Saturday, January 29, 2011

Number One With a Bullet

  • Sleepy-Bear: I have a habit of calling Jackson ____-Bear. Most of the time, it's Boo-Boo-Bear (he just wants a pic-a-nic basket). When he grins, it's Gummy-Bear. And today it's been Sleepy-Bear. We're on Substantial Nap Number Three. Hells yeah. One was even in his crib! The other two have been in his swing. And he's been in a great mood all day to boot. He slept better last night, giving me an 8PM-2AM stretch, but went back to his every-two-hourly wakings after that. Progress is progress, I guess. 
  • Woombie WIN: ding! ding! ding! The Houdini Woombie is our winner! Two (or is it three? I've lost track) nights in a row now, he's gone to bed nice and snug in his thus-far inescapable Woombie swaddle. It's like a huge, stretchy tube sock with a two-way zipper on the front (so you can do diaper changes by unzipping from the bottom). He can bring his hands together and get them close to his face, which he likes, but hasn't yet succeeded in getting his hands or arms outside of the confines of the swaddle. I'm sure that day will come. The boy loves a challenge. But for now, it is working and we seem to have bought ourselves more time in the swaddle. Unswaddling hell is postponed until further notice.
  • Take This Job and...Well, the Checks Still Cash...: Work still mostly stinks. We're moving to a new kind of billing system for our writing services that requires lots of training, tons of asinine questions from newbies, and this past week we learned that our parent company (a mega-huge publicly-traded for-profit insurance company) has sold our asses to a private venture capital firm. Blurg. While the top brass continue to pat our heads and assure us that nothing will change, I think we all know how these things go. The VC bean-counters want huge return on investment, so the bottom line will rule all. I work hard (try to these days, anyway) and am good at what I do (try to be these days, anyway) so I'm not concerned about job security should headcount become an issue...but they can certainly decide to force fewer of us to do more, making the days longer and the work more miserable. We'll see how it goes. I got a call from an executive VP of I-forget-what-she-said (can't even remember her name) to "check in" with me in light of all the recent news, and to tell me what a great job I do (as if she knows), so I assume my job is safe. They like me; they really, really like me. I just don't know if the job will continue to be good for me. Too much is changing too fast. A good friend and coworker, who recently got promoted and is HATING it now, keeps asking me, half in jest but half seriously, what we should call our new medical writing freelance business. We're getting together for lunch as soon as either of us has a free hour during the week to talk about Plan B. Because you should always have a Plan B. And since being a rockstar didn't work out for me, I guess this is gonna be it. I'll be updating my CV soon as a just-in-case move. I'm thinking of adding "booger-wiper" and "breast pump engineer" to my duties. That should make my application stand out, no?
  • Come to the Dork Side: I made these for KB's birthday: UltraSuperGeek cakepops. Yeah, I know, poor Jackson. If it isn't bad enough that his parents are dorks, he actually has our DNA. Anyhoo, Leia was most delicious since her construction involved peanut butter candy melts, junior mint hair buns, and devil's food cake with cream cheese frosting. Yum, it was.
 
            Here's the candle from KB's cake:
           Yeah. Poor Jackson.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

FAIL, 3 Ways

Or, Failure: A Dish Best Served With a Warm Compress

Yup, full-blown mastitis of the right tit. Seven shades of super awesome. Or, rather, pink and red. Back on the antibiotics and pumping like a muthafucka along with deep tissue massage (oh, if only squishing my tender boob was as relaxing as a massaaaaaaage) to empty as often as possible. The only silver lining is that I can see how far I can shoot a milkstream while pummeling my poor infected udder, which I like to the think is the feminine equivalent of peeing your name in the snow. At least I'm treating it before the flu-like bullshit starts, which is what happened last time. Last time. Shit, y'all. One of the risk factors for getting mastitis is having already had it. Fucked. But persevering. That should be the motto on my family crest. Or an ironic headstone.

