5/08/2013

Eat, Baby [part II of III]

You should know the drill by now: I have some posts from around 4-5 months after Juliet was born that I cranked out and forgot about. But I'm sharing them now! Monday was part I of a nursing miniseries. So here's part II of how nursing has gone this time around with an actual "now" update as part III on Friday. And though this is written in the present tense it's from late February :)

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In my last post I began the story of how breastfeeding is going this time around, after a rough go with Roger.


Roger and Juliet at 4 months.
Though Jules looks chubbier, she weighs two pounds less despite only being 1/2 an inch shorter. 
I think her adorably chubby cheeks are deceitful.

After finding out that Juliet was underweight and falling off of her curve (one set by her growth in a weight-age chart) we started supplementing a little bit of formula--just 2-4 ounces at the 8p-ish feed. If she sleeps until 2am then I don't supplement but if it's one of the nights where she only sleeps until 11 or so then I do another 2 ounces. I always nurse her for the normal 13-ish minutes per side first to keep up the demand on my body. But in just a week she not only sleeps in 4-5 hour chunks at night (instead of 2, which was BRUTAL getting only about 90 minutes of sleep at a time for me) but she is more likely to sleep in at least one, sometimes two, 2-3 hour chunks during the day. She's also SO much happier, and she was already a super happy baby :)

So that moment I mentioned at the beginning of part I? Well, it was a source of joy for me that, up until a week ago, the only nourishment Juliet had ever had came only from my body. Not only was her nourishment in the womb solely from me but after birth she only ever had breastmilk. Due to extreme back-up with meconium that took almost a full month to clear out we had to supplement a little bit of formula with Roger at  5 days old. Poor little dude just did not poop :( But with Juliet we made it to the four month mark with only breast milk from mama giving her sustenance.


Other than her legendary cheeks, not much chunkage to be found.



Look how tiny she is in that diaper! Poor lady was so very hungry!

I expected things to be so painful when that was gone--I thought that first poopy diaper that wasn't purely from my breast milk would just break my heart. It was significant--but because I felt so much more freedom than with Roger. I didn't feel like a failure and I didn't feel ashamed. Maybe it's because there's more milk this time and we're still mostly nursing? I'm not sure. But, praise Jesus, instead of feeling shame and frustration, I feel freedom and joy that though my body still doesn't produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed, it does produce enough to mostly breastfeed. Not only that, my sweet girl [who HATES the SNS we bought, so after many tries and much frustration on both of our parts we had to let that go] is growing, healthier, happier...just such grace that formula exists. And we still have an ok supply of breast milk that I'm storing up in the freezer (I'm able to pump 4-5 oz from one side in the morning again, I think because my body actually gets some sleep and a rest when Jason takes the 5-6am feed and gives her a bottle; it's amazing what happens when you don't get awoken every two hours to nurse a hungry, frustrated baby all night long!) so if we get to a point where my supply dries up then she can still get that first feed from breast milk for another month or more.


                                    



Sweet, sweet grace: the ability to pump in the mornings has returned! 
Grateful for a slowly filling freezer--this is just part of our stock!

One last thing: never underestimate the power of your words. A sweet friend of mine who is very much all about mothers breastfeeding as much as possible sweetly wrote and told me a phrase that has stuck with me in a major way. She said, "Your body isn't a lemon." I am so grateful, because there were tears shed at first. I just can't understand why my body won't do what it's SUPPOSED to do! But then when I would start to feel the, "Why is my body such a suckfest with breast milk production?" shame I would remember what she said--my body is not a lemon. Jesus made my body and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. These nursing supply problems don't surprise him and he's not only walking with me through it but he aches with me and gives me freedom to grieve and rejoice in kind as the particular day calls for.

So there you have it. This is all been rolling around in my heart for months now so I feel a gazillion times better being where I am and getting to write about what the last few months have looked like. Best of all, I see Jesus' grace all over me and my darling babies and for that I am grateful.

Come back Friday to read part III, the actual "now" (May 2013) update.


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