I was waiting to have my Rx filled last Friday, and read in a parenting magazine about Pro Ana websites that are popping up on the WWW. I googled it out of curiosity, and hit a couple of sites. Pretty shocking. The websites at first glance appear to support peeps that are suffering from Anorexia and/or Bulimia, but upon closer inspection they are actually supporting the disorder, and helping perpetuate the problem.

I learned how to nurse in the side lying position last night. Hubby and I decided to sleep share with Elliott, and kick the co-sleeping bed to the curb. I think I finally have enough confidence as a parent, trust my instincts, and feel that all of us would get a better night sleep. We tried it out last night, and he still was up like an alarm clock at 12:30, 3am and 5am. But, it was so nice to only have to get out of bed once (for a diaper change)! I was unable to master this position before because of the surgery. I couldnt lie/sleep on my side comfortably for several weeks post surgery. Woot!

My headache went away finally, after 34 hours. Needless to say, I did not take any more of the medication. I am still suffering with the nipple/breast pain, but we are trying to manage the best we can.

Elliott occasionally will latch on by himself without my direction or assistance. What a pleasant change. Breastfeeding took a positive turn over the last few days. **huge sigh of relief** It still isnt easy, but it is easier than last week.

My sister reported to me today that she quit smoking. Big props to her.

Elliott’s Aunt and Cousin came to visit yesterday. We had a great day together. I think with the exception of a couple last people, almost everyone I care about has come to visit and meet Elliott.

We booked our trip to SF for our friends wedding. I am a little apprehensive about traveling with a 2 month old.

I decided that sooner versus later, I need to talk with my work about going part-time, at least for a while. I need to just get it out of the way, so I can rest easier and start to mentally prepare for my return to the office. And should they decline, and insist that I work full-time, then I can also prepare myself for that as well. I have been composing my words in my head for a few days. Wish me luck.

I was teasing a friend over the weekend, and must have hit a sore/sensitive spot. His wife did the hand across the throat thing–like cut/stop. I felt embarrassed and blushed, and as quick as my conflicted brain could changed the subject. Of course, I felt remorseful, but mostly I felt embarrassed for crossing over some unsaid line, and not having known it. I certainly didnt want to hurt any ones feelings, and felt horrible for several days at the prospect that I might have. However, since the cut/stop sign was silent, I didnt feel like it was appropriate to address the mis-speak. But, perhaps I should? It keeps creeping into my thoughts, and I cant seem to let it go.

Elliott has outgrown his newborn size clothes, and is now wearing 3 month sizes. He is weighing in at over 12 pounds and many of the adorable onesies are too small for him. I have a whole bag of clothes to put into storage awaiting #2. Speaking of clothes…I wore a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans yesterday. Granted they were the stretchy varietal, and they were baggy before and now they are tight. But, lets not split hairs. After all this is the first pair of pants I have worn in 6 plus months that doesnt have an elastic waist band.

Not sure if I shared this already, but about 2 weeks ago, I bought the My Brest Friend breast feeding pillow (which I dont recommend). The paper insert in the package had the word waist spelled waste. Now, I am not one to talk about spelling since I am a horrible speller (I was always one of the first to sit down when we had a spelling competition in school). But, hmm…kinda a big difference there, doncha think?


BF Follow up

Motherhood makes me feel stupid. At least that is often how I feel lately. There are so many new things to learn. So many times where you have to be vulnerable, and ask for help or advice. So many times you have to throw your hands up in the air, and say you just dont know the answer or what to do. So many times where more than your maternal instinct is required.

My experience at the Midwife yesterday was no exception. The first not so pleasant experience was making the appointment. The admin when I told her my reason for wanting to come in, said, something to the affect, Oh, did you see Eve? I said that I had, and she proceeded to say that Eve had referred several people to the Clinic with the same diagnosis, which she (the admin) was surprised about since the condition was so rare. I shrugged it off. But, it really bothered me. What business does an admin have telling me about other peoples diagnosis, planting a seed of doubt about the lactation consultant’s abilities, as well as my own diagnosis. Plus, she is an ADMIN, she is not a midwife, a LC, or a doctor… She isnt even a nurse.

I was very excited about seeing the Midwife. I saw another Midwife I havent meet. I think I have almost seen every one (Linda, Jennifer, Rebecca, Jazmine, Beth, Rita…), except for Steve. Who I suspect might be in clinic next week when I go to my follow up appointment. When the Midwife came in, I explained my story (the let down issue, the clamping, the extreme pain during and long after a feeding, my visit to the LC and the diagnosis).