We tried the sleepsack Tuesday night and it seemed fine for about 3 hours after bedtime and then...FAIL. Big time. He woke up and WOULD NOT go back to sleep until I fed him an hour and much screaming later. It may have also been due to the vaccinations he got that afternoon, which may have made him feel icky (I know I did after getting my flu shot), so we'll try again this weekend (or as soon as we feel like we've gotten enough combined sleep to cope). In the meantime, we are the proud owners of a sleepsack/swaddle combo, a Woombie, and possibly soon a Peke Moe. There's no sleep attire too crazy that we won't try it. I just don't know if he's completely ready to stay asleep during the night without being wrapped in something, but we'll keep trying from time to time until it works. He still escapes from his swaddle several times per night (we'll see how the new contraptions fare -- the Woombie we ordered is called a Houdini swaddle -- I'm sure Jackson will laugh in the face of this new challenge), but that's better than the screaming we endured with the sleepsack trial. And as an aside, for anyone who has used a sleepsack (or nothing at all), how do you keep your baby's hands warm? I know they have poor circulation in their hands and feet and it's nothing to be overly worried about, but I do anyway...I would feel better if I could keep his little hands warm at night and the sleeveless sleepsack doesn't cut it. And the pajamas he wears now don't really have a fold-over-mitten option anymore; I'm not sure we could keep anything over his hands, anyway, since he favors bringing them together near his chin most of the time. I am realizing as I type this that the question is becoming more and more rhetorical, but I pose it to you, anyway. How do you keep their hands warm until they're old enough to have a blanket in the crib? Bueller? Bueller?

KB thinks we should start rice cereal, soon. His coworkers (a cackle of mother hens) SWEAR to him that Jackson will sleep longer if we give him cereal with his evening bottle (or around dinner time, before bed). I explained to KB that, per the pediatrician (who has a medical degree and specific training in the care and management of babies), solids do not produce more sleep since at this stage, they are not a significant source of nutrition or calories. They are stunt food at best, and something to fuck up the baby's poops at worst. KB still thinks all those other women can't be wrong. Hmmm. This presents a quandary for me, since I have been thinking this over for a while and have decided I would rather wait at least another month to introduce solids. I guess we'll have a longer talk about it over the weekend and reach some compromise. I'm not completely opposed to starting a little bit of cereal, but I don't want to rush into other solids (unless Jackson absolutely adores being fed from a spoon and starts shouting out, using his first words, "Feed me more solids, Mommy, I heart them!"). Maybe we could try a little spoonful here and there, so KB can see for himself that the baby's sleep pattern is unlikely to change as a result (sleep may change coincident with, but would be unlikely causally-related to, eating cereal). And if constipation occurs, KB can glove up and shove the suppository up his little pooper and then clean up the consequent blow-out diaper afterwards. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This and That

My Humps, My Lovely Lady Lumps: I think I'm getting mastitis. Again. In Ms. Righty this time, just for something completely different. I'll put in a call to my OB/GYN tomorrow and ask if he can phone in a script. Crikey. And things were just starting to look up.

Doctor Feelgood: The 4-month pediatrician appointment went well. Round 2 of vaccinations went off without a hitch, and growth and milestones are all on track. Then we talked about the next steps for feeding and sleeping habits. Lordy. Can we really be here already?

Sleepyhead: The Era of the Swaddle is over. The swaddle is dead, long live the sleepsack. Tonight is the first night we're switching from the increasingly ineffective swaddle to an arms-free sleepsack. We're not sleeping well anyway, having to get up many times per night to shush or feed, so we figured we'd just go cold turkey and see what happens. According to the pediatrician, a 4-month-old should be able to sleep for 8-10 hours without a feeding. What the shit? So this weekend we will return to our sleep training roots, the methods that worked for us at 2 months to get 6-hour stretches without any cry-it-out torture, and hope for the best. It worked before, it can work again. We think. And hope. Yeesh.

Peaches Come in a Can, They Were Put There By a Man...: We now also have the good doctor's blessing to start rice cereal anytime we feel like it. Hmmm. I'm in no hurry to start solids, but I do want to give us lots of time to slowly introduce new tastes and textures without worrying about the nutritional contribution, so by the time the nutrients are needed from solid food, we'll be in a comfortable place in which eating purees from a spoon is a funtime activity and not gawdawful torture. I've watched friends struggle to make their picky eaters take solids, and don't want to end up going down that road. I also asked about the recent increase in nursing and/or bottle-guzzling frequency, from every 3-4 hours during the day and night (except for that lovely 6-hour nighttime stretch we used to enjoy) to more recently, every 2 hours like clockwork. This has been declared either "snacking" behavior and/or a result of not getting enough sleep at night with too much nighttime feeding. Thus, if we sort out the nighttime sleep habits, the daytime feedings should fall in line with more consumed less often. We shall see.

