Fussy and cuddling isn't working? Put him on my lap so he can see the computer, find a YouTube Baby Einstein video and... yea, no crying. I love the "whooaa" look on his face when I show him the Baby Einstein clips (by the way... not really a big fan of Baby Einstein, it's a little trippy like Disney's Fantasia but with handpuppets instead)...
On this particular day, he was insanely squirmy and I could only love on him if he was watching the computer or the TV in my lap...
I wonder if it's bad to be introducing TV's and computers this early on... hmm.
He's still very cuddly but not quite like the little Gray we brought home. This afternoon he fell asleep on my shoulder with his baby breath on my cheek and I was just so excited because I miss that so much already.
Warning: this post is for my prego readers, curious friends and any random person who might find this post by Googling "BFF" expecting an Etsy shop for friendship bracelets but actually got directed to a bunch of posts about breastfeeding. What I'm sayin' is this post has some potential for T.M.I. Just puttin that out there now before you're in too deep.
So... I've been getting a lot of straight-up questions, round-about questions and unsolicited "advice" (opinions) from friends, family, and (real shocker) complete strangers about breastfeeding. And I'd rather just address them here in one post than drag it out over a million posts in response to whatever question or opinion I received that day (I've avoided this overall for the most part but it's becoming a bigger issue all the time) . . . That said, this could be a very long post. I'll cover the questions/comments first, then supply-boosting and then my pet peeves and annoyances and, finally, a little "you can do it" message at the end.
How do I feed little G? [This question usually comes more in the form of "Are you breastfeeding?" or "Why are you giving your baby formula?" or "Is he eating sweet potatoes yet? Because my children were eating solids when they were just a few weeks old and they turned out fine."] The answer: I breastfeed and supplement with formula. Probably wouldn't even be supplementing with formula if I hadn't returned to work. My return to work cut my supply in half (if not more) and I've had to work really hard ever since to boost and maintain (tips for that later if you're interested). My wish is that he could be exclusively breastfed (referred to as EBF in all the super cool judgemental mom forums... ha) but our little routine works really well for us, I'm happy and Paul's happy which makes for a happy little Gray.
Does it hurt? To be honest... in the beginning, yes, it hurts. A lot. Even though almost all of the literature you read assures that with a proper latch it should never hurt... riiiight. Can you really imagine it being the most pleasant feeling? If you plan to breastfeed, invest in some lanolin. And don't worry, it gets a lot better. When it got a little too painful for me, I pumped about every other feeding to give myself a break. That helped times a million.
How often does he eat? With breastmilk it can be anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours between feedings. Usually somewhere around two hours, though, if he ate a lot to begin with. Formula is a much more consistent pattern which is wonderful if you want to get a little more shut-eye. With formula, G goes about three hours sometimes longer. And at night, he is now sleeping about 6ish hours, give or take, after his last night feeding. But with breastmilk, the pattern can be pretty inconsistent, especially if you are feeding on cue and not on a schedule (really not sure how people BF on a schedule).
Do you have to pump? Is it worth the money to buy double electric? How long does it take to express? Yes and yes. After my return to work my supply got really low so I used the pump to help boost my supply. A GOOD pump is vital to your supply if you will be returning to school or work. You will probably hear or read that BF'ing is supply and demand. Definitely true. The more often you "demand," the better and better your supply will be. Increasing demand is good if you want to start a freezer stash, though I don't do this since we already supplement some with formula. As far as which pumps I use... a Medela electric at work (Pump in Style Advanced) and a Medela manual (Harmony) at home so that I can leave most of the things that I need for the electric at work. At home I try not to pump at all because babies are much more efficient than a pump will ever be. Plus, actually nursing is a million times easier at this point, no clean-up or pieces to sanitize. In the beginning, it was much quicker to pump (about 10-15 minutes) than to nurse (anywhere from 20-45 minutes with Gray... this has greatly improved to about 20 minutes MAX now). It's tempting initially to pump all the time and just be done when you're tired, but I really think babies need the experience to improve their efficiency.
Which is easier? (BF or formula feeding?) In my opinion... BF is much easier once you get the hang of it (which could take several weeks... more on that later). When I was just dead tired in the mornings, it was incredible to be able to just bring him in the bed and both of us drift back into sleep. Another plus for BF... it doesn't require scooping, measuring, mixing or a lot of washing bottles (unless pumped which I did do a good bit of when adjusting to comfort level and I do a lot of now that I'm back to work).