She listened attentively, and then proceeded to say that she has never heard of the condition, and even conducted some on-line research prior to my visit. She proceeded to say that she would be uncomfortable prescribing meds to me, etc. etc.

I started to cry. Through my tears, I explained how I considered myself an intelligent woman, resourceful, and up for a challenge. But, that I was at the end of my rope. I saw a LC in the hospital, I meet with my Doula for a post-partum visit to assist with BF. I have the Sears book on BF, I have conducted a ton of on-line research. I have consulted friends who have successfully BF, I attended the hospital sponsored BF support group, I have called La Leche League (they didnt call back-twice), I called the hospitals BF Program-2x’s (no call back). I saw a Midwife again (on Wednesday past) who said my nipples looked great! I finally decided to shell out the $60 and see a LC in person. I cried harder, explaining how hard BF was, and how everyone touts that the Breast is Best, but that there wasnt enough support out there…waaaaahhhhhhhhh.

When I was able to regroup, and hold back the tears…I realized that I probably startled the poor gal. She was now more sympathetic. I asked her for any other alternative solutions she had, as I was willing to try anything to ensure that my BF relationship was not jeopardized. She didnt have any solutions. But, offered to discuss it with the OB on staff.

She returned after discussing it with the OB, asked me a few more questions and then wrote me the prescription. She also said the OB had never heard of the conditions either, but they were able to find a 2004 study published in Pediatrics. So, with a heavy warning to call should I develop any side effects I left feeling very successful, if not a tad bit depressed with the suckyness of the system.

I filled the prescription, and took my first pill this morning. And ever since I have had a horrible migraine (I have taken 1200 ml of Motrin). Headache of course is the first side effect listed on the pharmacy printout. I will need to analyze the cost/benefit of the headache versus the nipple pain. Again, more to follow.

Which brings me back to feeling stupid. All of that fretting, crying, pain, etc. and now the medicine may not even be tolerable. Boy…dont I feel stupid.


Ok, 2 great things to report. I got Elliott into the sling! Yesterday (after some fussing) he allowed me to put him in, and took an hour long nap, and again this morning he allowed me to put him in it again, while he napped. It is a glorious day.

I also went to see a lactation consultant. She came at the recommendation of several people, all unrelated to one another. Gratefully, I was able to get a same day appointment. Aside from the let down issue, and the clamping that is a symptom of the let down…I learned a new position to feed in that will assist with both. I am also supposed to pump a couple times each day, after feeding on the opposite breast. This will help me two fold. It will allow me to start building a supply-for when I go back to work (or for when I just need a break). And it will also take some of the pressure off, and help Elliott latch on better, and prevent him from clamping down to slow the flow. And as another pleasant side effect…less laundry due to less milk spillage and less spitting up due to gas resultant from having to guzzle to keep up. Woot!
But, most important was the diagnosis of the awful nipple and breast pain I have been having. Today I actually started to cry while I was feeding Elliott. Previously, I thought it might be Thrush, but it is apparently Raynauds Phenomenon. The unfortunate part is that to alleviate the pain, I have to take a ton of herbals pills and it may take up to 6 weeks to see results, or I can take medication. In either case, they both have their pros and cons. I am going to take a multi-pronged approach and do both.
First thing tomorrow, I am going to see my Midwife and hopefully get a confirmed diagnosis. The LC can only suggest what she thinks it is, but your doc must diagnosis you formally (for meds anyway). I will keep everyone posted on the results, but for now we are hopeful of the possibility of getting some relief.

Blips and Beats

Excuse the randomness of each item here, but I am sleep deprived, kinda depressed at my lack of success with breastfeeding and have a major headache.