Monday, January 24, 2011

R-E-S-P-E-C-T BPA-Free

Twice now I have had to tell Jackson's Nonna that I won't give him anything made of plastic unless it clearly states on the packaging that it's "BPA-free." And twice now I've had to toss or exchange two different teething toys for this reason. *sigh* I know the rules of the road have changed considerably over the years, and are vast and varied, but FOR SERIOUS please remember the ones about safety, people. I don't ask for much. (I would have just smiled and accepted the BPA-riddled gift and exchanged it quietly later, but she was insisting on unwrapping it to shove it in his mouth right. then. and. there. So, no. Had to crack some proverbial skulls.)

So why the hell are there still BPA-containing consumables on the market, anyway? Huh? Powerful political lobby, that's why. Despite the multitude of studies linking BPA to neurological impairment, endocrine disruption, and possible (though not proven) carcinogenesis (but, hey, who needs cancer when you already have fucked up dopaminergic and estrogenic pathways?), the FDA and other federal agencies are dragging ass on regulating or, more appropriately, banning BPA in plastic drinking cups, bottles, and toys. Did you know that there is BPA in infant formula? Pretty decent levels, too. And in some canned goods (it's used in the can liner)? Holy hell, y'all. Between the BPA we're gulping down and the pharmaceuticals dissolved in our potable water, it's any wonder we haven't all grown tails and hooves. Actually, it's no wonder at all that infertility is so rampant (since much of the pharmaceuticals that drinking water tests positive for are contraceptive hormones and antidepressants or other prescription drugs not compatible with pregnancy, and BPA alters estrogen effects).

Also, Nonna asked if Jackson will be able to have ice cream soon. Uh, no. Why not? How about when he's eating solids? Well, because I don't believe ice cream would rank highly on the list of nutritious solids to try, and also because he doesn't need to have any processed sweets so soon, or really ever. But it's made of milk. Yeah, and a bucket o'sugar. And it's cow's milk, which he doesn't need to have until he's weaned from breast milk (and I'm hoping to make it to 1 year before that happens). I plan on giving him cake and ice cream for his first birthday, and no sooner. And sweets only on special occasions thereafter. Have we not all seen the epidemic of unbelievably fat children all around us? Crikey. These questions are always very leading, with an inflection of, If you won't give it to him, I will, as though the horrible deprivation I subject him to must be righted; this is why babysitting is still off the table for the foreseeable future. Lordy. Why can't my simple, responsible parenting decisions just be respected? KB doesn't disagree with me on this and other decisions, but he feels bad about telling his mom "no." So I guess I'll be the bad cop. Whatevs.

This PSA and general bitching session is now concluded.

Friday, January 21, 2011

All By Myself

(Ripley's!) believe it or not, tonight is the first night in over three months that I have put Jackson to bed. It's been KB's thing since we started putting him in his crib to sleep -- he gives him a bedtime bottle, swaddles him, walks him around and rocks him, and then puts him to bed. I can usually tell by A) how long KB is in the nursery and B) how weary KB looks when he leaves whether it was a rough bedtime routine or an easy one. You see, Jackson has become a swaddle ninja. He usually fights it while it's being applied and then squirms out of it several times per night thereafter. It wasn't always this way. *sigh* Once upon a time, for such a brief, blissful few weeks, he slept peacefully and awoke only once (rarely twice) for feedings. And stayed swaddled. Ah, the good ol' days.

Anyway, we're re-sleep training (more or less at square one) plus bedtime with me instead of KB both represent departures from the usual routine, so I was afeared of what torture might await come 7:30PM. But...drumroll, please....nada. He took a cat nap after I nursed him this evening, then woke up and thoroughly (and noisily) pooped his pants, got a fresh diaper, took a bottle, let me swaddle him without a struggle, and fell asleep two minutes after I put him in the crib. What? Could it really be this easy? Yet here I sit, two hours later, without a single awakening. *knocks all nearby wood* KB will be home from his concert (Robert Plant's new band, I forget the name) probably around midnight, so as long as there are no shenanigans before then I am golden. *crosses fingers*

Of course, Jackson was grinning like a fool and laughing as I swaddled him. He might have an escape plan...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

All in the Family

So, Imma brag for a moment -- yesterday the head teacher in his daycare classroom told me that Jackson is their best sleeper and their best eater. Best, y'all. An overachiever like his parents.

