Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pump it up w/ A Tangent

My experience w/ Pu.mping -

I started using the hospital grade pump in the hospital the day that MT was born. It took about 3-4 days before I realized that there was actual milk being pumped. We (a lactation consult and I) tried a few times to get MT to latch on, he was highly irritated and unhappy about the process. He also had a very hard time figuring out how to eat/suck. I could not handle the cry of a hungry and frustrated baby - we supplemented with formula. At first I put the col.ost.rum/pumped milk in with the formula at the hospital. Then when the supply increased, we alternated 1 - breast milk bottle at a feeding then the next feeding would be formula... we did this for week 2. Week 3 we went back to mixing the formula and breast milk in one bottle so he would get breast milk and formula in the same feeding. I noticed this was easier on his stomach and bm's. I am still going his now. It seems to work best for us and I plan on doing this for as long as I possibly can.

In honesty, I was not comfortable with breastfeeding for me. It did not feel natural and made me highly uncomfortable (mentally) - The nurses and LC's had rave reviews over my ni.pples. Apparently, they are "perfect and accommodating for a great latch" MT thought otherwise. So I was fine with pumping. Plus I knew that E and others would want a chance to feed him.. and I knew that I would want others to be able to feed him.

The first week went well, I was pumping every 1-1.5 hours. This is something that w/o E being home and helping I absolutely know I could not have done. Sometimes my pumping coincided with MT's feeding time, schedule and would have been hard to accomplish if I didn't have E to help take care of MT.

Week 2, I began pumping every 2-4 hours. (the 4 hours is because I was having to go over to my parents to help my dad deal with my mother and because my parents wanted to see the baby - so I tried to make it ever 2 hours but sometimes it would be 2.5 other times it would be 4))

Week 3- I thought my supply was low but didn't realize that MT had upped his intake by 1.5 oz each feeding in a 2 day span. I was trying to go longer than 2 hours in between pumps. Since I am not traditionally bf-ing my body did not compensate for the more milk production, I had to tell it we needed more milk by pumping more often to get it regulated. Once I realized what happened, we got it under control quickly.

Week 4 - is starting now .. most days the pumping goes well. It is something that I chose to do, it is very demanding and time consuming. It helps me stay on a pretty tight schedule in order to maintain the oz's that MT requires.

Overall experience: Simple Economics equation Supply = Demand. The more times you pump, the more breast milk you should have. (I say should because some women, no matter what they do just can not produce and I do not want to seem misleading or insensitive) They say the amount of water you intake helps also. I could not imagine attempting this w/o an extra person to help out in the beginning when I was pumping every hourish. Some days, it just works well for me, Other days it is a struggle.

As I want to venture out more and having E going back to work, It tends to be cumbersome. These are the choices and conversations I have with myself: Do you take the pump with you, schedule to be home in time to pump, wait til right after you pump to leave, choose to skip the next pump and lose that session and deal, Feed MT get him settled then pump, try to entertain MT while pumping, etc

Today E went back to work at 6 am- His car would not start so he had to take mine. Bad thing is that we had not installed a car seat base in his car therefore If I needed to go somewhere today, I would need to find someone to help me get his battery charged and install a car seat base. But such is life - this was all before the sun was up ... Then my mom was standing at my door at 9am to see the baby. My dad sent her over because he needed a break (she is still not well and we are having to accommodate her until we can get her leveled back out - she is at a dr's appointment as we speak in hopes of finding out more of what to do and what can be done etc.. they are leaning to think she is suffering from b.i-po.lar di.sord.er. We are slowing finding out more and more and trying to understand more and get her to the right kind of help. This all started because, during menopause, she was suffering from insane hot flashes - a dr prescribed p.axi.l for hot flashes (never heard of such but ok) she was taking the pa.xi.l for a month or more (she can't remember and my dad never knew she was taking it), still having hot flashes, got pissed off and decided to stop the p.axi.l cold turkey. Not knowing that it was going to jack her ALL UP... and here we are yrs later and She is just so frustrated .. and I(and she) have seen just about every Dr in a 40 mile radius - I was at a loss before the baby was born - so now I am just plain ole exhausted by it ...Ok tangent .. this was about my pumping schedule - gah ... SO back to the point - My dad came over around lunch time - got E's car running, installed the car seat base and told me to drive it around for 20/30 mins. So my mother, MT, and I drove around. Came home MT was sleeping, we put together the bouncy seat, my mom decided she wanted to go back to her house, I went to pump, my cellphone/house phone started ringing a few times, there was a knock on the door ( the u.ps. man), MT decided to wake up screaming with a dirty diaper (also tired of being in his car seat) and it was feeding time ... and no E to help. So my pumping session got cut very short - but the next session went much better - MT was sleeping and the universe regained balance.

Like anything, it has it's challenges. It's been very overwhelming but it also has had moments of being relaxing and therapeutic. I just keep reminding myself that this was a choice I made, and I can decide differently at any time I want to. I try to put no extra pressure projected upon myself - but at times I feel I do.

I will admit that a few times a day I have tried to get MT to latch on to breast feed and we have managed to get a great latch every now and then. (it was suggested by my OB and Lact. Consult in order to up my supply - and it really does encourage an upped supply) I do see how if you have a child that is a champ latcher/sucker and a decent milk supply-Bfing is major convenient but time consuming (feedings every 1-1.5 hours in the beginning) and I do applaud all the bf-ing moms out there - Just because it is convenient does not mean it is easy. It is time consuming and a sacrifice also.

