Friday, February 27, 2009

The Breastfeeding Saga Continued

Since the last time I've posted on this issue, we've had several more ups and downs. Its actually been a little ridiculous...

Shortly after getting John's frenulum clipped, all three of us got colds. This may seem benign, but John couldn't breath through his nose. A common reaction among babies who can't breath through their nose is a refusal to nurse. Awesome, right? He was just relearning how to do it, and then there was nothing I could do to encourage him to keep trying. It was horrid.

I called the lactation consultant, and she assured me it was common and that I should just focus on pumping to make sure he still gets breast milk (especially important when he's sick because of the antibodies it contains) and to keep my supply up. Funny thing about that... some women can solely pump for months and months (I know several who have) and never decrease their supply. Some women, if they are solely pumping, will see a decrease, and eventually a depletion, of their supply. Guess which one I am? Right.

So after several days of that I called the lactation consultant and told her how much I was (or wasn't) pumping, and how worried I was. She was worried too. "You're going to have to turn this around right now. He needs to eat from the breast or you'll loose your supply." I promptly began to freak out.

Getting him to eat more consistently from the breast was HARD. The first order of business was to try and get him to hate eating from the bottle. So, we made it really hard for him. Tilting the bottle so he only got a little bit at a time. Holding him away from our bodies so that he didn't feel cuddled, no eye contact, etc. It worked though. Less than a day later he was eating solely from the breast again.

Yay!, right?

Alas, despite my excitement that he was getting all breast milk and all from the breast, things were worse than ever. He LOST weight. This is bad news. Infants don't loose weight. They gain weight at a rapid pace. I was horrified and incredibly worried. I tried feeding him every two hours for a few days to fatten him up, and although he didn't loose more weight, he didn't gain any either. Still not good. He was clearly not getting enough to eat.

I went with a friend to the breastfeeding support group that my lactation consultants run and we determined that the problem must be his sucking reflex. When he eats consistently, my supply is great, so that's not the problem. We were latching correctly, so that's not the problem. I was given a preemie feed tube - like a mini SNS - so that I could supplement him without giving him the bottle, since the bottle was obviously detrimental. The bad news is that this is a lot of work. The good news is that in the next 24 hours he gained 4 ounces. Real YAY!

It really is so much work. From the time a feeding begins to the time I have everything I need washed and ready for next time can be anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Part of that time includes me pumping after every feeding, because I want the supplement in the tube to be as much breast milk as possible. Like I said before, I don't think formula is bad for him, but obviously not as good. The really good news is that the tube helps him to feed at the breast for a longer period of time, and THIS, more than any thing else, as increased and kept my supply up. I can generally pump enough that he gets mostly breast milk all day long. Yay!

And the lactation consultant has ordered me an SNS, which should be here Monday or Tuesday, and that will make things go much faster. (The preemie tube only holds 10ml at a time. I have to keep refilling it which is a pain. The SNS holds, I think, 6 ounces.)

I also took him to a chiropractor that works on babies and a cranial sacral therapist this week. I think all of these things have helped him immensely. He's eating enough now, and he's much calmer. He's never really been a super fussy baby, but even so... the last two nights he's actually slept through the night. I don't expect that to last, but its amazing when it happens.

So, thats the latest... I know you were all wondering....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What I Really Want

Can someone tell me that please?

I'm supposed to go back to my PhD program in March. March 2nd, in fact. It occurred to me today that this is less than two weeks away. I haven't yet decided if I'm really going back, or what I'm going to do when I go back. Take two classes? Take one? Take none and work on the tasks required for my dissertation prep? Take another quarter off? Take a year off and have to reapply to the program to continue? Quit altogether?

It seems like, in my mind's eye, that I really want to finish the PhD. I want to have accomplished this thing for myself, and as an example for my posterity. But, if I'm really honest with myself, I know I don't want to USE a PhD. I want the focus of my life for the next 20 or 30 years to be motherhood.

Don't get me wrong, I know that I'm much more than a mother. I'm an intelligent woman with lots of hobbies. I want to read lots and lots of books, write a book, refine my cross stitching and knitting skills, remember what its like the play the flute, piano, and guitar again, get more into photography, and I'd like to teach some online classes at a place like University of Pheonix or Capella University or, dare I say, my own Walden University. (Admittedly, with the last one I'd be aided a great deal by the PhD, although I can most assuredly get a job teaching an undergraduate class with my MPA.) There are lots of things I want to do over the next 20 to 30 years that have nothing to do with getting a mother - but I also don't need a PhD for it.

When I think about all the things I want to accomplish, I feel a it overwhelmed. I'm just now beginning to realize that most of it will be next to impossible while I have young children in my home. So, for the next 10 to 15 years I need to be really choosy about the goals I set. Which ones do I want to set now?

If I choose to go back to school in less than two weeks, its going to be so hard. Not impossible, but really hard. And not as fun all the time, like writing a book or playing the guitar would be. The end result would be way more satisfying, but its going to be hard work.

Is that what I want? What do I want?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Paying it forward

Here are the rules: The exchange focuses on doing an act of kindness without expecting anything in return other than that the recipient will, in their turn, pass the kindness along and pay it forward in their own way. This is how it works… I am going to do some act of service, or something fun, inspiring or uplifting for the first 3 blog owners who post a comment on this entry (please leave your email address if I don’t already have it). In turn you will then post about this on your blog, link to me, then send something to the first three people who sign up to play along through your blog. If those who respond to you are local, you can do something in person for them, or you can send something you made, bought, were given or found. No biggie--just do something that will make the person smile. And remember that kindness doesn’t have to involve money; there are untold ways to help others every single day, everywhere you go - just look around!

I got in on this on a friend's blog and she sent me this beautiful tile. Its arrival was timely and I'm still having some ups and downs with helping my baby learn to breastfeed. It was a good reminder that motherhood encompasses many things and feeding my child is just one small part of that. Although right now its a big part, it just won't be like this forever.

Now its my turn! First three people! I'm so excited! :-D


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