Showing posts with label breast feeding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label breast feeding. Show all posts


Thoughts on Breast feeding

It's been a while since I've posted about breast feeding. You know, because I haven't been doing it for six months now. Since I'm more removed from it, I thought I'd summarize my thoughts on it for me. As always, my views on this don't apply to everyone. It's not easy, and it's not for everyone. I have no judgement for those that don't do it.*

Okay, so back to my thoughts.

I've always wanted to breast feed my babies. I have dreamed of being able to until the babes are at least one, but two babies later and it still has not happened. I'm not sure where and when I got this idea that going until one was my huge goal. I know most of it came with not wanting anything to do with formula. I do realize it has come a long way from what it used to be, but I strongly dislike it. I hate how the baby's BMs are disgustingly smelly and how the formula smells once mixed with water. 

Oh, and then there is the cost. I feel so wasteful buying it when I know that I potentially could be feeding the baby for free (minus the cost of me eating more food to keep up I guess). 

I also love the intimacy between the baby and me. It's something that only we can do together and it means the world to me. I truly love that closeness that developed between us. Those months with each of my girls were precious for my little memories even though they were also filled with anxiety and struggle here and there (I'm looking at you, mastitis).

If you've read my blog for a while, you know that I struggled to keep my supply up with Audrey right after she turned four months old. She would eat and eat and then cry and cry, no matter what I did. It wasn't enough and I knew it. I felt pressure from some to just switch to formula or at least supplement and let me tell you, that angers me now that I look back. I know that it isn't for everyone, but I should not be guilted into giving up breast feeding just because someone else is uncomfortable with it. Obviously my interests were for Audrey's health. That was one of the reasons I was pushing for continuing breast feeding. The immunity that comes with it is wonderful, and I didn't want to let that part go either. The outside pressure and opinions did not help me out. They just made me feel worse.

I also had support for continuing breast feeding, for trying all kinds of things to boost my supply, and for fighting the negative comments and vibes I got. I'm so thankful for that.

Ultimately, I knew I had to make the choice to switch to formula when I was barely getting anything out from pumping. I was devastated because I wanted to continue and my body wasn't letting me. 

Months later, I learned that there was a good chance it was something on Audrey's end. More than likely, the way she was eating was not encouraging me to make more, so my body started making less. I don't know this for sure, but I feel so much better knowing that my body is almost certainly capable of lasting longer than four months. This is why I talk to others about things like this, and why I blog about it. For all of the negative junk that comes with, I learn about things I wouldn't have heard before and it makes it all worth it.

I could have fought harder for it. I could have gone to see a nursing consultant or a physical therapist for Audrey, to make sure she was sucking the right way. Looking back, I am tempted to kick myself for not fighting more for something that meant a lot to me. But at the same time, it's not the end of the world. I know that it won't affect Audrey long term and now that we are almost done with formula (we're on our last container!) I can honestly say it wasn't terrible to have to use it. 

Whenever we are blessed with another baby, I know that I will want to fight for it again. It means a lot to me, it's good for the baby, and it saves us a little money. I already have the "tools" like the pump, nursing cover, and shield. Ultimately, I know I will want to try again, and for longer.

*But of course, I cannot end this post without my own little disclaimer. It truly is not life or death. There is not proof that breast fed kids are healthier long term so whether or not you choose to breast feed has more to do with the here and now than the child's  adult life and future. Does that make sense? If it is not right for you, then don't stress out about it. Don't feel bad and beat yourself up because you hear "Breast is best" and all that from the granola or natural lovin' moms out there. Sure, it is good, but you need to do what is best for your family. There are a lot of things to factor in and those people saying that aren't taking in your specific circumstances when they declare that. It is a generic statement, not applicable to everyone.

On the flip side, and I say this with all seriousness, back off if you don't like it. It's not your decision and it is just as possible to make a breast feeding mama feel terrible by guilting her about it as it is for the breast feeding mamas to make formula mamas feel bad. It goes both ways. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and looks can mean even more. Nonverbal communication speaks loudly too, and I got a lot of negative feedback in that form. I try to let it roll right off me but honestly, when I was struggling and wanting to keep trying, I felt terrible that I wasn't enough partly because others were going on and on about how hungry Audrey seemed when I was doing my best to feed her with what I thought was best. It was

So, those are my thoughts about it. It's a tiny part of a person's life, whether they were breast fed or bottle fed, but it is oh so controversial and can turn people against each other way too quickly. I truly hope that I can be supportive to other mamas who make their tough decision either way. Honestly. It doesn't matter to me which way you go! Make your decision and stick with it. I have enough love for you either way.


