Monday, August 27, 2012

{2 months}

(I need to post this before he turns 3 months - oops!)

James, you are two months old!

By the numbers: 2 months old. Weight: 9 lbs. 12 ozs. Length: 22". 8-9 feedings per day. 2-3 night wakings (you often sleep from 10pm to 3am, but not every night). Size 1 diapers. Size 0-3 month clothes.

You started smiling this month!! Seeing your face light up with a smile in response to ours has brought us so much joy. You have such a wide, joyful smile and your eyes are full of expression! This has been a gift, because this month has also been quite challenging. You are gaining weight but not as much as we would like, and by the end of the month you seemed unhappy while eating. We aren't sure if you have acid reflux, I don't have enough milk, or if it's normal "newborn fussiness," but it has been rough seeing you like this more than we would like (we are working on hopefully fixing whatever it is!):

You are still in need a lot of help to go sleep, but it has been taking a little less time to help you drift off to dream land. Once you do fall asleep you have given us a few almost 6 hour stretches of sleep, but go 4-5 hours pretty regularly which is wonderful for me, of course. You still love to be swaddled (with two blankets, actually, since you can maneuver your strong little arms out of just one!), listen to white noise, and be bounced to sleep. This month we transitioned you out of our room into your own room and crib! We were of course nervous you may not like the transition, but you have slept quite well in your crib. And thankfully I can hear you very easily from our room only a few steps away! :)

Your alertness and activity levels have grown tremendously this month! You continue to amaze me with your alert curiosity at everything around you. You love looking out the windows of the car while driving and staring at everything around the house as we carry over our shoulders. You have gained a love for your "busy bee" and ladybug dangling toys that we hang from your car seat or bouncer, and you swing your arms with more strength and accuracy than I would have expected! You also love to lay on your activity mat and bat at the toys there, too.

You also love to "talk," and in my opinion this is your favorite activity that brings the most smiles to your face. You love it when mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa make eye contact with you and talk, sing, or make sounds, and you make sounds back. In fact, you mimic us. You will also copy us when we stick out our tongue. Your coos are adorable and you are making new sounds all the time.

You had your first shots this month. You surprised me and even the nurse at how much you actually enjoyed eating the oral tylenol and oral vaccine - you slurped it up quite happily. I wonder if you are going to love all the flavors that come with eating solids?! However, you of course did not like the actual shots and let out a scream of pain that I had never heard before and made me shed a few tears with you. Thankfully you fell asleep in my arms within a couple minutes (perhaps the trauma wore you out!) and suffered no side effects afterwards.

We love you, James, and can't tell you enough what a gift you are from God!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nursing update

This is an email I wrote to a friend today....sorry I don't have time to write a real post, but it has some updates from my last post that I wanted to share. Thank you SO much for all of your encouragement and suggestions!!

Thanks so much for your email!! It's amazing how emotional breast feeding can be, but I feel like other moms are the only ones who understand. My husband and his parents try to be supportive but to them it's just not a big deal - who cares if we end up using formula? And, honestly, I don't love breast feeding and I am not opposed to formula in theory, but suddenly being faced with it made me feel like I was failing my boy! So thanks for understanding.

Yes, James had a short frenulum, too, but we did get that clipped when he was about two weeks old. However, before the clipping he needed the n.ipple shield to nurse, and after he got it clipped he got frustrated if I tried not to use it so we kept using it. I read things about the nipple shield potentially reducing milk supply because the nipple isn't as stimulated AND it can reduce milk flow to the baby, but I talked to a lactation consultant who said that is outdated based on old n.ipple shields, but the current ones are fine. So we kept using it. However, in the midst of all of this I tried not using it again and he suddenly seems to prefer to nurse without it! Hooray! And I can't help but think that it does feel like my nipple is being stimulated more and maybe that was part of the problem?! Also, I took your advice and called a lactation consultant on Monday night and she has been an amazing support. All of my friends have used her and she does it as a community service for FREE! She has been coaching me over the phone (so she hasn't observed the latch, but I think/ hope it's fine - but she will come to my house if we need it), and had me start feeding him every three hours around the clock (oy, back to the super early days), pumping after every session (except the middle of the night), and feeding him and extra 1-2 ounces of what I pump for the afternoon/ evening sessions when my supply is the lowest. I feel like it is helping - his hasn't cried while eating much today! She has me call to check in everyday to tell her how the nurising sessions are going which just feels like such a support. She said if he's not 10 lbs. at his doctor's appointment tomorrow she wants me to supplement with formula, but she will coach me to do it in a way that we can wean off of it once she gets my milk supply up. I feel SO much more hopeful and haven't cried for the last two days. More importantly, James has been happier and I hope he is gaining weight!