If only he didn't use up these talents during the day, as if there's a limited supply and he's met his quota mere moments before I pick him up. He's generally pretty happy, or sometimes sleepy, when I pick him up in the afternoon and is in a reasonably good mood through our dinner time. (We've started putting him in the high chair, in the reclined position, and bringing him to the table with us so we can eat as a family. I am training myself to eat one-handed whilst shaking a rattle/stuffed animals/fill-in-the-blank in his face to distract him if he gets fussy). But then...the return of the nighttime fussing. It is upon us. It's not nearly as bad as colic was *shudder* but he's been thrashing around while KB gives him his bedtime bottle, and fighting the swaddling, and then busting out of the swaddle several times per night. Handily. Our little Houdini broke out the Miracle Blanket, y'all. Twas no miracle. ("Hundreds of thousands of well-rested babies" CAN, in fact, be wrong.) And those blissful weeks of sleeping through the night (from 8PM to 2-4AM), waking me only once per night to eat, are OVAH. He's waking 3-4 times per night now, and doesn't stop raging until his milkhole is sated. WHAT THE EFF, BABY?!? It could be teething (popular theory), could be motor skill milestones (he does roll around and thrash in his crib at night now, and has managed to faceplant in his swaddle a couple of times), could be your garden variety growth spurt (hungry, hungry hippo), or could be that the universe is fucking with me because it can. (Universe: "Did you enjoy your full nights of restful sleep for those few weeks? Did ya? Well? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Suck it, peon! I am the muthertruckin' universe and I will ruin you! Ruin you!"; me: "Yelp.") We're contemplating leaving one arm out of the swaddle to slowly transition him out of it, one limb at a time, until we switch to a sleep sack. Dammit. I was hoping to keep him swaddled until high school. I mean, how great would it be to walk up to a babies-r-us employee and ask where the large swaddlers are: "Do you have a size 5T or larger? What about in the juniors department?" I'll ask the pediatrician about this at our 4-month (!) appointment next week. I am also excited/fearful/curious/etc. about whether it's time to start adding some rice cereal to his diet to ramp up towards solids in the coming months; maybe he needs more calories during the day and guzzling breast milk can only get him so far. We shall see. Do you have any war stories about the 4-month sleep regression? About swaddling? Any ideas, Bloggy Friends?

I need to give a huge THANKS! for all the great assvice I got about pumping during the day. It has improved immensely over the past week. I am eating lotsa oatmeal (add chocolate powder to it -- yum!) and pumping every 2-3 hours, on a lower setting for up to 1 hour, hitting the letdown button a couple of times. I also tried a novel approach recommended by I-forget-which-website, which is to simply send what I pump and see if that's enough. I was sending four 5-oz bottles and having to raid the freezer stash, and have tapered it down to four 4-oz bottles I can pump every day. And guess what? No difference. I just nurse him an extra time before taking him to daycare, regardless of when he last ate, and as soon as I get home after picking him up, to avoid reverse cycling (i.e., more nursing at night to accommodate less milk consumed during the day -- noooooo!). I have read that when you switch to mostly or exclusively bottle feeding, babies can over-eat a bit (and recent studies clearly show that bottle-fed babies eat more than breastfed babies, in support of this idea that the bottle may have something to do with it). Anyway, we're in a decent rhythm now of daily scheduling, and I get some quality time with him every morning and afternoon while still managing to get some work done. And even though I'm chained to the pump all day like Leia in her gold bikini, I'm figuring out how to work my day around a pumping schedule. So far, so good. I still don't love being back at work, but I'm adjusting and accepting. Isn't that a late phase of grief?

But I still miss my little man. My over-achieving, good-sleeping and nom-nom-eating little man.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Stupid Is as Fecund Does

My stepsister (the one who celebrates her toddler son's birthdays every year with a fun-for-the-whole-family Hooters bash) announced her second pregnancy on fb at 5 weeks. Like, pee-is-still-drying-on-the-stick early. Oh, the fertile, they are cavalier, and how. I didn't dare utter a public peep until I was holding a bebe in my arms. I do wonder: if she has a girl, will she have her birthday parties at Hooters, too? Role models for everyone! And hot wings!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It Had to Be You

One year ago today, one reluctant egg and one wonky sperm were introduced on a bit of a blind date, and gave us this:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Doesn't Kill You...

