August 29, 2010

A Little Update

Thank you for the supportive comments on my last post :) They really did make me feel better!

I've been working on increasing my milk supply for 2 weeks now. If you were to ask me how it was going, I would say "eh". I honestly can't say one way or another. But, I am less of a basketcase about the whole situation!

Here's where I'm at now:

- I am now pumping every 3 hours during the day, and twice at night (even though he doesn't wake up to eat at night)
- I get about an ounce an hour, which is what I was getting before all this. It does fluctuate between 2.5 and 4 oz. When I get 4, I do a little happy dance, because that really didn't happen before :) I get the most overnight for some reason, I can get about 8 oz. over 6 hours.
- He is eating about 5 oz. every 3 hours, so you can see the deficit, and why I'm still pumping at night.
- Occasionally we have to pull out a bag of frozen milk, so I've come to terms that once that runs out, we will have to give him formula. And I'm okay with it. And it took me a long time to be able to say that :)

The big change is that we have gone to almost exclusively pumping. I say almost because I have not really made the 'decision' to say that's what we are doing. It really just kind of happened. I have still been nursing first thing in the morning, and if he wakes up at night (which he really has only done once, such a good sleeper :) ). There are a couple of reasons for this:
1) he still requires a supplemental bottle after nursing
2) when he does nurse, he never really gets everything that's in there, he has always been kind of 'lazy' about nursing, and even after 45 minutes, he still doesn't drain the breast, and even if he did, he would still need a supplemental bottle bc I don't produce enough during the day (again, it's the nighttime pumping that's getting us enough for the day, which is the only reason I'm still making myself get up twice a night)
3) the whole nurse/bottle/pump routine was taking at LEAST an hour, usually more, and I just cannot do that everyday. Especially when I go back to work, I will not have that kind of time in the morning. I have to be at work at 7am, and I'll have to get up at 5 as it is, just with giving him a bottle and pumping. I'm sure that some people can say that is selfish or lazy something, but it's just the truth for me.

If my supply does ever get up to where it needs to be, I would definitely want to at least try nursing again. This was clearly not my first choice, but it is what's working for us. And I can tell you that I feel pretty good about it. And I can tell you that I have an extremely happy baby now :) Today we ran a couple of errands and after a little while, Lee said something about how Cooper was probably going to get upset soon and we should hurry, because that's what used to happen. But he never got upset or anything, he was just fine, and Lee was really surprised. I told him that that's how he's been for the past week or so, just really content. And that's why I think that we're doing the right thing.

August 24, 2010

On breastfeeding

I have debated whether or not to write about this because I kind of feel like I have been whining/dramatic about it already. But it is what it is and I have had a right to be so concerned about it, even if it has taken this long for me to figure out something that I should have figured out sooner.

And I have finally gotten my emotions under control regarding the whole situation enough to write about it without sounding like I'm losing my mind.


It's tough man. I had heard from, oh, everyone and their mom that breastfeeding is not easy. So, I was really prepared for it to be a challenge. But the thing is, even though I was prepared for it to be difficult/painful/stressful, I never considered the possibility that it wouldn't work. For some reason, I was just like 'I'm breastfeeding', and that was that. And not because I don't agree with formula feeding, or because I'm some pro-breastfeeding person who thinks everyone should do it. I don't think that at all. It's just what I felt was right for me.

So you can imagine how happy I was when Cooper latched right on immediately after he was born. He got on there and didn't budge for about 45 minutes. Everything was going great! We knew he was getting colostrum in the hospital because he spit up once in the nursery. I didn't have very much pain at all. Of course, I was slathering on lanolin like crazy, so that might have helped. My whole breastfeeding experience I never had any issues with mastitis or clogged ducts, nothing. I was really happy that things were going so well. And, I will admit that I was pretty proud of myself after being so worried about it being difficult.

He did lose 10 oz. while in the hospital. Which is more than 10% of his birth weight (the max newborns can lose without it being of concern), but that was attributed to how much he slept. Most nights, we couldn't even get him to wake up to eat (he's been a good night sleeper since day one!) You might remember the check up we had the weekend after he was born when the doctor freaked me out about my milk supply. Well, she had me feed him right there in the office so they could weigh him again. He ate 4 oz. that time. And he was not even a week old. And then we went back a week later and he had gained an entire pound. She was really pleased and I was relieved to know that there wasn't a problem on my end.

