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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What Does a Duck Say?

A.) Quack! Quack!
B.) Trick or Treat?
C.) Cak! Cak! Cak!!!

Answer: C

From Halloween

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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Yes, I know it looks wonky...

Just in case someone comes by while I'm working...yes I know the site looks funky. I'm tired of the look, so I'm playing around with things. Please ignore the clutter...I'll have it either straightened out, or back to normal shortly. ;)

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Inborn Tendancies

Apparently...I'm either raising an evangelist or a conductor...

From 10-2206

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One More Time... Ads and This Site

I'm grumpy today...I ran a fever of 102 yesterday and generally felt like a zombie...thought I was coming down the with flu, but went to take a shower and discovered that I had a golf-ball sized plugged duct in my right breast. Anyone that has had a badly plugged duct knows how much "fun" it is to try and massage those suckers out.

Took me about forty minutes under the hot water to get it worked loose and even still, my fever didn't break until this morning. Emmitt apparently wanted in on the "let's make mom miserable" game as he woke up once an hour last night to eat instead of once every two hours. (Or the optimist side of me says he was just trying to help work that milk loose...)

So anyway, woke up this morning to yet another handful of anonymous blog comments from what I can only assume is the same person that swings by on a regular basis to lambast me for having the gall to "accept" formula ads on this site. Their second comment today even accused me of allowing the formula companies to write the post about little Dominic so that my readers would find it SOOO heart-warming that they'd immediately stop breastfeeding and switch to formula. Uh-huh.

With that in mind, I want to explain one more time how these ads work.

I put a lot of time and effort into this blog. That time and effort takes away from my "real" job which belive me, pays MUCH, MUCH more than this one does. I do this blog as a labor of love and as a way to help spread the word about breastfeeding and milk banking. I don't do it to make money, but it is nice to make enough money to pay hosting bills for email accounts and such.

So, I run CafePress Ads (since I have a shop there) and I run Google AdSense ads. The Google ads deliver based on the content of the page. Thus, if I make a post that mentions formula, Google tries to match up ads from formula companies. I don't often post about formula, so you don't often see those ads. I DID post about forumla in the Dominic thread, so one snuck in.

Now, Google allows me to block these ads, but only by having me type in the URL of the site that I want to block. So...when I see an ad, I can go block THAT ad, but I can't keep a new ad from showing up down the road. Basically it's an ongoing cat and mouse game.

Since the ads often chance on a daily or even hourly basis, it's possible for someone to see an ad that I never see. So, if the anonymous poster actually wants to help, instead of pointing fingers and making accusations, they could actually post a comment or send me an email and give me the URL of the company in the ad they see. Then I can go and put a manual block on that ad.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Donating Milk: Know Who You Are Sending it To!

I've written in the past about Prolacta, the pharmaceutical company that is working to take over the processing of breast milk and the sales of the same milk to hospitals throughout the U.S. I've also written about some of the questionable tactics they've used, including contacting hospitals that already work with the HMBANA banks and trying to claim that HMBANA milk is NOT safe, using "The National Milk Bank" as a non-profit "front" to gather milk from moms that want to donate milk out of the goodness of their hearts...even offering to send free breast pumps to moms that will donate the milk that they pump.

Today, there's a new article about the latest move by Prolacta. Apparently, Prolacta has succeeded in partnering with the University of Minnesota in order to collect milk from mothers in the area.

Read the full article or this snippet:

The University of Minnesota Medical Center is collecting the "raw material" - breast milk - from nursing mothers who are willing to donate what they don't need.

Then it's shipped to Prolacta Bioscience of Monrovia, Calif., where it's modified and sold back to hospitals for $26 to $43 an ounce.


Now, consider that in term of traditional non-profit milk banking through HMBANA. Those banks charge ONLY enough to break even on processing costs, usually around $3-$4 an ounce. That's just not good enough according to Prolacta...

...the university's hospital decided to open the state's first milk bank in collaboration with a for-profit company. Prolacta re-engineers breast milk to ensure that every ounce has a precise number of calories and nutrients.

Skeptics wonder whether the high-tech treatment, and the high prices, are necessary. "Nonprofit banks have been providing milk for many, many years ... (and) the babies have thrived on it," said Mary Rose Tully, past president of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, a network of nonprofits. "When you introduce a profit motive, you're introducing a whole different ballgame," Tully said.


Now, it gets worse and here's where I REALLY start to have issues with the flat-out lies coming out of Prolacta.

But "human milk is highly variable in its content," he said. One ounce might contain 15 to 24 calories. And for premature infants, "15 calories per ounce just isn't going to cut it," Georgieff said. So it would be helpful, he said, to know exactly "what we're giving the kids."

That's where Prolacta comes in. Founded in 1999, it developed a way to pool milk from multiple donors and process it so that each ounce contains 20 calories, and has an identical amount of nutrients. It also produces a human milk "fortifier" that's less likely to cause digestive problems than the commonly used one made of cow's milk, the company says.

"This is the first time you're able to treat a preemie with a complete human-milk solution," said Scott Elster, Prolacta's chief executive officer. He said research suggests that it's better for babies, but the company is only now "doing the studies to determine that."


Guess what? HMBANA banks TEST the milk that comes in for both calorie count and nutritional value. In fact, they won't accept milk that has less than 20 calories an ounce (the average amount of calories in breast milk.) They also carefully segment the incoming breastmilk by how calorie rich it is so that they can tailor the milk they send to the baby that needs it. For example, my "regular milk" has 25 calories an ounce. That milk can get sent to sick babies that need an "extra" boost so that they can have breast milk without fortifiers.

The milk bank also taught me how to pump even HIGHER calorie milk. I can either pump after I nurse, or I can pump a few minutes, then switch containers and pump again to get the hind milk. Doing this, I can supply them with milk that has 30 (or MORE) calories per ounce, which can then be used for the sickest of babies in the NICU.

In other words, Prolacta is full of crap. Claiming that HMBANA milk banks just randomly throw together a bunch of milk from any old woman and ship it out without regard to who is getting it or why...it's just downright dishonest and it infuriates me.

It goes beyond that though...Prolacta is simply FEEDING the belief that breast milk in and of itself isn't good enough. (Granted, they have to come up with some mumbo jumbo to justify charging 10 TIMES more per ounce than HMBANA banks...) Basically, their message is "we have to take this milk and make it better, because without science, nature could NEVER take care of these babies."

The profit motive is also scary...why? Because Prolacta can give hospitals incentive to use them...incentive that the HMBANA banks cannot give.

This summer, the university's children's hospital agreed to become one of Prolacta's suppliers. The hospital receives $2 an ounce, which Dundek says should cover its costs and maybe more.

"We're hoping that eventually ... we can actually make some money on this," she said. The profits would go to breast-feeding support services for new moms, she said.


HMBANA banks cannot pay for milk...they cannot give kickbacks to hospitals that send donors their way or that use their milk. They're barely able to keep their doors open in some cases because they are doing everything they can to get this milk out to babies. In fact, the Columbus bank quite often sends milk to babies that desperately need it KNOWING that they will never be paid for that milk. Why? Because babies need it and they are not going to refuse an infant in a life or death situation simply due to inability to pay.