...simply makes you long for the sweet release that death would surely bring. My gastroenterofuckedness only lasted for about 24 hours, so whatever caused it seems to have been cast out of my soul now. But the after-effects of a gut-gone-wrong are no picnic. I'm still chugging the Gatorade (distant memories of OHSS and retrievals haunting me...) but solid food has regained its appeal.

Now, if I could just make myself look forward to another work week.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Okay, Maybe Some Holds Barred

It might be a stomach bug. If so, let's hope it's the 24-hour kind. But the physical evidence suggests that the weird black capsules o'herbs from WholeFoods have caused a reaction, the violent kind. Somewhere around the middle of the night I started to feel nasty and by first thing this morning, I couldn't keep a sip of water down. Is it a bad sign when your poop looks like a 4-month-old baby's poop? Yeah, I figured. Oh, whoops, totally forgot to warn you -- TMI! Heh. When the puking started this morning, I began to suspect the weird black capsules because it seemed to this detective (I fancy myself to be Quincy but sexier -- much sexier, or maybe Dr. House but less cantankerous -- slightly less) that the weird black capsules' content had pooled in my unsuspecting gut all day yesterday until critical mass was reached, at which point it decided (I'm pretty sure it's some type of organism that makes decisions) to launch itself from every available orifice with minimal warning and maximum velocity. Maybe it's the black oil that infected Scully (NERD ALERT!). Oh gawd. It was nice knowing all of you...*weep*

I've subsisted today on Gatorade and my first meal now, a bowl of soup, and had to cancel all work meetings lest I have to excuse myself to go on mute and evacuate my stomach. That might be disrespectful to the caller, no? I'm feeling a little better but am rocking a 100-degree fever that won't break. I'm pretty sure it's not from the mastitis, which is already improving on day 2 of antibiotics, and not from the antibiotics either since I've been taking them all day and that hasn't stirred the internal pot further, so to speak. The worst part of all of this? Poor KB had to unexpectedly single parent today, drop off and pick up Jackson from daycare, and now is entertaining him until bedtime. Since we're not sure this isn't an infection, I'm keeping my distance from Jackson until my fever is gone. Sad mommy. I also didn't pump much today, since I was in bed trying to sleep in between barf sessions. And what I have pumped, KB is feeding the baby tonight (unless I miraculously recover by the middle of the night feeding time). Super sad mommy.

The moral of this story is...aw, fuck it. There's no moral. I can't take the weird black capsules or the fancy tea (same ingredients) to try and boost milk supply -- or I'm assuming so, since this isn't an experiment I'm willing to conduct to see whether it's just been a stomach bug or the weird black capsules are to blame. I had nothing but time today to think about the formula supplementing thing, and I have to accept that it's probably necessary. Hopefully it will be temporary and I can eventually get my supply up. We'll see. Either way, lesson learned. You can't control everything.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Survey Says....

On Food: I sent four 6-oz bottles to daycare today instead of the usual, four 5-oz bottles, since getting the call at 2PM yesterday that he had already gobbled up his fourth bottle. Yikes. I apparently have a hybrid baby: part cute human, part hungry hungry hippo. So how did the extra 4 ounces go over? Hardly, that's how. He added a grand total of 1 ounce to his daily intake today. That's it. And he spread his feedings out quite a bit more. Curiouser and curiouser. But also reassuring, that I don't need to suddenly and dramatically increase his milk supply. Tomorrow I'm sending three 8-ounce bottles for him to nosh on as he wishes, and see what comes home for an evening snack*. I suspect this is either the beginning of or the precursor to another possible growth spurt (4-month growth spurts aren't necessarily standard, but still fairly common). I'm hopeful that my no-holds-barred approach to boost milk volume and ongoing efforts to pump at every available opportunity will get me through the next week, since it can take that long to see an adjustment. Fingers, toes, and nipples crossed.

