The good, bad, and the ugly.

November 30, 2008 at 11:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

The Good:

  • Baby O is starting to feel better, ear infection wise. Still no teeth, despite our doctor’s firm “he’s cutting teeth” last Monday. BUT. Often he’ll go to chew on something and immediately take it out of his mouth as if he bit an area which is sore, so I do think it’s really just a matter of time.
  • We moved his exersaucer up one notch since he seemed like he was slouching in it – and he discovered that he could bounce up and down in it. HE LOVES TO BOUNCE.
  • He did VERY well with 35 relatives fawning over him on Thanksgiving. As long as one of us was holding him, he was content to look around and smile at the people who would squeal “oh goodness you are CUTE!” Which was good, as I was sort of concerned that he’d melt into tears after 5 minutes of strange people looking at him.
  • When J and I went over to my best friend’s house last night for dinner, Baby O went right to sleep at his normal bedtime. In a strange pack and play, in a strange room, with us in the next room over. He slept through getting put into his car seat, through the drive home at 10:30, and went right down in his crib for the night without a peep.
  • I read “Happy Baby, Healthy Sleep Habits” over the weekend, and discovered that a) Baby O’s sleep habits are NORMAL for his age, and b) we’re doing all the right things to get him to sleep through the night fully. We put him down at an appropriate time (between 6:30 – 8). He takes a good number of naps (2 usually, though he does sometimes need a third before he comes home from daycare). Waking once during the night to eat is NORMAL, and once he reaches 9 months of age we should (and will) wean him from that session. As long as he’s got everything he needs, he puts himself back to sleep in a lot of cases. It was just REALLY NICE to get validation that Baby O is normal, as much as the sleep deprivation sucks right now. And despite the fact that people say “he’s not sleeping through the night yet?” with a look of horror. Frankly, he does pretty good – 6 or 7pm to 4 or 5am. That’s 10 hours.
  • I have been pretty disciplined about pumping during the holiday break, which is unusual for me.
  • We bought Baby O his first umbrella stroller. We both LOVE it.

The Bad:

  • Baby O’s sore gums or ears or general “I need my mommy and daddy” make him grumpy, whiny, and fussy in the afternoons. Which means he wants to be held ALL.THE.TIME. Consequently, J and I have not gotten done half of our long list which we wanted to do over the weekend.
  • Because it’s a holiday weekend, we have been staying up pretty late (for us, of course, probably normal people probably go to bed later than we do), and we’re both tired because Baby O continues to get up at his normal time. Which means that J and I carp at each other, which makes us even more annoyed and puts stress on our relationship.
  • Personally I’m still annoyed at J because he ACTUALLY FELL ASLEEP while we were spending time at our friends house last night. As in eyes closed, dozing, while the four of us were hanging out talking after dinner. Which I think it was unaccountably rude. Get up and have some water. Or splash it on your face. Or excuse yourself early because you’re tired and loved to get together, but you just need to get home. Don’t fucking FALL ASLEEP when you’re visiting people you haven’t seen in a long time. I mean, seriously.

The Ugly:

  • My supply. It’s bad. It’s so bad that two days ago, I nursed Baby O and put him back in bed. He was wide awake, and fussed the better part of an HOUR before J suggested that I give him a bottle. Which he promptly sucked down and went right back to sleep. This morning? He lasted two hours before we needed to warm up a bottle for him.

Both mornings I felt like a failure, and I wondered why I’ve been trying to hard to maintain my supply when at the end of the day I will not be able to keep up with him. We have one nursing session a day. (I’ve tried more, mind you. He’s not interested, and let’s just say that I have a hard time forcing him to eat. So instead I pump. And I give him a bottle.)

Because right now I take 4 fenugreek tables 3 times a day. I eat oatmeal twice a day. My supply isn’t boosted by my water intake anymore – I drink at least 128 oz a day (yes, that’s not a typo. I drink a LOT of water daily – refil my 32oz nalg.ene 4-5 times, depending on how busy I am. I have increased my pumping sessions, despite the cracked and bleeding n.ipples, to 20 minute sessions from the 10 I needed when my supply was fine. I’ll increase it to a half hour if I need to, but an hour a day out of work is a lot of time for me right now.  

Yet despite a couple of gorgeous days last week where twice I pumped almost 6oz in total… my output keeps slipping. Maybe I get 2oz per session now. Which, I keep telling myself, is a 4oz bottle of half BM and half formula. 

But.

I’m seriously considering making it a couple more weeks until he’s 9 months old. And then quitting for good. No nursing. No pumping. We’ll continue to do half and half bottles until we run low on my stash. And then we’ll do 3/4 and 1/4 bottles. The all formula.

My original goal of making it an entire year just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. And I am so thankful that I nursed him exclusively for 6 months, given that I wasn’t sure I could nurse at all.

It’s just so DISHEARTENING to be putting all this work into maintaining my supply… and watch it dwindle. It’s sort of like working out all the time in order to lose weight… and then you step on a scale and see that you’ve GAINED instead of lost. 

I haven’t fully decided yet. I’m going to continue pumping twice a day, particularly at work. Because every two ounces I get means we have another bottle. But making it to 9 months, at this point, seems doable. 12 months?

Right now it just seems too far away.

Anyway. Despite the supply issue, it’s been a very good couple of days home; a mini vacation of sorts.  Even if we’re still tired and haven’t gotten as much done as we’d like… both of us are enjoying the time with Baby O.

He’s just so FUN these days!

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12 Comments »

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  1. Hell, you have done — and are doing — a lot better with breastfeeding than I have done. I think you deserve accolades, not self-flagellation.

  2. I only have these 2 cents to offer: I’ve read from many different resources that TOO much water can actually reduce milk supply.

