The Last Drop

pumpYesterday, I put my pump away. I expressed my last few drops of milk yesterday afternoon & then based on how my breast were feeling, decided it was a good time to put my pump away for good. I spent 4.5 months wishing for this day to arrive.

It was a very difficult decision to make as I weaned off each and every pump and at the same time, I felt relief. I hated pumping. Loathed. I loved what I was doing for Owen but I hated how pumping made me feel. Bitter sweet is the best way to describe how I’m feeling today. I am deeply saddened that breast feeding failed and that my dream of getting him back onto the breast ended. I grieve for taking away the best thing Owen could have but I knew I couldn’t pump for a year. I couldn’t be tied to my pump every three hours and not enjoy my time with my boy. I say to myself nearly every day…if I could go back in time, knowing what I know now about breast feeding, I’d do it all over again. I’d go back to the day he was born and do it all again. That’s how strong and important it was for me to be able to breast feed him.

Infertility was such a struggle for me and I just thought some thing as natural as breast feeding would just work. Nothing comes easy for me. I don’t know why I’m ever surprised that I keep on struggling in life.

 I have bags of milk in the freezer to use up so in the end I’ll have fed him breast milk through to six months, which I’m proud of. I am proud of myself for what I’ve done. I would do it all over again, just as I did. I wanted the best I could give to him as long as I possibly could feel happy with.

He’s on formula now and I am so happy to say that we finally found a formula that he will happily eat. We went through numerous tubs of formula, wasting so much money! Enfamil A+ in concentrate liquid. I urge anyone who’s baby is having a hard time with formula taste to try the liquid stuff. I didn’t bother trying thinking it would be the same but had a coupon for a free pack and I’m so glad I got it. It tastes like sweetened heavy milk with out that strange stale cardboard aftertaste and smell that the powder stuff has. Powder is the most economical followed by the concentrate. The premixed stuff is twice as expensive as the concentrate so I wouldn’t recommend that unless you need it for odd times for convenience factor. This came at the best time, right before I started to wean off the last two pumps. I was really stressed about Owen eating only formula. Owen’s thriving and doing so well. I’ll be updating on his progress in my 6 month post next week. Until then! XO

5 Months

IMG_8743

I can’t believe my little peanut is five months old…he’s approaching the half year mark. Where the heck has the time gone? It feels like forever ago I brought that new baby home. 

We’ve been really enjoying each others company lately. Lots of walks and outings. Trying to keep busy and from being bored. He loves new faces and places so the best thing is to get out of the house. 

Owen is starting to reach out to us for affection which is just the sweetest thing. There’s nothing like when your baby wants to cuddle and caress you back. He wants to stand pretty much every waking moment which has kept me quite busy. Thankfully he’s sitting in his bouncer better these days. I even catch him gazing at it from across the room. So he spends some time in it daily. I think he’s over the whole play mat thing. 

Eating has been fun. At least the solids. He’s tried Oatmeal 👍, Squash 👍, Avocados 👍👍, Carrots (meh) & Green Beans 👎🏻

Yucky food baby faces are always funny. Here is the reaction to Green Beans. Incidentally my favourite veggie. 

  
 

We still have the Formula fight. It’s hard for Owen to totally accept its a part of his diet. I’m forever trying new brands. He will think it’s the best thing since…well, breast milk…and eventually decide he no longer is interested. I’ve wasted so much formula, it should be illegal. It also makes weaning heartbreaking because of the guilt I feel. I still regret how things went with breast feeding. It’s depressing. I wish we had everything worked out from the beginning. I think I’ll always regret how it all worked out in the end. I’m still pumping twice a day now. I’m able to pumpt around 20 ounces a day. I am weaning off domparidone and plan on weaning off pumping this month. By end of June Id like Owen to be on formula only. I am sure once he’s on it, he won’t reject formula as he does now. It will become his norm. And if it doesn’t, I’ll be getting on the guilt train no doubt. We feeding him Similac Advance and recently tried Enfamil liquid. So far he likes this the most but liquid is bloody expensive. I’m willing to try the powder Enfamil once we are done with the Similac. I wish this was easier than it is. 

