“Fitbit” for Your Lady Part

Especially throughout and post pregnancy, you’ll likely be encouraged to work out your pelvic floor muscles by doing kegels. I admit that I only did them when I randomly remembered to do them, but they are pretty easy to do very discreetly. I’m sure a lot of women forget about these muscles, so you’re welcome for the reminder; you’re probably doing kegels right now :)

But how do you know if you’re doing them right? Thanks to smartphones and wearable technology, these can be tracked! Crazy, right? kGoal is an “exercise tool” that you insert and communicates (wirelessly, thankfully) to your smartphone to give you real-time feedback.

kgoal Image by Minna Life blog

What will they come up with next??

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.

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.

My Breastfeeding Experience

Baby latched on perfectly within an hour of delivery. I was so relieved. Maybe breastfeeding wouldn’t be as difficult as I expected.

I was wrong. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a hiccup that now requires a lot more effort than I had hoped. Because baby developed jaundice, this made him very sleepy, which meant he’d fall asleep at the breast–and less sucking meant less stimulation and less production. And this made his jaundice worse. It was a vicious cycle.

Needless to say, my milk was delayed in coming in and I had to intervene with constant pumping to get things going. The first time I pumped, I was able to get 4 ml in a 15-min session. Only four! This was terrible. In the meantime, baby was being bottle-fed with formula while in the hospital to make sure he’s getting enough nutrients. That’s right–bottle-fed. This was another hiccup. I was trying to avoid the bottle until baby was able to breastfeed with ease, but the baby needed food so I had no choice.

I’m now on day 7 of pumping and up to 60 ml per session. I’ve made progress in that respect.

Next mission: counteract the effect of bottle-feeding. I’m still breastfeeding the baby each time he’s hungry — for as long as he’d take it, just so he doesn’t get used to the bottle. I know he’s not getting enough but at least he’s still practicing the act.

Because of these challenges, my ideal 1-hr breastfeeding sessions are, instead, 1.5-2 hr sessions consisting of breastfeeding, bottle-feeding (with either pumped milk or formula) and pumping. And this is done every 3-4 hours, which means I have about 1-2 hours from the time I finish until I start the next session. This is much more work to feed a baby than I anticipated, but I’m trying my best. My goal is to eventually produce enough milk so that the baby won’t need to supplement with formula (and just save bottle-feeding for daddy to do when I’m away). Every time I look down at this innocent face, I know it’s all worth it.

 

Read My Breastfeeding Experience – Part 2