Saturday, July 21, 2012

First smile!

This week I feel like our boy is growing by leaps and bounds. He is more wide eyed, full of expression, long and lean, and when I look at he just looks older. It makes me proud and sad at the se time.

Last night I was bouncing him to sleep after his middle of the night feeding (rocking to sleep sounds more romantic, but this boy requires bouncing :), and he stared up at me for the first few minutes. I felt like his eyes were full of trust, and I loved that moment at 3:00am. Soon enough we won't have that and he won't be bounced to sleep anymore!

Highlights of late:
*first smile at 5 weeks 3 days!! Such a joyful moment as a mom - its like getting some affirmation after lots of hard work :) Over the next few days his smiles have been increasing, and dad got a smile two days later. He even smiled at a toy yesterday!!

*sleep! Glorious sleep! Over the last week he slept a 5 hour stretch 5 nights, a 4 hour stretch 1 night, and a 3 hour 1 night. The night with the three hour I was up with him for quite awhile with two feelings, but the other nights I started my day quite rested!! I don't feel like the crazy zombie I did a few weeks ago. :) I am holding it loosely knowing that things change day to say - and he might not sleep that well tonight - but it is glorious on the days he does!

*my husband has been giving J a bottle of expressed milk before bed and I think it's been a special time for both of them.

*making it to 6 weeks! One of the baby sleep books I'm reading (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child), says the peak of fussiness/ crying is generally at 6 weeks. James hasn't been particularly difficult, but he does have his freak outs so it's encouraging to know it might be down hill from here. I actually thought he was mellower this week already at 5 weeks.

Lows:

*my only major low is pumping. I keep hoping it's a skill that I am still learning, but I have not been able to pump as much as I had hoped. J is eating 4 ounces, and I'm lucky if I can get that in 2 pumping sessions, but sometimes it's 3. And that's a lot of work for one bottle! I got a double electric pump that does help me get more than I was with the manual - and I don't hate the process as much - but still. I pump at night while J is eating the bottle (the skipped feeding) and on a good night I get 2 ounces. I then pump another time in the morning. I've tried massaging my br.easts before and during pumping, a hot shower right before, changing the settings, pumping on one side while he's on the other (this was pretty good but SO hard for me to juggle), etc. Its been a week and I am getting more than when I started, but not much.

I do think my supply is adequate for him, since he has a lot if wet diapers, is satisfied, and gaining weight, but I don't have any extra milk. But when I do - even when I am very full - I can't seem to get it out! It is very frustrating and makes me stressed when I know the br.east is full but can't empty it.

Anyway, I tried to capture one of his first smiles - it's a little blurry but still precious! See below :)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a momma who REALLY wanted to brea.stfeed, I was distraught when my supply was no where near what my baby needed... I could pump all day for 2 feedings. That said, I do know lots of tricks, so I'll pass a few that you haven't mentioned along. One is called power pumping. With power pumping, you mimic cluster feedings... pump for 15 minutes, rest for 10, pump for 10 rest for 10, pump for 10 again. My lactation nurses told me to do this twice per day, but some information I've read says just once. Also, fenugreek, blessed thistle, and anise are all herbs that can be taken together (or just fenugreek alone) that have the side effects of increasing supply - you can find this combo in a low dose in Mother's Milk Tea that is available at Vitamin Shop and other health/nutrition stores.

Best of luck to you - I think it's terrific that you've made it this far! Congrats!

Melis.sa said...

Aw, how sweet!!

It takes a little while to build up your supply, keep at it and it will come.

I really think the first 6 weeks are the hardest and it gradually gets easier after that

Anonymous said...

Try pumping in the morning when your supply is the greatest! It's always lower in the evening. Good luck!

Jessica R said...

Supply will build! Take fenugreek in caplet form. Don't waste your time with the tea, which is really weak in dose. It's about five bucks a bottle on Amazon, I took three caplets every four hours for a week each time my supply started to drop and it worked within about two days.

I still have issues with full boo.bs and not letting down enough. Two things I do: keep a blanket that smells like her in the pump bag to sniff, and watch videos of her while I'm pumping. The second trick works well for me. Also, this sounds silly, but close your eyes and imagine he's latched on while you're pumping. That helps me too.

