Friday, August 19, 2011

4-weeks postpartum: Breast Feeding Problems (pt 1)

I hate the Elimination Diet.

It's taken some of my staple food items away from me. Every day I'm missing a food. Lately it's been ice cream, coffee and goat cheese. I also miss peanut butter. *sigh* The things we do for children...

With that said, the diet has been working. Baby A's waketimes are finally happy/content times. Before she would just cry the whole time. She also hasn't had a 2-3 hour middle-of-the-night crying/inconsolable episode since I've been on the diet. (Except 2 nights ago. I think black beans are to blame.)

So, I continue the diet for another 2-months at least (according to my Kinesiologist). As of right now, there's no adding anything back in. Oh, and I had heard that you can eat something & then pump & dump for up to 8 hours after eating it & it should be out of your system. Since hearing this, I've learned that it's not true.


Another fun (enter sarcasm) thing that happened was that Baby A decided to no longer take the breast.

We were visiting my in-laws (who live on a farm in the middle of the nowhere) last weekend. For whatever reason, starting Saturday afternoon, Baby A would no longer nurse. She'd just cry and scream until we gave her a bottle of breast milk. Eventually, she wouldn't even try to latch anymore. From the stress of it, I wasn't producing enough. So, I ended up driving up to the local IGA a half hour before they closed in order to buy a can of formula, just in case. Luckily, we didn't end up needing it.

A friend of mine suggested trying a nipple shield to assist her in latching onto the breast again. The first time I tried it, once we got back home, she latched right on and ate for 15 minutes! I switched her to the other side and the antics began again. She wouldn't latch. She kept crying. I assumed she wasn't hungry anymore. She had her waketime, then I put her down for a nap. She kept waking. So, I gave her a bottle and sure enough, she ate another ounce. This was the final straw for me.

If you've been following my postpartum posts at all, you know that breast feeding has been a struggle for Baby A and me since the day she was born. I've tried just about everything I can think of to get her to eat from the breast, but to no avail. My DH and I decided it was time to stop fighting it. It was too stressful for both the baby and for me (and probably for my DH in retrospect, too). Now, we only feed her by bottle and I pump. Yes, it's more work. Yes, it's usually more time. But, everyone is so much more happy and content. It's what works for us.

I didn't have this trouble with my first child. She latched right on and would consistently eat from both breasts for 15-20 minutes each feeding. She was my only child, so I had all the time in the world to sit there and feed her. I would read my Bible out loud to her and it was such a relaxing and restful time for both of us. That is not the case with Baby A. I've struggled for the past 4 weeks with feeling like a failure and wondering what I'm doing wrong. I've had ridiculous thoughts such as "Does my baby not like me?" and "What's wrong with me that my Baby won't take my breast?" It's a defeating and yet humbling experience when breast feeding doesn't work how you (and most of society) thinks it should. So, I just want to say to the other mother's out there who have or are struggling with breast feeding... it's okay to give it up. It doesn't mean you're a failure. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. You are not alone. 

There is nothing wrong with exclusively pumping. And there is nothing wrong with feeding your baby formula. Sure, mother's milk is best, but if it's not possible, formula is the next best thing. We currently give Baby A six bottles of breast milk per day. The 7th bottle is formula. (According to my Kinesiologist, this is the best formula to feed your baby. Also, see here for an interesting article on making your own formula or enhancing formula with supplements.) The reason we do the formula bottle is 2-fold... 1) I don't want to pump in the middle of night 2) Formula takes longer for babies to digest, so we're hoping it will tie her over long enough start sleeping longer stretches at night. This is not a proven philosophy, just our own.

P.S. If your milk production is low and you're looking for ways to increase it, try this Greens Mix. I wasn't producing what Baby A was eating and my Kinesiologist put me on this product. Within 24 hours, I was producing more! Since I started on the product, I've been consistently pumping 3-5 oz each time (prior to the product, I was sometimes only pumping 1 oz).


We've gotten out to walk a few times, but mainly it comes in the form of field trips! Like Baby A's first trip to the MN Zoo.

Even though my ab muscles are still 1.5 finger-widths apart, the Kinesiologist cleared me to finally start adding in some crunches, pelvic tilts and leg slides! Yippee! It feels soooooo good to be able to work my body again.

And here's this week's post-baby body progress:
5 days post-baby
Wt lost since delivery: 14 lbs
4 weeks post-baby
Wt lost since delivery: 26 lbs
DD wanted to get in on the "after" picture with me this week. Isn't she cute? :) 

So, as you can see, I've gained a pound this week. I think my body is starting to find it's "happy weight".

Though I am still going to keep an eye on the scale, it's not going to be the defining factor into my "weight" or "body" goals. I am very happy with what the scale says right now. I haven't been this weight or size in over 12 years, which means, my own husband has never known me this thin (we've been together for 10 years)! For me, it's more about how I'm physically feeling and how my clothes are fitting. I'd also like to tone up and work on getting a flatter stomach. My fitness goals also have to do with things like endurance... I'd like to work towards running a 10K, which I've never done before! 

So, from here on out, you'll probably only get progress photo posts once a month.


And because this post is so long now, stay tuned for part 2 of week-4 postpartum's recipes!