  • thank you to those who have posted comments and suggestions, as well as friends who have emailed or called with advise. I really appreciate hearing your thoughts, and can use all of the options and variables that are out there. Often times I know that the answers are out there, I just need to explore all of the variables and being a new parent, I am treading new ground daily.
  • I think I have set myself up for personal failure (the worst kind, in my opinion). What I mean is that I thought that parenthood would consist of XYZ (see below for examples), and I had a plan of attack for what I wanted. What I neglected to understand was that children are human beings with their own ideas and plans for what they want. Duh!
  • For example, I thought I would have a vaginal, natural childbirth. Apparently Elliott had a different path in mind (or I wasnt strong enough…that is another post).
  • I thought I would baby wear (my kid wont go into any sort of sling for me (we have 4 to chose from)…and will only go in for my husband. I still try almost every day). This makes me sad, because I think that he wants to be held more, but since he is sleeping so much, I often put him down and try and get things done around the house. This is a catch 22 of course…if he wants to be held and comforted and I am putting him down all the time, we arent bonding in the way I hoped and he in turn doesnt get the confidence and feelings of love that he needs. But, if he wont let me sling him, I am forced to put him down occasionally at least. Again, I need to forgo my own needs in favor of his more often. Guilt over being too selfish…it never ends.
  • I wanted to breastfeed for as long as possible. But, the way it looks I might not last 6 weeks, and may resort to part-time pumping. (heartbreaking and of course, I feel like a failure for not being strong enough to persevere and find a solution). Elliott gets so much comfort while at the breast. How can I take that away from him? But, how much more pain do I have to suffer, when there is another option. Again, more guilt over being selfish.
  • On top of my own personal feelings of failure, I feel horrible for thinking ill of people who didnt do all of the things I mentioned above. Before I had Elliott, in my head, I judged people who didnt breastfeed, baby wear, etc. Dont I feel silly now.
  • Parenting is hard. How in the world do women have a gaggle of kids? I can barely manage one.
  • I stole the title of this post from a CD my husband put together while he was in a CD Club.
  • Could this breastfeeding problem I am having be Thrush? His tongue doesnt look white, but the other symptoms are spot on for me.
  • I dont have time to talk on the phone for long periods of time, and I think I am alienating myself from friends and family who are far away. When Elliott is sleeping, I want to sleep or do chores, or use the restroom, or check email, or eat. I dont want to talk on the phone. Which doesnt help my relationships that are far away. Please dont take it personal. This time I have home with Elliott is so short, that I want to make sure I am present with him as often as possible. I dont want to be on the phone, and not give him my undivided attention.
  • In spite of all the parenting woes, I still want to stay home from work full time. I cant imagine leaving my little man in the hands and care of anyone else. I dont even like to let anyone else hold him for very long. I feel very protective over him. But, financially know that it is impossible to stay home. I dont even know if my employer will let me work part-time.
  • By not staying home and I prioritizing correctly? After reading this post, I wonder if we need to bite the bullet and realign our priorities more in favor of what is most important (our family unit) to us. The fact that the decision is so difficult, makes me bitter again. Prioritizing a family shouldn’t be so difficult especially when $$$ is the motivator for our decisions.
  • Elliott is thriving, in spite of my boob blunders. He weighed in at 12 lbs and some change yesterday at the BF Support Group. He is gaining about a pound a week. I am very grateful to have a baby who is gaining weight so well. It is a mixed blessing.
  • I thought I may have torn my incision. It was red, leaking some fluid and had a couple of drops of blood. I had it checked though, and the midwife said it was healing nicely, and she thought that a piece of skin just grew lightly over it, and tore back.
  • My good friend had to put her 3 year old dog to sleep over the weekend, and I am very sad for her and her hubby.
  • Sorry to any of those who I have depressed or whose day I ruined with this rambling depressed post.
  • Have a great Hump Day.

Breastfeeding Woes

I am having a really hard time breastfeeding (and think that by pumping those few times in the beginning sabotaged myself), and have thought about giving it up completely over the last week. It is causing me serious amounts of pain and tears, and making me upset at Elliott (when I clearly know it isn’t his fault).

My problem is that I have an over-active let down. The milk flows out too fast for the baby to handle, and he has taken to clamping down on my nipples (often times not letting go even with my finger totally inserted into his mouth), fighting me when feeding, and has a serious amount of gas. The large amount of foremilk that he is forced to ingest has a lot of lactose, that his system has difficulty digesting effectively. He is spitting up often and fussing due to the substantial amount of gas and intestinal discomfort caused by the over abundance of lactose.

I feel horrible for him, and want to comfort him. But, it seems the very thing that would give him comfort (the breast) is the thing that is causing him (and me) the most grief. This hurts my heart to no end, and the guilt associated with not being able to give him what he needs is eating away at my innards.

