Milk Blues

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.

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Wanted to be June Cleaver,but now being Samantha on Bewitched would be just as realistic

When I was working full time and going to school full time I would fantasize about being a stay at home Mom and baking the day away, or creating fun projects for my kids to do and of course having the cleanest house I have ever had! The reality is, taking care of a baby is actually makes housework harder to do than any amount of outside of the home work I ever had.

I started the little book “31 Days to Clean: Having a Mary house the Martha way” with really good intentions, and I haven’t given up, but lets just say 31 days to clean will be like 365 days to clean?  The book has inspired me to complete more tasks than I otherwise would, but the season of fussing and poor sleep Leia has entered into has made it really hard to find the energy for anything but her. During those hard earned nap times, it is really hard to make myself use that time to clean out a closet for instance.

I try and keep the bare minimum done at least, but our house is tiny and I feel like the least little mess just spills out into our living space extra quick.  Still, I try to celebrate the things I do get done and celebrate the gift of nurturing I am giving my daughter when I get nothing else done! I am sure things with Leia will shift eventually, and as long as I keep trying to balance order and rest in my house I think good things will come and our home will thrive.

June Cleaver rocks and I admit, I would like to be that awesome, but these days as long as I don’t end up like Rosanne I count it a victory 😉

Sleeping in your crib is the coolest (really Leia it is)

Every night when Leia finally succumbs to sleep I feel like I just got back from war. There is no really consistent pattern, falling asleep brings tears and screaming and staying asleep gets less and less likely each night. What happened? I just wish she could tell me why her crib, once the scene of hours of happy slumber, has become anathema to her?  For three months she slept great and needed no cajoling to go to sleep, why????

I know sleep training is a controversial issue, and I am definitely not offering any answers, just venting about what I myself am doing. Please don’t judge! I am having a pretty rough go of it and am just doing what I feel I can. I feel like I have entered this new phase of mommyhood that makes you stop and go “what has happened to my life?”.

Basically here is the situation, my daughter cries when laid down in her crib. She has been fed, burped, given “Little Tummies”, changed, etc, she will just cry. Sometimes if she is happy for a bit in her crib, as soon as her eyes start to close she starts crying. It seems apparent she A. doesn’t want to let herself sleep, and B. doesn’t want mom to leave the room EVER! I mean she can look totally asleep and as I slip out of the door, “waaah” So what it has come to is me trying a gentle baby whisperer type cry it out thing. I let her cry for a few minutes go in pat her and say shhh (I try to do this without emotion, just quick and calming, not inviting play!) Sometimes it works more quickly than others. I try so hard to get her ready for bed when she first gets sleepy, but you know that doesn’t seem to help either. It just seems like there is no way for her to sleep without crying. Unless maybe I just let her sleep on my lap on the couch all night but sorry that isn’t sustainable!

I feel like C-R-A-P when she goes to sleep in such turmoil and I have to let her kind of deal with it, but seriously nothing else works. I have even tried the things i didn’t want to make a habit, like feeding her to sleep or rocking her to sleep, but she just cries when she gets close to sleep,sometimes even in my lap, or she gets laid in bed, she just cries! I am just hoping I can get her through this and we will somehow be better off because of it in the future. It is so hard because I feel bad no matter what happens, if I keep her up and don’t make her sleep in her crib I feel bad, if I keep going in and comforting her I feel bad, if she falls asleep after crying I feel bad. So tough!

Now it seems the fussiness is following us into middle of the night wakings though, and not just when she goes to bed.  (Middle of the night waking which we did not use to have) I feel pretty powerless! I am praying and I know this will eventually pass.

In happier news, Sophie the Giraffe arrived today! Leia actually took it in her hands and started chewing on it! This was the first toy I was able to get her to “play” with so far 🙂 FYI Sophie is this super popular baby toy from France, a little squeaky rubber giraffe babies seem to love. So far she is a hit here 🙂 Leia is tiny (only 9.5 pounds at 4 months – the doctor is having us monitor her weight more closely to be safe) but she rolls both ways with ease and has great head control. I think her mobility could be part of her sleep issues, she is ALL over her crib at night, rolling and moving every which way. I think she wakes herself up with all the moving. Oh well, happy all is quiet on the western front for the moment….

Forget Ferberize- Scogginate your baby! (My Mommy style is lost!)

I am sitting looking at my baby sleeping in her car seat right outside our open front door at the moment. It is just now 5 pm. She just fell asleep. At 16 weeks black is white and night is day around here! Leia Juliet hit her three month growth spurt three weeks ago, we got through it but I don’t know this new baby! For the first couple months I would say Leia was an “angel baby”, she slept and slept, I had to wake her up at night! Around 8 weeks or so she woke up got a little more cranky, but still was sleeping great. She never needed much coaxing to to nap in her crib, sometimes she would get upset UNTIL I laid her in her crib.  I had a schedule, and things were going along swimmingly.

The new reality for the last couple of weeks has been scream when she gets in her bed and resist sleep at all costs! I try to have the gentle nap and bedtime routines. They go fine until she starts to fall asleep and then she starts kicking her legs wildly and crying and crying.  She will not nap and I don’t know why. I feel so bad that she isn’t getting enough sleep.  Anyway, drama drama drama everytime I try to put her to sleep. I know a lot of people will say “Cry it out!” but honestly I would have to let her cry way longer than I am comfortable with. I have tried ten minutes or so and she just gets crazy and I feel awful and I just don’t see that working for us.

I don’t see myself as the totally go with the flow, attachment parenting type. I personally think kids need routine and structure and so do mom and dad! I am in crisis not being able to get any routine to work though! It is so wearing! Last night David stepped in and was just like ” hey don’t make her go to sleep” basically. He said ” is it worth all this emotional stress for the both of you to try and get her to sleep in her bed by some arbitrary schedule?” I didn’t know what to think, but neither did I know what to do, I had spent 45 minutes trying to get her to sleep only to have her wake herself up after rolling over twice minutes after she was laid down! So I just watched a movie with David and let her fall asleep on my lap and then finally at 9:30 (ugh) I put her in bed and she slept ALL NIGHT!! 7 hours of sleep than a peaceful feed and like 3 more hours of sleep.  I am not saying this is my technique, but who knows maybe David Scoggins should develop a sleep method, move over baby whisperer, Dr. Sears and Ferber (FYI ferberize is the sleep method of letting a baby cry it out, made popular for Dr. Ferber- I didn’t know with until I had a baby!).

So I don’t know what is going on, I know I really enjoyed some sleep. Everyday I keep looking hopefully for a tooth, if only I could blame it on teeth!!!! Trying to stay positive. Leia is pretty happy when not being asked to sleep (even though she is sooo tired, I know!) and we had the first tear free bath ever last night woohoo! All her smiles are a big help. I just feel I am making so many concessions, trying all kinds of things to get her to sleep and then just giving up and letting her not have a good nap.  I miss nap times, I feel scattered because it is hard to get things done with a sleepy baby who never sleeps! So I guess this phase is about learning to live by grace, feeling God’s grace for myself as a Mom and being reminded that as much as I love her even when she is going crazy God loves both of us so much more and must have pleasure in how much I love her right?!

Hoping for teeth….