Friday, April 29, 2011

Breastfeeding and Pumping and Breastfeeding Again, Oh My!

I woke up this morning for Cora's frequent feeds and caught myself humming a catchy little tune by my talented and creative friend Moorea Malatt. Check out her awesome video, which is entertaining even when it's not your soundtrack for feeding your baby.

Life has been feeling pretty darn normal around here.  Well, it'd be a little more normal if we weren't still under pseudo-quarantine with Miss Cora.  They told us she should be kept mostly at home and to try to avoid exposing her to illness for 4-6 weeks.  We're a little past 3 weeks now.  At least it's still raining most days so I don't feel like we're quite so holed up.  But I am looking forward to the clear spring days when we can go out and socialize with all our local friends, including a number of new additions.  So excited for Cora to meet all her new friends.

Feeding her lately could almost be described as fun.  She is still breastfeeding like a little champion. We've been monitoring her weight, and she is continuing to gain overall.  She's still been getting a bottle with Nick and a bottle from me in the middle of the night, since she's too sleepy to nurse, and it's pretty much impossible to prod her along with the breast, whereas with a bottle you can work it into her mouth to see if she'll eat.   But she wants the bottle less and less overall and she seems to be deciding more or less that she doesn't need to eat much at night.  Great, you would think, right?  The idea of getting to sleep for more than 4 hours at a time is very seductive for sure.

But that is before we factor pumping into the equation.  Until this whole breastfeeding thing took off, I was proud to be an overproducer.  Which meant that I was pumping almost 3 times what Cora was eating each day.  This allowed us to lacto-engineer her milk, since we had enough to separate the rich fatty "cream" to add to her bottles.  And it allowed us to fill up our freezer and still have enough to donate.  Great, right?

But now I am still producing too much.  Which means that although Little Miss is eating about every 2 or so hours during the day, I still have to pump.  Not altogether desirable to me.  I've been researching tricks to reduce my milk supply so I am not forever attached to the breast pump, but so far it's very slow going, since I keep getting clogged ducts, which causes back-tracking.  And of course, since Cora doesn't always eat enough to get to the hind-milk, I often have to pump a little before she eats.  So far at night I can go 4 hours, maybe 5 if I'm lucky.  So it still seems a ways off to be done with the continual pumping.

Before she started breastfeeding I was spending 3 to 4 hours a day in activities involving pumping and processing milk.  That included pumping 6 times per day, washing bottles and pump parts, reserving milk for separation, separating the fatty "cream" and adding to her bottles, fortifying with formula, and freezing and labeling excess milk.

That did not include the 4 to 5 hours per day spent feeding her for up to 45 minutes per session.  And of course, there was the illustrious NG tube feedings after her bottle feeds, which required us to check placement with a stethoscope by pushing air through a syringe into the tube, while listening to her stomach for the "woosh" that would tell us the tube was correctly placed in her stomach and not her lungs.  Then the slow and steady pushing of milk, a few mL at a time, every few minutes until it was gone.

I feel so much lighter now that she's nursing.  And it's getting easier for her and more pleasant.  She still horses around sometimes, popping off and on inexplicably, and frequently falling asleep, waking to drink every minute or two, which can make for a long session.  But feeding is overwhelmingly easier.  Thank goodness!

Really nothing much to complain about.  She's still experiencing the nystagmus.  Her pediatrician referred us to an ophthalmologist, but we won't get in until early June.  In the meantime, we're getting ready to go visit Grammie and Grandpa for the weekend.  It'll be fun for Cora to show them her new skills (looking at her feet and trying to sit up more!)

Off for another "Booby Snack"!

1 comment:

  1. We had the opposite problem, Calder wouldn't latch on and I couldn't pump enough for him. I was lucky to get milk donated from other generous moms.

    So happy that Cora is doing so well! We would love to meet her (and you of course) when the quarantine is over!



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