We are enjoying the summer and making sure to get out for a lot of walks. I need to loose weight. I gained more after loosing the baby weight so, time to walk it off and stay away from the cookies 😉😊

20 Weeks Old

IMG_8491

I think about how old Owen is now and can’t help but think he’s as old as half of my pregnancy. That seems like such a long time ago now. I almost forget what it was like being pregnant with him. I was so worried my entire pregnancy that I had a hard time enjoying and being in the moment. Nothing I could have done would have changed how challenging being pregnant was for me but I’ve always wished I could have been naive as I was with my first pregnancy. 

Solids & feeding: Owen is nearly 5 months old and thriving! We started him on solids late last week. He’s been eating a bit of avocado each day and he loves it! We’ve given him sweet potato with chicken too and he thought it was OK. I’ll continue with Avocado for now and think about what’s next. I don’t want him started on all the sweet stuff yet. I’m also just taking it slowly on him so his tummy gets used to it. He still poops only once a week. I thought with a bit of solids this past week he’d go a little more often but seems as if he’s squirrelling his poop up for an epic event!

  
Breastfeeding: OK I have to mention, I was going to post an update that would go along the lines of “OMG this kid is breastfeeding again!!” But sadly that only lasted 3 days. I don’t know what made him do it. And I don’t understand why he didn’t want to for more than 3 days. I was cautious but getting so excited. I was talking about how to increase my supply again. And then day 4 came upon us and when I sent to feed him in the morning he latched on and off a few times and just started screaming at me. So I figured we were just having a bad day. But the next day and the one after that were no better. To a point now that if I put him into cradle position he starts to cry and scream because he doesn’t want to be breast fed. I cannot tell you how sad it all makes me. Sad that I was this close to living my feeding dreams and now that he can’t stand for me to hold him close. Now I need to work on getting his trust back so I can cuddle him in cradle again. There is nothing more rejecting than your baby screaming at you because they don’t want your breast anywhere near them. What I would give to rewind back to the day we left the hospital, knowing all that I know. 

If I had one piece of breastfeeding advice it would be: do your home work. Read about it, learn it. Know what to do if things aren’t going quite right. BF was one thing I wanted to do badly and I’m having a hard time letting go. 

Formula has been dramatic too. We have gone through so many brands. Every time Owen refuses a bottle of formula, my heart aches and I wish I could give him milk only. It’s also what keeps me guilted into pumping. He has started to refuse Hipp brand. I have three boxes in my pantry and he won’t touch it anymore. So on advice of a friend we bought Similac Advance and he seems to tolerate it well. It’s supposed to be closest to breast milk. At this point I will feed him what ever formula he is happy with because what I want is for him to be happy. We will try HIPP again some day but for right now, I’m done fighting this kid. 

I am still pumping three times a day yielding 22 ounces a day. I freeze 4 ounces a day to have a freezer stash once I wean right off and supplement formula alternating bottles. I’ve decided yesterday I would start to wean my afternoon pump. It doesn’t seem like a lot but I spend 1.5 hours of my day pumping. It’s pretty much summer now and I don’t want to be bound to my home during the day. We are going to Chicago in July so I’d like to be weaned off the afternoon pump by then. Pumping just like nursing is an emotional process. But unlike nursing, us Pumping mommies hate doing it but we can’t stop. It’s like a drug. Gotta keep doing it! LOL

Development this week:

This kid loves to stand. Loves. He would spend half his day awake, standing. 

  
It amazes me how well he stands. He still doesn’t really like tummy time so there hasn’t been much developments on the ground. I’m guilty for not providing him all the opportunity to do so. I hate to see him struggle and cry. But I know I need to, for his sake. 

He grabs at his toy and tosses the around so much better. It’s amazing how babies can wake up one morning and totally have mastered a skill. That was both standing and grasping last week. He also loves the exersaucer. He’s still a bit small for it but he seems to love the independence and all the fun stuff he can do!

