What a week it has been. I feel like the first three months of motherhood were kind of magical. Leia was a perfect little angel baby, in some ways at around 3 months the honeymoon phase kind of seemed to end. Not that there is anything I would rather do than take care of my girl and not that i adore her any less, it just seems like there have been a lot more challenges. Sleep issues, feeding issues, and I really am starting to think she may be teething in earnest. Everything just seems to compound!
This week has been really emotional. Wednesday we went in for a weigh in at the pediatricians because she was a bit concerned about Leia’s weight. Honestly I thought it would be fine and she would just be labeled petite. Nope, Wednesday turned into the day I found out my baby girl has been hungry for weeks and I had to start supplementing formula. If you had asked me a year ago if having to supplement formula in my baby’s diet would have caused me to cry on and off for two days I would have said no and given you a funny look, but I felt horrible on several levels. One my baby has been hungry and I didn’t realize it! How awful to be hungry for weeks and not be able to get that need met! Maybe a month ago she started to be fussy during nursing, I read online that it could be a million things I really didn’t think she was starving. Needless to say it feels really awful to realize your child had a basic need that you were not meeting or even recognizing! Then having to give her formula didn’t feel good. I didn’t like the look or the smell of the stuff and just felt defeated with each bottle I shook up to supplement with (also hate what it does to poopy diapers yuck!). But she was hungry, I know it is not just her being tiny, I am sure that is some of it, but she is definitely hungry and it was apparent after the first formula feeding something has been wrong (totally lost it then!) The idea of having to stop breastfeeding so early was surprisingly heartbreaking, here we get into the realm of emotions that are hard to describe or understand. I mean it is a bonding experience of course and it does make you feel pretty cool being able to nourish your baby in that way, and to just have to stop in defeat so suddenly and without warning was just killing me. I knew that whatever was going to happen I had to get a better understanding of the situation and feel that I did whatever I could do in order to feel OK about this, so I set out for help.
Thursday I went to a breastfeeding support group, that didn’t go so awesome, the nurse was really confused as to why the pedi was just now catching this and that kind of made me feel even more like “why didn’t i catch it???” But, at the 2 week and two month check up everything seemed fine I don’t think it is mine or my doctors fault that we didn’t know, I just thought she was petite! I mean she has never been lethargic and as my doctor said she is advanced developmentally. why would I think she was malnourished?? the nurse also seemed to say that if I did have a supply problem it may be too late to do anything. I left early, put on my sunglasses and cried my way back to my car. I felt ashamed even though I knew I shouldn’t, and I also knew I needed one on one help to find out what was actually going on.
Enter the lactation consultant at Bellies Babies and Bosoms, a local baby gear store nearby. I went Saturday and first they weighed Leia before and after a feed, and we found she was getting about 2 ounces from me, so that is not nothing! We still aren’t entirely sure what is going on, that will take some more weighing. I really kind of doubt Leia has digestion issues, she has chunked right up after only a few days of supplementing. Maybe I have supply issues? so right now I have to pump all the time and basically wait until the next weigh in wed morning. Best case scenario, my supply went down because my active baby is distracted and impatient when nursing and I build it back up and we can atleast chug along until solid foods. A more bleak outcome, I can’t get my supply up or there is a caloric problem with my milk and I try and keep giving her what I can while supplementing or just go to formula, either way it is nice to have help and feel like I have action steps and support!
Gotta say it is so crazy how you just lose self consciousness as a Mom. I am a really modest person, I mean that is something I miss about the Middle East, cover stuff up ladies! But during labor I told a friend Pres. Obama and the secret service could have come in and I wouldn’t have cared (though totally would have got a pic of him and Leia doing a fist bump later) and now with ladies I have never met I don’t give a second thought to showing them how I am breastfeeding, chalk it up to another crazy change of mommyhood! Your body is not your own.