So fast forward a few weeks and I started pumping. I was only getting like 2 oz at a time. But it was in between feedings, so I was assured by lots of people that was normal. Clearly, this became a huge concern to me, as I blogged about it a lot :)

Also, around 5 weeks, Cooper started acting really fussy all the time. Mostly in the evenings. You can see where I first mentioned it here, and our train of thought in this post, that lead to me cutting dairy out of my diet. I did think that this helped him, but I also never really felt at peace that that was the problem. I don't know why, but I never really felt that the problem was solved.

At his 2 month check up, I specifically asked about his weight (we saw a different dr this time), and he assured us that Cooper's weight gain was just fine. He showed us Coop's growth chart and said that he was in line with what was to be expected. But I still didn't feel right about it.

Well. Last Wednesday, my dad watched Cooper so that I could go shopping for work clothes. This was the first time I'd been away from him, and the first time that I would be pumping during a feeding. Ummm..I got 2 oz. Twice. The first time, I was just like 'okay, let's just see what happens next time'. The second time, I was so upset. I was clearly not producing enough and I didn't understand. I had a huge breakdown in the Dillard's bathroom. Huge. Like I had to go out to my car and I probably cried for about 30 minutes. You would have thought my dog died. It wasn't really until that moment that I realized how important breastfeeding was to me. I was so upset at the realization that I was not producing enough milk. The intensity of my reaction really surprised me. I couldn't stop crying about it. Honestly, I could still cry about it right now, but I'm slowly getting over it.

I called the pediatrician's office to see how much he should be getting at a time. He should get about 28 oz. a day. Basically 4-7 oz at a time. It suddenly became so clear to me that Cooper had not been getting enough to eat.

I felt horrible. I felt like a terrible mother. I felt like a failure at the most important thing I needed to provide for my baby. How could I not know he wasn't getting enough? How long had this been going on? I know that at some point I had been producing enough since he gained so much weight so quickly his first few weeks. And then I started remembering things. Like how Cooper would get really frustrated while nursing, and he would freak out and bang on my chest. How he would cry after 45 minutes of nursing, and he never went longer than 2 hrs 15 minutes between feedings. How he would cry his 'hungry cry' all evening, and I had no idea why. I thought there's no way he could be hungry, he just ate. Well, he obviously was :(

I went out and got a baby scale. I weighed him, then nursed him for about 30 minutes, then weighed him again. 1.5 oz. Ugh. I can't tell you how bad I felt. I cried for days. Partly because I felt so bad that he had been hungry for who knows how long, and partly because I was failing at this breastfeeding thing.

I spoke to a lactation consultant who gave me some advice on trying to increase my milk supply.

So for the past 5 days, I have been eating oatmeal, drinking beer (ha), and taking 'More Milk Plus' which is a combination of several herbs that are supposed to increase milk supply. I've been nursing, then pumping while giving him a bottle, then pumping again an hour and a half later, then starting the nursing thing again after another hour and a half. Basically I'm pumping every hour and a half, and twice during the night. And I'm nursing every 3 hours and giving a supplemental bottle of expressed breast milk immediately after nursing (and I weigh him before and after nursing). All in an effort to hopefully increase my milk supply.

I haven't seen a difference yet. And it is exhausting to pump so often. And let me tell you that I have a new respect for people who have to exclusively pump because that shit is hard. And it hurts. My boobs haven't hurt this much since Cooper was like 3 days old. The thing is, I do pump almost enough for him throughout the day. I only have to give him frozen milk once a day, for one feeding. The rest is freshly expressed that day. But I can't pump every hour and a half every day. I mean, we haven't left the house for more than 45 minutes in almost a week. I am really trying not to beat myself up about this, but it's hard. I have no idea what will happen when I go back to work.

I am slowly accepting the fact that breastfeeding just might not be working out for me. The good news is that what I've been doing is so exhausting that the thought of having to give him formula eventually is starting to not sound so bad. And I still have a huge supply of frozen milk for the time being.