  

Mothers Day:

Mother’s Day this year was just perfect. My family is complete, I had my little boy with me. My husband did a great job making me feel special! This day for the past four years have been somber and awkward. Clearly being a mom but not having my little girl by my side. I thought about her all day but my heart was warmed seeing my boy here with me. I’m very grateful to have him fill my arms. 

   

Next up will be his five month vaccine on the 27th and then 6month check and vaccines again. We continue to build on his solids varieties and will keep you all posted on his progress!

Xo  

4 Month Update 

IMG_8126-1

Hey Everyone! 

Owen turned 4 Months on Monday & I wanted to share in all his progress. I had thought early on that I would update this blog more often but it’s proven more difficult to juggle everything in life and also taking the time to disconnect with the internet world too. I hope to have more mini updates going forward.

Growth & Health Update: At 4 Months Old, Owen weighs 14lbs & 14ounces and is 25″ Long.  He had his 4 Month Vaccinations today. Boy did he cry hard and for long. He feels heavy & robust. Which makes him seem so much less fragile than when he was a newborn. 

He’s had his first cold :( mooosh. Thankfully there was no fever but him and daddy have been sick for about a week now. His sister also had a cold this past weekend, leaving me the only healthy person in the home. Lots of coughing and Nasal Congestion. Thankfully he’s much better now. He was super cranky for a while which was challenging. It also coincided with a Stormy Period according to my Wonder Weeks App. 

Owen has a flat spot on his head. Actually he had flattening from early on but now it’s more to one side as he favors to turn left. As I had thought, doctor said his head will reform. I was feeling some heavy guilt because of it and have started lots of tummy time and other games that have him off his back. But I can’t do much for how he sleeps at night and during naps. 

His grunting have pretty much stopped. About 2 weeks ago I started to notice. Once in a while he will grunt after a really full belly but not for long. 

Feeding Update: We are still bottle feeding Owen. I’m pumping 3 times a day. Morning, Afternoon around 2pm & before bed usually around 8:30/9pm. I’m pumping on average 23 ounces a day with this schedule. It’s the same amount of milk I’ve averaged from the start. This is mind boggling because I thought I’d produce so much more when I was pumping 5 times a day! How is that not reality? Anyhow, I still hate pumping. And I still keep on doing it. I don’t have a definite time of when I’ll stop. Yet I want to quit every day. This, people, is the conundrum that I face every day. The urge to provide my own milk is so strong and yet the act of pumping feels so unnatural, uncomfortable, time consuming, isolating. Reducing my pumps to 3 times a day has freed up my time exponentially which makes me happier. I’ve relaxed about Formula so he gets 2-3 bottles a day. I was feeding him half and half until he got sick and then gave him more breast milk to get him through. But I will go back to 16ounce milk, 16 ounce formula. I’ve been freezing leftover milk so when I stop pumping, there will be a stash for him to get through a few more weeks drinking breast milk as well as the formula.  

We are feeding him a German brand, Hipp Organic which I order from the UK. Sadly we don’t get the best quality of Formula here.  Why does baby formula need corn syrup?!?! Hipp is a very reputable brand in Europe and the UK and is one of the best. It makes me feel better about feeding him formula.

My plan, loosely, is to wean him to formula no later than end of June which is just in time for our trip to Chicago. Pumping on vacation would suck (no pun intended 😆). If I can maintain a decent supply with just morning and night, I’ll consider pumping on. I hear getting my period could happen any time now that I’m at three pumps. Two pumps for sure would bring it back and that’s supposed to affect supply big time. I am really trying to take this day-to-day with minimal expectations. 

He poops once a week. Which is great in that I’m not changing daily poop diapers. And horrible because when it happens, it’s epic. Messy as hell. And one can hope we are at home when it happens. 

On Sleep: Owen is a great sleeper.  Happy that one thing is going really well. He sleeps from 8am to 6am with one wake up feed usually around 2am. He has slept all the way through twice last week, two days in a row. I thought it would continue that way but he went back to waking once. And that’s OK, I can’t complain. He naps a lot during the day, more than seems to be recommended for his age. But I won’t wake him or keep him up longer than he wishes. I feel like if he needs sleep, then sleep he gets. He has recently changed his nap habits too. He usually sleeps 3 one hour naps in the morning, a long 2-2.5 hour nap in the afternoon and two more shorter naps before bed. He recently dropped the 6pm nap and maybe phasing out one morning nap too but making his morning nap longer. 

