Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Baby turns 8 months today!

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It has been a while since I spared some time to write. I thought before that having a child gets easier with time. The truth is – it doesn’t! You just get used to the fact that you wake up in the morning, the day is filled with you serving the child – feed, entertain, change, clean, etc., and then the day is over. I’m tired all the time, and at the moments when I am able to rest, I just blank out and don’t want to do anything, including writing. So no blog posts for a while.

Today I look at my child and think to myself – I can’t believe it’s been 8 months already. It feels like 4 months maybe, to me. Time flies, three seasons have been experienced – he came into this world in winter and summer is almost gone now. This is the first year that I haven’t even been to the beach – not to have a walk, not to sunbathe, nothing. The scarce tan that I’ve gotten this year is “pram tan” – mostly my arms and feet, from the daily hour spent on a walk, pushing my son in the pram. I do enjoy these walks as much as laying in the sand on a beach – it is time when I don’t have to do anything, think about anything, it’s a pause where I just walk. Through these months we have walked through ups and downs. The ups are the happiness my son brings me, teaching me to be in the present, be happy, wake up with a smile and love. I love him more than anything and want to give him the best of everything that I can. And the downs – the constant sleep deprivation and tiredness, the routine (good in some ways but sometimes makes me long for the old days when I wasn’t restricted), and the worst – the breastfeeding struggles.

Currently I’m feeding my child mostly solids, a little bit of my pumped breast milk during the day, and two meals of milk at night. A couple of months ago, he refused to breastfeed completely. He wanted the milk, but not from me. No matter how I tried and worked on getting him back on the breast, nothing brought success. The resistance to breastfeed had been building up gradually for a while. Initially he just got distracted easily during feeds and wouldn’t be interested to continue feeding, so I started feeding him in the bedroom, in the quiet. Soon he wouldn’t breastfeed and would prefer bottle if it had been a while since he woke from a nap, so I scheduled the feeds for when he wakes up. Next, he would be OK with feeding only a minute or two after waking up while he was still sleepy. Next – only immediately after waking up, so every feed during the day was me sprinting to the bedroom as soon as I heard the tiniest sound from the bedroom. God forbid he woke up during the daily walk before we had reached home – he no longer would feed from me, only bottle worked. Finally, the most stressful time was when I would only be able to breastfeed him while he sleeps. I made him fall asleep by bouncing on fitness ball to sneak in a feed. As soon as his eyes were open – hysterics about being on the boob, as if I was hurting him. For a while, at least night feeds were stressless, but even that ended. When he refused to breastfeed even at night, I just gave up, admitted defeat and from there on I have been pumping the milk and feeding it to him via bottles. That means working three times more – pumping, washing and sterilising everything, warming up the milk and then feeding – but there is less stress about it. Initially I pumped 4 times a day, one of them being at night but at least now I have reduced it to 2 times – in the morning and in the evening.

I try not to think about it too much, and life goes on, I am happy that at least my child is getting my milk and not formula, at least he is a generally happy little angel, learning new things all the time. But sometimes the pain about this surfaces. For example tonight, when putting him to sleep, he was upset and restless, so I had to warm up some milk for him and bottle-feed him for him to fall asleep. All the while, my engorged breasts were leaking milk. I would be so happy to just offer him my breast, hold him in my arms until he blissfully falls asleep whilst feeding. How I long for the times when he was very little, tiny baby! I remember how he used to stop in the middle of a feed to look up and smile at me, the little flirt! I’m heartbroken that it’s not so anymore.

Oh well, it is what it is now and all I have is these blissful memories, saved as screenshots in my mind. And the thought that I’m wiser now, and won’t make the same mistakes with the next child. Maybe I will still get a good and long breastfeeding experience. 🙂

As to how the baby is doing – he is quite mobile, as he rolls and rotates easily. He hasn’t figured out crawling yet, but it’s a work in progress. He has three meals of solids every day – porridge in the morning, fruit smoothies or yoghurt for lunch and blended veggies for dinner. He also has snacks that he handles himself – some donut cookies (or barankas), peaches and melon pieces (from a mesh feeder), cucumber sticks, and the latest favourite – blueberries. He is a bit awkward with picking the berries up and putting them in his mouth, but he manages and successfully chews and eats them. I do monitor all that, just in case he chokes on bits of food.

He is learning to pronounce new sounds and repeats them like a parrot. For example, for a few days, the first sounds upon waking up were “taco-taco-taco-taco…”, and that was all he was saying all day long. 😀 A new discovery for him recently is that if he “speaks” into a cup that we use to pour water on him during bathing, the sound echoes. So during the baths, there is a lot of singing into the cup. He is good at drinking from a sippy-cup, and when he has satisfied his thirst – he sips and gurgles the water instead of swallowing, entertaining himself and getting himself all wet. A clever little baby, isn’t he!? Another thing he does for entertainment recently is bob his head – again like a parrot. 😀 Fun times!

As for myself, despite lack of sleep and time for myself, I have managed to find the time to go to a fitness class twice a week – an exercise group for mummies, so I can take the baby with me. That makes me feel good about myself, as I can do more every time and feel stronger overall, and my posture has improved a bit. Exercise is such a good thing, and I hope I can keep it up.

That’s all for this time! 🙂

 

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Dealing with breast rejection

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Right now I’m sitting on the side of my bed, holding my sleeping baby, hoping that when he wakes up soon he will feed. 90% possibility  that he wont.(note from my future self – he didn’t).

