Alexandria was a very uncomfortable baby. There were days where I wasn’t sure if I would make it – the crying, the screaming, the poop explosions. I just kept thinking “I knew it would be hard, but not THIS hard”. After months of trial and error with multiple Pediatricians, we finally got a diagnosis – Alex had a milk protein allergy and had to be put on a special ( and ridiculously expensive) formula. That second I felt responsible for her illness – I didn’t try hard enough to breastfeed. A few different factors contributed to that decision though. I was suffering tremendously with Anxiety and some baby blues – breastfeeding was too stressful. I wasn’t educated enough on how the whole process worked, either – and the kicker? I didn’t produce enough milk. Like at all. I had zero concern about giving my baby formula – so I had another option. I always regretted it. So this time I promised myself I wouldn’t let myself be so ignorant, negative, or give up.
This time around God answered my prayers and things have been relatively smooth sailing. I wouldn’t say it’s been easy – because nothing about breastfeeding or having a newborn is easy – but it’s been significantly easier than last time. Anxiety played a huge role in Alexandria’s first few months on this planet and this being our last baby, I don’t want to feel the same way. As of day 6, Milena was on a cluster feeding rampage and had no real schedule or pace. I couldn’t handle it. I tried my hardest to keep my cool and immerse myself in everything surrounding breastfeeding. “On demand means ON DEMAND! Whenever she wants it or shows hunger signs!”
“Feed till she falls off and her hands go flat! She’ll tell you when she’s full!” I’d cuddle her and let her nurse until her little fists turned into long pretty fingers, and she wouldn’t take any more milk. “I got this”, I’d tell myself, “this is going great!”
And then we woke up super jaundiced on day 7…
I got a little nervous and called the pediatrician when I noticed Milena’s eyes were yellow and her skin started to look a little green. Soon, when she cried, she looked like a little carrot.
Here’s where I must say that we have the most amazing Pediatrician on the planet. Dr. Ivette Cubas and the whole team at Dolphin Pediatrics is beyond amazing. First of all, in the hospital when Milena was born, we had a little issue with a blocked tear duct. Well since Dr. Cubas was covering another hospital, her partner Dr. Suarez-Troccoli came to visit us. She just so happened to run into us in the hallway, and saw me struggling to shuffle my just C-Sectioned self through the halls back to my room. She was sweet enough to hold my arm and help me get there, all the while talking about the various options to address Milena’s issues.
So our wonderful Pediatric office squeezed us in and we took her in JUST to check her bilirubin in case it was getting too high. And thank goodness we did because her bilirubin had doubled since we were discharged from the hospital and Little Baby Milé wasn’t gaining any weight.
Let’s get real ya’ll – Jaundice is Jaundice and it’s super common and it’s not really a huge deal and everything is gonna be okay. Duh. But moms of newborns usually lack the immediate ability to be reasonable people – this was a huge deal to me. I mean, talk about bursting my glorious, flowers and puppies, breastfeeding bubble. I felt horrible. Was I not producing enough? Was she not latching right? Will this effect her permanently?
Once again, my pediatrician is awesome, so she suggested I pump and “supplement” with my own Breastmilk… Using a syringe to feed Milena to avoid Nipple Confusion – and be sure to feed her at least every 2 hours, maximum 3 hours. (Aside: she was going thru 4 hour stretches at night). Sounded easy enough. HA. Freaking Ha!
First off – It is practically impossible to feed a newborn with a syringe without dying inside a little with each drop into baby’s mouth. All this hard work MAKING the milk, pumping it and getting it into a ravenous child’s mouth – just so she can spit it out when she goes to swallow. The struggle. Is real.
I set an alarm schedule for myself, in my phone, to help me track timing. Part motivational, part functional in purpose, this little alarm is keeping us on track.
One of the most frustrating things when tracking newborn feeding is that the time between feedings is from the START of the feeding – not the end. For example, here’s what it looks like every time the alarm goes off.
3:45, Alarm: I dawdle and pretend I don’t hear it
3:48: Get up, use the bathroom, get water, gather pumping tools, and previously pumped Breastmilk for Syringe Feeding, get everything next to my Rocking Chair.
3:50: Start waking Milena up; diaper change, take off pajama, baby massage so she wakes up and eats!
3:55: Milé latched, I read FB, Blogs and Twitter as I try not to fall back asleep.
4:15: Switch Sides
4:35: Burp, Change Diaper, Swaddle
4:37: Start Double Pumping whatever’s left to use for Syringe for next feeding.
4:57: Clean up, put Milé down, Wash Pump Parts.
5:05: Back in Bed, hoping to fall asleep QUICKLY
Next Alarm: 5:40, to do it all again.
But we’re getting there – with the help of a few REALLY awesome friends who have been amazing guides, I have been trucking through this journey and Ive been ok with the results.
There is no better source of information and advice than people who’ve been there before. If you were getting ready to climb Mount Everest, wouldn’t you reach out to some badass climbers who’ve summited before? That’s basically what Breastfeeding is anyways – a physically and emotionally demanding, uphill battle that will test your faith and determination. And although it might not REALLY kill you, I feel like I could die from the sleep deprivation.
For me, knowing someone is only a text or a Facebook message away when I have doubts, has been a soft comfy security blankie. It’s wonderful to be able to open up about the details, open up about my fears and hurdles, with no questions feeling like stupid questions. For me, knowing these few friends are only a few clicks away on my phone has made a huge difference in my confidence while I continue to hike up this crazy mountain of boobie filled goodness.
I know I can do this. What better mountain to climb, than one that gives you a beautiful, healthy, wonderful baby?! I can’t give up – because it’s for Little Baby Milé!
I’ve read about it bur was too scared to try how does the string feeding work?