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Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding’

Breasteeding while suffering from Post Partum Depression and Cloth Diapering.

Just in case you weren’t sure what those meant.

Feel free to skip this post if you don’t want to hear about boobs, brains or butts.  (I am cracking myself up here – are you laughing yet?  BJD insists I am not funny.  I remind him often that I am – just ask G or her hubby – they’ll tell you how often I have told them too that I am funny.)

Little Girl, aka Giant Baby, turns 1 at the end of this month.  While I nursed her older brother until she was born, I did not have intentions of her nursing this long.  My body never fully recovered from her pregnancy and I now have chronic hypertension – which I take meds for.  And breastfeeding with postpartum depression can have its benefits.  It can also wreck havoc.

Giant Baby, or GB, loves to nurse.  She’s pretty good about how and when to do it too – pretty much only when we are getting ready to go down for a nap or night time.  We nurse pretty much exclusively in bed, not anywhere else.  (I did the same with her brother and never really nursed in public, not because I was afraid to but because circumstances never presented themselves.)

I have no idea how to wean – and  am not convinced  I want to.  I mean, I know I am not ready to, but I had seriously thought that by this time I would have given it more thought.

I like to have a plan.

And more importantly, I like to have options.

She drinks water from a cup – sometimes.  I mean, she gets a cup daily, filled with water with a nice little flouride tablet (if I remember – must.remember.to.give.flouride as tap water here is not flourinated).  But lots of times she enjoys spitting half of it out or letting it dribble out or, yeah she has a new toy – her tongue.

So far though, I have been able to manage both my high bp and PPD with meds that are compatible with breastfeeding.

Cloth diapering – started it with Bubba Joe and am continuing with GB.  We used to use prefolds — you know, those pieces of fabric that are rectangular shaped with a thicker piece in teh middle that you fold up usually in thirds then pin together and put rubber pants on over it?  Yeah, those.

Then I received my first fitted for free – and I was hooked.  Or snappied.  Or pinned.  (Seriously, I gotta stop – I might wake up GB and then she’ll want the boob again and I am trying to write a post here!!!)

I just wanted to talk about CDing not because I had anything really to say about it but because it seemed to fill out the subject of this post.  Shallow?  Naw, I don’t think there’s enough depth for that (ha – there I go again.  See?  I AM funny.)

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I’ve been comparing things lots lately. 

I’ve compared my pregnancies, medical systems between 2 countries, languages and how different Little Girl is from Bubba Joe.

And for the most part, I don’t mind when friends compare their high-risk pregnancies with mine.

But comparing breastfeeding to formula feeding and the  merits of one over another?  Nope.  I don’t do that.  Honest.  I don’t. 

Let me back up a bit.

I have successfully breastfed Bubba Joe until well, until his sister was born.  I had intended on continuing our journey but he was sick  when Little Girl came home and he was old enough so that was that.

Little Girl has been a champ at nursing. 

But both children have received bottled formula – Bubba Joe both in the hospital (in the NICU) and for at least the first 4-6 weeks home (high-calorie preemie formula as he came home at 4 pounds 2 ounces).  Little Girl received formula in the hospital because it took 5 days for my milk to come in.

With Bubba Joe, I did not have the luxury of taking time to figure things out.  I did not have anyone tell me to continue letting him nurse to build my supply up.   Nor did anyone tell me to give up the bottle because my body would make enough.

Nope.

Like any of you preemie/NICU mamas, I was told that it was imperative that he not burn his calories by nursing.  I was given a timer.  10 minutes.  That was all he was allowed to nurse.  I learned to nurse him with lots of people in a room.  No ”real” privacy.  Just a movable curtain. 

In fact, I wasn’t allowed to nurse him for the first 3 days. 

After my c-section, I immediately requested a pump to begin pumping.  I had no idea what I was doing and remember being frustrated with the amount that came out.

I think I even dumped some of that precious gold (as the NICU nurses called it) – colostrum, down the drain because it was so little.

They mixed up whatever I produced with formula and fed it to him.  Initially it was through his NG tube (through his nose to his tummy).  When he was strong enough, they gave him bottles. 

I bottle fed him before I breastfed him.

And once I was released from the hospital, I had to continue pumping, carefully storing the milk to take in to the hospital.

