I apologize in advance if this post is all over the place and not very organized, but there are a few things I want to address…
In the mornings she is so smiley and in such a good mood. Getting big bright-eyed smiles like this every morning just puts me in such a good mood for the day. She’s at the point now where she smiles at just about anyone who smiles at her (unless she’s really really hungry, tired, or dirty, in which case nobody can get her to smile!). It also makes me wish that the day could go by just a little bit faster so that I can go pick her up from daycare and just smile at her all day!
#2: Milk Supply
So from the very beginning I have had a somewhat low-to-normal milk supply, as far as we can tell. We met with the Lactation Consultant twice and she gave me a bunch of things to do to help increase my supply. To be 100% honest, I haven’t been doing all of the things she told me I could be doing. The only one I’ve been doing consistently is drinking a lot of water.
The Pediatrician told us that at Julia’s age, she should be drinking about 4 ounces every 3 hours, but since she nurses every 2 hours when I’m with her, I’ve been sending her, for the past few weeks, with four 3-ounce bottles (she’s at daycare from about 7:30-3:30). The past few days, when I pick her up, one of the ladies working at the daycare tells me very adamantly that Julia is mad when she finishes a bottle and that I need to give her more milk. (I’m not going to get into too much detail about why this might not be true, why they might be over-feeding her, and why they may not be feeding her the way you’re “supposed to” bottle feed a breastfed baby, or why she’s probably getting exactly the amount of milk that she needs, or why they should try to use other ways to soothe her and calm her down when she cries than shoving a bottle in her face, or about how she likes to comfort suck when she nurses, etc…) The thing is, so far I’ve been giving her ALL the milk I can pump… and 12 ounces is all I’ve been able to pump each day so far. Mind you, that’s with pumping 4 times at work and another 1-2 times at home after Julia goes to sleep or before she wakes up in the morning. I’ve decided I need to up her bottles to 4 ounces each, but I can’t go much beyond that. So… in order to give her four 4-ounce bottles, I need to pump 4 more ounces every day than I’ve been doing. So for the next week and a half (until her 4-month visit with the Pediatrician next Friday), I’m going to put in 110% effort to increase my milk supply. I’m going to do everything in my power to increase my supply so that I can continue to exclusively breastfeed her (my goal has always been to exclusively breastfeed her until 6 months and then start to introduce cereal and/or purees/solids as recommended). So here’s my action plan:
- Drink lots of water
- Drink “Mother’s Milk” tea 3 times/day
- Eat oatmeal every day
- Take the recommended dose (or possibly 1.5-2 times the recommended dose) of Fenugreek
- Pump after feedings when we’re at home
- Pump after Julia goes to sleep at night
- Make lactation cookies this weekend
If, by next Friday, I’m not able to increase my milk supply enough that I can continue to send her to daycare with four 4-ounce bottles, then I’m going to talk to the Pediatrician about other options… should we start supplementing her with one bottle of formula each day? Should we start spoon-feeding her cereal to increase her caloric intake and help to keep her full? Should I tell the daycare to suck it up and deal with it and that she should be just fine with the amount of milk I’m sending with her? (and maybe give them a handout about how to bottle-feed breast-fed babies properly to make sure they’re not being over-fed?)
I’ll keep you in the loop about how this goes… so far today I’ve had my oatmeal and I’ve had 1 cup of Mother’s Milk tea, and I’m just about to finish my 3rd 16-ounce bottle of water. So far in 2 pumping sessions at work I’ve pumped 5 ounces. I also pumped 2 ounces at 11 PM last night, so I’ve got a total of 7 ready to go for tomorrow. Still need 9 more ounces just for today!
#3: Parenting Theories & Methods
One of the biggest things I’ve learned so far in being a parent is that you can read all the parenting books you want and you can read up on all the latest theories about babies and development, about sleep, etc. but when it really comes down to it, you just have to figure out what works with your baby. There are theories on both extremes: there are people who say that if you let your baby sleep in bed with you, they’ll never learn to sleep on their own, they’ll always be dependent on you and they’ll be sleeping in bed with you until they’re 4 or 5 years old. On the other end, there are people who say that if you put a baby in a crib to sleep by themselves too young, that they won’t trust you, they won’t think you’ll be there to care for them in a time of need, they’ll become insecurely attached. There are also all kinds of theories… like I’ve been reading on one forum I post on, about “Wonder Weeks.” It’s this idea that when a baby is going through a big developmental leap, they will be extra fussy and might not sleep very well for a week or two at a time. Or people say that “growth spurts” happen at particular times, and when their baby wants to eat more than usual they chock it up to a growth spurt–there’s the 1 week growth spurt, the 2 week growth spurt, the 6-week growth spurt, the 3 month growth spurt, etc. (Did you ever stop and think that maybe your baby’s just a baby and that babies grow pretty continuously and that babies need to eat a lot all the time in order to keep growing as much as they do?) People just like to put names on these concepts and ideas to make themselves feel better about what they’re going through… the baby’s being fussy… “Oh she must be going through a wonder week!” The baby’s eating every 2 hours in the middle of the night… “Oh it’s the 3-month growth spurt!”
Really why can’t parents just roll with the punches and take each day or each week one at a time. Rather than trying to put a label on everything your baby goes through, just enjoy every moment with them! Enjoy watching them learn and discover the world around them. If she’s hungry, feed her… if she’s tired, put her to sleep… if she has a couple nights of not sleeping very well, it could be anything… there’s no need to label it!
Ok… rant over!
Superbowl’s in 3 days! My mom gets here in 5 days! Mardi Gras is coming up! There’s so much to look forward to!