Three Months

E is now three months old. I can’t believe how fast the time is going! We now have some semblance of a schedule, one that basically consists of me knowing that he can only handle two hours of being awake before he needs another nap. Our days consist of many cycles of eat (35-45 minutes), play (45 minutes-1 hour), and sleep (anywhere from 45 minutes-2 hours). But it is so nice to finally know (for the most part) what he needs when he cries.

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This month, E loves…

– “Hush, Little Baby” – Somehow this became the song that I would sing to him when we was upset or tired (most likely because I started out shushing him, which led into the song). It really seems to calm him. He hears it before every nap during the day. We had a couple instances this month of VERY drawn out crying sessions in the car, which prompted me to make a recording of the song as well, in order for it to be heard (via the speakers) over the noise of the road and the crying. This came in handy during a ten hour drive to visit E’s Great-Grandma, Great-Aunt, and Great-Uncle as well!

– Hand and Foot Games – E loves to sit on our laps facing us and play games like “This Little Piggy”, “Pattycake”, “The Wheels on the Bus”, and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. He also loves to have us play with his feet, moving them or tapping them quickly against our cheeks (with sound effects of course). He gets to see quite a bit of sign language in this position as well, while we read books and sing songs. He loves to watch my hands move, and enjoys when I “help him” make some signs too.

– Putting toys in my mouth – E’s motor skills have improved leaps and bounds this month! He is now not only grasping things placed in his hands, but reaching and grabbing for toys and our hands and bringing them to his mouth. It is so much fun to watch his determined little face as he directs his limbs to do what he wants them to. Although everything is extremely slobbery.

* This month, E laughed. His first instance was early in the month, February 4th, and we didn’t hear it again for a couple weeks. Since then there have been just a few laughs, mainly during the hand and foot games. I can’t wait until we hear more!

E is growing up so fast, and I am so glad that I get to be home with him right now. I love our cuddles and playtime, and I am so grateful that life has given me the opportunity to be with him all day to enjoy it!

Here are some of our favorite shots from this month:

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Breastfeeding Woes

Breastfeeding has not been easy for us… After E was born, he lost nearly 10 percent of his body weight, dropping from 8 pounds, 9 ounces to 7 pounds 12 ounces. That is the high end of weight loss for a new baby (nearly ten percent), but what was really worrisome is that he wasn’t gaining any of it back. He was also screaming inconsolably unless he was nursing, so he was at the breast non-stop. That was especially hard for me; it was awful to see him so distraught with nothing I could do to help because my milk hadn’t come in.

The doctor suggested that we needed to supplement E with formula. I begged and pleaded to try something, anything else, having believed that beginning formula would forever affect our abilities to exclusively breastfeed. So the doctor have us two days to try to build my supply and supplement E with breastmilk. I was feeding him at the breast, pumping for an extra ten minutes, pumping an hour later, then feeding him an hour after that and giving him the expressed milk in a tube at the breast, and starting the cycle again. It was crazy.

I was so sore, and it seemed like I was really just giving him milk he would have gotten during a feeding anyway. And when that didn’t show any effect on his weight, we were given no choice but to supplement him with formula while I was continuing to try to build supply by pumping. My midwife suggested a number of supplements to help: Fenugreek three times a day, Mother’s Milk tea three times a day, More Milk tincture four times a day, in addition to pumping after feedings at least four times a day.

Eventually, E kind of self-weaned from the formula, going from taking an extra full ounce, down to a half, then a third, until we stopped. Of course then he hit a growth spurt, and we had to add it back in when his constant screaming indicated he was again clearly not getting enough to eat.

We’ve gone back and forth between not needing it, and hitting a patch where we do. But breastfeeding for me is kind of ruined. Every day I have multiple mini panics: if he doesn’t wake up to eat my supply will drop, if I feel full for awhile my supply will drop, if he doesn’t fully drain me my supply will drop, if I don’t pump my supply will drop, if I let Michelle give him a bottle from our stock of pumped milk my supply will drop, etc etc. To the point where I kind of obsessively pump and stock milk and feel like we can’t use the stored stash because we may not have enough (We do. There’s at least 20 bags in there, and I’m only away from E once a week for a couple hours.). I wish I could enjoy breastfeeding more, but I’m constantly worrying about my milk supply and feeling guilty that something that’s supposed to be so natural is something I can’t do well for my baby.

I still take the tea and supplements, and pump as often as possible in addition to breastfeeding around the clock (every other hour for an hour). I don’t know how to break my brain out of its cycle, and I don’t know if I ever will. It may be a long ten more months. I can’t even bring myself to consider weaning early, I have so much guilt.

It has helped a little to have people tell me things like “formula is NOT the devil”; I have no idea how I came to have such extreme negative connotations with feeding formula to my baby! I know logically that the most important thing is to be able to feed my baby, no matter how that has to happen, but I still can’t shake the guilt I feel when that involves formula. And I still wonder whether, if the doctor had let us go about our business nursing constantly (even though that was also causing me breakdowns), if E would have established my supply himself, naturally. (I have kind of negative feelings towards doctors as well).

I never thought this part of having a baby would be so hard. As we talk to people about our experiences, we are finding quite a few who have dealt with something similar. It’s another somewhat “taboo” topic, apparently, like infertility seemed to be. New moms should be warned that it is work… A 96 hour job for me. Thank goodness there are so many benefits to my baby. I just hope I will look back on these experiences without too much regret.