    Other than that, you’re right, 9 mos is quite an achievement in the grand scheme of things. I’ll be amazed if we make it to 5 mos. I hate pumping SOOOO much.

  3. DD- huh. I didn’t know that. Interesting. Will have to cut back to the usual 6-8 glasses they recommend and see what it does. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. 9 months sounds like a long time to me. Kudos for keeping at it for so long.

  5. Your experience was pretty much my entire pumping/nursing experience. At the end, I was pumping 2 oz a week. Talk about a waste of effort.

    However long you make it is great. Then you can move on to something else and trust me when I say it will be great to not think about pumping/nursing/supply issues.

  6. I think you’ve done a fabulous job with BFing. It’s hard, especially when they are not nursing as well as before. IMO if you make it to 6 months then that is a victory–anything extra is just icing on the cake. I know the decision is hard, but I have no doubt you will do what is best for both you and O. ((HUGS))

  7. Hi-
    Our babies are close in age and I’ve been following your blog for a while… So hello there 🙂 I wanted to share with you that when my supply was decreasing I was told by an internist who is also a lactation consultant to take blessed thistle with my fenugreek and it totally worked. I took 3 tablets of each 3x a day for a week and then gradually cut back to 2x a day, 1x a day, and then just stopped taking the herbs completely– but my supply continued. Also I was told that we make the most milk between 11pm and 7am. Have you heard this? Anyway I would pump in the middle of the night and altho yes it SUCKEd having to wake up, I did make the most milk and it also increased my supply in the day. Evenings and nights were always the hardest with supply, but that is normal. Also- have you tried dark beer? That worked for a little while too. Anyway just thought I’d share some of the things that worked for me. I eventually stopped completely when Maya turned 6 months because I wanted to get flo back, but it was hard- I missed/still miss that connection but she is happier now not having to “work as hard” and I also froze my milk so I still can give her some now mixed in with her solids…. Good luck with everything!

  8. Speaking of beer — I’ve read that beer can indeed help, but so can taking “brewer’s yeast” — you might want to check into that, as well as quantities and all. I don’t want to discourage you from breastfeeding, but, seriously, you’ve done a great job and put forth much more effort in breastfeeding than most women do in nursing an entire year, so as far as I’m concerned, you’ve got nothin’ to prove. You should still be able to nurse the baby just at night and give him straight formula during the day and still have make it a year — just because he doesn’t get breastmilk during the day doesn’t mean you have to quit nursing. It may be that the stress of the holidays has screwed with your supply temporarily. It happens. Don’t sweat it.

    You’ve done what you can — and probably more heroically than I and a lot of other women would have done — and you may need to take a step back and look at why you’re doing what you’re doing. It was your goal to breastfeed a year (that is, if you could b/f at all!) — a laudable goal, sure; but why did you want to do it? (You don’t have to answer out loud, just for yourself.) Are you sticking to that original goal because of the original benefits, or just out of sheer tenacity for having set a goal, and”dadgummit, I’m gonna reach it!”? If it’s the latter, take a deep breath and let go of the fear of failure (especially since you’ve already succeeded beyond your wildest imagination), and re-prioritize this whole pumping and breastfeeding thing.

    A lot of families find that holidays are the worst times of the year, because a bunch of people get together who barely like each other, and they’re forced to stay in the same house for several days, and tempers flare, and personalities clash, etc., — yet they do it every year, maybe even a few times a year. Why? For “togetherness” or “because it’s tradition” or “because families get together for Thanksgiving.” Well, people should get together because it’s fun; if it’s no longer fun, and you’re just doing it because it’s what you’ve always done, even if you’re gritting your teeth and dreading the oh-so-long weekend together with relatives and in-laws you can barely tolerate — maybe it’s time for a change. It’s the same thing with b/f. Using the analogy, if you’re still having fun getting together with your family, then the hassles of the holiday are worth it; if you’d rather have root-canal surgery than go to your in-laws’ for Thanksgiving, maybe you should start a new tradition so that you can have a more pleasant holiday.

  9. You’ve done amazingly well to BF after a reduction. Congrats!

  10. It certainly doesn’t have to be all or nothing (unless you want it to be, that is). If you reach the point where pumping doesn’t seem worth it to you (only you know what point you’re comfortable with; it’s different for everyone), I’d try dropping that first but continue one or two nursing sessions a day. Even if you have to feed him a bottle after (or even before) that session, he’ll still get good antibodies from you. I think you’ll find that the biggest source of stress is from the pumping, and once that’s out of the equation, nursing may become more enjoyable again. I had to quit pumping at 9m but lasted nursing until 14m, and many moms do it that way, too. Our nursing sessions were 5 minutes at the most, so a much smaller chunk of my day.

    You’re doing a great job!

    D

  11. You’ve done a great job BFing! I know I’ve said this before, but please don’t beat yourself up too much. 9 months is terrific!

  12. Just caught up. Poor Baby O. So glad he is feeling better, and that he was able to handle lots of people in his space.

    I think you got a lot of great advice in the comments about BF. I can only add that my mother had ridiculous oversupply with both of us early on, but that it all went away around 6-7 month for her. Despite the foulest smelling herbs and whatever else she tried. And because it was so long ago, she didn’t even have a pump or the ability to freeze milk when she did have more than she needed. So double suck. My whole point is that sometimes no amount of dedication can prolong milk supply, but that while that sucks– the hassle, the extra effort, the extra thoughts even– it is also ok. You are doing all you can do, and waaay more than conveniently fits into your life. I am sorry this is so hard, and I hope you get to go for as long as you want to. But if not, I just want to say that it’s ok, even though it’s not ok. You know?

    P.S. I still had milk when I had to quit with Monkey because of my health. I expect the same to happen with the Cub. It’s not ok, but it’s ok. I hope. I might take it worse this time, what do I know.


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