Thank you for your prayers! I feel like we are on the "up," although I confess with how difficult these last few weeks have been it is difficult to not fear another "down" spell is right around the corner. I am trying to trust the Lord with each day and take it one day at a time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Survival mode

There have been MANY wonderful moments in the last two weeks. James is growing more and more interactive, and I feel like we have "conversations" when I talk to him and he coos back. He is smiling a lot and making more sounds - so fun! He is still the cutest thing ever and we love him more than we ever thought possible. We continuously thank God for him!!

But there have also been many low moments. A week ago Monday I lost it - cried literally all day as I cared for him and all evening as my husband did to let me get some rest and try to pull it together. I kept reading that fussiness peaked at 6-8 weeks, but I felt like James' fussiness was getting worse (he was 8 weeks). He was crying while eating sometimes, sleeping worse, and had developed this scream that scared me. I called the pediatrician's office that day because I wanted to know if this was normal behavior or if something could be medically wrong.

Based on the fussiness while eating, pulling off the b.reast, wheezing in his chest, and his general unhappiness the doctor thought he might have silent reflux (he doesn't actually spit up much). We started him on medication and I felt like there was a huge difference that very night! Unfortunately I kept crying because I felt so terrible thinking about my baby being in pain for all this time and I kept chalking it up to "normal fussiness." Sigh.

Another struggle is that his weight gain is still not great and he is dropping in the percentile charts. Is he not getting enough food? Is it the reflux or my milk supply? So I've become really stressed about feedings - he still cries and pulls away sometimes which makes me feel even worse. I am taking fenugreek and pumping after every feeding, and we are even weighing him on a food scale before and after every feeding to make sure he is getting what he needs. So far he has been within the normal range during the weigh ins (according to Kelly mom breast fed babies eat 25 ozs on average, but the range is 19-30 oz per day), and he had 22 ounces on our test day. We have been supplementing with the pumped breast milk to at least get him to 25 ounces. I have been stressed as family has pressured me to give him formula (which I am not against doing if necessary, I am just not convinced it is required yet), and even my husband starting talking about it which upset me. Now that we are weighing him my husband and I are on the same page, but it was stressful feeling like it was me vs. the world and second guessing myself at the same time (am I starving my baby?).

Between all of this, we have basically stopped doing anything other than go to church on Sunday (and even there I sit in the cry room with James). I don't even get out of my pajamas until later in the day, we are declining any social outings, and I haven't gone to my weekly mom group. I want to do whatever it takes to help James thrive AND keep my sanity, but I must admit it has been hard for me to realize I can't particate in a lot of things right now. Even little things. People in my mom groups keep emailing the group to coordinate going for a walk and I honestly can't do that. But I am jealous that other moms of babies around the same age can! My days feel the same and the 2-3 hour cycle is rough, and the thought of being anywhere fills me with anxiety that he might start crying and I won't be able to soothe him. Again, it is worth it and on some level I know this is only a short season, but it has been hard not knowing when we will feel like we can re-enter the world. I always thought I would be the mom who would carry her baby everywhere.

I thought things would be easier by now, and I am trying to come to terms with how emotional and difficult it still is. There ARE things that are easier - I am getting much more sleep than those first few weeks most nights - but I didn't realize becoming a mom would be so hard and that my baby might not be as easy and portable as I expected. But as cheesy as it sounds, I have been amazed at how much I love my boy and wouldn't even want that easy portable baby I had imagined - I want him!