For the last two weaks I have been working hard on getting him to like feeding from me again and I just feel physically and emotionally drained. I’ve searched the internet with fire to understand why this is happening and how to solve it. I’ve cried my eyes out for a few days. Spent some time blaming myself for my mistakes and the world for the negative experiences we have gone through. I wish I never gave my son a pacifier,  I wish I never fed him by schedule rather than on demand. I wish he had been fed by bottle as little as possible. I wish that my son felt safety and bliss when feeding instead of stress and anxiety.

I wish we never had that ultrasound that made us go through such a stressful and painful experience at the hospital and after that. I wish I never had milk supply problems.

I would never wish this all to anyone.

Lately, to get over this all,  I’ve been spending pretty much all of my time with my baby, topless like an African woman to make him used to my breasts and to make them always available. I have taken away the pacifier with the exception of sleeping times.  Trying to also do skin to skin with him but that’s only been nice while taking a bath with him. Will have another bath together today as well. I bottle feed him only about 60ml while he’s awake to take the edge off the hunger and then bounce on the ball when it’s sleep time,  wait for him to fall asleep and then feed him. I never show any pressure for him to latch on and feed. So far we have tiny progress – he’s ok with my breasts being present and even in his face, he enjoys being carried around a lot.

One of the big progresses – I was bouncing him to sleep like always, singing to him,  and decided to try taking the pacifier away for a bit to see how he reacts . He didn’t show any reaction whatsoever so I just carried on singing Brahms lullaby to him,  and then he just turned and latched on and fed!  I felt like peeing my pants from joy,  and regretted pumping an hour before – my breasts we’re pretty empty. There were two more times when he shortly latched on and sucked for a few second’s only at bedtime in the evening when we both just lie in the big bed until he falls asleep. That also felt awesome,  like I’ve been kissed by a prince from fairy tales. At those moments of progress I see hope,  light at the end of the tunnel,  and could do a happy dance. But the rest of the time I’m just tired of it all.

I have had no time for myself to the extent that I don’t brush my hair or shower for three days straight. We have been skipping walks lately too,  so I also feel trapped at home. Right now I just want to return to a somewhat normal life, and stop this all,  it’s hard not only for myself but also for my partner. Thank him for his patience,  help and understanding about all this.

Maybe  I just should relax and let whatever happen and try to be ok with it. I’ve been so attached to the idea of breastfeeding my child until he weans off himself,  but he and karma seem to have other plans I guess. Maybe I will try to relax and let go and see where that takes us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breastfeeding is hard work

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I cherish so much the moments when I have successful breastfeeding experiences. If my baby eats out both breasts and then falls asleep, milkdrunk – that’s just bliss for me.

Unfortunately, that is now not happening so often. Just after I dealt with low milk supply and got around solving it, and making sure it doesn’t go down, now I’m also dealing with my son rejecting my breast. The only way I can breastfeed him, is right after he has woken up, while he’s still sleepy. Or I have to make him fall asleep and then feed him. On rare occasions he has also fed while he’s awake if we are bouncing on the fitness ball. All other times it’s pumped milk in a bottle, or in the worst cases milk in a syringe.

I don’t know what has caused all this. A couple of times it has been because of him having teething pains – then he literally looks at the breast or bottle and cries because he wants the food but it just hurts, and the syringe then is the savior. But in general, the only idea of the reason that I have is that he might have formed negative associations with the breast when the milk supply was low and that made him upset. I don’t know why exactly, but it sucks.

This morning, for example, he woke up after a four hour sleep. Not upset or anything, but wont even look at the breast, just chilling in my arms and making fart-pushing faces. OK, I still had a hope he would eat a few moments later, bouncing on the fitness ball, so we moved on to changing his nappy, giving it a go on the ball, with no success, so I put him on the floor for playtime. Nope – upset because of being hungry. Back to the ball, and yesss – he actually started eating. But then that lasted only 2 minutes instead of at least 4. He was still grumpy when I put him on the floor. Oh, what to do, I pumped 2 ounces of milk and tried to feed him with bottle – no, not gonna happen. A few sucks and then he started doing the wiggly worm. Last resort – the syringe. No resistance there, except half of the milk ended up on his clothes because he just spat it out mostly.

This is so stressful and upsetting for me. If he at least was a chubbier baby, I would be OK, one or two skipped meals won’t do any harm. But he has barely gained any weight within a month – only around 300 grams. And that’s while having a bit of solids every day. I’m literally fearing every doctor’s visit when he is getting weighed.

Another more of an annoyance with this is that we can’t really go anywhere with the child without stress. Going to visit my parents is a headache because I know that will be a day of feeding problems. Everything has to be planned and timed precisely – he always has to go on a nap just in time so he would wake up for meal time, and so that the meal time wouldn’t come while he’s fully awake. Even going on a walk with a pram is often stressful – god forbid that he wakes up before we have returned home!

I did discover a very good YouTube channel that talks about all the breastfeeding problems, including milk supply and breast rejection – Lyndsey Hookway – Feed Sleep Bond. I wish I had come across it when I was still pregnant, or at least in the early days after my son was born. Such good insight and important details are given by the lactation consultant there that no one tells anyone here. No prenatal classes talk about it to so much detail. All I have is a handed out book called Breastfeeding ABC, which does touch upon my issues but barely. After reading it while being pregnant, the only problem I feared with regard to breastfeeding was mastitis and clogged milk ducts.

Turns out that breastfeeding is so simple yet very complicated at the same time. Let’s hope things get better and I don’t end up having a nervous breakdown. Just kidding. Or am I? :p