I'm still going to work on trying to increase my supply. And regardless of if it goes up or not, I am still going to pump when I go back to work so that he can at least get as much breast milk as he can. I'm still holding out hope that I can fix this issue, but I only have another week until I go back to work, and honestly, I can't just sit in the house and pump every hour and a half until then.

You wouldn't believe the change in Cooper. He is always happy. No screaming fits in the evenings, or really ever. He talk and talks now and smiles all day. AND, he's been sleeping through the night. Like 11 hours. He's done it twice now. I realize it might not last, but still. Seeing him so happy is really my ultimate goal, and if I have to give him formula then it's really not the end of the world, but it's still difficult for me to come to terms with.

August 16, 2010

Freaking Out

I am going back to work on Sept. 1. That is two weeks from Wednesday. (I think..right?) Last night I suddenly realized that I/we are not at all prepared for me to go back. I might have had a minor panic attack.

My dad will be watching Cooper. (I know, I am very lucky!) But, that also means that, everything we have for Cooper, we also need one to keep at my parents' house. We do have a start, we've got a swing, pack n play, and a playmat over there. I think they even have a monitor. (Their friends have been getting them gifts :) ) But they need diapers, wipes, swaddlers, mylicon, tylenol, bottles, pacifiers, extra clothes, toys, books, various other 'toiletry' items that we use, or that they might need. It's a LOT of stuff and I don't want to forget anything.

There are also other bottle-feeding accessories that I have no idea if my dad will want/need. Does he want a bottle warmer? I would want one, just based on how annoyed I have been the one or two times I've prepared a bottle for C. Does he want one of those special drying racks? Are there other bottle-feeding things that he will need? We've so rarely given him a bottle, I have no idea. Then I feel bad because is he going to be annoyed that he has ALL this baby CRAP all over his house?

Speaking of bottle feeding, I am beyond paranoid about having enough milk for him. Really, I don't know how much he gets when he nurses. When we've given him a bottle, we have given him anywhere from 4-5.5 ounces. He didn't drink all of the 5.5 oz bottle (that just happened to be how much we had in the fridge at the time so we just offered it all to him), so I think that 4.5 oz. is a good estimate for now. I have been obsessively pumping for about a month and a half, so we have a really big frozen supply, but the vast majority of it is from when I was still eating dairy products, so I really don't want to have to give it to him. I know that we can if there is no other choice, and maybe I should at least feel better knowing that we do have an 'emergency' supply. But I don't. And then, what about pumping at work? I'm am so afraid that I won't pump enough for what he needs. I have never pumped 4.5 oz. at one time, even the one or two times that I have pumped in place of a feeding. Ugh. This is stressful. I do feel better that I found out that we have a 'nursing station' at work. That made me feel worlds better about the whole pumping at work think.

I also have zero work clothes that fit me. Literally. Zero. I gained 50 lbs. while pregnant (I know, that's terrible), and I have only lost 30. And that 30 I lost in the first week post partum. I don't even want to discuss how frustrated I am with this. I really can't go there at all right now. So I have got to get some new stuff. And while I am excited about the opportunity to go shopping, I know how depressed I will be when I find out what I look like in 'real clothes', let alone when I find out the size I need.

I am also really anxious about how the first week will go. I am only going 3 days, then I have a 3 day weekend because of Labor Day, so that's good. And my dad will be coming to our house to pick him up in the mornings. I know, I'm very lucky. (He's also going to bring him back in the afternoons..I know) And we're doing some trial runs this week and next week. We'll see how those go, hopefully it will ease my anxiety a little...

August 13, 2010

2 Months

Dear Cooper,

Last week, you turned 2 months old! I can't believe it, yet at the same time, to your daddy and me, it feels like you've been here forever. We just can't imagine our lives without you! You make us so very, very happy.
At your 2 month check up, you weighed 10lbs, 14oz (24th %) and you were 23.5 inches long (66th %). You are long and skinny! I told you that I was a little jealous :) You also got 3 shots and an oral vaccination. You did NOT like it at all. You cried your first real tears :( I shed quite a few myself. But let's move on from that; that is not a milestone that I want to remember!
We are still exclusively breastfeeding, and I am so glad that we've made it this far! I've had a couple of weeks of self doubt, but we plowed through. You still eat pretty often, every 2 hours and 15 minutes, on the dot! I swear I could set a clock by your feeding schedule. Every once in a while you will go a little longer, but that doesn't happen very often, and that's okay. I stopped eating dairy and this has helped you immensely! It's like you're a whole new baby some days!