I went to a breastfeeding support group last week. I called La Leche League twice and didn’t get a call back (and their schedule is posted on-line but with no address or email address), I called UCSD to speak with someone and didn’t get a return call. I am thinking about contacting a lactation consultant. But, at $60/hour…it seems a little pricey. But, I am desperate. I don’t want to sabotage our breastfeeding relationship.

The best website and info I found so far was below and on the WIC site. I bought some contraption to help heal my nipples. I am going to try nursing on one side for several feedings and try the modified feeding position as well. If all else fails, I am going to contact a lactation consultant. I promise not to give up at least for another couple of weeks.

Summary of Strategies to Reduce Rate of Milk Production and Force of Milk Ejection:
Nurse on one side for a each feeding, continuing to offer that same side for at least two hours until the next full feeding
Gradually increase the length of time feeding from one breast if necessary
If this strategy is not effective, try the method of thoroughly pumping breasts and then feeding on one breast until unbearably full (described in detail above)
If the other breast feels unbearably full before you are ready to nurse on it, pump or hand express for a few moments to relieve some of the pressure
Use cold raw green cabbage leaves or a bag of frozen peas to reduce discomfort and swelling
Feed baby before he becomes overly hungry to minimize aggressive sucking
Try alternate nursing positions
Mother leaning far back
Side-lying (letting milk dribble out)
Use scissors hold or the side of your hand to compress ducts to reduce the force of the milk ejection
If baby chokes or sputters, unlatch him and let the excess milk spray into a towel or cloth
Allow baby to come on and off the breast at will
Burp frequently if baby is gassy
Certain herbs and drugs, used judiciously, may be helpful in reducing milk production

Over Active Let Down…

I thought it was weird that when I nurse lately, my son and I (or should that say me?) are covered in milk. He hasn’t been latching on well, and has been pretty fussy. He also has had a lot of gas, and tummy distress. All things that weren’t present the first 2 weeks of his life. He was angelic the first couple of weeks. Not so much lately-he more resembles colicky.

So, I spoke with a girlfriend, and did some searching on the WWW, and discovered what appears to be my problem. I have an Over Active Let Down… We fit all of the criteria.

So, tomorrow I am going to call UCSD and make an appointment with a lactation consultant. I may also consider attending a La Leche League meeting or a breastfeeding support group. They meet on Tuesday and Thursday in my hood. I didn’t think that breastfeeding would be so difficult…

It seems like it should be intuitive, and a natural organic process. But, there is a big learning curve that I was completely oblivious to. Which is a theme that I am encountering often these days. I discovered a little nub of info about myself lately. In the past, when it came to other people and their kids…I always turned a blind eye, and tuned all things kid and parent out.

To all my friends who I didn’t pay attention to when you were pregnant, nursing, struggling, parenting…I am sorry. This is hard work and I should have been a better friend.

The contents of my refer

I pumped milk for the first time today. While I am taking 12 weeks off for maternity leave (the max allowed in CA, while still getting paid and having your job protected), I want to be ready for when I go back to work with a strong milk supply built up in the freezer. I was only able to pump on one side due to my little snick-snack wanting to eat off of the other. But, I think I did pretty good for only one side, and it being my first time. I hope it isnt too early to start pumping. I am going to wait to give him a bottle for a couple of more weeks if I can. I am still having a few challanges with breastfeeding, and I want to ensure that we have those out of the way before I bring a bottle into the mix.

Luck and Love

I feel like I am the luckiest person on the planet right now. I know that babies are born every second, and that every Mom must feel this wonderful when they look at their baby. But, I just have to share how head over heels in love I am with my son. As I write this I am starting to get a little teary eyed.

Last night we had a little cluster feeding session, and around 9pm I put him to sleep in the co-sleeper (not the kind that hooks to the side of the bed, but the kind that is a little bed in itself). Hubby and I put it in between us in our bed. The rock star sleep until midnight, nursed on both sides and went back to sleep again. I woke up at 3:00 am out of a dead sleep, and woke him up, did a diaper change, and we nursed again. Went back to sleep until 5am, did the same routine-diaper change, nurse. I thought we might be up for the morning so I made coffee, fed the dog, etc. But, Dad wanted to snuggle some more so he took Elliott to the couch and slept with him for another couple of hours, and I went back to bed for another couple of hours. Last night I got more sleep in one night than I have in a week cumulative.

I am still working on my birth story. It is going to be a long one, and I want to ensure that I have included all of the details, feelings and the like.