Decisions, decisions

Easter weekend was tough. Audrey was tough. She spent 90% of it screaming and I spent 90% of the weekend struggling to understand what the problem was. 

After all of your suggestions and reassuring words from this post, I tried a bunch of things this weekend to try to help my supply. I tried feeding her every hour, taking the mama's milk tea (disgusting, by the way), pumping afterwards and in between feedings, giving her plenty of time to get every last bit, etc. Some of them worked but not for long. I had two good days with a great amount that filled her up, and then it dropped off again. Let me tell you, holding my screaming baby at 3:00 in the morning knowing that she's hungry and that I don't have enough to feed her rips a mama's heart out.

For whatever reason, my supply is just not holding on. I hate admitting it because that feeling of failing is right at the surface. I know that it doesn't mean anything and that I'm still her mom and good enough for her, but it's there. 

My options are to stop altogether or to do a juggling act between breast feeding and formula. It's less than ideal, but I'm willing to do it. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping that my supply would come back in the meantime. I do realize that the chances of this are slim to none if I'm supplementing, but the thought is still there.

For now, I am feeding her until she won't try anymore and then giving her a couple of ounces of formula. We'll see how it goes.

That was how the weekend was with Audrey. Josie, on the other hand, had a great time. She went with the flow the whole time and was constantly providing a laugh. With the exception of church on Sunday (right at nap time), she was great. 

Most of the pictures I took were random phone pictures, but they still show a glimpse of the weekend.

Jo loves to wake up and play immediately when at Grammy and Papa's, so she spends most of the morning in her PJ's.

We went outside on Saturday afternoon but didn't have Audrey's snowsuit. It was sunny and nice (ABOVE 40 degrees) so we wrapped her up in blankets and Josie's sweatshirt. She was so cozy warm that she fell asleep with the sun shining on her sweet face.

Right before church, she was THIS tired.

We sat in the front row since my mom and sister were part of the praise team, and during Josie's meltdown, she decided the only person she wanted to be near was auntie Lara. That lasted for a couple of minutes, and then we all headed to the nursery....

...where she was happy  as can be since she got to play instead of sit in the uncomfortable pew.

It was an exhausting weekend. For everybody.
 Here's to a better week!

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Audrey's Four Month Doctor Appointment

A little warning: I may sound a little heated in this post because its only been a few hours since the appointment, but bare with me. 

I brought Audrey to the doctor today for her 4 month check up. I had some questions and was looking for serious answers, and I gotta say, my doctor did not deliver. At her last appointment (two months), I had brought up that she had these episodes where it seemed like she couldn't breathe. She would get this look on her face of pure terror, like she was choking, and then take a large breath after several (seemingly long) seconds. Of course this terrified her, and whoever was holding her or saw it happen, so I made a big deal about it at the appointment. The doctor referred me to a child specialist who told me that it was most likely a developmental thing and that she would grow out of it. Not very reassuring, but it didn't happen for a long time after that. It's happened twice in the last two weeks, so I guess she hasn't grown out of it. 

This time around, I was focused on asking about breast feeding/her growth and completely forgot about these episodes. After I left, I realized that she never asked me about it. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I feel like it should have been something she wanted to follow up with. This doctor doesn't seem to remember us from appointment to appointment, so I shouldn't have been that surprised. Last time, I told myself that she would be more personable the more she got to know us, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

So back to my big concern this time. I touched briefly on it in Audrey's monthly update that the last couple of weeks have been tough for us with feeding. I feel like my supply has dropped a lot and combined with her growing appetite, she just never seems full. I've started pumping numerous times a day, sometimes after I feed her or if we're separated for a couple of hours (when she is fed a bottle). It has improved a little, but not back to 100%. I also have been focusing on guzzling water, but again, it has only helped a little. 