We have started calling you Coopie, haha! I'm not sure how much you will like that when you get older, but right now that's pretty much all I call you. Oh, and I call you Buddy a lot, because you are my little buddy :)
At about 5 weeks, you gave us your first smile! I can't tell you how excited we were to see that! And then you didn't do it again for us for a couple of weeks. We did everything we could to get another smile out of you, but you just looked at us like we were crazy! Finally when you were about 7 weeks, you started to smile more and more. (about the same time I stopped eating dairy) I figured out that if I put you in front of the mirror, you would smile so much! Now you smile at us all the time and it just melts our hearts! You even make a little cooing sound when you do it, and I suspect that it's the beginning of your little laugh. I can't wait for that!
You also started to enjoy being read to, finally! I have tried and tried to read to you, but up until the last couple of weeks, you wouldn't have it. You would always start crying! Haha. And finally, one morning, I pulled a book out, and you actually enjoyed it! You rarely actually look at the book, but that's okay, I'll take what I can get :)

You absolutely LOVE to look at ceiling fans and lights of any kind. You can entertain yourself for quite a while just laying on the bed watching the ceiling fan. You also love to take any kind of 'medicine'. Whether it's Mylicon, gripe water (your personal favorite), or Tylenol, as soon as the dropper hits your lips, you get so still and open your mouth up wide! It's so cute. If you've been crying, you immediately stop. It makes me think of how fun it will be when you can start eating solids.
We took our first (and only so far) walk around the neighborhood when you were about 7 weeks old. I put you in your stroller without your carseat (because you really don't like your carseat) and I leaned it back as far as I could. You LOVED it! You were so content and really watching everything, it was so cute. I am really anxious for it to cool off a little so we can enjoy many more walks together.
You suddenly love to be swaddled now! I have tried off and on to swaddle you since you were born, but you always used to hate having your arms down, you loved to sleep like you were "under arrest" as I called it :) But one night, you couldn't sleep and you were flailing around, so I tried to swaddling you again, and you calmed down instantly! We now swaddle you all the time, for both naps and when you go to bed at night, and it's working out great! I love to call you my little burrito baby, you just look so cute all bundled up. You have always been a very good sleeper at night, but now you sleep awesome, for about 11 hours from 8pm to 7am. You wake up twice to eat, usually around 2 and then again around 5:30 and you go right back to sleep when your finished. We are still working on getting you to nap during the day though...

Your daddy and I love you so so much, Buddy. You have brought us so much joy the past two months, and we know that there is so much more to come!

August 12, 2010

Happy birthday to ME!

Today was my birthday. I turned the ripe old age of 28. I had to count that, because I seriously never know how old I am.

It's funny how much birthdays change as you get older. Today, I celebrated my birthday by doing the following:

- Screaming bloody murder at Lee at midnight because I was feeding Cooper and a HUGE bug crawled across his head! True story. It turned out to just be a moth, but I thought it was a cockroach because it was so dark in the room
- Waking up at 7am to see my baby boy looking right at me :) He doesn't sleep in our bed, but he usually wakes up for a feeding at 5:30 and I always just pull him into bed with us and let him stay there until he wakes up for the day
- Having lunch with my supervisor and my manager. Booooooo going back to work Sept 1
- Cleaning the bathroom
- (TMI warning)Picking up a very large, very gross 'accident' by one of the dogs (in her defense she kept asking to go out but I ignored her bc I was cleaning)
- Picking up the house
- Going to dinner with my family, where I had a glass of WINE!! I honestly forget that I can have wine again.

Cooper's gift to me was taking ALL of his naps on his own! He took 3 naps in his bassinet and one in his carseat at lunch! Usually, if he naps at all, I have to hold him so this was awesome :)

Lee's (and my parents') gift to me is a new wardrobe! Well, maybe not a whole wardrobe, but I definitely get to go shopping for lots of new clothes. NOTHING I own fits me. I am excited to go shopping, but at the same time, I know that I will be sad when I figure out what size I am now, but that's another post.