On Milestones: Owen can hold his own head pretty well. Still wobbly at times but much better. 

He holds his head and chest up during tummy time and doesn’t hate it like he used to. 

He can grasp his toys and hold them well. His hand/eye coordination isn’t fluid as of yet. I’ll be happy when he can manage his own soother when I’m further than an arms reach. 

He’s chattering away a lot. Lots of new sounds. He started laughing about two weeks ago. That’s the best sound ever. He loves when I pretend to sneeze, blow raspberries and play peek-a-boo. 

He’s starting to stand on our laps. Still can’t hold it for very long but he’s giving it a real effort. 

Well that’s all I can come up with for now. Here are a few snapshots of the tyke!

   
      

The Decision to Bottle Feed

It didn’t take me long to decide to pump and bottle feed Owen. I couldn’t go on forcing my Breast on his face only to be screamed at every time. Clearly, this child wants to get the bottle. I mourn every day that I won’t be a Breast feeding mama. This also means I am pumping still and supplementing with formula. I decided not to stress myself with a rigid pump schedule so I pump 4 times a day, still producing between 20-25 ounces of milk. I’m on Domparidone to increase supply so it’s likely helping. I am starting to wean off it and will get a good idea if my supply drops. 

Now, the big question mark looming over my head is, how long do I pump? I am mostly taking this day by day, week by week. If I could maintain one or two pumps a day so he reaps the benefits, OK. Or maybe I need to be pump freed finally & liberate myself. I haven’t decided yet. Every day I want to quit. And every day I want to pump until at least 6 months. 

So, maybe I need an end game plan. Work out a weaning schedule so at six months of age he will be on Formula and Solids. I bought HiPP brand which is a German company. Their formulas are made of Organic Milk, non-GMO and doesnt contain the refined sugars. I feel better about feeding him this formula if I have to feed him any type. And I’m a lot more relaxed these days about feeding him formula. But I only ever really get that full sense of satisfaction in nourishing him when it’s my breast milk. But given the summer I’d really like to be out and about and traveling around and enjoying it I really need to detach myself from the pump for order in order for that to work. I really don’t wish for my entire year at home to be spent stuck to my pumped. I really do feel a sense of regret about how things turned out because he was able to breast-feed when he was born. I feel like Innoway my lack of knowledge and lack of doing my research on breast-feeding I really did this little guy some series in justice. I know he will be fine regardless of how he’s being fed as long as he’s being nourished but pumping and using formula was deathly not in my game plan. And I’m having a really difficult time letting go of what the game plan was.

I see all these tank tops and shirts I bought for the summer thinking I would be breast-feeding him and I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness. How naïve I once was to think that something so natural would just come to me.

I still have moments where I look at them and think oh maybe I will shove my boob in his face today and see what happens. But I shy away because I don’t want to be scream at and get him really upset. 

That is my feeding update for now I will let you all know how things work out. The more I think about it the more I am wondering whether I really just want to wean him off breastmilk entirely. I figure another month or so and we will be on to solids.

I’ll send a baby update very soon!

Xo

My Breastfeeding Woes

I need to vent. To get my thoughts & emotions out to my blog universe and maybe some advise?

I think we are done trying to breastfeed yet I can’t utter the words. Yesterday he latched on a few times while I walked around and jiggled him around for distraction. Today, he screamed bloody murder!!! Just how long can I go on like this? I’m fighting with my emotions of wanting the best for him, naturally. Of getting off my pump. And wanting sanity and calm for us both. I feel like a yo-yo not sure what to do. Quit entirely? Formula feed only? Breast milk combo? Keep trying at Breast???

