Tag Archives: breast milk

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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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

Never-ending streams of milk

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Recently I experienced a milk crisis. I don’t know if maybe it was just a coincidence, but it was right after (or maybe already during) our hospital visit, which stressed us out and starved me. So I blame that whole experience.

I didn’t even realise that my milk supply had decreased until I brought my son in for a GP visit where he gets weighed and measured. In three weeks he had gained only about 200 grams. Very disappointing for me to see, yet I right away defended my boobs and blamed the hospital and the large amounts of spitting up, and said that now that I have a dairy free diet, it should normalise soon because I already see improvements – he’s spitting up less, and his bowel movements are not as liquid. A couple of days later, at home I realised that the reason he’s not spitting up much is because he doesn’t have much in him. He’s been starving for a while. The GP was right this time – I didn’t have enough milk.

When I realised that my milk sacks have barely any milk in them, I tried mending my diet, still keeping it dairy-free, but cooked nourishing meals to help it all. That did fuck all. Once, after he had emptied one breast, I offered the other one, which he also emptied. However, that left me with barely anything for his next meal, as it doesn’t produce that quickly. When that next feeding time came, of course, he was hysterical – why are you giving me empty boobies??? I cried with him, and quickly got out one of the frozen milk bags from the back-up supplies in my freezer. I put it in hot water to defrost, which luckily took only about ten minutes, and then bottle-fed him that. Holy silence of satisfaction!

That’s when I had had enough of this dairy free diet, I entrusted the baby to my partner, got myself a nice Napoleon cake all for myself and ran a bath. Spent about 4 hours there destressing, binging on the cake, drinking a lot of water, and most importantly – making good use of my breast pump, almost non-stop. Praying for the milk gods to hear me out. Also, thanking myself that I have frozen breast milk supplies for times like this. If I didn’t start producing enough, it would last a few days before I would reluctantly have to resort to feeding him formula. That is my one principle I don’t want to give up – I don’t want to feed him formula.

Luckily, the milk gods heard me. After power-pumping all day, I managed to get out decent amounts of lactation fluid. 😀 I still mostly pumped the next day as well, to stimulate my milk factories more, and now everything is back to normal and I have a happy, well-fed baby. I eat everything I want, all the dairy that I care for.

I experienced what it means that breasts work by the demand-supply principle. I was pumping for periods of at least 10 minutes, even when nothing was coming out, just to stimulate it. And after a while I would literally feel the milk being “injected” into the breast and the flow would renew, and I would get an extra ounce from each breast. It’s amazing how it works.

Also, I have two manual breast pumps. One is by Nuk, and cost around 30 euros, and the other one is a cheap thing I ordered on E-bay, which came from ping-pong land and cost me 6 euros. The cheap one was what rescued me, it’s better than the expensive one, at least I now prefer it.

Another thing I’ve done, just in case, is taking a lactation supplement, which has herbs stimulating breast milk production, such as cumin, fenugreek, fennel, dandelion root, etc. Don’t know if it actually does anything, or if it’s just a placebo effect, but the fact is – I got milk! 😀

Praise the milk gods!