Monday, December 22, 2014

Chicken Wings Follow Up

Last Thursday, I took the advice of calling a lactation consultant to see what their recommendation was for chunking Kieran up.

The lactation consultant asked a few questions and ultimately suggested that we supplement with formula since starting solid food can "mess with his gut" (I'm assuming she meant the bacteria?) She also suggested that I get him to feed at least every 2 hours to increase my supply (which he already is.) I've started using Fenugreek again and am looking into Mother's Milk Tea (anyone use this?)

Over the weekend, we started supplementing with formula. We were sent samples of both Similac and Enfamil formulas while I was pregnant, so we started using the Similac formula since that is what he was on when he was a newborn in the hospital to regulate his blood sugar. We'll probably go through the Enfamil formula as well before deciding which one to buy. He doesn't seem to mind the formula, in fact, he gets really excited when he sees the bottle coming towards him. I have noticed that he is spitting up a lot more than normal (before starting formula, he had only spit up once in his life.) I'm not sure if his stomach isn't used to the volume of liquid, or if it's messing with him in some way, so I make sure to stop and burp him often to get any air out.

I'm still trying to process the emotions I have about giving him formula. I know, logically, that this is what he needs. The lactation consultant reminded me that this ultimately, this isn't about making him fatter, but insuring he's getting the nutrients he needs to grow, especially his brain. But, I'm still dealing with the guilt of my body not producing enough for him. If I'm honest with myself, I'm also scared about feeding him formula out in public. I'm afraid someone is going to come up to me and scold me for not doing what is best for my son since "breast is best."

There are some positives to formula feeding. Keegan is able to feed him and I love seeing them interact while Kieran is eating. Grandparents and family, as well as friends, are able to feed him now as well, and I know they'll enjoy that. If last night is any indication, his sleeping is also improving. For almost a month, Kieran has been waking up every 45 minutes to hour and a half during the night, wanting to eat every time. I'm exhausted, he's tired, and Keegan wasn't much better. It was getting so bad that Keegan was going to sleep in our guest bedroom last night, when we decided to try Kieran in the crib one last time. We put him to bed around 8, he woke up at 11:30, and 3, and then slept until 8:20 when I had to wake him up. I think he would have slept longer if I let him! I wanted to keep him in our room until he was a bit older, but if the crib is what he needs, then that's where he'll sleep. I'm nervous about putting him back in the pack n' play for our upcoming trip home, but we'll see what happens. Of course, his good night sleep could be a coincidence, but I'm hoping giving him formula is keeping him fuller, longer.

Our supplementing schedule currently looks like this:
- Wake up between 7 and 8, breastfeed
- Drive to work, breastfeed between 9 and 10
- Bottle of formula between 10 and noon, Kieran takes his first nap
- Wakes up from nap, breastfeeds
- Bottle of formula between 1 and 3
- Kieran naps between 3 and 5
- Breastfeed around 4:45 before leaving from work
- Kieran will normally fall asleep in the car on the drive home
- Breastfeed when we get home
- Get ready for bed, breastfeed, and bottle
- Bed between 7 and 8.
- He will get a bottle or two of formula overnight, but I try and breastfeed him as often as possible

We have a weight check up on the 30th, so we'll see if the formula helps. If so, I have a feeling he'll be on it until he's weaned.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chunky Monkey to Chicken Wings

Kieran was 9 pounds, 1 ounce when he was born. At his one month appointment, he was 9 pounds, 13 ounces. 10 pounds 8 ounces at his 2 month appointment and when I had to take him in to get an eye infection checked out at around 3.5 months, he was 10 pounds, 14 ounces.

Over 3.5 months, he dropped from the 92 percentile for weight, down to the .7 percentile (according to this website.) We joked that he went from our chunky monkey newborn to having chicken wings for arms.

At the appointment for his eye. I brought up my worry about his weight, and the doctor agreed that he was small for his age. He suggested we start solids right away, and also brought up the idea that Kieran's infected eye may be caused by a milk allergy which could also cause him not to gain weight.

Since we didn't see his normal doctor, I wanted to wait until his 4 month appointment to get a second opinion before making any drastic changes like wiping dairy completely out of my system (Mama likes her cheese!) We did play around with a few solids (sweet potatoes and a smashed banana,) but we weren't doing it religiously.

Over a 15 day period, Kieran gained another 13 ounces (from 10 pounds 14 ounces, to 11 pounds, 11 ounces.) At his four month appointment, we unfortunately weren't able to see his regular doctor (again...) so when I brought up his slow weight gain, the new doctor brushed it off saying that he's doing fine since he is gaining weight. I asked her to look up his percentile and that's when we found out that he had only increased to the 2nd. She then became concerned about his weight and strongly started pushing formula. I told her that since we had already dipped our toes into starting solids, I'd rather continue on that route, and she agreed. She suggested putting cereal into his bottles, but I told her that I am not able to pump enough in a day to give him bottles all the time. She agreed that we could give Kieran cereal by the spoonful as long as he seems to be able to handle it fine, which he is.

The doctor concluded that she thinks that I do not have enough of a supply to sustain Kieran, and what I am able to produce does not have enough calories for him. The plan is to feed him solids of some sort every feeding, and go back in two weeks to check his weight gain.

I've been going back and forth between guilt, disappointment, anger. Guilty that he's been hungry this entire time and it's the reason he's been sleeping in 1.5 hour increments which disrupts my husband's sleep. Disappointment that I'm not able to exclusively breastfeed him until 6 months and start baby led weaning when we wanted to. Anger that once again, my body can't seem to do anything right.

But, I'm also thankful that I was able to exclusively breastfeed him for 4 months. I know that any breast milk is better than none at all, and I'm still planning to nurse him as well as give him solids. I'm also thankful that throughout all of this, Kieran has been a happy, healthy baby who hasn't been all that fussy, even though he's always hungry.

So, that's where we are now. Hopefully adding in solids will chunk him up and he'll start sleeping again. Mama and baby both need some rest.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Microblog Mondays - One Year Later

Read about Microblog Mondays here

On November 30, 2013, I took a pregnancy test in the downstairs bathroom of my parent's house. I placed the test back into the wrapper, snuggled up to Keegan in bed, and handed him the test. After waiting the suggested three minutes, I told him to look at it. He said that there was a second line, but it wasn't as strong as the first line, so it must be negative (he thought pregnancy tests worked like ovulation tests.) I ripped the test out of his hands, and stared at the faint second line.

A few months later, our son was born on August 14, 2014. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for my sweet, smiley, amazing, wonderful son.