I contacted the speach pathologist again and she will see what she can do to see me earlier in the day. Doing this when he’s tired and winding down for bed and while the reflux is at its worst isn’t ideal for our success. She said she will get back to me. That will be my last ditched effort. If she can come for a few feeds, and it still doesn’t work out then I’m done. Bottle fed he will be. I’ll just manage a breast milk and formula convo until I decide to go to formula 100%. I never wanted this. 

As a mom who has her second shot at motherhood. A long journey to get to where I am at and the heartache that ensued, I wanted to do every thing right this time. I wanted to do my absolute best to keep this child healthy and happy and Breast feeding was in the plan. And I just can’t let it go. I feel like I’ve failed him and I no matter what I do to fix it, it’s not being fixed. And there are no do-overs. This is it. This is the one shot I have and I don’t wanna screw it up. 

10 Hours

Thats how long my boy slept with no night feed. Holy smokes and a pancake! When I woke to his cries I was expecting it to be around 3am the latest but it was 5:45ish and he’d fallen asleep last night at 7:30! unreal. 

So I start to wonder what I did different? And can I do it again tonight?? He had a bottle of milk between 6-6:30. He had a bath, massage, pjs. Then I have him another bottle but not a full one at 7 pm & he was passed out by 7:30. 

Must try again tonight!

As you read…bottle…im sure you can pick up that Breast feeding isn’t established at all. Im still struggling through nearly three weeks gone. I have a few more tricks up my sleeve like not fighting him at the breast, bottle feeding at Breast, trying sheild again and to finish feeds at Breast so that maybe he will comfort nurse or nuzzle that MIGHT trigger some thing. At some point this kid has to give no? And if he doesn’t then Ill move on. I don’t have much of a game plan. Nothing concrete anyway. I plan to keep pumping, feeding him at breast when I can and will. And hope for the best until I give up. The reason I haven’t given up is that every day he latches on and feeds. It’s just not for long enough. So I can see he can do it. If he couldn’t do it at all I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago. 

Here is some baby eye candy! 

 

3 Month Update!

My little boy is THREE months old today! Holy Wow!

I can’t believe some days the time that’s passed and all that we’ve been through.
Owen is getting so much fun these days. Lots of smiles, lots of babbles…he’s super cute. I couldn’t have asked for a better baby! He’s waking on average once a night – some times twice. But how can I complain? I’m actually not exhausted all day.

A lot has happened in his development in a month. He’s able to rest on his forearms, roll over, talks lots, follows us with is eyes, smiles lots & lots. He’s now grabbing his toys and sucking on his fists, fiercely!

I didn’t update on my breast feeding adventures. But they’re some what improving and some what not. Today’s not a good day so I won’t update based on today’s events but I started to push him hard at the breast as of two days ago and we started to turn a corner. Still a very, very slow process and two weeks later I really felt we’d be some place better. Today has been BAD and I broke down in tears a few times and have been ready to give up. I just hate that he’s upset each and every feed. Infact soon as he knows its feeding time he goes right into yelling. :( I know he can breast feed. Infact he’s shown me he can. I just can’t figure out why it’s so up and down after two weeks. Anyhow I’ll see in a weeks time where we are at. If we are no where closer I may have to reevaluate whether I keep pushing him on breast or continue to pump or wean onto formula. Time will tell.

Here is my munchkin!

   

     

Speech Therapist for Breast Feeding Difficulties

IMG_6679-0

OK so the time finally came and went, the speech therapist came by Friday night to do suck training on my little guy. What can I say than I LOVED her! She was super sweet with Owen & extremely patient. She was meant to work with babies. 

She assessed his suck at first by allowing Owen to suck her finger. She then tested to see what his range of tongue motion was & what was going on inside his mouth.  She concluded that he ate with no suction, did not bring her finger where it had to be (soft pallet) and happily that he didn’t suffer from a tongue tie!

First, his suck. Using her finger she felt he didn’t bring her finger back to where it needed to be which his soft pallet. This would explain the nipple pain I endured from day 1 of his life. She triggered his natural reflex in his mouth to bring her finger back to where it needed to be. She said she can’t understand why it works, but it just does. All babies have this trigger spot and it fixes their natural reflexes. 