On Sleep: Jackson is a champion napper, apparently. The ladies who teach in his room at daycare (or "school") remarked several times this week that he's the best sleeper in the class, and goes right out when you put him in his crib. Holla! Today he even took three 1-hour naps in the morning, midday, and afternoon, and two of the three were in his crib. My boy, the head of the class. He's also the youngest kid in the class, so he's really kicking their infant asses by a mile in the nap department. Go Jackson! As for nighttime sleeping, he's holding his own but has been getting fussy a little earlier lately, so we moved his bedtime up to 7:30PM. He's still sleeping until around 1:30 or 2AM, when he wakes for a feeding, but the last couple of nights has started fussing at 11:30PM or so and had to be shushed back to sleep. KB gets a gold star for being the one to wake up and do the shushing (we learned a while ago that if I go in there, I'm not getting out without giving him the boob -- he just knows). Last night the suspected culprit was a swaddle FAIL -- when I peeked in on him before I went to bed, one entire arm was free and I knew this spelled trouble. He startles himself awake without the swaddle, and now we know for sure it will be a while before we take it out of the bedtime routine. I'd like to give him a free arm or two, but not just yet. Hopefully his much more secure swaddle tonight will keep him asleep longer. Sleep training is not a destination, y'all, it's a journey.

On Bouncing: Jackson weighs 13.6 lbs now, and is about 24 inches long, but can't quite touch the floor in his bouncer. It's more of a dangler. I stuck some pillows under his feet and helped him bounce and he luuuuurved it. He discovered he can gum the rim of the seat, which is made of fabric, and happily slurped on it while getting hypnotized by the lights and monkey sounds.

On Being Royalty: bumbo** throne! Highchair***! Lord of the Dog!
*Yep, I save unused breast milk from bottles he's already sucked on. After much internetting, I have decided it's fine to toss it back in the fridge until the next feeding. Another reason breast milk kicks formula's ass in my book: it doesn't spoil as readily.

**Yep, his bumbo is on the countertop of the butler pantry. Waaaay up high, where it's not supposed to be. But I stand in front of him, ready to scoop him up, the whole time. I keep his playmat on the countertop, too, so I can look at him at eye level more easily. But I do always buckle him into his swing, so, you know...safety first!

***Yep, that's one of those "outfits with pants" I've raged about...but now that he's in daycare, I can dress him in whatever I want to maximize cuteness and it's THEIR problem to track down the socks he kicks off (or just leave him barefoot, as he was when I picked him up today) and to tear through the layers to change his diaper (or just change him into a sleeper, as they did yesterday). 

The "F" Word

Jackson has been drinking 25 ounces of expressed milk per day (in four bottles at daycare plus one bedtime bottle) and otherwise nursing once in the morning, once in the late afternoon, and at least once during the night. I am expressing only 18-20 ounces per day, and that's with pumping four times per day for looooong periods of time. And I currently have mastitis leaving my left tit feeling like it was on the losing end of a fight with only rope-a-dope moves. Oh, and the daycare called yesterday to tell me that he had finished his fourth 5-oz bottle by 2PM, so I should either send more bottles or more milk in each bottle from now on. So today, I sent four 6-oz bottles. I'll find out in an hour or so how that worked out, but this could raise our daily total to 30 ounces per day.

Now I'm no mathematician, but...25 to 30 minus 18 to 20, carry the 1....anyway, I would seem to be a few ounces short of an adequate supply here. The mastitis sure as hell isn't helping matters in general, but I don't think it's directly impacting the problem one way or the other. I'm dipping into my frozen stash, which I expected to do this week, but I also figured I'd be able to restock it somehow once I started pumping all the livelong day. Not so much. Fuck.

But that's not the "f" word I'm alluding to: formula. Accompanied by the "s" word: supplementing. I really don't want to do it. With all apologies to my bloggy friends who feed formula by choice or otherwise, I just don't want to go there. A) I produce perfectly good breast milk and am willing to nurse and pump, so I want to extend the benefits of this to Jackson as much and as long as possible. B) I can't shake the feeling that formula is "fake" food, and worry (probably excessively) about the potential digestive and other consequent issues we might face having to try different formulas in a painful trial-and-error fashion. C) I'm stubborn and arrogant and am determined to make this pumping and nursing thing work on my terms, because -- just because, goddammit. I started out wanting to make it to 6 months, and when nursing got easier I decided I could stick it out to 1 year. Now it feels like I'll be lucky to surpass 4 months. I'm feeling like another "f" word" failure. Fuckity fuck.

