Friday, April 29, 2011

Life As We Know It

*Photos from my IPhone* :)

Life as we know it has changed. I heard from everyone (which got really annoying, ha) how different our lives would be. That's certainly something Josh and I anticipated but you can't really prepare new parents. It's just something you have to experience for yourselves.

Life began really changing the first night we were home. My poor baby didn't sleep a wink so neither did her tired, hormonal mommy. She cried and cried and could only be soothed if she was eating or latched. Miserable. At one point Josh was online googling lactation consultants and we found a 1-800 number with 24 hour consultants. We made the call and she helped me understand a little of what was going on. About an hour later I sent him to Walmart to buy every paci available. I know, I know, nipple confusion, wait on the paci. Sorry everyone. It was about survival at that point and I needed her to have a paci. We found one kind she would sort of take. It helped some but not much. Luckily now she takes it like a champ.

After the first night I wasn't sure how I was going to do this. I felt very overwhelmed. The next few days were a blur too. She slept only about 2-4 hours at night and normally only an hour at a time. When we put her down after a feeding she would cry and fuss. Exhausting. I started thinking that maybe part of her problem is that she's starving. I decided to pump to see what she was getting and I was shocked at how little it was. She really needed to gain weight and be satisfied so I started thinking of what to do. I talked to my pediatrician and asked advice from friends and decided I should supplement until my milk picked up.

That decision was hard for me. I wanted to be able to feed my child. As her mother I felt it was my responsibility. For the sake of Sadie I had to swallow my pride. I started giving her 1 ounce of formula after I nursed. Oh my goodness. The best decision I've made as a momma so far. She became a new child. So sweet and content (except during her fussy time at night).

I was hoping we'd only have to supplement for a little while until my milk came in. Unfortunately that has been harder than I had hoped for. It's been a struggle to say the least. I've been trying really hard to get it going. I pump after she eats, I use the "hands on" approach, I take lots of Fenugreek, try to drink lots of water, had my thyroid checked to make sure that wasn't the problem, etc. I'm trying as much as I can. It's picked up a little but not much. It's been an exhausting experience. Nurse, bottle, pump. Repeat.

It's especially exhausting when you don't get much out if it. I've changed things the last couple of days. I now just pump and feed. Since my milk isn't consistent I needed to know how much she was getting to know how much to supplement. It's made a huge difference in me too. I feel so much better. What used to take an hour or more to feed from start to finish now can take 30 minutes or so. And at the end of her feeding I know what she's eaten. I'm still working on my milk picking up. I want to give it my best effort before we go to just formula. I'm not to that point yet so for now this works for us. She's happy and growing and that's all I want for her right now.

Something else you can't really be prepared for is how much stuff you have to "pack" when you go anywhere with a baby. Wow. It's a huge process that takes lots of time and organization. Basically everything we do now revolves around Sadie. What she needs, when she needs to eat, sleep, etc. It really is all about her. Planning your day takes on a whole new meaning with a newborn. Even taking a shower takes strategic thought.

Life as we know it has definitely changed but I wouldn't want it any other way. Josh and I are in love with this little girl God has blessed us with. We love our new life. We're still trying to figure things out but I'm pretty sure that will take a lifetime. For now we're just going with it. :)


The Parish Family said...

My son is now 16 months old and when I was pregnant with him the ONE thing I wanted to do was nurse. I was flexible on everything else but I SO wanted the experience of nursing my children.

I went through what you are going through. Except Jaden had a touch of jaundice and since he wasn't gaining weight (we had to take him to the dr every day), I HAD to start supplementing. I was on an exhausting routine from a LC of nursing (each side for 30 minutes) then pumping (each side for 30-45 minutes). Lather, rinse, repeat every 2 hours. After pumping I wouldn't even have made enough milk to fill the bottom of the bottle.

I would stay up all night with Jaden just crying while he cried, realizing that he was starving and there wasn't anything I could do about it - something that came so naturally to everybody was the one thing that I couldn't do. What was WRONG with me?? We started supplementing and introduced a pacifier (we used the NUK) and things got a little better.

All this to say that I've been there too. And without realizing it, I was throwing myself right into PPD - I got to where I was SO exhausted mentally and physically that I resented having to get up (EVERY TWO HOURS!) to feed my child. Those days are a blur filled with tears, anger, and a feeling that I was a failure as a woman and mom. My milk just never came in. I finally submitted to formula and things became so much easier.

I am definitely not saying to give up - it's important to you and worth the effort! What I am saying is that it's ok to give yourself a break. It is ok to supplement if you have to and if things don't work out with nursing - you will know you did everything you could and eventually had to decide what was best for Sadie.

I am 11 weeks pregnant with #2 and I have every intention of trying to nurse with this baby too - but I will not allow myself to let breastfeeding ruin the first few weeks of motherhood like it tried to do with Jaden.

Cheers, sister. Enjoy this time and don't let this be a hindrance to your joy!

Kristin said...

My daughter is 7 months old and we went through the same thing with nursing. I wasn't producing enough milk and she was dropping weight. I nursed and pumped around the clock every two hours for 2 weeks and it was exhausting!!!

I was told by lactation that she would always need formula supplement. Even though my dream was to solely nurse, you get to the point when you will do anything for your baby!!

I nursed her for three months and then she just stopped on her own. It was difficult for me to accept, but once I did it made life SO much easier!! :) I believe that nursing is best, but there is SO much freedom with formula!!

Don't get too discouraged. You need to do what is right for YOU and Sadie. Whether that is pushing through with nursing, supplementing, or going strictly with formula.

I echo the first commenter...don't let this get you down!! Enjoy this time with your little one! :) Blessings!

Whitney Carr said...

That sounds soooo familiar!! My milk didn't come in for a while (actually i don't think it ever did) and lily was starting to look really dehydrated. I cried all morning one morning trying to decide what to do. Rob finally just got a bottle and mixed up some formula! That made a huge difference. Lily's little head, which was sunken in, started to fill out and she was so much happier. I continued to pump and supplement for like 2 months. I wasn't even getting an ounce total each time I pumped. So I decided to quit and just go with formula. Lily had gotten all the good antibodies from the colostrum at the beginning. I was so tired of feeding, pumping, cleaning everything and then starting over. I felt like thats all we did!! Our pediatrician and the lactation consultant at the peds office were very supportive.

Oh, and we gave her a paci that first night too. I couldn't take the crying and constant feeding any longer. I don't think she ever had any problems because of it. I know you guys are doing great! In a few months everything will be routine and going fairly smoothly. Can't wait to see you guys!

Audra said...

We gave Elysen a pacifier in the hospital! And she hasn't had any problems with confusion.
I'm sorry nursing is so stressful. I guess there's always something...for us, it was gas. She cried, I sleeping....what fun.
You are doing a great job because you're figuring out what's best for her.
She's beautiful!

Jennifer said...

You are doing great! Yes, breastfeeding is best for baby like they all say, but your mental health is also VERY important. I never could get my milk supply up with either of my kids and ended up going to formula. Especially with working, that is what worked best for us. I found I was worrying so much about pumping and making sure my babies got enough milk each day that I was not even enjoying my time with them. Once we switched to formula we were both much more relaxed. So, not saying to give up, but don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work. You know what is best for both of you.

Kristy said...

Hillary - The same exact thing happened to me and I pumped and suplemented for 3 months so I would know how much they were eating. I had a very low supply and just couldn't satisfy them. I had to do this with both of my boys. Hang in there, you will figure out what works for you and Sadie... and don't feel bad if nursing doesn't work!

Alphabet Soup Momma said...

You are a wonderful momma! Keep up the good work.

It took almost 4 weeks for my milk supply to come in and I still have to supplement. Caden is 7 weeks now and eats 7 or 8 times a day. I nurse/pump for him about 5 times a day and then he gets 2 bottles of formula a day. I hated having to use formula at first but I realized that was best for him and like you said the biggest thing for me was swallowing my pride.

Whitney said...

I so understand supply issues! My son was born on 3/7 and I was planning on breastfeeding. I also realized he was starving so had to supplement around day 3. He is almost 8 weeks and I still pump but can only produce about 50% of what he eats. It is frustrating but I have released the guilt and am enjoying him so much more.

You are a great mom for trying everything! My first 3 (triplets) were formula fed because my milk never came in after delivery. I was so hoping this experience would be different in the nursing department but no such luck. You can only do so much and you have to give yourself time to enjoy that sweet baby.

Mrs. Jenk said...

I'm sad that you are defending yourself- I hate that the blog world can do that to us! We started supplementing early too and found we had a happy baby when we had a full baby. You do what is best for Sadie and you'll sleep well at night... eventually!

Kim said...

I had the same problem when I had our daughter in September. And it is SO overwhelming because one feeding (with nursing, supplementing, pumping) took at least an hour. We had to supplement for about 4-6 weeks but now we are almost 8 months into it and still going strong. So hang in there because it will get better! I wanted to give up soooo many times and just go to formula but I'm so glad I stuck with it. God knew we needed to keep going because she ended up having severe acid reflux and breast milk is much better for reflux. Praying for you!

The Rohman Family said...

If that girl is happy and healthy, then that is all that matters. You are a GREAT mom! Enjoy that beautiful bundle.

Diane said...

So glad that things are going a little better. You're making the best decisions for you and your baby - that makes you a terrific Mama! :-)

Sarah said...

Congratulations on Sadie! She is adorable. I think this is the first time I have commented but I had trouble producing enough milk for my second daughter so it's easy to relate to this post. Like you I tried everything (so exhausting and overwhelming) but eventually we had to go to just formula since she wasn't gaining weight. It was sad for me because I would have liked to nurse her but at the same time I was okay with throwing in the towel since we had tried everything. I hope you figure out what works best for your family. And whatever happens, you will know what's best for your little one.

Mrs. Shelton said...

Well I had the same experience. I was determined to nurse. My colicky baby had other ideas. I was soooo stressed I couldn't produce anything. She just wasn't getting enough and I was frustrated/worried/stressed/guilty. I finally started pumping and saw I was getting nothing. I pumped for 3-4 weeks and finally gave in. I felt bad but my mom reminded me that was one of many decisions I would have to make for her. Life was much easier after we went to formula and she was much more content (although still colicky). Good luck! Just remember - no matter what you decide she will love you unconditionally.

Jill said...

That girl is beyond cute. I just love her!! Life SO CHANGES once a baby comes but like you said...totally worth it. :) You are doing a great job taking care of your baby girl. She is blessed to have you as her Mama!!


Cory said...

I bet you are doing everything you should be. I say... let your baby camp at your breast. Can't you nurse her in your bed on your side so that you both can sleep? Also there is a product called "Mothers Milk Tea" that works great to pump up your supply, and... if you're a beer drinker, or even if your not... one a night helps to pump up your supply. Its the hops in it that helps. The general rule of thumb is the more your baby is at your breast, the more you'll produce. But maybe none of that will work for you...

Rebekah said...

She is so so so cute! Girl, I know what a hard time it is adjusting. I felt like my world was turned upside down for about the first 8 to 9 months due to bad sleeping! I struggled with some of the same things you did at first, too. And, I, like you had to swallow my pride on some things. Someone gave me some advise that I have carried with me since. You are a better mommy when you are getting sleep and you are a better mommy when you are not not unnerved so do whatever it takes to get there. Don't eat yourself up about giving her the paci (that was our baby saving grace!) or giving her formula! It that it what it takes to have peace it happiness in your home, ultimately that is most important! And you are so right. It is a lifetime full of figuring things out! Just when you get a routine down and you think "I can do this" they start to change and you hae to figure it out all over again. Luckily, that gets easier and easier!
I wish I could give you a hug right now. I know how hard it is. But, we have been given the greatest job in the whole entire world!

momto3 said...

Do what is best for you and Sadie. I tried to nurse my 2nd child and the milk never came in. My 1st and 3rd I was able to nurse and still pump 10-12 ounces AFTER they were full. It happens, don't stress. You are doing what is best for your daughter and your well being. To be honest my middle child is the one with the least medical issues of my 3 and she was formula from day one.
Get some rest and know that you are doing what is best for your precious little girl.

Jen said...

That brought tears to my eyes! I also have had low supply issues with both of my girls. The first time around, I nearly dehydrated my 5-day-old because I was afraid to supplement! I saw the LC several times over 3-4 weeks, tried Fenugreek and special tea, but could never pump more than an ounce at a time. Caroline latched well, so I nursed morning and night, always with a bottle afterward and just bottles during the day. We did this for 3 months. I was her "human paci", but I was happy with it.

I SWORE this time I wouldn't get depressed if it didn't go as well, and I'd let myself stop trying if I got too stressed out. I had a little better supply (still not much and had to supplement), but Maggie isn't interested in latching. Another added challenge is a jealous 2 1/2 year old sister. I don't have the extra energy to worry about not nursing and trying to pump all day. Add to all of this a gall bladder attack that has me going in for surgery next week. Maggie had her last ounce of my pumped milk at 3.5 weeks, and I feel good that she's gotten a good start with what little milk I could give her.

Just want to reassure you that this will soon be your "new normal" and you won't even be able to imagine life any other way!! :) Hang in there...looks like y'all are doing great!!

Miss E said...

She is pretty perfect

Beth and Barry said...

Coming to you by way of Kelly's blog...

Been there. Done that. Could have the t-shirt. :) It's so hard. For me, I still struggle with jealousy when I see other moms have chunky, plump babies that are solely breastfed. But my baby had dropped over a pound in the 3 days following his birth & I was C-R-A-Z-Y trying to make sure he was getting enough milk (he wasn't...) & not hurt his little belly (he has cow's milk protein allergy) so for the sake of our marriage & my sanity :) I went solely to formula. I would love to nurse any other babies we have, but for our little guy, formula worked best. You are doing a great job! Don't doubt yourself!

As for the paci...we gave him one in the hospital, by far it was the best decision we ever made! ha!

jeeper said...

Never used a paci. Every time the baby cried, gave him the breast. The more he cried, the more he nursed, the more milk was produced. Nursed him for two years, he never had a bottle. Never had the problems we heard about trying to give up the paci.
best advice, relax and nurse.

Bethany said...

This past month has been a whirlwind for me, but I saw some of your tweets a few weeks ago about your feed / pump routine and I've been wanting to write to you! I've been going through a similar situation, only mine is not from having too little milk, but rather from having a baby girl who was a "lazy sucker." From the time she was one day old my mom noticed she wasn't sucking as aggressively as a baby should, especially at the beginning of a feeding. I didn't think much of it until Bristol wasn't gaining weight; then I started to freak out. At two weeks old, I started pumping after each feeding and giving her back what I pumped in a bottle which then led to nipple confusion by 3 weeks old. So now we're just pumping and feeding. It is going well so far and I'll continue it as long as I'm able to keep up with the pumping.

I share this with you because along the way I've been able to talk with several friends who were "exclusive pumpers" and have read a TON of things online, so I wanted to share a little of what I found with you. First of all, the average milk produced by a lactating mom is only 25 oz. per day. I was shocked by how little that is, but that is enough to meet our baby's daily needs for the first 6 months. Also, as your milk supply becomes consistent, you can drop the number of times you're pumping. I'm at day 4 of only pumping 5 times a day (down from 7-8 times per day last week) and I still get 24-26 oz per day. I keep a log to make sure my milk supply doesn't dwindle at all. And if it would start to slow down I would just pump more for a day or two to bring it back up. Finally, and probably the best thing I read was that instead of cleaning all of the pump parts every time you're done pumping, you can put them in a ziploc bag and refrigerate them until the next time you're supposed to pump! This was an awesome discovery for me. I only clean mine about half the time now, although the website I saw this on said you could refrigerate between feedings for up to 24 hours, and wash / sterilize only once per day.

One last thing--I'm not sure what kind of health insurance you have, but since you're borrowing someone's pump I thought I'd mention that my insurance covered all but $40 of the cost of my Medela Freestyle pump ($380 retail). It was covered as "durable medical equipment."

Wishing you the very best as you continue to pump! I'm not sure how long I'll continue--perhaps another week, perhaps a few more months, or even through her entire first year. I don't have any expectations for myself; I'm just happy I've come this far. If you find any useful / helpful tips w/ pumping let me know :)

Melanie said...

I didn't comment at first because I was afraid I would offend someone. Then I thought, "Hey! This was advice given to me by my little German God-fearing grandma and it just might help." So here it goes!

Grandma successfully nursed five babies, the oldest of which is now 75 years old. She swore that when her milk supply was low, drinking half a beer worked wonders. Now this was a woman who NEVER drank, but was willing to do so for medicinal purposes. HA!

God bless you in your new adventures, and remember that YOU are Sadie's mom and your decision is the right one.