Please...if you have breastfeeding blogs, belong to discussion forums, LLL or any other pro-breastfeeding group...help spread the word about Prolacta. Help moms to realize the difference between non-profit milk banking and giving their milk to a for-profit company that plans to not only profit from that milk, but to do everything in their power to shut down the competition. (i.e. HMBANA)

If you have milk to donate, please try to get it to a HMBANA bank. If you have money to part with, please consider donating to the cause.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

You Know What Happens When You Assume...

One of the lessons I learned with my first daughter is that no matter how pro-breastfeeding you are, you can NEVER make assumptions about a mom that you see pulling out a bottle for their kid in public. After all, I quickly became one of those moms. Nora nursed for three days...beyond that, she ALWAYS took a bottle.

However, that bottle ALWAYS had breastmilk in it. We never used any formula. To be honest with you, the little part of me that was mad about not being able to nurse was always kind of poised for a fight should someone ever comment to me about bottle feeding instead of breastfeeding. (Because you never know what's in that bottle...)

Now generally, I don't make judgement calls when I see people bottle feeding their babies. I may wonder if they choose to formula feed, if they didn't have support, if they had a medical condition, or what other things might have come into play, but I certainly don't think any less of them.

So this morning, I was sitting in the lobby at church in a comfy chair nursing Emmitt. Along came a dad with an adorable little 5 month old. He sat down in the chair across from me (never batted an eye about the nursing, good for him!) and started mixing up a bottle of formula for his little guy. My brain briefly went "hmm...wonder what the story is." As it turns out, it only took about five minutes for me to find out. :)

We got to talking and I asked how old his little boy was. "Let me think" he replied... "He's about 19 or 20 weeks old...I can't remember...we got him in June." The wording of that must have struck me as funny and he noticed a furrowed brow or something because he went on to explain that by "got him" he meant that he was their foster child and they got him the day after he was born. As it turns out, he and his wife had tried for 5 or 6 years to get pregnant but are infertile. They decided that they would go through the training to be a foster family and not long after, they got a call about this little boy.

As he put it, he got a call at work at 1:30 and they had the baby by 6pm that evening. That explained the bottle feeding. ;)

See...you just never know if that woman over there had a masectomy, if the baby is adopted, if she spent weeks in agony with cracked and bleeding nipples, or if she just never even thought about it to begin with. Promoting breastfeeding starts with approaching things positively, not negatively. That little boy went to them from a family that he didn't have a chance in...and they are giving him that chance.

Incidentally, it looks like they may end up being able to adopt him. He said they have their first hearing on Tuesday. Any Lactivist readers that are prayers might offer up a word of prayer for little Dominic at some point on Tuesday in the hopes that he may be able to stay with the parents that he's clearly come to love very much.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

An Interational Symbol for Nursing

I'm a little late to the game on this one, but there are still a few days of voting left, so it's worth mentioning...

Mothering Magazine is sponsoring a contest to pick a new icon to represent Nursing. (Think of the wheelchair symbol on handicapped spaces or the man and woman icons on restrooms...)

From the site:

The image of a baby bottle announcing the location of a "parents lounge" in an airport got us thinking: Is there an international symbol for breastfeeding? Similar to the familiar icons we've all seen indicating a handicapped parking spot or the women's restroom, this image would be a recognizable symbol indicating that a place is breastfeeding friendly. Ideally, the space would be private, quiet, with a comfortable chair and an electrical outlet for pumping.

So we put out a call. We received an overwhelming response, over 500 entries from both the design and breastfeeding communities. While the images are currently copyrighted by the artists, we plan to make the winning image available worldwide (copyright-free, as a public domain image) with recommendations that it be used in workplaces, airports, malls, restaurants, conferences/expos, libraries, parks, or any public place.


The twelve finalists are available for viewing (and voting) here. (Numbers 4 and 8 are my personal favorites.)

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More on Nursing Tops

My mother-in-law always makes me send her a Christmas list super early in the season because this is when she does her shopping. That got me to thinking about what I needed and I realized that nursing tops are at the top of the list. I've got a couple now and I find them AMAZING for nursing in public. I've never worried about showing a little breast, but I do not like the idea of letting my post-partum stomach hang out for all the world to see. Thus, nursing tops rock.

The problem is Motherhood Maternity seems to be the only place around here that actually sells nursing tops. Seeing as how I've bought all three (yeah, I know, that's sad) nursing tops that they sell that I actually like...I'm kinda tapped out for options now.

Then I found the Motherwear site. This stuff is NICE! I mean like actual stylish shirts, even some dress shirts. I ordered a catalog a few weeks back and have been to their site to browe a couple of times. It's not cheap, but it's also not outlandishly expensive like some of the nursing shirts I've looked at online. Now if only I could convince some family members to either buy me some stuff or to get me some gift certificates.

Some of my favorites...

Baseball jersey (how cute is this?)
Polo shirt
Tree of Life Tee

Henley style (I used to love henley shirts, but haven't had one in ages)

There are tons of other great tops there and if you sign up for their newsletter they occasionally send coupon codes for free shipping. Incidentally, they also have a survey up on the site right now...if you fill it out, you're entered for a chance to win a "$135 Nursing Kit." Now I have absolutely no idea what's in that kit, but who wouldn't want $135 worth of stuff related to nursing? ;)

Now that said, I've also realized that the whole "layered" fashion of shirts really gives budget-minded moms some nice options. Think of how many people are wearing a long sleeve shirt under a short sleeve shirt, or layering a tank over a tee or whatever... Totally easy to buy a few shirts, cut the side holes yourself and then wear them underneath some other shirts. Bam! You're in fashion, plus you've got a functional nursing top.

I also noticed these tube tops for sale at Target for about $9. I'd think it would be easy enough to pull the top down when you opened your bra and to rely on the bottom part for the same type of "coverage" that you'd get from a typical nursing tee.

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Differences in Nursing Verses Pumping

This certainly isn't going to cover ALL of the differences, but there are three very noticable ones that I've found in the past few weeks.

1.) Leakage. I RARELY had any type of leakage from my breasts the last go round, at least not once I got past those few days of engorgement. I would often wake up feeling very "full" since I didn't pump at night, but I never had a problem with leaking. In fact, once I was about three weeks in, I didn't even have to wear nursing pads any more.

This time around...leakage is a HUGE issue. I'd imagine because a nursing tot is so muc more effective at stimulating milk supply. During the day, I find that I have to change out my nursing pads 3-5 times, especially on my "heavy milk" side. At night, when I'm not wearing a bra, I have to put a folded hand towel on the side that I'm not nursing with because I leak a good 2-3 OUNCES out of the side that isn't being nursed from.

I hope that stops eventually...it's kind of annoying...

2.) Let Down. When I was pumping, I could SEE the let down and could sort of feel it. After a minute or so of pumping, milk would start flowing full force. That said, I never quite got what people meant when they said they felt the let down.

