breastfeeding

6 Months

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How do I have a 6 month old? A baby that is half a year old. Has time really gone that quickly?? In some ways it feels like time has slowed, in other ways it feels like it has sped up.

Just the other day when Logan was being his typical wiggle-worm self in my arms, flailing around, jumping, bouncing, squirming, I said “I remember when you were teeny tiny and we’d lay you on our bellies and you’d fall asleep!” All snuggled up on us, sighing softly in his deep baby sleep. Those were the days. He didn’t go anywhere, he just cuddled. And he was so good at cuddling! There is nothing better in this world than new baby cuddles. They just want to be snuggled like in the womb. Now I get it when people say they miss the little baby days and wish they had another one. (A few months ago I couldn’t even imagine the idea–HOW do people have multiple kids?!?!?!)

Now my little bug is starting to explore his world. He’s not crawling yet but he’s SO CLOSE. He has successfully figured out how to scoot and move around and roll. He can sort of crawl backwards and he does a 180 pretty well. But that forward motion hasn’t been figured out quite yet.

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We started baby food recently. He hated squash. He LOVED sweet potatoes. He was indifferent about green beans. Baby rice oatmeal was ok but nothing exciting (and he liked it much better when I mixed in some sweet potatoes). He loves applesauce and carrots, too.

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We’re still breastfeeding in addition to the baby food. I appreciated all the comments, messages and private emails I got from readers and friends about our struggles. For two weeks or so I pumped A LOT and I also made the Lactation Cookies and I can attest to the fact that they WORK. Like amazingly. Within a day my supply was increased and it’s been steadily going back up. I’m able to make enough now to freeze a little bit a few days a week and that’s been really helpful. Seriously, if you are breastfeeding or currently pregnant I can’t rave about those cookies enough. They do work!

I survived daycare. The first time was probably one of the worst days I’ve had in a really long time. I cannot describe the physical pain I felt. It was like an ache, a panic, a feeling ALL DAY like I was forgetting something. It was just awful. πŸ™ But I survived it and the next few times weren’t as awful. They weren’t great but at least I wasn’t crying anymore when I dropped him off. I know it will eventually be a good thing for him (and I’m trying to think of it in my mind as school and that he’s learning things and making friends) but it’s still a struggle for me.

I feel so grateful that we were able to both stay home with him in some capacity for the first 5.5 months of his life. That’s precious time we can’t get back and we got to spend it with our little guy and bond. It feels like a humongous gift we’ve been given. I’m so grateful for the flexibility of our employers in that regard. I just cannot fathom having to go back to work full time at 12 weeks postpartum.

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He’s getting so big! He loves to play, solo or with us. He love Bella and Fat Kitty and we get endless baby belly laughs when he watches them. He’s learning how to pet them and he’s learning what “gentle” means (so is Bella). They all entertain themselves really well.

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He doesn’t have teeth yet but he’s been teething for months. His little gums feel bumpy but still no teeth. He chews on me like crazy, though. My fingers, my shoulder, my hands. He grabs anything he can and gnaws. It’s funny (and slightly slimy).

I am so excited for what’s in store next! Logan is at such a fun age. He’s such a happy, content baby and it’s so fun to watch him explore and smile and laugh. Oh and we need to baby-proof the house. SOON!

 

Our Journey

I wanted to write a post about my breastfeeding journey. I know it’s not a topic that everyone will be interested in, and I totally get that. If it’s not for you, feel free to skip this post. πŸ™‚ But I do know some people will be able to relate and honestly I want to share what has been going on in my life lately.

Breastfeeding wasn’t an easy journey for Logan and I. Admittedly I went into it thinking it was something easy. Just put baby on boob and that’s it. No one told me how hard it would be. The birthing class covered breastfeeding for maybe 20 minutes in one class and didn’t really discuss the hardships or struggles that could happen.

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The nurses at the hospital were great but not when it came to breastfeeding and when we left the hospital and met with a Lactation Consultant the first one I met was AWFUL. Truly awful and I left the appointment in tears. It wasn’t until Logan got his tongue-tie fixed a few weeks later and I started working with a different Lactation Consultant that we got things figured out and FINALLY breastfeeding became easy.