You're doing AMAZING, mama! The first two or three months are rough and of course there are tough parts after that but you'll get your feet under you more, you'll learn him perfectly, you'll be better rested and recovered from birth... it'll get easier, promise!

Jessica R said...

Oh, and I meant to tell you: GOOD HEAVENS he is so cute!!!

Carrie said...

It is so much fun when they start being more alert and interactive! I was never able to breast feed, so I have no advice on that, but James sure does look happy and content to me! And that is one adorable smile!!!

Joyce said...

What a cute little smile! Looks like his cheeks are really filling out! Nothing cuter than chubby little baby cheeks :) nice work momma!

Anonymous said...

All I can add is that you are doing so well. BF is hard! But the first bit is tough, try not to worry too much, you'll work out what is right for you and over time it will get easier. I've had many friends that started with supply issues that became such prolific producers they sent the substantial left overs elsewhere! When I reflect on my own journey ....a double pump would have changed my entire experience for the better, try and relax to get the let down early in the pumping and full credit to you for the job you are doing.

Polly Gamwich said...

Have you confirmed that your pumping horns are large enough? I use the 30mm flanges, 24mm comes standard and I'm used to always being a "small" ... Not in this case I guess??

Also, you could pump 1 hr after the beginning of a nursing session (2 hrs before the next) ... make sure you are stimulating between 1-5A (releases a hormone to keep the supply up). And I'm sure you've heard it elsewhere - stay away from caffeine and alcohol and eat oatmeal daily plus lots of water.

Best wishes - its tough!

Polly Gamwich said...

It's rough! Make sure you don't need larger flanges. I was surprised to learn I needed a 30mm flange (when standard it comes with 24mm!!)

Melissa G said...

I understand the concern about not pumping "enough", but your supply is more than likely adequate for where James is at - especially if he has plenty of wet diapers and is gaining weight regularly.

I worried in the beginning, but keep in mind that your body is producing what James is requiring - his stomach is about the size of his fist! I was the same way when Leah was that little. Only about 2 oz per session. But now that she is older, on a good day I can get 9 oz! (from both sides total)

I will also say that the Tea actually did work for me. I drank between 28 - 40 ounces of it a day for at least three weeks, and it helped me build up my supply to the point it is now. And I have been able to maintain that level for almost two months - passed when I stopped the tea. And I iced it - I would make like 12 cups at a time, then chill it. I think its more refreshing that way.

Anyhoo, you're doing a great job and I know it's scary sometimes. You just have to trust yourself - which takes time, but you'll get there!

xoxo to sweet baby James!

Melissa G said...

Oh and I per one of your other posts - the let down will get more significant eventually. Mine didn't really get strong until almost three months. :)

Stacey said...

I used Mother's Milk liquid drops to increase my supply.. From the first time I took it, it helped emensly.. I also pumped in the morning when I was nice and full :)Maybe try adding a pumping session in between feedings to help increase your pumping sessions.. Good Luck..

Debbie said...

My babies always seemed to drink more form a bottle than from the breast (as much as I could tell). The first time I pumped, I got less than one ounce. When i went back to work, I was getting 13+ ounces on my lunch hour. It takes time. I'm sure he's getting what he needs. In addition, when you start him on solids, he will drink less, so you can pump more then to build up a stock pile!

Mandy said...

Such a sweet sweet smile!

Anonymous said...

More Milk Plus is a great herbal supplement and really worked to increase my supply! It was recommended by my lactation consultant. It has Fenugreek and a few other herbs in it but does not make you smell like maple syrup like just fenugreek does.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hillary, I understand your frustrations with pumping! I pumped for 11 months and I was never able to get enough to feed my son without formula supplementing (and I think it is similar for many moms!). It was definitely harder at first, but as James eats more, your supply will increase and milk flow should be easier. A couple tips that helped me: use a bit of lanolin on the area where the flanges come in contact with the skin - helps to make it more comfortable, try to relax and not stress (hard, I know!) while pumping. I also used to close my eyes and imagine my milk expressing at high volumes - I thought it sounded weird, but I tried it and it seemed to work. Also, you can try pressing your br easts together while pumping - seems to compress the milk ducts and I could usually get a higher yield. Good luck! I think half of it is just a mental relaxation thing! By the way - I am so much enjoying seeing pics of your boy and following your journey! I am so happy for your family!!