How did you solve latch problems? Honestly... (I know a lot of women will hate me for this) I didn't have a single problem with G latching. He literally entered the world rooting and ready to eat... he is a chunk, after all. :) Of course, it did help that I did a LOT of reading when I was still pregnant about how to get a proper latch from the very start and then about potential problems and solutions so I was well-versed on how to get things going and how to tackle problems in the beginning. That kind of information came in handy for me as I was kinda left all alone in the L&D room to figure it out for the first time. When that moment came, I was so glad I'd put in the time and knew what to do. (You'd think it's intuitive and in a lot of ways it is but it's also like, "So... I do what now?")
How do you nurse discreetly? IS there a way to be discreet? Really... probably not. I mean, it's not difficult to tell what's going on. But, my biggest life savers have been nursing tanks. I don't like to let it all hang out (but in the beginning when you can barely drag yourself up the stairs you really won't care, I promise... or at least I didn't). But I would much rather NOT expose my belly. If you're pulling your shirt up, that's where the "Ohmigod, my EYES!" looks come from. In my opinion, a woman pulling her shirt up is a thousand times more distracting than unclip-and-flip. And while this plus a "hooter hider" is probably as discreet as it gets, I still don't do it in public. I just don't. Or at least not yet. Only in the nursing room at Nordstrom will I even think about it. Dinner table? No, thanks. People just don't get it and until they do, I'm not going to be the one leading the revolution.
I know you don't actually need anything but, really... what do you need? Technically you don't NEED anything to BF, but these are the things that I use(d) regularly or often enough:
-PUMP -- my supply would probably be gone without it
-Boppy -- I would say this is essential for every new mom no matter how you choose to feed your wee one. Your arms will thank you in recovery.
-nursing cover -- even for home when people are over. who wants to leave the party?
This was not a question, just some of my own unsolicited advice, should you ever need it... how I boosted supply. As I mentioned, when I returned to work my supply dropped a lot. I mean, A LOT! Here's what's been working for me the past two weeks: fenugreek and oatmeal. (Fenugreek is an herbal supplement, GNC sells it. I'm pretty sure it's actually an Indian spice??) And basically attaching G to my hip when I get home from work (which is easy because he's so dang cute). Last Monday morning: 1.5 oz. This morning: 6 oz. So, in a week and a half's time, if my math is right, I've boosted G's supply by about 400%. Great success.
Now... my breastfeeding pet peeves (everybody loves a good pet peeve)... these have nothing to do with actual BF, but more to do with other people and their fanatical crazyness regarding the topic. I have gotten more random crap comments on this topic than anything else (other than maybe sleeping). And no matter what you do or where you hide, it is pretty much unavoidable. The breastfeeding crazies will crawl out of the forbidden forest if that's what it takes to give their $0.02. I know I don't know you and haven't even asked how you're doing or how old your baby is but, are you breastfeeding? (Well hello, nice to meet you, too!) How long do you plan on breastfeeding? Well, I breastfed my little bunny boo until he was five years old. Sorry, not for me, but I actually do understand why people go past the six-month and one year marks. It's free (if you don't include pumps, lanolin, nursing tanks, etc.), it's freakin' easy once you get the hang of it and, most importantly, the nutritional benefits are almost unmatched. Not to mention healing and antibacterial properties... it's a winner, but at some point I would like my body back, kthanks and pleasedon'tstoneme. Will I be BreastFriendsForever? Probably not. And harrassing me isn't going to change my mind.
My BIGGEST pet peeve of all... women (and people in general) who downplay the hard work and determination that it takes to be successful. A lot of the literature makes it sound easy, wonderful, rainbows and kittens. It's out there that it should never ever hurt, even in the beginning. Not many mention or tell you that in the first two weeks you will probably want to give up, even if you have a great supply and no problems latching. I really think that even hospitals and lactation consultants are doing new moms a huge disservice by romanticizing the whole idea and not stressing how much work it will be to continue. In my opinion, women would be better served to go into it knowing that it will take a lot of patience and motivation so that when they hit the tough spots, they'll know it gets better. They certainly drive the point home that labor is going to hurt and burn like the dickens. I wanted to stop several times in the first few weeks but I rembered getting a message from an old youth group friend that everything would get so much easier after the first six weeks or so. And really, it does get better. After the first month, maybe even six weeks, it is SO much easier to get it all balanced. But getting through that first month is so crucial and I wish that doctors, hospitals, lactation consultants, whoever... would stress that during pregnancy so that when you want to stop or just want your body back, you'll keep going.
SO... I think I answered all the questions I've gotten and hopefully given some useful advice to my pregos that are considering BF. Hope it wasn't too much TMI. Any other questions, just shoot an email or private message.