This go round, I get it, I REALLY get it. Within about 30-60 seconds of Emmitt latching on, I feel a slight soreness in both breasts. Almost like they're bruised...it only lasts for about a minute, but I KNOW that this is when milk starts flowing like mad. If Emmitt happens to pull off during this time, I get an arc of milk that shoots about 8 feet. No joke, I could hit someone standing across the room. For this reason, I've discovered that it's essential to have a burp cloth nearby for covering up the nipple if he unlatches. Otherwise we'd both be soaked. As it is, he's been shot in the eye about a dozen times now.

3.) Hand Expression. I was NEVER able to get more than a few drops from hand expression the last go round. Didn't much matter because I simply used the pump. In fact, I could never understand why someone would want to hand express when pumps were so handy.

This go round, I tried it once just to see if it would work. I was able to hand express 4 ounces from one side in about 10 minutes. Holy smokes! Of course I also found that hand expression makes me feel far more like saying "moo" than the pump ever did... ;)

So strange to have given my first breast milk for 14 months but still feel like all of this is so new on the second go round...

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nursing Bracelets

Ok, so I always kinda thought nursing bracelets were hokey...I mean who can't remember when the last time they nursed their kid was?

Umm...apparently me. ;)

I have NO problem remembering when he eats at night...mostly because when he wakes up I look at the clock and think "oh holy crap, I only got 45 minutes of sleep since the LAST TIME he ate!!" But during the day...nope, I never remember. :)

Now that's not such a big deal, but I DO find myself having a really hard time remembering what the last side he nursed on was. Since I don't nurse him on both sides at each feeding (and why would I when he can get 8-10 ounces from one side of my industrial capacity dairy tanks?), I often have to sit and think for a minute or two to figure out where to put him.

So I went hunting for nursing bracelets to see what I could find...

I found this crystal one that's pretty cool...you can mark the time of the last feeding and can easily switch it from side to side. It's also kind of nice looking, but fairly expensive for a nursing bracelet...

I spotted Milk Bands, which are cute and fashionable in that silicon bracelet kinda way, but I look at them and think "I'd lose those little white pins in no time and one of the kids would eat them!"

Oddly enough, that's the only two that seem to really exist, at least on the first four pages of Google. Now if only they'd send me a complimentary one for me to review and write about here. ;)

Or I could just find a regular cheapo bracelet somewhere and put it on I guess, but someone that seems...well...less fun.

So what'd you do? How did you remember which side you last fed on?

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Study Shows Breastfeeding Rates at 51% After Birth

Well this is dissapointing... I was under the impression that breastfeeding initiation rates were at 75% right now and that they didn't really drop sharply until 6 weeks when women went back to work.

According to a new survey by a group called "Childbirth Connection", the rates are MUCH lower.

Despite the importance of early contact for attachment and breastfeeding, most babies were not in their mothers' arms during the first hour after birth, with a troubling proportion with staff for routine, non-urgent care (39%). Although 61% of the mothers wanted to breastfeed exclusively as they neared the end of their pregnancy, just 51% of all mothers were doing so one week after birth, a troubling missed opportunity.

51%...that's really low. And of course that's just the first week. We all know that the first TWO weeks are the hardest and of course many moms begin going back to work at 6 weeks which causes another big drop-off. It's no wonder the U.S. breastfeeding rates are in the tank.

It makes me think of my own friends though... quite honestly, I'm the only person I know my age that managed to provide breastmilk for their kid for a full year. I know one person that exclusively pumped for 5 months after her c-section and another that EPed for 1 month after her c-section. All of the others tried to nurse and quit within a week or two.

For those interested in the hospital verses home thing for birth...here are the intervention rates for the hospital (obviously most of these will be around 0% for a home birth...)

The national survey polled 1,573 women who gave birth in 2005 and found that most mothers experienced numerous labor and birth interventions with various degrees of risk that may be of benefit for mothers with specific conditions, but are inappropriate as routine measures. Overall, survey mothers experienced the following interventions: electronic fetal monitoring (94%), intravenous drip (83%), epidural or spinal analgesia (76%), one or more vaginal exams (75%), urinary catheter (56%), membranes broken after labor began (47%), and synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin) to speed up labor (47%).

and on the ever growing "induction" trend...

Additionally, more than four out of ten mothers (41%) reported that their caregiver tried to induce their labor. When asked if the induction caused labor to begin, more than four out of five of those women (84%) indicated that it did, resulting in an overall provider induction rate of 34%. Among all survey mothers whose providers tried to start their labors, 79% cited one or more medical reasons for being induced, while 35% cited one or more non-medical reasons. Overall, 11% of mothers reported experiencing pressure from a health professional to have labor induction, and those reporting pressure were more likely to have had it.

The whole thing sort of compounds my belief that we will NOT be able to increase breastfeeding rates until we can DECREASE unnecessary medical interventions that leave mom and baby exhausted, over-medicated, and/or recovering from harder-than-necessary birth experiences.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Adventures in Slinging Emmitt...

Baby wearers will get a laugh out of this fiasco...

Ok, so here's the video of me trying to put him in...



Now, here's a photo of what he looks like when I try to put him in the way the directions say...


From Slingin' Emmitt
Ok, now if I slide his head out a bit...to this point...

From Slingin' Emmitt
I can stick a blanket behind his head and back...

From Slingin' Emmitt
He looks like this from a distance...

From Slingin' Emmitt
Same thing from the side...

From Slingin' Emmitt
At which point, he seems to be happy...so maybe with the blanket is the key? I dunno, he looks more like he's sitting up now, but again, he seems to be content...I'm sitting here on the couch right now with him in it like this:

From Slingin' Emmitt

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Little Siblings

K asked last week how Nora was doing with Emmitt and how the whole "patience" thing was going.

So far...so good. Check it out:

From October 10th


I've actually been pretty surprised at how well she's done. I mentioned that I think it helped that we had Emmitt at home and her schedule wasn't interrupted. I also think that it helps that she's a girl. Girls seem to have a natural affinity for babies and for helping, so I think they meld into the "older sibling/helper" role a little easier than boys sometimes do.

She LOVES to help...she'll go get diapers for me, throw them away when I change his diaper...she brings him toys if he cries... In fact, she's started trying to help me burp him as well. I'll put him on my shoulder to burp him and she climbs into my lap to help pat him on the back. She even alternates between patting (gently) and rubbing, lol. The only thing we've had a problem with so far is the bouncy chair. She DESPERATELY wants to help bounce him but she just doesn't know her own strength...I spend a lot of time saying "GENTLE! Nora, GENTLE!" ;)

She's even willing to share... here's her trying to let him play with the mini-pumpkin that she got at the farmer's market last week...

From 10-18-06


We'll see though...I fully expect that there will come a day where I'll enter the room and she'll be bashing him in the head with something...just hoping that doesn't happen for a few more years.

