Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pump, Pump, Pump it up!

Great news this morning - Nicolette gained another 4.25 oz last week so I think we're on the right track with breastfeeding!  HOORAY!

Caught mid-stretch...When I see her in her sweet little leg warmers I can't help but sing "She's a Maniac, Maniac on the floor" - you know from "Flashdance"?  :) )

I'm still pumping 8-10 times a day (for 15-20 minutes per session) which is exhausting but totally worth it.  I was continuing to supplement our nursing sessions with an ounce of expressed breast milk via the SNS however as of last Tuesday (or Wednesday I can't seem to keep my days straight anymore) Nicolette voluntarily weaned herself off of the SNS feeder.  She just suddenly absolutely refused to have anything to do with it (despite how much her mommy tried to force feed her that way out of fear that the little one wouldn't be getting enough to eat otherwise...there are women who have to use the SNS feeder for 4-6 months before their supply is built up enough to exclusively nurse their babies).  It scared the dickens out of me and I was so worried that we were going to have a bad weight check this week because of it but that couldn't have been further from the truth.  We had appropriate weight gain (appx. 2/3 oz per day) withOUT the supplement...all of that crazy pumping must have REALLY worked! 

After 2 weeks of pumping I now have at least a gallon of expressed milk safely tucked away in our freezer.  I don't know how that's going to do us any good though since Miss Priss refuses to take a bottle...oh well, time will tell.  I would really hate to have to throw any of this out!    
The stash - this stuff is liquid gold...hours and hours of hard work to build this up!
We have a follow up with the Lactation Consultant this week to make sure that we're staying on track but other than that I hope and pray that we are pretty much set with this breastfeeding stuff.

Breastfeeding is definitely the hardest thing I've ever done.  Harder than my 3 failed IUIs, harder than IVF even with the daily shots and medications...even harder than natural childbirth.  For someone who is a control freak like me it's really hard not to know if she's actually getting milk and if she is how much is she getting.  I'm one who likes to track things down to the tiniest detail (and import it neatly into a spreadsheet) so all of this "unknown" information was pretty scary to me (still is).  I spent several nights in tears terrified that she wasn't getting enough to eat and trying to force feed her either breast milk or formula from a bottle or the SNS without any luck.  Spent night after night desperately trying to wake her up enough to even latch on much less nurse.  Now she's still a sleepy little nurser and I have to perk her up quite a bit but it is a MILLION times better than where we were 3 weeks ago..what should probably only take 20-30 minutes takes us 45 minutes to sometimes over an hour and then I have to pump for 15-20 minutes after that...and then factor in time to rock her before I pump so that she falls asleep, then washing bottles and transferring milk afterwards so I don't have much (if any free time).  On days where she eats every 3 hours I have an hour or so in between to shower, get dressed, do a load of laundry, catch a quick nap, etc.  But on days when she wants to nurse every 2 hours I literally have no time, just barely enough for me to eat (toast or something super easy to grab) and use the restroom.  

Today was a great 3 hour day.  I even managed to fanagle (is that how you spell that word???) a trip to Trader Joe's!  I loved this - I'm a weirdo who actually loves grocery shopping so to be able to go and take a little time and pick out things that I wanted was a welcome excursion for me.  

Next week I have even MORE field trips planned with little miss in tow...a couple of baby showers, a La Leche League Meeting and a jewelry party.  I'm excited to see how it goes being "out and about" a bit more...hoping that the LC gives me the go ahead to cut out a couple of pumping sessions so that I'm not always so confined to the house!

Since I felt so incredibly caught off guard with our breastfeeding troubles I thought I'd put together a little list of...  

Things I Wish I Would Have Known BEFORE Breastfeeding: 
  1. It is HARD work!
  2. Although it is a natural, biological function it does not come easily to all mommies (or babies for that matter...babies need practice too).
  3. That it can take two months or more for mommy and baby to form a comfortable nursing relationship.  (we didn't start clicking until nearly 6 weeks).
  4. LOTS of mommies have LOTS of problems with breastfeeding.  From all of the mothers I've spoken with MORE of them had issues than not.  It's not this seamless experience where your baby is placed on your chest and instinctively starts nursing (at least not for most of the mommies I've spoken to).  I wish I had known this earlier on and perhaps I wouldn't have been so hard on myself.  
  5. How LONG nursing sessions can take - I've had nursing sessions as short as 20 minutes (maybe 2 or 3 times) but more often than not we're nursing for 40+ minutes (with the longest on record being 1 hour and 20 minutes). 
  6. That you have to man-handle your baby...I always had these images of this sweet gentle baby nicely "latching on"...well that isn't the case.  In the hospital my 3am nurse took my precious baby's head and literally jammed it right on there.  
  7. New mommies should ask for help even if they think that things are going fine - better to get help as EARLY in the process as possible.
  8. There is an organization called the La Leche League which meets monthly.  Their whole purpose is to educate women about breastfeeding and provide mother-to-mother support and encouragement.  It would have been so helpful to attend at least one of these meetings BEFORE having Nicolette.  I just assumed that since breastfeeding is natural that it would just happen for us...especially since I had a non-medicated birth and wouldn't be dealing with a drowsy baby or mommy due to drugs administered during labor.
  9. That it can HURT when things aren't going right...cracks, blisters, etc are all battle scars that may be earned along the way and although it isn't correct it is normal to have some of these things...they're all signs that the baby's latch is not correct.  FYI - Virgin Coconut Oil works WONDERS on blisters and cracks!  Better than any other topical ointment I tried.  And it's all natural!  
My loves :) - this little one loves her daddy!


  1. You can donate your excess breast milk. It is used for babies in the NICU. Here is a link: http://www.helpinghandsbank.com/

    1. Thank you so much for the info! I'll DEFINITELY look into this!!!!!