So I'm all in on the homeopathic, wives tale-inspired, and working mom-relayed remedies. Trying to drink more water than is humanly possible. Eating oatmeal every day. Switching to larger flanges for the pump apparatus and pumping every 2-3 hours during the day and 1-2 times at night, low and slow for 45 minutes (just like good barbecue). Taking some crap from WholeFoods that comes in a capsule and is black and smelly and tastes weird. Drinking some expensive special "mother's milk" tea. I will keep trying whatever I can to boost supply while I burn through the frozen goods, and then supplement if I have to when no options are left. At the rate I'm going, this may happen some time next week. Fuuuuck.

Just one more thing to make returning to work more awesome than I thought was possible, y'all. All I can do is, chin up, keep trying. Onward, ho!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Daycare: Day Two

We survived yesterday. Okay, what I mean is, I survived yesterday. Jackson, it seems, could care less. He had a great morning, got some quality booby time, got his fancypants changed (and by that I mean, his diaper and a fresh pair of footie pajamas), cooed happily on my bed while I put on some "in front of other people" clothes, and gurgled all the way to the school. He was grinning like a dummy when I left him there, while I was holding back tears until I was locked in my car. I did not want to drive away. But I did. I ran some errands before coming back home to start my first official day of work. I needed distraction. Walking past the baby aisles at le Target was not what I had in mind. More tears. More woe. I channeled all that misery into effort, mostly mindless and menial tasks. And now my office is the Cleanest Place on Earth.

And now for a whole lotta TMI. If you're a boob-man kind of girl, read on. If not, skip this post brought to you by the letters OW.

I had my first experience with pumping all day yesterday. Um. How did I not realize that the breast shield flanges might be too small? How did this escape my attention, even with only 1-2 pumping sessions a day until recently? Because OW GODDAMMIT. Nipple trauma, y'all, it's no joke. I ordered two larger sizes to try, and await my amazonian delivery with bated breath. And sore nips.

I also didn't pump nearly the volume I'd hoped for all my effort, which worries me. I have a meager stash in the freezer (started with 100 ounces and using some every day this week....) and need to at least make enough for the next day, if not enough to freeze some extra. Not happening right now. I'm pumping every 2-2.5 hours regardless of how much I get to try and get my supply up, so I need to stick with this plan for a couple more days to see if it worked. If not, I dunno. I don't want to use formula and worry about potential digestive issues. And I just don't want to, anyway, for general reasons. I should be able to do this, dammit. Of course, one unpleasant side effect of my increase in pumping lately, if the two are related, is that since I started pumping 2-3 times or more per day, nursing has become painful, mostly on one side. I may have caused a harder let-down reflex to occur, in turn causing the Milk Monster to nom-nom my nipple to clamp down on the flow. Yikes. Think about it. Just, yikes. I had a clogged duct that was on its way to mastitis a couple of weeks ago (Merry Christmas! Love, your dickhead ducts xoxo) and had to pump and nurse like mad to get rid of a milk blister and then empty the duct(s). Since then, ol' lefty has not been the same. I can empty after nursing or pumping, but the nipple still feels terrible. So you can imagine how good Jackson's nom-noms feel on said booby. Gah. Until my shiny new super-sized flanges arrive later this week (I could not justify spending twice the amount the things cost for expedited shipping, although maybe this would have been a great time for an exception), I am trying to turn down the suction and just pump longer. I got the same volume this morning doing it that way as before when was I cranking up the motor to move things along.

My nipples, they weep. Woe is them.

And, side note: the pumping volume thing makes me curious. If pumping all day is representative of how much milk the little guy is getting each time I nurse (as I'm pumping more or less on his usual nursing schedule, getting anywhere from 2-5 ounces total each time), and yet he is taking full 5-oz bottles on the same schedule, what gives? Was he starving before and too polite to say anything? Or is he being a little piggy with the bottles? Huh?

And as for how I'm feeling today about the whole letting-someone-else-care-for-my-son situation? Still tears this morning. But I feel better about it overall. He was happy and playful when I picked him up yesterday. He nursed and napped in my arms while I rocked him and told him I love him. Then KB came home, we played with him, and forced a little Torture Time, er, Tummy Time, on him until it was time for bed. He slept pretty well last night and woke up happy again. So I guess it's successful so far. I'm hoping each day will bring more confidence and less sadness when I drop him off.

But for now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get back to more mind-numbing work-related drivel and also (and more importantly) counting down the hours until I pick up my little monkey.