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But that first month? It was so so hard. Physically, emotionally. It was stressful. It was disappointing. It was heartbreaking (when it wasn’t working). I wish THIS part was discussed more for new moms because seriously, I felt completely unprepared.

I felt very alone, too. A few people in my life shared their struggles. One said she finally had to quit breastfeeding because it was making her obsessed and a little crazy. She said it was just healthier all around to switch to formula.

In that first week of Logan’s life we had to supplement with formula (with a syringe) and it broke my heart. I felt so defeated, deflated, crushed, angry, sad, depressed. I didn’t understand why it was so hard. All I wanted was to be able to breastfeed. Then I kind of made peace with it and realized it was more important for my baby to be FED, it didn’t matter how.

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Fast forward to recently. After months of successfully (finally) breastfeeding, we’ve reached another roadblock.

I’ve been slowly noticing a decrease in my milk supply. It wasn’t too alarming until recently when I both noticed my numbers dipping AND the frozen stash I’d had dwindled down to maybe 2-3 days worth of milk. I panicked.

I called the Lactation Consultant that was really helpful, Kim, and told her what was going on. She speculated that it could be a few things:

  1. Going back to work and pumping = making less milk.
  2. From the end of May-end of July Logan was sleeping through the night (and it was GLORIOUS! We’ve never felt so good and rested!!) but that probably effected my supply without me knowing it.
  3. Eating less calories/not drinking enough fluids, etc.

That all made sense. I was going longer stretches without pumping or feeding. When I was home I’d feed Logan on demand. When I was at work 2 days a week I pumped 3 times. But I wasn’t making enough to really freeze–just enough for the next day.

About a month ago we increased the bottles of breastmilk from 3.5 to 4 ounces each (hoping it would help him go longer between feedings and hopefully sleep through the night since the 4 month sleep regression–not so much). So we’ve been going through the frozen stash quicker. That’s when I noticed that the frozen stash was getting used so quickly.

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Kim had a suggestion for me. She said I could try pumping after every feeding–even if I wasn’t getting any or much milk in that session–for the next few weeks to see if that helped increase my supply. So for the last week I’ve been back to pumping like 4-6 times a day (I was pumping 1-2 times a day before, except at work).

I’m tired.

It’s been exhausting. And frustrating. To pump that much and not see much after a session sucks but I’m doing it to see if it works. I’ve been feeling run-down and like I was getting sick this past week but now I’m wondering if it was just exhaustion due to increasing pumping and maybe not eating and drinking enough to compensate?

Over the weekend I also started drinking some beer, to see if that helps. It may be an urban myth that beer can boost supply but I was willing to give it a try.

I’m going to make the Lactation Cookies again and see if that helps.

There are other supplements you can try. I’ve taken fenugreek a few times since Logan was born and it definitely works to boost supply but every time I’d take it (for about 2 weeks) Logan would be really gassy and fussy and spit up a lot. It just doesn’t agree with him so I’d stop taking it.

Kim, the Lactation Consultant that has helped me, also said that it was ok to supplement. She said formula was not the end of the world and if that’s what needed to happen it was ok, I was still doing a good job as a mom and Logan would be ok. It was nice to hear that from her and I think hearing that kind of helped me make more peace with the idea that we probably need to supplement.

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Logan starts daycare soon. I mentioned that I was having a really hard time with that and not having enough milk to send to daycare is also causing me distress. I know it shouldn’t, because supplementing will be ok–he’ll still grow and be healthy and happy…

We’ve started supplementing with some formula this week. Once a day or so we give him a bottle of formula. I found that if we do the formula early in the morning then I can pump and get a decent amount (the early morning pumping sessions are always a lot more than any other time of day) and I’ve been able to freeze a little bit. It’s still not a great number but I’m sort of making some progress.

Still having a hard time. I don’t want to end nursing just yet. He’s almost 6 months old and we plan on starting solids soon, in addition to the breastmilk. But there is something just so wonderful about the quiet time we have together.

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I know things will be ok and Logan will be fine. He’s growing and gaining weight (he’s still a little on the average side for weight, though) and even though he didn’t seem to like formula the first few times (he made horrible faces!) he’s ok now and drinks it without making faces.

Anyways. I wanted to share this because it’s something that is going on in my life right now, I’m definitely struggling with it all and I could use advice from anyone that had this happen to them! If you went through this and have tips, I’d appreciate them!