The staff placed such an importance on breastfeeding, there really seemed to be no choice.  It was the only thing I could do for my little one to give him the chance to thrive that my body had otherwise failed to do.  Breastfeeding helped me overcome some of the guilt I felt with having preeclampsia and meeting Bubba Joe 6 weeks early. 

But like most things me, I became obsessed with it.  Once I returned to work, we discovered he had a dairy allergy.  I had to cut dairy out of my diet.  Or stop nursing and try formula and hope it would work.  It was easier (and I really am a control freak in so many regards) to stop consuming dairy products.

But since dairy was now an issue, I had to dispose of ALL the milk I had stored up in our freezer.  I had so much milk – if I remember correctly it was well over 1 gallon.  I ended up donating it to the Mothers Milk Bank of Ohio

On top of the dairy, I had an oversupply issue. 

All the pumping, either alone or before or after feedings, destroyed the concept of supply and demand with my body.  I was a milk queen.  A cow of magnanimous proportions.  I made milk.  And I was damned good at it.  Too good in fact.

Because in spite of what one might think, having an oversupply sucks.  Especially when nursing  a baby with reflux, much less a preemie. 

It was horrible. 

But it was the only thing I felt I could control. 

So I continued … I persevered, eating carefully (and no, I did not lose weight as I had hoped.  There are LOTS of goodies out there that I usually didn’t buy much less eat that were dairy free.  One of them is my fave still today (and I miss it oh so much as it can only be imported here and that is quite expensive.)  I love me some brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts

Jumping ahead, Little Girl is surprisingly similar to her big brother in many ways. 

She also has reflux, albeit far more manageable (and treated by homeopathic medicine whereas Bubba Joe took prescription meds until 12 months of age). 

And turns out that she also has a dairy sensitivity.

And lastly, turns out that once again, I have had supply issues, beginning initially with not enough milk in the hospital (which I do credit with the hospital allowing her to sleep between 4-6 hours as a newborn.  That means they did not wake her nor push for her to be on the breast more often.  Breastfeeding really is about supply and demand.  The more oft you put baby to breast, the more my body should respond appropriately.) to coming home and ending up with an oversupply issue. 

It makes me wonder if I simply am a woman whose body will never tolerate being pregnant (being preeclamptic with 2/2 pregnancies) but who makes it up by producing more than my child’s demands for milk … who knows. 

By and large though, comparisons are made.  I’m in constant awe at the differences between my two children.  One preemie the other full-term.  How quickly Little Girl goes through clothing sizes in comparison to her brother.  How Bubba Joe screamed far more.  How medical systems differ in treating reflux (and thus providing relief for parents).  How Little Girl’s sleep habits seem to be healthier and more in line with what I’ve read in books (Bubba Joe did not sleep through the night until well after the age of 2 and even still he wakes up sometimes once or twice).

You get the picture.

One last comparison … pics of Bubba Joe when he was born (wires and tubes and all) and one of him this week.  My little man just turned 3.

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It’s not how I planned.  But then again, what is?

Bubba Joe is officially weaned from breastfeeding.  He has been since LG was born.  (LG = little girl)  But again, it is not how I planned.

You see, I nursed him through my pregnancy.  Again, not exactly what I intended, to get pregnant and nurse.  But getting pregnant with Bubba Joe took some time.  I expected it to take more time with LG.  (But thanks to the baby vibes at my sis’s house – and maybe her hot tub to help us relax … you get the picture.)

So when I found out I was pregnant, I purchased the book Adventures in Tandem Nursing produced by the Le Leche League International.  It helped debunk some of the ideas out there about nursing while pregnant and gave ideas on what to do when baby comes, including nursing both children and even weaning.  I found the book very supportive and as always, went along with BJD and my approach of letting Bubba Joe guide us in when he hits certain milestones.

But then, my pregnancy was complicated.  I was hospitalized.  BJD brought in Bubba Joe every few days to nurse – at that point we were fearful of having a preemie.  The first hospital stay I was 27 weeks pregnant.  Not even in my 3rd trimester.  Because of the preemie fear, I wanted to ensure my milk supply.  Weaning was not an option.  No!  Instead, I wanted to make sure I had more than enough milk.