Here I am with my little man at dinner! It was his first dinner out and he was really good! Fell asleep about 1/3 of the way through. That is his drool all over my sleeve :)
Family pic! I think this is only the second picture we have as a family, we'll have to change that!

I have a 2 month post for Cooper coming in a few days, I wanted to wait until we go to the doctor tomorrow so I can give his stats

August 7, 2010

Long time, no blog

Whew. Things around here have been a little crazy lately.

Cooper is one fussy and gassy little fella. He has been since the day he turned three weeks old. And when I say fussy, I mean sometimes he screams out, like he's in pain. :( He acts like his stomach hurts (just my opinion of course, I really don't know what hurts, but something sure does) and he is REAL gassy. You have no idea, haha. This mostly happened in the evenings, like from 5-9ish. And the only way he would stop is if he nursed. Like for the entire 4 hours, constantly. There would be a day or so here and there that he wouldn't do this, but it was extremely rare, and usually if we were out doing something. At first, we thought he has acid reflux, I think I've mentioned this before. The doctor suggested it as a possibility (when we went for his weight check at 3 weeks, we discussed his fussiness) So he was put on some medicine, and that really didn't help at all. So we stopped that. I don't really want to give him meds when he doesn't need them.

Then, with the help of everyone's bff, Google, I thought that he might be cluster feeding. I had never heard of this before, but apparently some babies want to nurse for several hours in a row before they go to bed. Like they are fueling up or something. So I went with that for a few weeks. But I still don't feel like he;s just cluster feeding if he's screaming when he's not nursing. That doesn't sound right to me.

So then, we thought that he had colic. Not really bad, but just a little colicky. I had colic when I was a baby, and it's supposed to be more common if a parent has had it before. The more I read about colic, the more convinced I was that he had it. I guess we could have called the doctor, but there's really nothing you can do for it so we didn't think it was necessary.

Anyway, this week it seems to have gotten much worse. It's not just in the evenings, it's during the day a lot now too. Yesterday and today were rough. He wakes himself up from his naps a lot, just screaming. I know that he could just be going through a bad period, but if there's something I can do, I want to at least try it. So I finally decided to cut dairy out of my diet for a week or two to see if that helps. Yesterday I suddenly remembered when we were at his 3 week check and the dr asked if I drank a lot of milk when we talked about his issues. I said no, because I don't drink milk, I don't like it at all. I didn't really think anything of it at the time. But, I do consume a lot of dairy. I like cheese, a lot. And yogurt. And I make a lot of recipes with milk. So I'm going to give this a try. I started yesterday afternoon. Hopefully by the end of this week we will see some kind of difference. I know that it can take longer to see results, or sometimes it's immediate. Tonight he didn't try to nurse all evening, so that's good, but it could be a fluke. It's really not a huge deal to me to give up dairy (especially if it makes Coop feel better) but I am sad that I will not get to have my ice cream cake for my birthday next week, haha. Yes, I actually thought about that this morning! I look forward to that all year :)

Tomorrow Lee is going to watch Coop so that I can run a few errands alone and just have some 'me' time. This is a big deal. I haven't left him for even 30 minutes since he was born. I'm paranoid that no one else can take care of him, even if it is Lee. I need to get over it. I'm stressed out, especially after the past few days, and as much as I hate to say it, I need some time away. I feel guilty about it but there is it.

Oh, what's that you say? You want to see some pictures of his cuteness? Well, okay then...

I am obsessed with leg warmers. I stumbled upon them online several weeks ago and immediately bought him 4 pair. You can't really tell in the picture, but this first pair is OU and I just had to get them for him for Lee. They are a little big, but I've washed and dried them and he's quite a bit bigger than this now.
These are just brown and blue striped, and much smaller than the OU ones
The mornings are my favorite time with him, he is ALWAYS in such a good mood :)
These were from a bedroom photo shoot last weekend. We were looking in the mirror. He LOVES looking in the mirror. We're all vain like that in our family :)
He was giving some BIG smiles that day, but only in the mirror :)
His 2 months check up is next week, I can't wait to see how much he's grown! We think he weighs somewhere around 11 lbs right now. What I CAN wait for are the shots that he's going to have to get :(