I think the other thing that I have working for me is that Nora has always been pretty independant. Since she grew up with me working from home, she's ALWAYS had to be patient or wait a few moments for attention. She rarely got it immediately and she's never had my undivided attention all day. Thus, at an early age she learned to play by herself for 20 or 30 minutes at a stretch. Add in a few PBS Kids shows and I find I have a pretty easy time keeping her occupied while I nurse Emmit. If she's not in a playing mood, I simply have her snag a book and sit next to me while I nurse him and she flips the pages while I read.

As to what she thinks of nursing? It's funny...the first few days, she was confused. She'd point at Emmitt and point at my breast and look at me, sort of like "what's he doin' mom?" I'd simply say "Emmitt is eating, this is where Emmitt's milk is." After a day or so, she'd come over and point and then point at her sippy of milk. I'd say "Yes, that's Nora's milk, this is Emmitt's milk."

Now if he gets fussy, or she sees me getting ready to nurse him she points at my chest and says "Nummy, nummy, nummy" while pointing at Emmitt. LOL.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Please for Dairy Free Mom in California

Here's a rare request, but one that I hope a Lactivist reader can either meet, or can spread the word on to help meet.

From Pauline Sakamoto, director of the Mother's Milk Bank of San Jose.

Here's the note:

There is an infant in San Jose that is suffering from an extreme case of severe bovine protein allergy. The infant was breastfed then within a short time, he developed severe vomiting and bloody stools. The mother was able to provide milk for the little one by excluding all foods that had dairy. The infant stabilized but then had a serious problem that required GI surgery. At that time, the mother lost a lot of her milk supply. He is post op right now, not doing well on any formulas. We have regular donor milk available in the hospital for him but the physicians need non dairy donor milk. I am looking all over the US for the milk. The milk banks are having problems keeping up with the demand.

If you can help, or no someone that can, please contact the milk bank using the links posted above. If you can't help, please consider posting this request on your own blog or on message boards that you frequent.

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Dairy Free Breastfeeding Mom in California

Here's a rare request, but one that I hope a Lactivist reader can either meet, or can spread the word on to help meet.

From Pauline Sakamoto, director of the Mother's Milk Bank of San Jose.

Here's the note:

There is an infant in San Jose that is suffering from an extreme case of severe bovine protein allergy. The infant was breastfed then within a short time, he developed severe vomiting and bloody stools. The mother was able to provide milk for the little one by excluding all foods that had dairy. The infant stabilized but then had a serious problem that required GI surgery. At that time, the mother lost a lot of her milk supply. He is post op right now, not doing well on any formulas. We have regular donor milk available in the hospital for him but the physicians need non dairy donor milk. I am looking all over the US for the milk. The milk banks are having problems keeping up with the demand.

If you can help, or no someone that can, please contact the milk bank using the links posted above. If you can't help, please consider posting this request on your own blog or on message boards that you frequent.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Thriving on Mama's Milk

Well, there are no worries that Emmitt isn't getting enough milk.

Emmitt, Elnora and I went in to have lunch with Greg today and while there, we decided to put Emmitt on the mail scale to see what he weighs. He hasn't been weighed since he was four days old (at which point he was 8 pounds, 10 oz) but he's clearly gaining weight. Turns out he's gaining lots.

11 pounds, 4 ounces.

Arg, I wish my new Hotsling would show up soon (I ordered the wrong size) because carting around that infant carrier is going to kill me.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Building a Supply Through Pumping

One of the things that makes nursing so much easier than exclusively pumping is the whole "building a supply" issue. With nursing, you effectively nurse "on demand" so the baby makes sure that you end up building a supply. You don't have to think about when the last time you pumped was or remember to pump again the next go round. A baby is also far more effective at "convincing" your breasts to produce milk than a pump, so more people will respond to a nursing baby than a machine.

So, my top tips for building a supply if you have to pump...

1.) Rent a hospital grade pump. No two ways about it, you HAVE to have a hospital grade pump to build a good supply. People have done it with less, but you are starting off with a major handicap. Go ahead and cough up the $30-$50 a month that it costs to rent one and remind yourself that it's less than formula would cost. I reccomend the Medela Lactina Select or the Medela Symphony.

2.) Buy a timer and clip it to your pants. You HAVE to pump on the clock that first month or two. Seriously...if you are scheduled to pump at 2, you HAVE to pump at 2, you can't stretch it to 2:30 or 3pm. There's pretty much NO flexibility in pumping for that first month or two. So, a timer is essential. This way you can set it to give yourself ten minutes of warning so that you have time to settle in with your pump and get going.

3.) Set a schedule that mimics baby. You should start off pumping every two hours, day and night. By the end of the first week, you could likely space it to every 3 hours at night, but leave it at 2 hours during the day. By week three, go ahead and go to every 4 hours at night and every two hours during the day. By week five, you can likely pump just ONCE in the middle of the night, but still every two hours during the day.

When you hit the second month, you can "test" the idea of backing off on the daily pumping sessions. Move them to every 2.5 or three hours. If things are going well, try cutting out the night time pumping session. How well this works depends on a lot of factors...a major one being "luck." By week four, I was able to pump 6 times during the day and none at night and I could get more than enough milk.

Chances are high that pumping on this schedule will produce more milk than your baby needs. This is OK! Because a pump is less effective at establishing supply than a real baby, you pretty much NEED to produce an over-supply. Freeze the extra to donate to a milk bank or to use for baby later on... Whatever you do, don't be tempted to cut back on your pumping because you have "extra." This is a sure-fire killer to your supply. Again, you HAVE to build an over-supply to protect yourself down the road.

4.) Understand that you have to give up some quality time with your baby. This is the HARDEST one, at least for me. Those first two weeks, I rarely got to feed the baby. Timing wise, it takes so long to pump, clean parts and make bottles, that it's hard to be able to feed baby too. That means that a lot of time my husband or mother got to do the feeding while I was off pumping. This sucked royally, but ultimately, it was important enough to me to get breast milk into Elnora that it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. By the second month, things had calmed down enough that I got to do most of the feedings.

Now, these steps might seem over the top to some and WILL be overkill for others...but they will give you the absolute best shot at making a go of pumping.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Nature's Planned Rest for New Moms

As I head into the third week of breastfeeding, it's dawning on me that there are many benefits to nursing that I'd never thought of.

One is the idea that it's God and nature's way of ensuring that new moms get some rest. Now that may sound funny considering breastfeeding moms are known for having to wake up every hour or two during the night to nurse their little ones...thus, sleep doesn't really happen so much for the first few weeks.

But I'm not talking sleep, I'm talking "rest."

You see many moms in the past and today have a tendancy to go non-stop. Cleaning, chasing older kids, running errands, cooking, working, etc... tons and tons of stuff to keep us busy. But when you nurse, especially in those first few weeks, you can ONLY nurse. There is no nursing while carting around your kid and vaccuuming the living room. Babie take awhile to perfect their latch, moms take awhile to perfect their holds. ;)

So...I've been forced to take a break every two hours or so and to just SIT for 20 minutes while snuggling up with Emmitt and nursing him. Sometimes I day dream, sometimes I watch a bit of TV, sometimes I snuggle with Elnora. But no matter what I'm doing, I'm resting.