You'll hear it a kazillion times but your little babe is so worth it. The product IS worth the process!
My vice(s) involves all things coffee or chai-related. My dad is a big-time coffee drinker so the origins are probably somewhere in my upbringing. Saw its peak in my college years during those late nights and jobs working the espresso bar in more than one coffee shop. And that last one is a good question... why WOULD I quit??
Wait... did I just say he's two months old?? Not possible.
On St. Patty's day he went for his well check-up. Everything looks pretty good and he is definitely still a chunk :) 13 pounds and 8 ounces (90thish percentile). 23.5 inches (75thish percentile). And 16" head circumference. [When he was born: 9lbs 6oz, 20.75 inches, 14.5"] He is growing, for sure! He can still wear SOME 0-3 size clothes but not many. Mostly, he is wearing 3-6 which is fun but sad that he's getting so big! He's super fun and happy which, of course, makes me happy, too.
His biggest milestone so far: rolling over! He rolled over for the first time on Friday while he was home with Paul. He almost did it again yesterday but got frustrated and hungry first. Then again last night before bedtime but still not quite. In a few minutes I'm going to see if he'll give it another go. I HATE that I'm missing little things like this. I thought it would get easier to go to work as the time passed but I think it really gets harder every day to leave him at home. Only two weeks until my spring break. How many weeks until summer??
A photo log of the past few days...
The gadget I covet most right now? A Polar watch, please (polarusa.com). I would be able to track calories burned, monitor my heart rate and time spent on a particular activity... a perfect supplement to my Lose the Baby Weight resolution.
Since Paul's MawMaw and D.D. still haven't seen our little baby ball, they rode up with Becca on Wednesday to spend a few days with everybody and our newest little Hebert.
Here is Gray with MawMaw (great grandmother... maybe gonna call her GG?... everyone is pretty focused on what they want to be called haha).
And then with D.D., his great GREAT grandmother
And a little family pic (we might have three total now, boop boop!):
... if he's happy or sad. He made all of those faces within one minute. About once every evening he can't decide if he's happy, upset or just annoyed. Such a woman! Really, I think he's just super hungry but we distract him so he will smile. So he goes back and forth really quickly between smiling/giggling and whimpering with his bottom lip sticking out (like the picture in the top left corner). Like, "I'm flippin' hungry, ma! Weee! No, wait, don't make me laugh, I'm hungryyyyy. Wah!" It is maybe the most hilarious thing I've ever seen.
Please, look at the present Paul discovered in the garage today:
Paul said it scared the crap out of him. That would have been only the beginning for me -- I KNOW I would have cried and curled up all fetus-like. And it was definitely not placed there by accident because it is under the workbench in the garage. I mean, c'mon... who DOES that?! Help. Me.
|From is it really march already?|
|From is it really march already?|
So, if you've ever wondered what a carotid body tumor looks like...
Me no likey.
On Tuesday, one of my students asked me what "absent" means... really?
I was also accused of skipping class. Scene: I let my fifth period leave a few minutes early for lunch and as we were walking, a teacher practically mauled the student in front of me to ask him for his hall pass. "WHERE'SYOURPASS?" I stepped in, told her it was fine we were just going to lunch to which she responded with a look that could kill and, "Well, where's YOUR pass?" Uhh... I'm a teacher? Does that count? I know that I'm young and that I often look like a student when I forget my name badge but these confrontations are seriously annoying.
Yesterday, I got a brilliant question... from a 15-year old: "Soooo... (awkward silence)... say I got a girl pregnant... do I really have to pay child support?" Um... REALLY??!! Am I actually supposed to answer that?? I mean... what kind of answer do you give that will maybe even touch on the gravity of that question (again... 15-year old... thinking about child support. pardon my French but what the eff?). His question was, of course, followed by this profound observation: "I mean... babies are easy so I guess I wouldn't have to actually leave the state and get away. All you have to do is feed 'em, burp 'em, change a diaper here and there... pshh, easy." (When I asked if this was his situation he said that it wasn't... not sure I believe him.) Wow.
What. the. crap.
How cute is the Gray BayBAY?
I've been DYING to put him in that thing. So very presh, but it's still a leeeetle too big. So we put him in the fleece one to make a quick trip to Target (p.s. -- most frustrating return policy EVER... how do you deny a receipt??). Still cute.
Do you think we need a new thermometer?
Random note: I got my hair cut last week.
(Uhhh... Hi, random and awkward Myspace-style photo.)