Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nursing Worries

I'm finding nursing a bit of a love-hate relationship.

I really enjoy nursing her. I'm not really a super crunchy type, but in this case, nursing has been kinda magical for us. I had the same experience with Robbie. The first time he nursed it was perfect. He latched on and looked happy. I sobbed happy tears. It wasn't to last. He didn't have the stamina to take full feedings by breast and then of course, he ended up not eating at all, but for that brief moment in time, it was magic.

Charlotte also had a perfect latch right from the start. She knew what to do immediately and did it well. She was very sleepy and did a lot more sleeping than nursing for a few days. In the hospital, they had me topping her off with a bottle after she nursed, but she never took more than another 1/2 oz (and usually much less than that) and seemed satisfied.

Her pediatrician wanted to make sure she didn't lose too much weight to start because she just didn't have much to give, so that's what we did. She lost the first 2 days, then slowly started to gain again. When we left the hospital, we stopped topping her off. Her first office appointment, she hadn't gained any weight and I was pretty stressed out.

I was still having to wake her to eat, so I moved her feedings up to every 2 hours instead of every 3, and as she slowly started to wake up a little more (waking on her own, I mean) sometimes she'd feed even more often than that. Our next weight check, she had made weight. The doctor wanted 3-5 oz in that time, and she'd gained 3.5.

I have a baby scale at home, so I can also keep track at home. I try not to weigh her obsessively both because I know there are variables that make that unreliable and because I know it will make me crazy. But tonight was a weigh in night.

She's gained 1.5 oz in 4 days putting her back at her birth weight of 5lb 2oz. I wish it were just a bit higher. Right now she's gained 4oz in 6 days. Average is a little more than that. I know she's so small yet. She's still a little over 2 weeks from her due date. I'm almost certain I have plenty of supply. She has a great latch and seems to nurse well. Her diaper outputs are great. All signs point to a happy, healthy baby. But I wish it was a little more.

I know that some of this is Robbie's history bleeding into Charlotte. Some of it is because even though she's my 2nd child, I've never done this before. Some of it is probably Anxiety screwing with my mind. But I'm worried.

I love her so much and I want what is best for her. I want her to have the immunities that breast milk provides. She's so tiny and fragile, I want to do everything I can for her. I keep telling myself that if she needs formula, she does. Or I can pump and supplement her a little. But I honestly don't think I can exclusively pump again like I did with Robbie.

I'm already pulled in 2 directions all day. Robbie is handling the change very well, but at least once a day, he gives me the saddest look like he just misses having me all to himself. I try to immediately devote a little one-on-one time to him and that seems to perk him right up, but I still feel like I'm having to choose between them a lot. Adding having to pump 6 or 8 times a day just isn't going to help that. And it was hard enough the first time... I swore I wouldn't do it again. Of course, never say never, I suppose. But I really don't want to do it again.

I just keep praying that as she gets closer to her due date, she gets bigger and stronger and then it cycles into better weight gain and so on. Hopefully as she gets bigger and can control her temperature better, she'll burn fewer calories as well. We do everything we can to keep her warm, but it's not the same as having that natural internal mechanism. Hopefully more body fat will help with that.

I really just need her to get bigger and stronger all around. I worry so much about her and love her so much. I need her to be okay. I hope that allows me to continue nursing her, but at this point, I just wish I knew what the right answer was.

I would really appreciate prayers for good weight gain and for peace for me. Worrying changes nothing and I know that. But I seem to be incapable of not doing it.



Claire said...

may i offer just a couple bits of assvice?
1. RELAX mama, you are doing a great job and are a super mum to your kids! Really i mean it.
2. Worrying and worrying isn't going to get you anywhere. It's like running in circles.
3. How long does she nurse for on each side? Do you nurse on one side then switch and switch back to the first side? (second letdown) If she just nurses for a few mins on one side she probably is just getting the thinner foremilk.
4. Is she getting enough hind milk? That is where all the fatty milk is. Hand expressing and then nursing could help this.
5. She is still just a itty bitty and obviously on her own growth curve which is 100% FINE!
6. She will grow up faster than you know and nursing will just be a blip on the screen.
7. do you have a good sling? I would wear her a lot it makes nursing easier when dealing with an older kid.
8. Please see number 1 again :)

Hope you don't hate me for chiming in.

Trish said...

No Claire, I don't hate at all! I appreciate any (reasonable) comment at all!

1) Thanks. Honestly, thanks. If good is measured in how much I love them, they're in good shape. But I want to be better!

2) I know. :hangs head:

3) I typically only nurse her on one side per nursing session. There are a few exceptions. Tonight, for example, she nursed for 20 minutes on one side, then kept popping off and seeming frustrated, so I moved her to the other and she went another 15. Considering most of the time, an entire session in 10-20 minutes long, that was very odd. It was right after her bath, and I think she was really keyed up, though.