That's kinda cool.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Showing too much while breastfeeding

*sigh*

I've nursed all over the place in the last two weeks. Church, the mall, the doctor's office, the bakery, Chik-fil-et, the car, Target, if I've been there, I've nursed there. Haven't had a single comment or complaint.

The only complaint I get is when I nurse at home.

Who would have thought I'd need nursing tops for use in my own home.

Elnora thinks so.

No, seriously. She has NO problem with the breasts, with Emmitt nursing, she's intrigued actually. She wanted to know what I was doing the first few days and I'd tell her "Emmitt is drinking milk." Then she'd hold up her sippy of milk and I'd say "yep, that's Nora's milk, this is Emmitt's milk." She's cool with that.

But, if I nurse in a regular shirt and show some stomach, she comes over, points at me and says "yuck!"

Thanks kid. Way to make mom feel good. :-P

But if I cover up with a blanket or burp cloth or whatever, she's perfectly content.

*hmph!* I thought I was doing pretty good...checked the scales this morning and I'm actually down four pounds less than my pre-preg weight. Let's hear it for round-the-clock nursers!

Some day, when she's a teenager, I'm going to get a lot of glee from pointing at her bare stomach and saying "yuck!"

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Cheers for Motherhood Maternity

Although I'm a little bummed that the Motherhood stores near me seem to be pretty skimpy on the nursing tops that they keep in stock, they do have a nice web site. I ordered three more nursing tops off the site this morning. One new shirt, and then different colors of the two shirts that I bought last week.

Then I went to get dressed, putting one of my current shirts on and realized that I was wearing a large, but had ordered an extra large.

Doh!

Came back in hoping that there was a way to fix the problem. I had an email with my order confirmation and right smack in plain view was an 800# for customer service. I called them up and within about two minutes, they'd made the change to my order with no problem.

Well done Motherhood!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How Quickly We Forget...

So yesterday marked the day that I was officially back in my pre-pregnancy jeans. (I'd gotten them on a few days prior, but they were still kinda tight...at least too tight for nursing, so had to wait until yesterday.)

Anyway, that was mark for celebration, but it's also resulted in some laughs.

How long until I remember that pants have buttons and zippers? I have not ONCE gone to the bathroom in the last two days without trying to slide my jeans down off my hips. The first time I actually tried two or three times and ended up tugging on them going "what the?!!) once or twice before it dawned on me that not all pants have elastic waistbands.

Tee hee...how quickly we get used to our comfy preggo pants.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

The Lactivist Earns Her Stripes (Nursing in Public)

One of the things that I wondered about going into breastfeeding with child number two was how that whole nursing in front of other people thing would work. Since I exclusively pumped for 14 months after Elnora was born, I had zero experience nursing in front of anyone other than my husband, the hospital staff and a single lactation consultant. Since that attempt lasted all of four days, I really had no idea what to expect. Add to that the fact that there is NO way to be discreet while pumping and I pretty much never pumped in front of anyone other than DH, my mom, my grandmother and one or two close friends. That means that when the holidays came around or we had company over, I had to retreat to the bedroom every couple hours to pump.

It sucked.

So, I'd vowed that once I got nursing down pat with this kid, that I would absolutely NOT go and hide in a bedroom or a bathroom or wherever. I'll nurse where I am, when I need to because breastfeeding is part of life. With that in mind, here's a rundown of the first week or two...

I'm only going to highlight the actual nursing in public stints, but there's also been a steady stream of people (neighbors, family, friends, co-workers, etc...) marching through the house for the past two weeks and almost all of them have been here long enough that Emmitt has needed to eat so I've now nursed in front of a few dozen friends and family members.

Day Four

This was the first day where I really honestly nursed in public, though it was still pretty limited. First we had an appointment with the pediatritian, so I ended up nursing in the office. Next we headed to the lactation consultant (yeah, that doesn't count) and finally to the courthouse to apply for a birth certificate. At that point, I was having to use a new hold (re: the lactation consultant) so I climbed in the backseat to nurse Emmitt in the car while Greg ran inside. That said, we were parked along the curb at the center of town, so there were plenty of folks walking by. I figure that counts. ;) I rounded out the day stuck in the car again outside of the grocery store because there was NO place to sit inside the store.

Day Seven

Now we're moving into real nursing in public territory. I needed some new nursing bras and thought I might also like some nursing tops, so I left Elnora with my mother-in-law and headed out with Emmitt. We swung by the chiropractors' office first so that he could snap me into place. Ended up having to nurse there. Then we headed to the mall and of course right when we got there he decided he needed to eat, so I settled down on a park bench outside Planet Smoothie and latched him on. The mall wasn't very busy at that point (early morning on a weekday) but I'd guess that two dozen people walked past us and no one batted an eye. We then headed into Motherhood to do some shopping and about the time I was figuring out what to buy he needed to eat again. I was already in the dressing room and it seemed silly to get all put back together just to go nurse outside in the mall, so he got himself a snack there in the dressing room.

Day Eight

It was Saturday, which is our day to head to the bakery for breakfast and then to swing by the farmer's market. We packed up the family and headed down to the bakery, hoping to be quick since my mom, aunt, uncle, cousin, cousin's boyfriend, father-in-law and grandmother-in-law were all headed to our house that morning. (Yeah, I know, that's a lot of people.) We got our donuts and started eating and just as I finished mine, Emmitt woke up wanting to nurse.

Just as I'm undoing my nursing bra, the door to the bakery pops open and in pours EVERYONE from the family. (They'd figured out where we were and came down for donuts.) So, I ended up latching him on and nursing him while we swamped this tiny little bakery with my extended family.

Day Nine

Church day. One thing that I'll say about my church...they have a mother's room for nursing your babies. They also have a note in the bulletin that says, and I quote "Nursing mothers that prefer privacy are welcome to use our nursing room located..." In other words...nurse wherever you'd like...but this is here if you want it. I love that!

Since Emmitt is a VERY noisy eater (lots of smacking, swallowing and cooing) I figured it would probably be nice not to nurse him in the service. (I didn't want to distract anyone from the message.) So, I headed out to the cafe area in the lobby and found myself a nice cushy chair in front of the fireplace. (the service is piped out there anyway.) Emmitt and I settled in and he started to nurse. Thus began my first experience of being approached by someone while nursing in public.

First came the bass player from the band. Real nice guy in his late 40s or early 50s. He came over and started to talk to me asking about Emmitt, how old he was, etc... Then he stepped closer to look at Emmitt's face and he suddenly realized what I was doing. "Oh, I'm so sorry!" he said as he stepped backward. I laughed and said "hey, no worries!" I figured if I could be nursing and he couldn't tell until he really stepped in closely that I was doing something right. ;) I felt kinda bad for him though as he was clearly embarrassed though I think because he thought I would be upset, not because he was upset. So, he took about two steps back and we continued the conversation. ;)

About 10 minutes later a woman about my age came by and introduced herself. First time I've ever shaken hands with someone while nursing, lol... She clearly knew what I was doing but wasn't remotely bothered by it. She seemed to assume that I wouldn't mind chatting either (which I didn't.) She was expecting her second in a few more months and wanted to know how old Emmitt was. Then she invited me to a mother's group that meets at the church on Friday mornings. Sweet! We still don't know many people in town (moved here 8 months ago) so it would be nice to meet some other moms.