But then came the struggles – do I have Bubba Joe nurse more often? That meant his dad would have to bring him into the hospital more.  That meant Bubba Joe would be exposed to lots more germs.  Which could mean he would get sick.  Which of course, meant that if we had a preemie, we’d be struggling with a little one in the NICU and a sick one at home.

We didn’t have a preemie.

But when LG was born, BJ was sick.  Ugh.  Bronchitis.  Again. 

He had it for at least 1 week before I was hospitalized and it lasted an additional 3.  I was in the hospital for 1 week after LG’s birth.  That meant we were home with him sick for 2 full weeks. 

Coming home was a struggle.  His ped had told us he was highly contagious for the first 10 days of being sick  and if LG caught what he had, she would surely have breathing difficulties. 

BJD and I went back and forth and back and forth.  We did the math.  It was over 10 days from his initial signs.  We had “planned” on him bringing his sister home with us from the hospital.  But like most of our plans …

Bubba Joe hadn’t nursed for my entire last hospital stay – 10 days total.  Prior to that, he nursed mostly at nap time or bed time.  Some days, he wanted “milk” more often.  Other days he wasn’t interested.

And today, he’s weaned. 

He asks for “milk” more often recently.  But BJD and I both agree that he’s done with nursing and sine the weaning happened more or less, well, naturally, we didn’t want to risk creating a monster.  Bubba Joe understands that mama’s milk is for LG.  And he’s surprisingly okay with that.

I’m so proud of my little man.

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Sometimes the weather here in Duelmen surprises me.  Like today for example … it’s gorgeous.  A typical spring day in Germany.  Clear blue skies, cool crisp air.  It’s far better than the springs I remember from Ohio.

Speaking of Ohio – my mom is coming to visit us next month.  Yeah!  It’ll be nice to see her – and Bubba Joe will love spending time with his Nana.  He speaks to her often on the phone.  And of course, she’s looking forward to meeting (and cuddling) with Bubba Girl.

And my sister is planning a trip here this summer.  If all goes well (and if airfares continue to be somewhat reasonable) she won’t be travelling alone.  Nope, she’ll be braving it with her 3 kiddieos.

Oops … gotta run.  Bubba Girl is a’callin’!

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After numerous doctor’s visits, 5 hospital stays, 10 IVs placed, lots of NSTs, dopplars and so forth, our newest addition arrived on February 27th, weighing in just over 6 pounds and just over 18.5″ long.  (I’m not sure the exact measurements right now – sleep deprivation is really starting to hit!)

She was  born via c-section due to fetal distress and recovery is taking its time.  Bubba Joe has received her with lots of love and curiousity.  She’s nursing like a champ, though last night had some tummy issues. 

And somehow, in spite of all the stress and fears and worries during the pregnancy, I’ve forgotten how horribly emotional it all was and am willing to do it again.  I’m nuts.

Bubba Joe came down with Fifth Disease (slap cheek) while I was in the hospital, being induced – that’s another story for another time.  Of course, like always, it went to his lungs.  He’s still on breathing treatments.  Thankfully though, we’re all home together (we were unsure if we would be able to introduce her to him because his ped scared us). 

After nearly 3 years of nursing Bubba Joe, our relationship has ended.  He’s allowed to “hold” the milk, but the milk is only for his sister to drink.  I’m saddened by this change but know it is a good thing.  He’s been so brave and strong and courageous these last few months – not knowing or understanding why I was away for so long (remember Christmas?) or so often (3 times I went in overnight, unsure if I would be delivering).  And when I was home, I was bedresting. 

At times I felt replaced. Other times I felt guilty.  And yet other times I almost wished for a preemie because I was so uncomfortable being pregnant.

And now our relationship has shifted – I’m second now to his dad.  He asks his dad to comfort him, to hold him, to kiss his boo-boos.  The only consolation I have is that this allows me to focus on healing after the c-section and taking care of baby girl (I haven’t come up with her “screen” name yet).  But I miss my little man. 

Little girl was born at 37weeks + 1 day – she’s a full-term baby!!!  Here’s a few pics to enjoy!

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An inspiration to me

I found this blog through another blog (isn’t that just how it works sometimes?).

http://bitsofmyself.com/

Check it out and see for yourself how amazing this woman is.

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