I've done a lot of research on this but am certainly no expert, so I was hoping the doctor could affirm or deny what I have already researched. Instead, when I voiced my concerns, she just said that I should make sure to have a healthy diet that includes a lot of dairy and protein. Ok, thank you doctor, but that is the most generic answer you could possibly give me. I was so disappointed.

On top of that, she jumped right into the topic of supplementing. Now I don't want to step on toes here, so please understand this. I have nothing against supplementing with formula (each parent has to make decisions based on their circumstances so there is no judgement here. Remember that we fed Josie formula from 3 months old until she was one), but we haven't exhausted or even really tried all of the options yet. To have her tell me that the only thing I can do is start giving her formula was depressing. Of course I will do that to make sure she has enough calories, but what else can I do to get my supply back up? The body can do amazing things, and it is most likely possible for this problem to be resolved. I just don't have the knowledge of how. I was hoping the highly educated doctor would. 

First time putting her hair up in a clip

She told me that Audrey's weight was concerning (great...) and that she wanted her to come back in a month to check her weight and make sure she is growing enough now that we've "talked about it." I didn't object because I hate confrontation, but I had my doubts about the whole conversation.

I think the biggest thing that frustrated me is that she just jumped on the conclusion that I had brought up. I had mentioned that my supply was low, that maybe I needed to supplement, and she considered that the end of discussion. I asked her straight out what else I could do, but she didn't seem to care or even notice that I was asking for help. 

One thing I've learned over the last couple of years is that if I don't like the doctor, I need to find another one and not go back. It's not worth it for me to be frustrated and disappointed after every appointment. I should be able to trust my doctor and ask as many questions as I want (which by the way is not that many... I'm not crazy over the top with questions). 

My questions for you are: Have you had problems with your supply not being enough? What did you do about it? Have you had issues with a doctor that just doesn't seem to care? Local friends: Any recommendations for a new doctor that I can bring both my girls to?

I had an awesome doctor when I was pregnant, but she moved on and got a new job. It's frustrating but also a little reassuring to know that not all doctors are impersonal and distant or rude. There are doctors that care, remember you and your questions, take the time to listen and come up with solutions. I just have to find one!

To help you understand my doubts, Audrey's weight is 12 lbs 14 oz which is between 25% and 50%. This is only slightly lower than where she was two months ago, and Josie had a much bigger drop than that as she got older. She just started up a lot higher from birth. Audrey's height is still at 90% with her being 24.5 inches long. 

The doctor made me feel like a failure because she isn't growing enough, when the chart she was looking at showed her to be doing just fine. That's frustrating, right?

I know in the long run this problem will seem minor, but it takes up a lot of my time, feeding this baby, and I want to do what is best for her. I want her to continue having my immunity through the breast milk as long as possible (she hasn't been sick yet! Josie had been sick more than once by this point if we're comparing) and I love the bond we have from it. I just am not ready to throw in the towel!

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Rough Start

It's been quiet over here, don't you think? There's a reason. Along with adapting to this new life, I've been fighting off Mastitis. Let me tell you, it's not fun.

Yesterday afternoon, I got that achy feeling you get when the flu is about to hit you hard. My whole body was over sensitive and I knew that something was coming. Eventually it turned into a fever and I started getting chills. The chills were so strong and awful, not like normal chills when having a fever.

I've been having a hard time with breast feeding this time around just because of the sores I have from when she first latched incorrectly. It seems like every time they are almost healed, they get ripped back open again (sorry if that seems graphic). On top of that, my milk supply has been insane, which has caused engorgement, so I wasn't surprised when I had every single symptom of Mastitis. 

But seriously, it's awful. I spent a large portion of yesterday afternoon and evening crying (sometimes sobbing dramatically, hormones you know) and my poor girl Jo didn't even know what was going on.

It's important to continue breast feeding when this happens because it helps flush out the clogged milk duct. It hurts oh so much but is worth it. 

So today, Jo went to Grandma's (seriously what would I do without her) and I stayed home with Audrey and fed her I noticed how red my right side was, so I called the doctor and got in for an afternoon appointment. My doctor confirmed my self-diagnosis and got me the antibiotics and now hopefully I can recover quickly and get past this awful start to what I hope to be a long road of breast feeding.

She's cute, so that helps. 

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