That's pretty much it so far, but let me say this...not near as intimidating as I thought it would be. Maybe that's the benefit of the second time around...I've learned enough by now to be really strong in my beliefs about the right of a child to eat when and where they get hungry...it doesn't bother me to think about what others might say. I'm not going to go looking for trouble and I'm not going to try to put on a display to challenge people, but I'm also not going to be a shrinking violet that hides out in corners.

It felt good. It felt empowering.

It felt freaking awesome to be "free" to go out during the day and to not be tied to that pumping schedule that always saw me rushing home to beat the clock.

I'm loving this!

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Classic Lactivist Post Revisited

I was wondering back through the blog archives here and ran across this post...pretty cool since I wrote it back before I even knew I was pregnant with #2...

Just now, while talking to my husband, he summed up the convienence of breastfeeding from a man's point of view.

He said...it's like mid-air refueling.

To which I said... "huh?"

"You know...like when an airplane can refuel while it's flying, instead of having to land to get a new tank of gas...it's convienent, they can keep going. Breastfeeding is like that...it's just there...ready...for refueling..."


I love that man!

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Nursing Bras and Nursing Tops

Went shopping yesterday to pick up some new nursing bras and discovered (and bought) some pretty cool nursing tops as well. Whole new experience for me, since I certainly didn't need such things for pumping.

I had two nursing bras left over that I'd bought before my last pregnancy and since I was worried that nursing wouldn't work this time around, I hadn't bought any more. A week into things, I'm confident enough that I'll be nursing for the next year or so that I figured it was time to go spend some cash.

Since the Target around here seems to have stopped carrying much in the way of nursing bras (or at least in the way of nursing bras for those of us that have *ahem* "large capacity storage tanks") I headed to the mall to check out Motherhood. Turns out that this was a pretty good call as Motherhood has quite the impressive collection of nursing bras ALL of which are VERY reasonably priced. (Ranging from $11-$20 as compared to the $40-$50 that I see online.)

Turns out they only had one underwire nursing bra in my size in the whole store, but thankfully it was a great fit (and just $16) so I bought it with plans to order more from their web site. Then I noticed the nursing tops.

I was intrigued.

Originally, I hadn't really seen the sense in nursing tops. After all, you just pull up the corner of your shirt and go to town, right?

Not really. I tend to wear fairly fitted clothing. The problem with that is that when you pull up the corner of an article of fitted clothing, the rest of it comes up too. That means that if I were to nurse in public wearing one of my "normal" shirts, I would really be flashing breast, but I would be flashing a LOT of stomach. Now, I'm not 16 anymore and I'm also just a week out from birthing a 9.5 pound baby. (In other words, I'm not real keen on having my gut hanging out there for the world to see.)

So, I checked out the nursing tops and found a few styles that I really liked. Since I work at home, I figure I could likely snag half a dozen or so over time and simply wear them on days that I know I'll be out and about and having to NIP several times. Unfortunately, the selections in the store are fairly limited, so I was only able to find two that I liked and that fit, but here they are if you want to check them out.

White v-neck t-shirt
Green double layered boy shirt

And I plan on ordering this polo shirt and this baseball tee. (Or maybe putting them on my Christmas list...)

Anyway, I love the idea behind these...cute shirts, but they have a nice second layer of shirt underneath that gives you stomach (and back) coverage while allowing you easy access to nurse. That said, with the style being to layer shirts right now, I can't help but think that you could EASILY just buy a few plain t-shirts, cut out holes for your breasts and wear them underneath another layered shirt, thus creating your own nursing tops, but without spending the cash that people seem to think it's ok to charge for "real" nursing tops.

Now I just know that some of you are wondering "so she went to the mall with the baby...did the baby have to eat? What happened? Did she NIP during her first week of breastfeeding?" The answer is yes, I'll tell ya later and yes.

Look for a post over the weekend about the Lactivist earning her stripes when it comes to NIP. ;)

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Elnora and Emmitt

One of the things that I wondered most about having Emmitt was how Elnora would react to things. While I know there are always going to be sibling rivalry issues, I've got to hope that those early days do end up being somewhat indicitive of how things might go in the future.

Thus far, "those early days" are going very very well. I attribute that to two things...

1.) We didn't vanish for three days (to go to the hospital) and come home with some new bundle of baby that suddenly takes up all our time. Instead, she was here for the birth and her daily schedule/routine stayed pretty much the same. (except that she took an hour nap instead of a three our nap the day he was born...cause hey, grandma and grandpa were here and who wants to sleep with them around!)

2.) She's a girl. She's a little helper and she's pretty nurturing...thus, even at 23 months, she went straight into "big sister" mode. She'll go get us a diaper, she takes his diapers to the trash, she brings me the phone or the remote or whatever if I'm nursing and can't get it myself. And the kisses...oh the kisses. She LOVES to kiss his head.

Basically, she's totally accepted him into the family. First thing she does every morning is find him (whether he's sleeping or nursing) and give him kisses or point and squeal. When he cries, she brings him toys. When he sleeps, she drags a chair to the pack n play, climbs up and stares at him. When he's nursing, she climbs up next to us and watches to see what's going on. If he's asleep on my shoulder, she climbs into my lap and lays her head on my chest so it's facing his, but about two inches away.

I hope this lasts. ;)

A few pics of their interactions this week...



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Nursing...Rounding out the First Week

Halfway there!

Everyone tells me that if you can survive the first two weeks of breastfeeding that you're "gold" and you should be able to then go as long as you want.

In about three more hours, we're officially at the one week point and BOY have things progressed since my last post. So, to bring things up to speed...

Day 5 (since I posted at the start of day five last time)

Day five was kind of gross from the nipple perspective. As I mentioned I had some pretty severe cracking and chapping (is that a word?) going on. Both sides were chapped and the right side had a huge crack. Part way through day five I noticed that it looked like the left side might also be developing a crack. Oh joy.

My biggest concern at this point wasn't really the pain of nursing through a cracked nipple (though I will say that doing so hurt worse than ANY part of childbirth) but the fear that Emmitt or I would develop thrush. To that end, I started taking my acidopholous supplements three times a day and snagged some organic yogurt since it tends to have more and better cultures in it. I also limited myself to one glass of milk a day, since dairy and sugars tend to contribute to yeast growth. Finally, I started sleeping shirtless (well, with a towel under my chest since I was still engorged) so that things were airing out pretty well at night.

Throughout the day on day five I noticed that every time I nursed Emmitt, a little bit of skin would sort of fall away from the nipple. (I know, totally gross...) But what seemed to be happening was that the chapped part was simply coming off to make way for new skin.

