here are the things I still struggle with:
1. It takes so long. Thirty minutes of eating at every feeding, plus time for burping and a diaper change. When you consider he eats about every 2 hours, that gives me an hour and fifteen minutes between feedings - and I can only sleep if he also goes right to sleep afterwards.
2. It's so. damn. exhausting.
3. It keeps changing, and that's difficult for a routine person like me.

I have learned one very important lesson so far. I really wish someone had told me this simple fact: all babies need to suck more than they need to eat. We are taught to recognize hunger cues, but they don't ALWAYS mean baby's hungry (at least not with my baby). I used to feed him for four hours in the middle of the night because I'd take him off the breast and he'd start smacking his lips, so I'd put him right back on. I felt so much pressure to help him gain weight and eliminate bilirubin that I felt like I was starving him if I didn't. Now, I know better. He eats for 15 minutes each side and then he gets a pacifier or my pinkie finger. He has still been gaining weight and peeing and pooping a lot, so he's not starving, and I'm not going crazy anymore.

Pumping was so frustrating at first, but I am learning that too. It all clicked the first time we gave him a relief bottle. I pumped for three days to get the first two ounces - it was painstaking. I didn't even want to let anyone use it. But lo and behold, we fed him that bottle, I pumped while he was eating, and immediately got another two ounces. Once you can work up that first bottle, you can replace it when you miss a feeding. DUH! Makes sense, but it didn't occur to me until it happened.

I think I can do this breastfeeding thing. As long as I can get some sleep during the day, I can stick it out until he starts spacing his feeding more, and then it will really get easy. (right?) I'm encouraged by the pumping so I think I can continue once I return to work.

I have set a tentative goal of 6 months: breastfeed until November 15. That will give us the flexibility of formula and solids around the holidays. This goal may change, but for now I feel good.

I wish I had time to write about my first venture out of the house alone (last night, for three hours, to a wedding reception), and the other major things going on in my life (my husband's diabetes, my grandfather's possible brain tumor). But for now I'll leave you with two more things:

1. As of two weeks postpartum, I had lost 16 pounds and I had 25 to go.
2. This hilarious face on his two week birthday: