One Proud (& Engorged) Momma

Tonight when I went to put little Henry pie to bed, he was wide awake. I nursed, potched and rocked him to no avail. 

After maybe 30-40 minutes of the “please go the heck to sleep” dance, I gave up.

Okay, Henry. Momma’s just going to put you down in your crib and take a little break. You be good.

I fully anticipated my little guy to throw a big fit and demand I bounce faster, potch harder. But I walked out of the room anyway.

I quickly grabbed the monitor to watch. He looked right, he looked left. He chatted. He moved his feet around. He wiggled in the swaddle. Then, maybe 15 or so minutes later, it happened. He turned his head to the side and closed his eyes. Then, he fell asleep!!!!

No potch necessary. Not crying at all.

This is a big step, because if Henry hasn’t fallen asleep nursing, he is usually screaming the moment I even consider putting him down. He can sense these things.

So, after falling asleep around 830, the little dude slept until 215/230ish! I don’t know why my boobs can’t handle it, because I’ve gone this long before, but holy crap. I think I’m about to pump a gallon of milk (Mark takes the first night feeding while I pump).

Anyway, the moral of the story is that my little man is amazing!! Go Henry! Keep up the good work 🙂

The End to Nursing

I realized that I never posted about “weaning” Charlie. As I’ve mentioned a million times, I absolutely loved nursing my little lady. It was SUCH precious time together and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to do so. Not to mention, as a side, that at 17 months, Charlotte has yet to need any form of antibiotic. Healthy little chickadee.

Anyway, I digress.

Up until 11 months, I nursed her 4-a million times per day (clearly a million was as an infant and 4 was at a year) and pumped once… BUT, once I hit 11ish months, I stopped pumping. I had enough milk to last until she was a year and at one year, we gave her cow’s milk anytime I wasn’t there to nurse her. (I hated pumping with a deep burning passion. Cheers to all you mommas who do it way more than that. I don’t know how you do it.)

So, how long were we able to breastfeed? Charlie and I made it 14.5 months! I think we both would have gone longer if it weren’t for the fact that my supply literally disappeared almost instantly upon me getting pregnant.

It was actually quite sad. We went from nursing 3-4 times per day to pretty much having to stop cold turkey.

Charlotte would go to nurse and would pull off because she wasn’t getting any milk. It was actually really sad.

She would point to my chest, and through sobs say, “dat” and sign “milk.”

Thankfully, this gut-wrenching experience only lasted for a few days until she got used to the bottle.

The only time it ever really came up after those first few days to a week was when we would bring her in our bed for Saturday/Sunday morning snuggles. Again, we started bringing a bottle into bed with her and that seemed to eliminate the tears.

And just like that, we were done.

It’s funny because it’s been a non-issue for over a month now, when all of a sudden the other day, it came up again. I was changing and C happened to be in the room. She pointed at my chest. I knelt down to start my explanation of the female anatomy when she came towards me, mouth open.

I laughed and explained that she used to drink from mommy’s breasts, but not anymore. Soon, mommy would feed her new little brother or sister, just as I had fed her.

She laughed, shook her head “yup” and we moved on.

 

Low Milk Supply

Over the past two months, I’ve gone on three trips without baby Charlotte (to Seattle with my girlies and to Puerto Rico and New Mexico for weddings). Not to mention, I’ve had a few nights away with the hubs to Chicago for my birthday and for random evenings out with friends.

While I’ve had a blast, my body is suffering a bit.

Before this last trip, I was starting to notice that my milk supply was down, but since I’ve been back, it’s been so low. Charlotte ends each of her four daily nursing sessions in tears because she wants more milk.

It’s so frustrating and upsetting.

I’ve been chugging liquids today and am going to eat a ton of oatmeal in the coming days to help increase my milk supply, but I’m a little worried that this far into the game (10.5 months into nursing), that my body isn’t going to be able to recover and rebuild my supply. So worried that I might also add another daily pump session… and I HATE pumping.

My original plan was to nurse for the first year, but truly, I don’t see Charlotte or I being ready to give up nursing in a month and a half. She’s naturally weaned a bit, drinking closer to 25 ounces compared to the 40+ she was consuming before. But despite the mild wean, she still loves nursing and shows no signs of being done. Not to mention the fact that I’m not ready… at all… either. I love our quiet, sweet time together.

Nursing my little babe is pretty much my favorite part of each day. She’s just so sweet and cuddly during those times.

With that said, I have to apologize to my friend who asked me for my pre-momma opinion of her nursing her babe until 1.5 years old. I shouldn’t have judged… I get it. Love you, J!

The Opposite of Yesterday

I had an absolutely great day with my girl. She was so sweet and silly and loving. She napped wonderfully. She was wonderful.

Since we had her on formula for a couple of days, nursing her has been challenging. I’ve been working hard to overcome my supply issue and as a result, she has been a bit frustrated. My milk flow is now super slow – or at least it is compared to the flow when I had an over supply.

Anyway, most of our feedings are interrupted 3-10 times with blood curdling screams. It sucks. Especially because I LOVE nursing. It felt so sad to have our rhythm totally out of whack.

Well, tonight, even though Charlotte stayed up a little late to play with daddy and I, she nursed so well. It was the first time in almost 2 weeks. She held my hand and rubbed my arm and was just sweet as can be. It just melts me.

A lot of the time I’ll play on my phone or “like” every post I see on Facebook while I nurse. Tonight, I just watched my sweet baby and cherished our time together.

When she was done eating, she sat up and fussed a little. I gave her the paci and stood up, holding her against me. We swayed, hugging for a few minutes before I kissed her and put her in her crib. There were no tears, no fusses. She just laid in bed like a good little angel, and within minutes, she was asleep.

Total perfection.

Tonight I have a glowing heart and more for love for that sweet little girl than I know what to do with.

Dairy Elimination Update

UGH! I’m feeling really defeated right now. I’ve been on the dairy/soy elimination diet for over two weeks now and there has been no improvement in Charlotte’s stool. In fact, yesterday I saw blood again. I called my doc and she’s recommending switching Charlie to a special formula for a week while I totally detox my body (only eating whole food prepared by me), but said that if I want to give it another week, that would be fine.

I’m a total breastfeeding lover, so of course, I don’t want to give my sweet baby formula. BUT, I’m worried that I’m being selfish.

My plan is to totally cut out anything and everything that could be a culprit. That includes dairy, soy, nuts (almonds), beef, eggs, wheat, corn and shellfish. I’m not sure what that leaves to eat, but I’d literally eat only celery if it meant that I could healthily continue breastfeeding my sweet pumpkin.

But in the meantime, while I’m detoxing, I feel like I need to give her the formula and it pretty much breaks my heart.

Detoxing…

Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I’m feeling pretty unsatisfied from my meals today. I have to admit it, I’ve been drinking either a keriug Chai Latte or Hot Chocolate every day after lunch for an embarrassing amount of time… and I’m missing it. I’m staring at a clementine right now just knowing that it’s not going to do the trick.

I know, I know… it could be worse. And it’s definitely not the worst thing in the world to have my bad habits broken. But still… I want a cookie.

Honestly, the worst part is the fact that all of my stored pumped milk is unuseable. That means that despite the fact that my wonderful husband takes any and all night feeds, I have to wake up to pump so he has milk to give our girl. Our “reserve” went from probably 100 ounces to 4 ounces. We’re saving all of my “dairy milk” in hopes that maybe there will be use for it in the future, but I’m not hopeful. Plus, that means that I have a LOT of pumping to do to earn a sans baby field trip. Totally sucky.

As an FYI, hubs takes the night feeds because tiny Charlotte gets way too excited to see mommy and thus refuses to go back to bed making night feeds go from 20 minutes (how long it takes with daddy) to over an hour (how long it takes with mommy).

As

Super Soaker

No, I am not talking about the water guns… I’m talking about my out of control milk maids. It’s so random, but last night I was telling a friend about how a few weeks ago, Charlotte was minding her own business, eating a milk snack when she backed off for a break. To her surprise, my boobs didn’t get the memo and literally sprayed her right in the face. She was so surprised… nobody enjoys milk in the eye.

Now, fast forward to today. I woke up totally engorged. (Sorry for the TMI if you’re reading this, Grandpa.) Anyway, I had fed Charlotte last night at 10:30 pm and decided not to pump after. Typically, my routine is to put her to sleep around 6:30 with a big milk snack and then pump before bed (around 10). Since we’ve been doing bottles at night and my husband had the first shift, I slept until 6:30 am (thank you, sweet girl, for choosing not to wake up more than once last night). Anyway, I woke up at 6:30 really needing to get rid of some milk. I fed Charlotte, but unfortunately, she wasn’t as hungry as I needed her to be and I was in a rush to get ready for work and didn’t have time to pump.

Once we got to work and got settled, I proceeded to feed the sweet girl again and holy smokes. My boobs were literal weapons. Not only were they releasing excessive amounts of milk at extreme speeds causing the poor girl to keep choking, but they were out of control spraying everywhere. All over her face, all over me… it was a mess. I was literally trying to block the milk spray with my hand and of course, I didn’t have a burp cloth with me so I’m wiping excessive amounts of milk on my jeans, sweater, etc. and using my white shirt to wipe up the milk that was overflowing from her mini mouth. Oy. All the while, I’m trying to make the situation peaceful so she would go down for her nap.

A real milksplosion.

After she went down for her nap, I decided it was time to pump so we could have less dangerous feedings for the remainder of the day. I pumped out 8.5 ounces! Mind you, that was after I had fed her and sprayed milk all over the conference room at work.

Just another day in the life of a breastfeeding momma 🙂

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The Maternity Leave Debacle

As I may have mentioned, my work situation has gone through quite a change over the past couple of months. In anticipation of baby and to help my company cut overhead costs, I began working half-time there and half-time at my parents’ company. Working at my parents’ company offers some obvious benefits… I get to work with my parents (most days, this is a pro), I’ll get to bring our baby to work, and my sweet puppito gets to join me.

My original employer was quite generous in allowing me to keep all of my benefits (insurance, disability, etc) despite my part-time status; however, the last thing to be figured out has been my maternity leave. Now, with only 8 weeks until the big day, my boss has finally buckled down in trying to figure out the deal. As of right now, here’s where things stand… I will go unpaid (or can use vacation days – which I don’t have) for 3 weeks and then my “disability insurance” or maternity leave will kick in at 70% of my pay. So far, so good. But, the duration is where it gets tricky.

I have requested 12 weeks maternity leave, which would be 3 weeks unpaid and 9 weeks paid. My company is requesting that I get a doctor’s note to determine the length of my leave and they will give me the shorter of the two lengths (either 12 weeks or whatever my doc says). Well, standard required medical leave is 6 weeks for a vaginal birth, 8 weeks for a c-section. That will NOT work for me… at all.

So obviously my first thought is, what should I bake before my doctor’s appointment next Thursday?

Yes, as I’ve said before, I am not opposed to bribery. In fact, I plan to show up with something delicious… maybe mini pies… AND, will also have a couple of articles printed on the benefits of longer maternity leave for breastfeeding moms. Here’s one article I found. Oy… I hope my doc goes for it… wish me luck!

I know I shouldn’t complain because many women don’t get any compensation during their leave… but that’s just ridiculous. We spend 40 weeks housing a baby in our bodies, feeding this baby from our bodies, and then, expel said baby from our very petite vaginas… could you treat us with a little decency?

 

Symptoms

I haven’t been amazing at noticing our little girl’s movement patterns… except for one. She definitely gets playful and squirmy around 9/10ish. Her squirms typically last for 30-45 minutes and aren’t your average kick. These are full-on, belly moving, body twisting rolls. AND, I love it. Today I’ll pay attention to see when else she gets her play on.

In other news, I have to admit a symptom that isn’t really my favorite. But first, let me explain that my husband is SUCH a fidgeter. I’m constantly asking him to stop tapping (many times the tapping is on my leg or another limb), or to quit rhythmically messing with my nail or hand. There is just something about the fidgets that makes me nutso. Now, with that said… while I find the idea of our baby hiccuping in my tum ADORABLE, the act of it makes me a little neurotic. It hits that same twitchy nerve that goes off when my husband fidgets. And, I feel guilty for wishing it would end because as a whole, I love feeling her and knowing she’s doing well… but it’s just a bit annoying. And she gets them a lot… pretty much every morning… and a couple other times throughout the day. Phew… got it off my chest 🙂

Last night, I went to bed at 10, which felt super early. While I’m still tired today, it was nice to actually get some decent sleep!

Suckle a Wolverine

Ughh! Bad work day. I’m working on the world’s worst project and am not happy about it. On the positive, I found this article as I was trying to salvage my brain from combustion…

Suck it! The REAL Way to Prep for Nursing!

Obviously the key here is rubbing sandpaper on your nipples and suckling a wolverine. While I might not enjoy the painful nipple action, I did get a much-needed laugh out of this article.