Went to sleep that night on the back porch again so that we'd be near the futon for nursing. Emmitt gave me three full sets of two hours sleep. Basically I'd nurse him for 30 minutes, put him in the pack n play and we'd both sleep for two hours then we'd start the process over again. (Incidentally I can now tell you that 80% of channels run infomercials through the night...) I ended up with 5-6 hours sleep which is about all I need to function anyway, so YAY!

Day Six

Day Six dawned nice and early...Emmitt woke up to nurse at 6:30, so I figured I might as well stay up. I got some email checked, posted a few articles for work (I'm technically on leave, but I still do about 30 minutes of work a day) and had some breakfast. I was feeling pretty awake, so why not stay up? :)

This day went much better than the previous five. We continued to nurse using the football hold for the right side, but alternating football hold and cross-cradle on the left. In fact, by the end of the day I was feeling ZERO pain when nursing on the left and pain only during the first 10-15 seconds of latch on the right. I also noticed that my nipples on both sides had lost all of the chapped skin and were now simply a little pinker than usual, but otherwise back to normal. Still no signs of thrush. (yay!)

I also knew for certain that Emmitt was getting PLENTY of food becuase we were now seeing about 5-6 dirty diapers (ahh...remember the yellow-seedy? lol) and an additional 3-4 "just wet" diapers. At this point he was still nursing about 12-14 times in a 24 hour period. He was also starting to have at least one session of cluster feeding each day. Basically, for 4 hours (either early morning or late evening) he would nurse every hour on the hour, which sometimes meant we'd have all of a 20 minute break between nursing sessions. We'd also have one or two three hour stretches during the day where he'd sleep pretty peacefully.

I called the lactation consultant back to check in with her and give her a progress report. She said things sounded like they were going pretty well, so not to worry about coming back in this week. (Again with the yay!)

Day Seven

So here we are on day seven and can I just say how thankful and greatful I am to everyone that logged their support and offered suggestions? They're right when they say that support is the biggest motivator to pushing through the tough times. There was a day or two this week where nursing was pretty much hell, but with so much encouragement online and from my husband (who has been an absolute ANGEL through this) how could I miss?

Now that we've moved past the horrible pain point, I totally get why moms love to nurse. ;) I mean who doesn't love snuggling up with a newborn and nursing certainly gives you PLENTY of time to do that. Add in the fact that when it's time for him to eat I pretty much pick him up, settle in and lift my shirt. Last time around, I was pumping every two hours, making bottles, cleaning pump parts and STILL had to spend the time feeding him. Though actually, in the first two weeks, I fed him less than anyone because time-wise, it couldn't be done. That meant that the first two weeks of Elnora's life it was my husband or my mother that did most of the feedings. I remember feeling like I was really missing out on someting then, but it was so important to get her that breastmilk that it was ultimately worth it.

This time around, I don't think any family members even dare to suggest that they're sad that they can't feed her. ;) I'd probably end up shooting some pretty dirty looks if they did.

More updates coming, but the cautiously optimistic attitude that I had earlier this week has been replaced with a "brimming with confidence" attitude.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Woo hoo! (Indulge me please...)

Just got on the scale for kicks and I'm within 3 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight again. Woot! Now granted, I have no idea how much I gained...I know at 34 weeks I was up 24 pounds, but I never checked again after that. Thus, I'd guess I gained around 30 pounds.

Granted, I lost about 15 pounds of baby/placenta/amniotic fluid in a matter of about five minutes...but it looks like most of the rest was water weight again. (It took me 13 days to lose all the weight after my first birth, but I only gained 24 pounds total on that one.)

YAY!

Now to lose the 3 + the 13 pounds I put on in the month after I weaned Nora but before I got pregnant. ;)

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Nursing, the First Five Days...

Well, if there's one thing that having another baby has done, it's give me quite a bit to write about on the Lactivist blog. ;) Since I'm on maternity leave from my "real job" I figure I should have a good chance to add some good posts on my experiences to this one. With that in mind, the first five days have already been pretty eventful...and VERY different from our attempts to nurse the first go round.

Day One

The first twenty-four hours after birth actually went pretty similar this time to the last time. I was able to start nursing Emmitt within about 30 minutes of his birth and he latched on instantly and without any problems. In fact, in the first twenty-four hours, he nursed about 16 or 17 times. Usually it would be along the lines of "nurse for 45 minutes, take a 20 minute break, nurse for 30 minutes take a 10 minute break, nurse for 45 minutes..." you get the picture. Basically...this kid can EAT!

Greg, Emmitt and I spent that first night on the back porch where I could sit in the recliner and sleep while he was nursing. I think I actually managed to get two or three hours of sleep. Thus, I woke up on Day Two feeling pretty optimistic.

Day Two

But then of course...the next day came about. Emmitt was still eating around the clock, but I noticed that it was starting to hurt...badly...whenever he latched on. That told me that I likely wasn't getting him latched deep enough and I really tried to work on getting that nice wide open mouth before latching him. Unfortunately, I was still putting breast to baby instead of pulling baby into breast. The bad latch meant that by halfway through the day I was pretty much in agony whenever he nursed. Then it got worse...

Greg, Emmitt and I tried to sleep in the bedroom that night, but I found that the moment I set Emmitt down in his bassinet, he'd start screaming. (We'd notice that he'd fuss anytime we set him down pretty much from the moment of birth...but this was the first time we'd really tried to SLEEP...) I'm not really the co-sleeping type (terrified of smothering baby) so about an hour in, I gathered him up and we headed back to the porch. That's when he decided that he'd had enough of this nursing thing.

Bam...flashback! This is exactly what happened with Elnora.

I spent the next two-three hours trying desperately to get him calmed down and latched but his growing frustration and the fact that exhaustion was finally catching up with me were creating a lethal combination. However, just as I was about to burst into tears, Greg came out to check on us. He came in pretty much just in time to see me rocking back and forth chanting "I will not get the pump, I will not get the pump, I will not get the pump." Mostly because I KNEW, that the second we gave him a bottle of expressed milk that this whole thing was over and I was DETERMINED to nurse this go round.

So Greg encouraged me to climb back into the recliner and he spent the next hour working with me to get Emmitt latched. In fact, he pretty much got Emmitt latched on while I passed out in the chair. With a great latch, Emmitt nursed for an hour straight while I slept. Emmitt then dozed in my arms for about 30 minutes before I woke up and switched him to the other side where he nursed for another 30 minutes. After that, Greg took him and let me sleep for almost two hours.

God bless that man.

Day Three

Not wanting to experience another night like that, I called the lactation consultant hotline first thing in the morning. We'd seen an LC on a Saturday when we had Elnora, so I thought we'd be able to get in. Unfortunately, they told me that they only do out-patient services on Monday - Friday. So...that left me with a phone consult. She asked some questions, made some suggestions and I was left hoping that we'd survive until Monday morning. Thankfully, one of the suggestions she made was to "feed" baby into the breast chin first rather than nose first. That alone really helped and I noticed a difference in pain levels almost immediately.