The next thing she did was put his bottle of milk in his mouth to see how he ate. While his tongue was in the right place, milking the nipple (another clue he’s not tongue tied) he was using his tongue to hold the bottle in his mouth. He has nearly no suction. This totally explains why he couldn’t get my nipple into his mouth and keep it there long enough to do anything with it and why after weeks of using the shield, it started causing me so much pain. His lack of sucking basically led to a way of eating that caused a lot of friction in the shield. She actually said that the shield shouldn’t be used for fixing nipple damage as it actually just keeps things as status quo for the life of the shield’s use. So…she worked her  “magic” by activating the right muscles in his jaw by poking certain spots on his cheeks and he started to suck properly! Next was putting him on the breast. This was a tough process where he fussed and cried a lot. We used the side laying position. She used the shield three times and then that was it. She said I didn’t need to use the shield anymore. He was breast feeding! He finally had suction which I now realize was a part of why why I tried putting him on myself he kept letting go. There was no suction to keep him on. He did cry quite a bit and hard. This was some thing the lactation consultants always told me not to allow happen or else he’d have negative association to the breast. Glynnis said that wasn’t accurate. And she was right. He was lacking confidence in breast feeding and she said all he was doing was protesting and he showed fear of his abilities to breast fed. He calmed down really fast so she said he wasn’t really all that upset to go from 100 to 0 that fast. By the end of the hour, he had breast fed! He’s not efficient and bobbed on and off but, he was doing it. 

The plan now is to feed twice a day at the breast and slowly increasing how often he’s on the breast. At first it’s very likely I will need to top him up until he can efficiently feed. I got him on the breast three times yesterday. The first two times he didn’t protest but the third time, he wasn’t having much of it. His latch isn’t great. I don’t feel like he’s bringing the nipple all the way back most of the time so, my right nipple is very sore. This morning I fed him and it was a struggle. I’ll try again later this evening. She did say some days and some feeds won’t work out as hoped & that’s ok. I can just bottle feed. I have decided however if his latch doesn’t improve by end of tomorrow, I will be asking for Glynnis to come back. I’m too affraid to have nipple damage again. And I’m starting to feel less confident today. 

All in all, huge improvements. This hasn’t happened since he was born. And luckily we caught it while he still has his natural newborn instinct. She said after three months their eating becomes purposeful and not instinctual and it’s harder to train. 

I really wish I knew Glynnis ages ago like before I got into pumping. I just have to hope this will work in the end. It would be priceless to me. 

Owen turned 11 weeks as of Saturday! He’s lots of joy. He holds his head up really well, he’s very alert to things going on around him, he’s starting to laugh and he babbles tonnes! Love this cutie!!





 

Owen’s Time To Shine! And feed update. 

IMG_6502

Owen is now 9 1/2 weeks old which is crazy! I can’t believe how much time has passed! He’s currently around 12lbs and 22.5″ long!

He’s been sleeping longer stretches of time over the past week (yay!) and being so playful. He coos and yells while he gets his diaper changed. I don’t know what it is about getting changed but he absolutely loves it. Soon as the diaper goes back on he’s protesting! 

Today we made big progress. He entertained himself on his play mat for all of 30 minutes! This felt so good. I could be productive while he is awake. I hope this lasts. 

Feeding hasn’t gotten better yet. I should say, breast feeding. As a last ditched effort I hired a Doula on advice from a friend who had problems too and great success. She came over on Monday and assessed his suck and he’s not pulling back to his soft pallet. So we have an appointment with a lactation consultant who is also a Speech Pathologist on Wednesday of next week. She will assess him and us and do suck training on him. I’ve spoken to two people now who have worked with her and they both had immediate results. One of those women had a very similar situation to me and very quickly got to exclusive breast feeding. I am still pumping with some formula suppliments. After this final attempt I will either be breast feeding or I will decide if I wean him entirely off breast milk or I reduce my pumps from 6 to 4 and suppliment with formula. I’ll have to take it day to day and live with what I can manage and handle. 

Aaaaaand I finally got to have some photo fun with my son. Here are a few fun shots of my boy! ❤️