My Breastfeeding Experience – Part 2

The saga continues…

I saw another lactation consultant shortly after my last entry about breastfeeding. She assessed everything and admitted that she can’t do anything for me; the baby’s latch was good, his suck was strong and my supply wasn’t a concern. The baby was just lazy. Jarvis would breastfeed for a few minutes and either let go or fall asleep. He got used to bottles and likely preferred the faster flow and little effort required. Her recommendation: keep trying and maybe he’ll just stick with it one day.

The following week, the paediatrician said the same thing. Keep at it and maybe he’ll get it.

I was really hoping for a more concrete answer from either of them. Was that all I could do? Just sit and wait? With all the information I gathered, I decided to try a few more things over the following weeks:

  • Nipple shield: I thought that since baby preferred an artificial nipple, maybe he’d like the nipple shield. Nope. Same result. He unlatched after a few minutes.
  • Tube-feeding: I thought this would trick him into thinking that he could get a faster flow, so I successfully tube-fed for a few days and then tried breastfeeding without the tube. Same result.
  • Syringe feeding: Same result as tube feeding.
  • Breastfeeding only when he was really hungry: I thought if he was extremely hungry, he’d put in the effort to feed himself. This didn’t work. It’s difficult enough to keep a calm baby on my breast, let alone a screaming, teary-eyed baby.
  • Switch feeding: I thought by alternating back and forth between breasts every few minutes, this would keep the baby awake and alert. Unfortunately, the little guy hates my right breast for some reason. He just won’t take it.
  • Take Fenugreek and Mother’s Milk tea: Some say these help increase milk production. I haven’t noticed an affect on mine.

All the while, I was pumping in an effort to increase my milk supply or at the very least, keep it stable.

Frustrated that nothing was helping, I decided to breastfeed only during the day — forget night-time breastfeeding. Sleep was too important. It continued like this with no progress, until one feeding session last week. He stayed on my breast for 20 full minutes! And they weren’t little insignificant sucks; they were real sucks with pauses and swallowing. I was so proud of my little baby. I put him down to sleep when he was done, assuming he was full. Sadly, he wasn’t satisfied. I tried to put him back on my breast and he just wouldn’t take it. Feeling dejected, I, yet again, mixed some formula in a bottle and fed my hungry baby. I did make progress, but very little.

It’s been a rollercoaster since then. Sometimes he would stay on my breast for more than 5 minutes and actually get milk, and other times he would just give up. And at times, it’d be worse than just ‘give up’; he’d let go wailing and screaming, turning red, like he was regressing. I’m running out of ideas. I’m starting to feel defeated and find myself feeling jealous when someone in my mommies group would nonchalantly pull out a breast and feed her baby. I’m jealous that their baby is always getting the best nutrition. I’m jealous that they don’t have to lug around bottles, formula, expressed breastmilk and a pump. I’m jealous that their days aren’t consumed by washing bottles and pumping sessions. I absolutely hate the feeling.

I have one last idea: start taking Domperidone, a prescription drug that is known to increase milk production. I’m hoping this will actually work, and baby will appreciate an increased flow. If not, I’d at least be able to pump enough to exclusively feed expressed milk rather than formula.

Here’s to my Hail Mary pass.

Cloth Diapering Update

We’ve been cloth diapering for over three weeks now and after a day or two of adjustments, it’s been successful.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, I have a stash of BumGenius 4.0 and Fuzzibunz Elite pocket diapers. For both diapers, I started using two inserts; it looked absolutely ridiculous. I felt bad for baby as it looked like he was wearing a suit of armour and wasn’t able to move much (not that he was very mobile). So, I went to using just one insert and it was just fine.

Here’s my review of each:

BumGenius 4.0

Pros:

  • Fits baby better. We haven’t experienced any unexpected leaks. This diaper has held everything in, even those really wet and messy poops.
  • Has an extra fold over the pocket opening to prevent wet inserts from leaking out
Cons:

  • More expensive

Fuzzibunz Elite

Pros:

  • Has adjustable elastics around leg opening and back
  • Thicker, more absorbent inserts
  • Trimmer fit between the legs
Cons:

  • Doesn’t fit newborn very well. The tag recommends a setting of waist=4 and thighs=7 for an 9-lb baby, but I actually had to adjust the thighs to the smallest setting possible (14). This is almost the right size around the thighs, but the front of the waist doesn’t seem to fit properly. The few leaks that we’ve experienced were when baby was laying on his back. It seemed to leak from the top and would roll down so his shirt would be wet in the front and back.
  • Bulky and saggy back side

Now, in terms of handling and cleaning, it really isn’t so bad. Other than having to touch the edge of a wet insert, it isn’t very different from handling a disposable. Every other evening, I’ve been throwing them in the wash. I have a front-loading washer and this involves a cold pre-rinse and a hot regular wash with half a scoop of Nellie’s Laundry Soda, followed by an extra rinse, then tumble dried on low. That’s about 2 hours total in the washer & dryer. Then, stuffing the diapers with inserts takes about 10 minutes and I do that while I’m watching TV.

Lessons learned:

  • Cloth diapers need to be changed more often than disposables to prevent leaks and diaper rash.
  • If you need to use diaper rash cream, do your research. Most of the popular creams aren’t cloth-diaper safe (they’ll affect absorbency). I used Grandma El’s, which worked fine as it claimed, but it did result in staining.
  • The PUL cover of these diapers sometimes bring on heat rash, so try to give baby some “free” time without a diaper or occasionally use a flat diaper with a wool cover to help “air out” his bottom. Apparently, wool is cool, breathable and waterproof.
  • Velcro tabs are so much easier to deal with than snaps, especially when you’re half awake for those middle-of-the-night changes
  • Fasten those velcro tabs before washing, otherwise that messy poop could get stuck between those hooks and loops.

Overall, I find it simple enough. I’m happy with our decision and I love that we don’t have to worry about running out to buy disposables. Stay tuned for my next update when we start introducing solids. The process will change slightly but I’m hoping it won’t be so bad.

Baby is 1 Month Today

Happy 1 month, baby Jarvis!

This month went by fast, and the baby has grown quite a bit already. Here are a few updates:

  • Weight: 10lbs 5oz
  • Length: 55cm
  • Daytime sleep: 2-3 hours at a time
  • Nighttime sleep: 3-4 hours at a time
  • Feeds: Breastfed and bottle-fed (expressed breast milk and formula — about 24-25oz/day)
  • Personality: Can’t tell yet. I can say he’s a good baby so far. He only cries when hungry or when his diaper is really messy.
  • Likes: Graco swing, daddy’s singing, Michelle’s voice, car rides

As for me, here are my updates:

  • Recovery: I feel almost 100% recovered from delivery.
  • Exercise: None. I’m just waiting for my 6-week postpartum checkup to get the go-ahead to start again. I could go for walks but the weather just hasn’t been cooperating.
  • Diet: Almost no change since pregnancy. I’m occasionally drinking coffee again, and I’ve added Fenugreek and Milkmaid tea to my daily diet (for milk production). Also, when I remember, I’ll take my prenatal vitamins.
  • Sleep: I’m still figuring out my sleep schedule. I should sleep when baby sleeps, but that hasn’t come naturally.
  • Mood: Tired but happy. Most of the time, I just want to cuddle and sleep with the little guy. I’m enjoying every minute with him.