4) I think so. Her poop isn't green like there is too much foremilk, she doesn't seem excessively gassy, etc. The nursing from one side each time is in an effort to make sure she gets plenty. I think I had a bit of an oversupply at teh start (the nurses kept gasping at how much I had) and I wanted to make sure she was getting "deep enough" I guess.

5) I hope you're right!

6) I know. All of this will be. I just want us to survive it!

7) I have a moby which I love for out and about, but find it a little constricting for around the house. And SOMEWHERE I have another, but I can't seem to figure out where. I need to work on that.

8) Thank you again. Honestly.

Rachel said...

Both of my kids were really slow to gain weight at the beginning, even as full term babies. We used to have to do awful things to my little girl - strip her and put ice cubes on her stomach to keep her awake and eating long enough. This isn't about that though (and really, only do it if the pediatrician thinks its necessary) but all along the way the pediatrician and the lactation consultant kept telling us that with little babies they just wake up one day and start nursing more and gaining weight rapidly. She's still not even to her due date and a tiny little baby (you may not realize that 99% of women would be terrified of taking such a small baby home, whereas you seem to be handling it so well) so I would try to hold off on making long-term plans, even in your head, regarding nursing/pumping/formula. When she's a little bigger she may just start gaining more quickly and all of this will be written off as a slow week or two.

Heather said...

Good luck!!! I'm sure everything will be great. Try not to worry and keep up the good work and I'm sure you'll be seeing her gain weight and grow.

Bridie said...

If you recall, Sam NEVER learned how to nurse well. After a couple weeks at home, I just gave up. I did pump exclusively for him for a year. And then found out he was allergic to dairy. Ugh.

You may not need to pump exclusively, but just add one or two sessions in the day to build up some stock to top her off with. It's also nice to have on hand for if you ever go out and have a sitter, or it's just easier to bottle feed in public.

Pump while she's napping, and have Robbie sit with you and you can read books, or play a board game, or whatever he likes. Since Sam always fell asleep after a feeding - it was bottle him, put him in the lambie chair, then get out the pump and spend 20 minutes of 1:1 time playing with Gavin. That way it didn't feel like the pump was one more thing taking time away from him, rather it gave us time together to do something special of his choosing.

cd0103 said...

If you look at her gain as a % increase, I bet the numbers are more "normal", aren't they?

Deep Thinker said...

This is all great advice. You are doing such a good job Trish, and I know she will eventually start to gain more. Hang in there!


NoVaIrish said...

(big hugs) Who knew that feeding our kids would be such a stressful thing? Adding your experiences with Robbie and I can't even imagine how worrying this must be for you.

FWIW, P literally stopped growing between 3 and 5 months. He didn't gain, he didn't get longer, nothing. And there was no explanation for it - my supply was great, he was obviously eating, having plenty of wet and dirty diapers, the whole nine yards. We were headed down a path of testing, etc when my pedi finally said "He's obviously eating, he's developmentally where I want to see him so maybe he's not following the average curve but for right now, there's no reason to assume that there is something is wrong with him." A few weeks later P had a HUGE growth spurt. My point (I swear I have one) is that as long as she seems satisfied, is having wet and dirty diapers and is doing the things she should be doing (sleeping - check, eating - check) then it may be nothing more than she is following her own normal growth pattern.

Still, I know there are a lot of other factors at play here so fingers crossed and prayers sent that she adds a whole bunch of adorable baby rolls to her already overwhelmingly adorable self.

ggop said...

You are doing great!
What Claire said in point 1 needs to be printed and framed! :-)

Two Hands said...

Half an ounce per day - that's all we expect of babies for weight gain. 4oz in 6 days is GOOD.

A and W mom said...

I thought it was 0.5-1 oz per day in the early months? At any rate, I am sure I would be very anxious in your shoes, especially after what you went through with Robbie, but it really honestly sounds like you and Charlotte are both doing well and I do believe things with her and BFing are going to keep improving as she does get bigger, like you said. And girl, I feel you. It is HARD being pulled in two directions, that mommy guilt from having to choose between which little one needs you more in that moment. (((HUGS)))

Trish said...

Thanks everyone. I thought .5 oz/day was good, but even the last 4 days, we were a little under that. And everything I found online (kellymom, etc) actually said 5.5 oz/week, which is a little more like .75 oz/day.

I have calmed down a bit and am trying to give her time to get her stuff together, but I really am worried. It's SO hard to trust my body to do the right thing with milk production and then to trust that she can do it all on her own. She's so tiny and fragile.

And honestly, I just want her to take off and plump up for her own health. Normally I'm not all for wanting giant babies, but I am so scared about her catching a cold or something and just being too tiny to fight it off and ending up in the hospital- or worse.

I just hate prematurity. It makes me extra anxious about everything and goodness knows I don't need the help.

A and W mom said...

Yeah, that's all totally understandable. (((HUGS))) That's interesting about 5.5 oz/wk. I hadn't heard that; just the .5-1 oz a day. I'll pray she gains that and more!