Bottle feeding also has it's challenges: Making sure there are clean bottles to use, what are you putting in the bottles? Is your baby cooperative? Keeping them warm/cold while out and about ... Everyone has a different comfort level and I believe That being comfortable and confident in your decisions is the best thing for the child - regardless of what it is you are comfortable and confident about. I am working on my comfort/confidence. It is good for me to write out and be asked questions, It gives me more reason to think through what I am doing, It gives me a chance to gain confidence because I am scared to death of posting what I am, am not doing in fear of others accusing me of wrong doings. But the more I post about it- the more confident I feel about our decisions we have made thus far and That helps me so much. Tomorrow MT has his one month appointment - I can not believe that he has been here for 1 month already!


A New Beginning said...

It sounds like you have it all under control. I think you are doing a wonderful job. I can attest to the stress of pumping and bottle feeding. It deinitely is not easy. I take my pump with me just in case. I am having a supply issue, so skipping a session, just will not work. But I always try to be home, just seems easier that way.

We are still thinking about your mom and entire family. I hope she gets the help she needs quickly.

BellaMama said...

You're doing GREAT!! I never pumped, all that scheduling was one of a zillion reasons, but I am proud that you have figured it out & know what to do to keep up with your little guy!!
I just got a sample of this suppliment(Natural Calm) & when I went to the main site(petergillham dot com) I thought of you. For your legs twitches. It's a magnesium suppliment. Having just had baby and nursing, you are in a huge need of it & I personally think it would be an easy fix to your legs. (I had MAJOR leg twitches, cramps and pains before and after my 3rd-a boy-was born. It ONLY was better after I took magnesium!) I hope you do this, I wouldn't want you to start coming down with the problems I've had to deal with: Osteoarthritis (now gone), Sciatic Nerve Pains (now gone with daily T-Tapp exercises), headaches (lots and lots of water), etc.
Again, kudos on your pumping & still praying for you and your family!
Many blessings, Mrs. C.

Baby Steps to Baby Shoes said...

Thank you for sharing about your pumping experiences. I am leaning toward exclusively pumping, so am tucking all of these nuggets away.

P.S. I think an update of your profile is in order. ;)

Searching said...

I think you are doing awesome. You are doing what works best for your family and your sanity (which you reserve to right to change at ANY time if it isn't working anymore- regardless of what anyone may tell you to the contrary). I'm very proud of you working so hard to keep up your supply, but please make sure to take care of yourself just as well as you do your son!

Your mom is in my prayers. It is such a frustrating thing.

ps- We have those diapers at work, too. :)

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

It sounds like you are doing great! Everyone has to find what works for them. At this point, I want to try bfing, but I know it is going to be difficult even if I'm lucky enough that Lemy latches on perfectly, so if I have to pump then so be it. MT is quite lucky to have such a great mommy. HUGS!

Morrisa said...

Thank you for this post! For some reason pumping/bfing have been on my mind a lot lately and your post helps me to see it is possible. You are doing great!

Kate said...

The emotion and difficulty of breastfeeding was something I was not at all prepared for. After going through all of that, my opinion is that anything you can give to your baby is beneficial. I exclusively pumping right now, so we have to supplement with formula. It's hard, but it sounds like you are doing really great!

Jen said...

It sounds like you are getting everything completely under control!

Anonymous said...

Wow you're so brave! Yes brave! I would be FREAKING out with that much going on in my life at once. Amazing = Farah!

Good job with keeping up with pumping. I have many friends who tried and couldn't keep up with everything.


Proud of you!

Sugar&Ice said...

Breastfeeding was easily one of the most taxing things I've ever done, at least at first. It took us such a long time to figure it all out, so it's great that you're figuring out what works or you so fast. If I were you and I wanted to continue to use breast milk, I'd get a pump with a car adapter. You don't want to feel so tied to your house, or at least I didn't. I have honestly double pumped while driving down the freeway. It takes coordination, but it's doable.

Also, for future reference and convenience sake, you don't have to have a base for your car seat. A base is a convenience item. It does make it a lot easier to just pop the infant carrier into the base and hit the road, but your car seat manual should give you instructions on installing the seat without the base. Actually, we ended up doing away with our base pretty quickly. For some reason, in between uses it would get out of position, so we were having to re-belt it every single time we got in the car, which kind of makes the convenience of all go out the window. You'll probably not be in a position where you don't have your base very often, but I thought I'd throw it out there in case you ever wanted to ride in your parents' car or something.

sara said...

You are doing such a good job Farah! You have a lot going with trying to adjust to first time mommyhood, breastfeeding, husband returning to work, and your mom. You seem so calm and cool and collected, I don't know how you're doing it all!

Nurse Lochia said...

You're doing an excellent job! Like a commenter said before, everyone has to find out what works for them. Something that worked for someone else may not be the best for you. It sounds like things are going great!

Anonymous said...

I'm with everyone else. You are doing a fantastic job and I'm so happy for you and proud of you! I know that none of this has been easy, but you are handling it like a champ!!!

And congrats on how well the pummping/breast feeding is going. I hope to be able to get a good rythim going as quickly as you have.

You know that you and your family are always in my prayers. To be a first time mother while having to take care of your own mother...you're incredible. I hope that they get her to a happy medium very quickly. (((hugs)))

Kathy V said...

I am glad that you have found a way to work out what is best for your family when it comes to feedings. Whatever you do is right for you. Bf or formula or both. You have made good choices and your baby is getting food and he is healthy. Good Job.

Marcy "meg" said...

Thank you for the post. I struggle with what I am going to do. I know I am going to try and breastfeed, but I am going to try and pump too... so this post is helpful. Thank you so much!

Sounds like you are doing what works best for you and that is what matters most.

Diana said...

I am so sorry ypu had so much trouble with th bfing in the beginning but am very happy you have a great solution and can still give him your milk.