Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Two Week Checkup

Two week checkup:
Height: 20.5" (Growth: 1")
Weight: 7lbs 6oz (Gain: 1lb 4oz from last checkup; 9oz from birthweight)
Head: 13.75" (Growth: 3/4")

Head and weight are in the 10th percentile for her age, but for her height, she's in the 25th. Doc said she's just skinny, but perfectly normal. She lost her stump last night, and we're attempting to hunt down some neosporin in the house for the redder areas. Doc prescribed some saline drops as she's been a little congested. Got to love going from a sterile environment of the womb to atmospheric pollution.

After some careful thought, and repeated tries to the contrary, I've decided to stop trying to breastfeed "from the tap". We saw a lactation consultant last Thursday, and we fixed the latching issue we were having. However, I suspect the week and a half on bottles with pumped milk has caused Em to be a bit of a lazy nurser - its harder to get food from the tap than it is to get from even the "slow flow" nipples for bottles.

It was taking up to an hour to feed her, due to still working on the latch and sticking with it long enough to get the juices flowing, and trying to calm the already frantic baby who is too young to understand sticking with it, and keeping her hands and arms out of the way so that she CAN stick with it. Once the hour was up and she seemed done, putting her down proved that she was still hungry, but completely uninterested in the tap, to the point of screaming at the top of her little lungs while I desperately tried to pump enough to satisfy her hunger. After that, she was content, but all of the activity kept her so riled up that she wasn't going back to sleep. Once she was finally asleep, there would be an hour or less before she would wake up for her next feeding.

I know I can continue to try, but it is exhausting for her, and draining, both physically and emotionally for me. And because we had a few good sessions (45 minutes, full & satisfied, off to sleep immediately) mixed in with the bad, I kept trying. But, I've reasoned that she has the rest of her life to fight for things...she shouldn't have to fight to eat at this age, even sometimes. So, despite hating having to pump, and deal with the mess of bottles, etc., I've decided that its well worth it for both of us for me to pump, and give her what she needs when she needs it, and have a happier baby, and a less stressed out momma.

I'd rather spend some of my time pumping and cleaning, to be able to feed my baby calmly, know how much she's taking in, and cuddle with her and enjoy her once she's done. Even a few days of obsessing over whether she was eating enough, calming her down when she was freaking out over being hungry, and then attempting to coax her to sleep was too much for both of us. I hated feeling guilty about watching her wake up happy and ready to eat, because I knew that before she went to sleep, that there would be a battle, and my happy baby would be nowhere to be found until she woke up again. I felt like we should be on the cover of "Better Baby Torture Through Breastfeeding Monthly".

We've hit a growth spurt, so she's woken up hungry a couple of times before I expected it, but having a bottle with breastmilk ready to go helped tremendously. It seems contradictory, as breastmilk is the ultimate "ready to go" food. But because of all of our troubles, it just isn't, and its hard to watch my poor girl try desperately to eat and not feel guilty about making the both of us go through so much to get it done, when I know I could have just had a bottle ready. But, I know that in a pinch, we CAN nurse, so I don't have any more anxiety about being caught without a bottle on hand.

My supply is great, and I refuse to feel guilty about pumping, instead of continuing to push the breastfeeding issue. Nothing a lactation consultant can say or do will fix the problems we were having, and all I'd get from one is "just keep trying". I'm grateful for the help that we did get, because it was invaluable and I wish we could have gotten a better start, so that it could be easier on both of us for her to get her meals on tap, but she's still getting the good stuff, and we're both enjoying each other tremendously, and that's all I ever wanted.

So, to sum it up, we're doing well. Baby is healthy and happy. Mom is considerably less stressed after making a hard non-crunchy decision, and is thus healthy and happy. Dad is doing well and is currently asleep as he took the overnight shift last night, and so is also healthy and happy.