Thursday, March 12, 2015

Liquid Gold, among other things

Breastfeeding, at least for me, is the pits. I don't enjoy it terribly and haven't had much success in the past so it seemed like something to just endure because it was expected of me.

With Asher, my milk was little better than water. I think it was a combination of the trauma of his birth and my stress over it not happening as easily as I'd hoped it would, but he was losing weight and I was gaining while breastfeeding. He was 7#4 at birth, 7# at one month and 8# at two months. That's not good. I gained about five pounds in that time frame because of how much I was eating to try to get my supply up, and I was eating pretty healthy, too. So we gave up the exclusivity of breastfeeding around 8 weeks and gave up all together about mid April, when he was about 3.5 months old. I had no trouble weaning him, since I'd barely had anything to begin with. I would try to pump and after 15 minutes on each side I'd have about 1-2 ounces to show for it, if I was lucky.

In spite of that, when Elijah was born, I decided to try again. We were a little more successful and he started gaining appropriately and continued to do so for about 7 weeks. As soon as he stopped gaining, we started supplementing. Austin and I got some kind of food poisoning or something over Thanksgiving (when he was 7 weeks) and I was so sick I couldn't keep anything down for about two days, so obviously very quickly stopped making milk. By the first weekend of December, Elijah was weaned and I was dry with only one day of discomfort. Pumping with him was slightly better: I'd almost always get about 1.5-2 ounces, but never felt like I had the supply to pump regularly. she's a whole different story. It's like my breasts have done the forehead smack saying "Oh! THAT'S what we're for!" Right before she hits her growth spurts, we'll have a night or two that we have trouble filling her up at bedtime, but otherwise, she nurses every 3 hours to satisfaction. I wake up almost every morning with a soggy shirt, having leaked through TWO reusable breast pads and my shirt. One morning Eden, who sleeps right next to me, had a milk stain on her shirt from me from her neck to her naval. The pump I have was purchased at a consignment sale, though it had never been used, and it wasn't the best, but it was something. I pumped with it a couple weeks ago just for some relief when she was sleeping long and I was overly full and got 2 ounces no problem.

Because of Eden's heart, we're getting pretty friendly with the BCBS customer service people and so I called and asked about a breast pump, since there's new legislature about insurance companies being required to cover lactating mothers' supplies. We're in the lucky group that gets one covered 100%, so I went through some hoops to get one. I ordered it Saturday, they confirmed it on Tuesday, I got it Wednesday and used it Thursday morning after Eden nursed a little and went back to sleep, leaving me uncomfortable.

This breast pump is amazing. I got nearly 3 ounces in one session. This is huge for me. I'm hoping to continue to do this so I can store up and save some for those nights when she's not happy and I'm dry. Or for nights I want to go out to eat with friends, or to a movie. Getting to leave the house for more than 2 hours without her would be awesome. Because that's as long as I've been truly away from her since she was born: 2 hours.

I'm working on figuring out a routine for the pumping and storage, figuring out how to do it, when to do it, the best way to do it. We want to give her the best chances we can and feel like for her immune system, that's probably going to be breast milk, since I'll pass on some of my immunities to her.

I absolutely do not have a problem with formula feeding. I did it with both boys and they're great kids in pretty much every way. If I stop providing for her adequately, we've got formula in the pantry to give her. She's had it a few times in her life when I just couldn't provide and we were exhausted and she was starving. Not all moms have success with breastfeeding, just like I didn't the first two times. And some moms rock it, like some moms I know in MOPS who breastfed until their kids were over 2 years old. That's amazing to me. I'll be happy if I can do it past 8 weeks without it damaging my child.

In other news, the kids are all doing great. We went a little stir crazy after nearly two weeks of wintry weather keeping us in nearly every day. Bob was and is awesome about taking the boys to McDonald's to play and leave me alone about once a week.

Asher is still reading and writing his name, he's learning a little bit about patience with his brother (not hitting back immediately, coming to get us when Elijah's doing something he really shouldn't be, etc), learning his address and other typical four year old things.

Elijah is slowly learning to calm down when he's angry instead of throwing things. That's something that's going to take a while, I think. I've started taking him to his room and his bed when he starts to throw a tantrum and I think it's starting to slowly kick in. Today I forgot about him in time out for about ten minutes and when I came back he was sleeping.

Eden is doing fabulously, growing and gaining weight appropriately. She's in a weird position where the newborn clothes are too small and the 0-3 month clothes are too big. So her onesies and sleepers are a little baggy. Newborn outfits still fit so she's still adorable when we go places. Asher loves to pick out headbands with bows and put them on her. Every time he says she looks like a princess.

On one of the last icy days, Austin crashed his car a little and while it's still driveable, it wasn't street legal. We're still waiting to find out what's going on there. He's also gotten some kind of extra responsibilities at work that are exciting. Training customers on their products? He's the one to ask about it.

My world is mostly kids. Keeping the boys from killing each other or themselves, feeding and keeping Eden content. Some cooking and cleaning happens, but not tons since we still have a freezer full of food and a housekeeper who comes once a week (that's the best, Mom is so great to do that for us). We're slowly starting to get out of the house more since the weather is nicer. We go play at the playgrounds nearby, we go to friends' houses, we go to church, tonight we went to Artwalk. I'm getting better at babywearing (I think) and I feel like I have a pretty good handle on life with three kids. Though once the housekeeper quits coming I may change my tune.

All in all, life is good around here. Everyone is happy (most of the time) and healthy and (usually) doing what they're supposed to be.

Breastmilk under a microscope: there's a reason it's called liquid gold.

Brelfies were a thing for a while. It's nothing to be ashamed of so here's mine.

Content child after a nursing session.

If we wanted to be sneaky about where we play, Asher didn't get the memo. 

Elijah being Elijah: falling asleep with his hand in the pretzel bag while watching Thomas.

Our very own liquid gold.

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