Also had a visit from a friend and his wife that day... His wife is currently nursing their third child and she offered up some help until I could get to see the LC. While latching was going much better, I mentioned that my nipples were definitely reaching the chapped and painful stage. It also looked like I was developing a cracked nipple on my right side. She asked if I had any Lansinoh which created my first "duh" moment of nursing. So, I went hunting and dug out a tube I had leftover from my pumping days. She suggested that I make sure I use the Lansinoh every time I nursed and that I try to let the nipples air dry as much as possible.

That night, we tried the bedroom again and found that we had the exact same problem with sleeping. Any time we put Emmitt in his bassinet, he'd cry almost instantly. This was getting confusing as by day two, he'd started being content to sleep on the couch lying next to someone and by day three, we were able to put him in his pack n play on the porch and he'd happily sleep for an hour or so at a time.

Exhausted, I decided to try nursing him while side lying. Sure enough, we both fell asleep within minutes. So...Emmitt spent the entire night in bed with Greg and I. Gotta say, I get the co-sleeping now. (LOL...funny how different kids and different temperaments suddenly make you appreciate different parenting styles...) I have no interest in co-sleeping long term, but figured if this is what it takes for a few weeks to get the kinks worked out, then that's doable.

So, for the first time since Emmitt was born, I found myself waking up feeling rested. I probably got a whole four hours or more of sleep that night. Plus, it was pretty darn nice to snuggle up to Emmitt. ;)

Day Four

Sunday dawned bright and clear and with me feeling pretty darn awake. In fact, apart from the ouch factor of nursing with some pretty bad chapping and cracking damage to both nipples, the day went pretty smoothly. Emmitt seemed to be settling into a pattern of nursing for 20 minutes, sleeping for two hours and then nursing for 20 minutes again. The day was pretty uneventful though I could tell that my milk was starting to come in in pretty full force. (yay...engorgement...) That said, I was still concerned about how Emmitt was latching, so we agreed that come Monday morning, we'd try to get in to see an LC after our appointment with the pediatrician in the morning.

Sunday night saw a repeat of Saturday night. Anytime we put Emmitt in the bassinet, he cried. (Which was starting to make me wonder if there was something weird about the bassinet.) So, he again spent the night with us in bed nursing on and off throughout the night, but generally allowing me to get several hours of sleep.

Day Five

Since we had an appointment with our ped at 9am (and the office was 30 minutes away) we got up early and got the car seat installed for Emmitt's first car ride. He nursed good and strong for about 40 minutes before we left and fell asleep in the car as soon as we hit the road. (yay! the bassinet thing had me worried that he wouldn't like the car either and was just some strange kid...lol)

Our appointment at the ped's went well. Emmitt had lost about 12 ounces, but since he started off at such a high weight, that still meant he hadn't yet lost 10%. The ped asked how nursing was going and I filled him in, including our plans to visit an LC that afternoon. He said Emmitt looked fantastic and healthy. I asked about him having a bit of jaundice and the ped said that he did, but that it was very minor and obviously very common for breastfed babies. Basically...no worries. I then asked about the bassinet thing and him sleeping with us and he reminded me that babies are used to being close to people by default, so it makes sense that some of them have to "learn" to be by themselves. He assured me that we weren't locking ourselves into co-sleeping this early in the game and that if we want to have him NOT sleep with us, we easily had a month or two to work on that before we could in any way get him "used" to being with us every night.

Basically, he said all the right things to reassure us on what we were doing. Have I mentioned how much I love my ped?

From there, we swung by the chiropractor's since my back was starting to hurt from the relaxin that was still coursing through my system. He gave me my adjustment and then checked Emmitt over. He gave him the tiniest little adjustment in his neck and commented on what great shape he was in. He said that most babies need a pretty significant adjustment from the twisting that goes in when their head is delivered. (Meaning from how doctors "guide/pull" them out.) I reminded him that I had a midwife and he laughed and said "ahh yes...and she did a GREAT job being hands off if his neck is in this great a shape."

From there, it was off to stop by Greg's office for a few minutes and then down to the LC at the hospital. We spent about 45 minutes with her working on different hold positions and our latch. Turns out, we were latching pretty good by this point but she said that there was significant damage from the first few days. In fact, she said that the crack that had formed on my right nipple was "pretty severe" and that we really needed to vary the position that I nursed in on that side to give things a chance to heal. If healing doesn't start to make progress by Wednesday, I'll need to exclusively pump that side for a day or two and nurse on the left side until things heal. Then, I can add in an extra nursing session a day on the right side until we're back to nursing both sides regularly.

She also pointed out that the crack put me at risk for a yeast infection in the nipple and suggested that I work on making sure that they get plenty of air, plenty of Lansinoh and that I change my nursing pads at least every other feeding so that nothing can get a hold and start growing. She also suggested that I cut back on sugar and dairy products, add in some yogurt and take acidophilus to help combat the potential for yeast. (Any other suggestions readers?)

She also banned us from the bed for at least three nights. She said that while she could appreciate the desire to nurse and sleep, that it's just too hard to secure and maintain a really good latch with a new baby in that environment. Add in the damage that I already have and I was really risking making things worse if I kept it up before things healed. So...Emmitt and I needed to move back to the porch (with the futon and recliner) until things are completely healed up. At that point, she said she'd be happy to work with us on proper side-lying positions if I wanted to keep co-sleeping. For now though, it was "feet on the floor" positions for us.

That left me feeling pretty worried because I still hadn't had much sleep and I was pretty exhausted. I knew it meant that I'd have to start sleeping more during the day since he'd often go two hours between feddings and I'd have two weeks of help with Nora since my MIL and then my mom were each spending a week with us. Add in the fact that come 6pm, Emmitt decided that he wanted to nurse every hour on the hour and I was getting even more concerned. He'd been doing a lot of cluster feeding at night and it was pretty much just the co-sleeping that was getting me ANY sleep at all. Come midnight, when we'd wrapped up our sixth session in six hours, Greg headed to bed making me promise to come get him if we ran into problems.

I put Emmitt into his pack n play, settled into the recliner and said a quick prayer that God would help him (and me) get some sleep tonight.

Then I woke up. At 3 am.

Praise God! 3 full hours of sleep! Three...count em...one...two....yep...three! The most sleep I'd had in a single setting in nearly three months.

I woke up, snagged Emmitt, he nursed for about 30 minutes and fell right back to sleep.

As did I.

For another hour and a half.

It was amazing. I actually felt human again. I nursed Emmitt for another 20 minutes or so, then he settled down on the couch next to me while I ate a banana and pulled out the laptop to write this post. It's coming up on 6:45am and he's still sleeping. That likely means that we're far enough through the night that we'll hit the 2 hours/20 minutes sleep/nurse pattern again. That also means I'll be taking several naps today during those 2 hour stints. ;)

So...please cross your fingers and say a prayer for us. If we can avoid thrust and I can get this crack healed up, I think we're going to be ok. I know there are still plenty of problems ahead (I remember mastitis...and NOT fondly...) but I really felt like once I made it past that second night and fought past the problems that tanked my nursing with Nora...that it was all going to work out.

We WILL do this. It may mean lots of visits to the LC and it may mean less sleep and more pain for a bit...but we WILL do this.

Yay!

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: