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A Penny for Mommy's Thoughts Mommy Lessons (on Parenting) My Mommyology's Manila Chapter

Pillow Talk

When Sam was younger, our bedtime routine would drag on for hours.  At a certain point we’d close the lights but we’d continue talking about her day, reliving every step, conversation, joke and song.  While I wanted my day to be over (since I was with Sam when she went through the actual live experience), I’d just want her to lie down and sleep (so that the rest of my day could go on).  On the contrary, my husband who would only catch a glimpse of our day at this point, would enjoy it and want it to go on forever.  He also said that it helped Sam exercise the memory cells in her brain (I don’t know if there is any scientific truth to that – he just believed it.  And maybe it did help, because Sam has an excellent memory to date).

That part of the routine changed when Jamie was born, since Sam now had to learn to be quiet and lie still when the lights went out.  Somehow we gradually moved that part of our evening to dinner time or during bath time, which worked well too since Dad had to pitch in a lot more  while I nursed Jamie to no end.

I realized as I tried to merge their evening routines, I was always racing against time to get the lights out.  I wanted Sam to have enough nighttime sleep because she’d started to drop her nap; and Jamie at that point in the day was also already overstimulated and overtired, so we needed to get everyone down and fast!  I nursed Jamie to sleep.  Admittedly it was the easiest (and most efficient) way to complete the routine.  We’d gotten used to lights out, prayer and then silence (as much as possible).

I’ve recently started the process of weaning Jamie after almost two years of breastfeeding, and I had difficulty dissociating the nursing from the falling asleep part.  The more I think about it, that’s all she’s known for the last twenty-three months, it’s second-nature to her already.  My husband isn’t much help in this area —  he can’t stand Jamie crying for “Mommy’s milk!”, and impatiently tells me to just give in already.  “She’ll do it eventually.”  I honestly don’t believe it will happen that simply — much less miraculously — unless I take conscious steps to change it.  Small baby steps of course.

The book that I hope will help me wean Jamie fully...
The book that I hope will help me wean Jamie fully…

A couple of nights ago I consulted my ever reliable doula KK and she pointed me to Elizabeth Pantley’s No-Cry Sleep Solution (For Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers).  I am taking notes as I go and forming a plan in my head but in the meantime, I’ve made some haphazard attempts towards the weaning process.

KK told me that I could start with the naps and thankfully that was relatively painless (Whew!).  She also said that the first step was to make a clear distinction between the time for breastfeeding and the time for lying down to sleep.  She also assured me that of course there would be crying.  It’s inevitable — introducing a change will encounter protest, but a loving approach can minimize that and remove any potential trauma to both mother and child.

We currently don’t have a chair in our bedroom that will fit a nursing Jamie and myself comfortably (other than the girls’ playroom chairs – but I don’t fit there to begin with), so I started by just propping myself on pillows and sitting up on the bed.  That killed my back after a few tries and so we were back to nursing and lying down.

In the past, Jamie would go back and forth on each side until she fell asleep, but I had enough willpower to limit her feeds to one time for each side and cut it short there.  In the first few days she shrieked her head off until she fell asleep (note:  I would hug and reassure her the entire time that she was a big girl and didn’t need my milk anymore…), but I knew I had to get her to stop crying faster (since it stresses my husband out as you know).

Then I realized that Jamie would unlatch herself willingly if she wanted to say something to me.  And so when I’d feel the let-down slow, I began to prompt her with questions.  Eventually she didn’t notice that she’d stop nursing to talk to me and from there we would listen to music and fall asleep.  By the time we start talking, the lights would’ve been out for a while as Sam (and oftentimes, her dad) would’ve had a head start into snooze-land.

This is our pink ladybug with blue, red or green stars. :)
This is our pink ladybug with blue, red or green stars. 🙂

In the dark under our Ladybug stars night lite, it would feel like just Jamie and me.  She would climb directly on top of me and answer my questions about her day or listen to me whisper stories and facts in her ear. We’d talk about her friends, her books (The Gruffalo is a favorite these days) or the songs she learned.  Most nights, I’d  “teach” Jamie different facts like shape descriptions, or the colors and the numbers in Spanish.  Sometimes it’s a new song, or the basic addition table or the phonetic spelling of words.  I think she absorbs it because on random occasions she can answer me when I ask her a question, and that’s encouraging.  I get her to stop crying AND she learns new things along the way!

Lately I’ve considered it as one of the highlights of my day.  It’s also because, alone time with Jamie is rare when I’m home with both girls.  And I’d also been feeling some mom-guilt about not being able to teach her as much and as regularly as I did with Sam.  I don’t mean to compare the girls, but they do have the same mother, and I was hoping to give them the same opportunities to be fair (Then again, life isn’t fair, is it?).  I feel better that my nightly pillow conversations with Jamie have eased that guilt somehow.

Jamie isn’t fully weaned yet (when she wakes up in the wee hours of the morning, she still nurses), but it is a step in the right direction.  I’ll take what I can at this point.  And I am slowly beginning to discover what consistently works in calming her down.

After a typically long and exhausting day, I like those quiet moments in bed.  It’s a like a slumber party with my best friend only she’s two years old.  It’s both relaxing and tiring (try staying awake while putting someone to sleep!) but I can’t deny that I like the extra snuggle time I get with my little girl.  In reality she’s not-so-little anymore.  I’m in no hurry to make that go away anytime soon.

 

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For Expectant Mommies Mommy Lessons (on Parenting)

What I’ve Learned About Breastfeeding

My Mommyology Milk Mama Diaries

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (February). For this month, we focus on back to basics. Participants will share advice – either the best breastfeeding advice they received OR/AND the best breastfeeding advice they can give to new moms.  Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.

***

There are two words that come to mind when I think about breastfeeding advice:  INFORMATION OVERLOAD.

How to prepare.  The proper latch.  What to do with engorged breasts.  Which breastpump is best.  The pros and cons.  What to eat, what not to do.  What happens if I can’t breastfeed… the list goes on and makes your head spin (and mine too, quite honestly).

As a first time mom I found it so overwhelming.  I was glad to have all that information on hand, but seriously it was a lot to take in also.  And after two baby girls, 9,000 diaper changes and 25 months (cumulative) of breastfeeding, I decided to just name the top three bits of information I’ve gathered from this ongoing breastfeeding experience.

Breastfeeding is hard.  You know that saying, Life is Hard but Good?  I find that breastfeeding is a lot like that.  Now when I first started out, no one really told me that it was hard.  Well, who would right?  I mean let’s face it — as a first time mom —  that’s not something you want to hear amidst all the anxiety and excitement and apprehension you’re already feeling.  A lot of people like to focus on the unparalleled benefits, and while those are all true and I agree with them all 500%, it also doesn’t remove the fact that it is physically and emotionally difficult.  In my case – after I gave birth and the pain medicines wore off, I felt like I had been hit by a truck.  I was aching, exhausted and sleep deprived, and yet I had to provide someone all the sustenance that they’d ever known.  Talk about pressure!

On top of which, each feeding session would last 30-45 minutes and would re-occur in 90 – 120 minute intervals, 24/7.  My nipples were extremely sore and painful, and didn’t have much time to recover between feedings (My girls refused the bottle).  Of course there was also the occasional engorgement and blocked milk duct and relieving yourself of them is a painful process too!

Now take a breath, because my intention is not to scare you in any way!  All I’m saying is that it is a process that doesn’t magically happen and things are all nice and peachy.  I believe (and feel) that you have to constantly work at it to be able to do it for as long as you hope to (or maybe even longer.  You may surprise yourself!).   It takes time, patience, willpower and a kind of strength and determination that you never knew you had in you (and believe me, you have it in you.  All moms do!).  I think in the end, that’s what makes it a worthwhile experience to even just go through.

Breastfeeding requires a balance of planning and flexibility.  I guess I figured that for as long as I had my “plan”, I could work towards it and we’d all be fine.  Things would be easier.

Holy Cow (pardon the pun)!

As it turned out, following the plan was more of the exception than the rule.  For someone like me who likes order and knowing what comes next, it was quite frustrating a lot of the time.  As breastfeeding is very time consuming, you can imagine how many times I had to make a plan B — or C or D — because I could not accurately plan how the day would turn out.  It was all highly dependent on how our feeding sessions went.  Both my girls refused to take expressed milk from the bottle and chose to cry for hours on end until they got their milk from me (Yes, they are strong-willed, a trait I’m told they inherit from me.  Go figure), so I also couldn’t leave for prolonged periods of time.

My husband would reason with me especially when I was on the verge of tears, that they’re not robots and won’t always stick to a strict schedule.  I realized that is true.  In their first year babies go through a lot of growth spurts and major physiological changes that throw you and your routine for a loop.  A little cold, the emergence of a tooth, travel plans — it affects any routine you’re trying to establish.  Babies don’t have any concept of time; they will go by what they need when they feel they need it and as the milk wagon in their life, you’ve no choice but to follow their lead.

Of course I still believe (even for our sanity’s sake) that we should still have a routine that we aspire for and work towards.  Children benefit from consistency (or the semblance of it anyway).  If it makes any sense though (and for sanity’s sake as well), being flexible is also part of the daily routine.  Don’t drive yourself crazy if things don’t pan out in the time frame or order that you intended.  There’s always the next day to try it out again.

Breastfeeding is unique to every mom and child.  Let me explain.

If you’re anything like me, then you’d have already read up on all the literature you could get your hands on, and talked to all the breastfeeding moms in your circle.  You’ve attended the classes, prepped and bought all the gear — the works.  You know what to expect; in theory you’re set and ready.

Well, I thought I was.  But then with each of my girls, I still “encountered” a lot of surprises and a lot of moments where I found myself thinking, “Hey hang on, that’s not what the book said…”

I suppose all I’m trying to say, is that I wish that I spent time listening to my gut versus trying to work towards what the book or someone else had said worked for them.  With Sam, I lost a lot of sleep (and I wasn’t getting that much sleep to begin with) thinking, wondering, or trying to “fix” what was wrong, based on what I’d read or heard.  With Jamie (the second time around), I had no choice but to go with my instinct — between Sam and the chores, I had neither the time or patience to re-visit the books.  I found it easier because there was less pressure on myself and my only gauge was whether or not Jamie was thriving or getting what she needed.

It is definitely always good to stay abreast (no pun intended) on the latest developments on breastfeeding.  But ultimately though I feel that the “best method” comes from the personal, actual experience you have with your baby.  It’s a learn-and-adapt-as-we-go-along kind of thing.  Isn’t that after all, the essence of motherhood?

Hopefully with everything that you know now about breastfeeding (from all the resources available to you), you can pick and choose what you feel you need to get you started.  Just breathe!  It will all come to you when you need it to.  Good luck, and enjoy!  🙂

 

Visit the other Carnvial Entries here:

The Articulate Pen’s Breastfeeding needs Patience
Diapers and Stethoscope’s Back to Basic
Ms. Masungit’s From One Mom To Another
The Odyssey of Dinna’s Breastfeeding Words of Wisdom
Mrs. Bry126’s We’re All in this Together
I Am Clarice’s Paying it Forward
My Mommy Kwentos’ Sharing My Favorite Breastfeeding Advice
Planet Marsy’s Better Than None
Mommy {T} Coach’s Saved by the Nursing Mommas
Mama Drama’s Patience and Breast-friends
Adventures on Planet Mom’s Stubborn Me! Sure Glad I didn’t give up
Nanaystrip’s Eat Malunggay, Say “I Have Milk” and Love your Baby
Starting at Twenty-Five’s My Husband’s Best Breastfeeding Advice
Nanay *Loves* Purple’s Why Attend Breastfeeding Class/Seminars
Truly Rich Mom’s My Top 5 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Legally Mama’s Take it from the non-expert!
Mommy Mama Rat’s My Breastfeeding Mantra
Mr. Jacob’s Mom’s Breastfeeding Tips from a Non-Breastfed Mommy
Hybrid Rasta Mama’s Breastfeeding Lists, Advice, Links and More
Apples and Dumplings’ One Word of Breastfeeding Advice
Touring Kitty’s Just Do It
EthanMama’s Only the Best for My Baby
the canDIshhh tales’ My Breastfeeding Advice
Mec as Mom’s Enough is Enough
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom’s On Breastfeeding Number Two – Redux

Categories
A Penny for Mommy's Thoughts Mommies of Newborns

If the Magi Were Queens

My Mommyology Milk Mama Diaries
Milk Mama Diaries Carnival Logo!

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (December).  For this month, we want to honor breastfeeding for having enriched our lives and blessed us, maybe even empower us, in a way that only breastfeeding can.  Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.

 ***

Thinking about this month’s carnival theme “Breastfeeding Gifts” in light of the holiday / Christmas season, for some reason what comes to mind are the Magi (cue We Three Kings of Orient Are ).

We who have grown up living and breathing the Nativity story in our everyday lives know about the Three Kings that followed a star to Bethlehem and brought symbolic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Christ the child.  It’s normal to take the story at face value and I have done so for years without question or putting much thought into it, until I became a mother.  As I experienced the challenges that came with motherhood, particularly with labor and breastfeeding,  I started thinking a lot more about the Virgin Mary.  She was 9 months pregnant when she crossed the desert on a mule (How did that not stimulate labor, I wonder) and gave birth to Jesus in a manger (with no epidural!  Oh my, I get weak in the knees thinking of it). 

When I think back to the first moments during and after my labor with Sam and Jamie, I think about what Mama Mary’s labor and delivery must have been like.  Quite honestly,  I cannot begin to fathom how difficult it must have been for her in the most unsanitary, most uncomfortable place on earth.  And then to undergo the struggles and challenges that come with breastfeeding a newborn, around a bunch of men no less, leaves me speechless.  We all know that breastfeeding is challenging enough on its own, what more when you’re around the opposite gender who don’t know much about the topic in the first place (sorry men… but you know it’s true) — I tell you, Mama Mary is my hero.

Which brought about my random thought:  I wonder how it would have been had the Magi been queens instead of kings.  Had that been the case, I don’t think gold, frankincense and myrrh would have been their  gifts choices (no matter how symbolic).  If I were to assume that they were wise as well in the ways of breastfeeding (doulas perhaps?!), they would have probably thought of gifts that were fit to help a breastfeeding mother.  One would have probably brought some clear broth or soup and rice, to warm the mother’s body but also to help build the milk supply.  The other one probably would have brought some lactation supplements, like Malunggay or fenugreek.  I doubt supplements existed back then, but I would assume one of them would have the leaves or the plants or something of that sort.  The other one would have probably brought some hot compress or blanket to hoist the baby on (making it easier on Mama Mary’s back), or maybe even something to soothe the cracked, sore nipples (Aloe perhaps?).  Undoubtedly though, they would have all brought some form of good advice or words of wisdom to help Mama Mary through the first few days.  Most especially they would have been comforting to have around even for a while; relating their own experiences or those of others whom they’ve encountered to assure Mama Mary of her own challenges.  Or so I’d like to think.

Of course I mean no disrespect in any way and believe wholeheartedly in the Nativity Story in its entirety.  I know we’ve glorified it to a certain degree but somehow a part of me feels that Jesus as a baby (while Holy), was still, for a brief period of time just like any other baby.  Which to me, made Mama Mary a mother that had to cope with her own daily struggles too.  Reflecting on this doesn’t diminish them in anyway, but actually makes me appreciate them and the “spirit of Christmas” even more.  And all the more, it emphasized the importance of having friends or a support group to see you through your breastfeeding (motherhood) challenges, no matter what shape or form they come in.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, breastfeeding is no easy task, and it takes a whole community of constant support to get you through it.  Tangible gifts are always nice and helpful, but knowing that other moms are going through what you currently are going through, or are there for you to encourage you and keep you going (for as long as you want to, or however you want to), to me that is the most valuable gift any person can give a breastfeeding mom.

Advanced happy holidays! 😉

Check out the other Carnival posts here:

Shaps- Beyond Being Thin
Gretchen – Breastfeeding Gifts for Christmas
Carol – The Gift of Miracle
Jenny O.- The Gifts of Breastfeeding
Anne – The Gift
of Breastfeeding

Nats – We Wish You Merry Nursing
Em – The “Breast” Gift
Isis- Got Milk?
Armi – Breastfeeding Gifts
Liv – My Breastfeeding Journey
Laya – Time in a Drop of Milk
Mec – The Gift of a Changed Man
Marnellie – From a Donee to a Donor
Icar – Breastfeeding Gifts

Categories
A Penny for Mommy's Thoughts For Expectant Mommies Mommy Lessons (on Parenting)

My Extended Breastfeeding Experience

“Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (November). For this month, we focus on extended breastfeeding. Participants will share their experiences and tips on breastfeeding their child/ren beyond 12 months. Please scroll down to the end of the post and check out the other carnival participants.”

***

I recently visited a Lactation Specialist to consult about a blocked milk duct.  In the 45 minutes that I spent in her office, we used up 10 minutes for the exam and actual consultation, and the balance time talking about my breastfeeding experience with both my girls.  She was thrilled to find out that I managed to breastfeed Sam for 14 months, and that I had the same goals (at least) with Jamie, who is now 8 months old and still fully breastfed.  She congratulated me for making it that long and encouraged me as well to try to help other moms achieve the same feat.

To be honest, up until that point, I hadn’t really put much thought into how big a feat it was to breastfeed for so long.  Then I did the math: that’s feeding someone multiple times every single day for over 400 days.  My that is a lot!   All things considered, breastfeeding is probably one of the hardest challenges all mothers need to overcome, but having to sustain it over a long period of time is also yet another accomplishment in itself  (Can you imagine, I have good friends who breastfeed for longer!  They deserve awards!).  I do have a few thoughts as to how I was able to achieve this and I’m happy to share them with all of you, in the hopes that it will help you too achieve your goals to breastfeed for as long as you would like to.

It’s all in the mind

Thinking back, when I first decided I was going to breastfeed my children, it never occurred to me that it would be hard to sustain.  It’s not that I played down the importance of breastfeeding or the challenges that came with it, but I also just never assumed there was a better alternative.  I had read up on the benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and child, particularly if one was able to breastfeed until the child turned 1.  From then on I just knew I wanted to do it for as long as I possibly could.

Of course, after the first three weeks, I was ready to give up.  I was tired, sleep-deprived, emotional and all these other emotions rolled into one.  My nipples were sore, my breasts were engorged… and it hurt each time Sam latched on!  I wasn’t prepared for that.  Then when I started to pump out milk, I would spend 30 minutes and get only 1-2 ounces at best.  The entire experience was frustrating and discouraging to say the least.

Thankfully I didn’t give in and I pushed through the pain (and the engorgement).  I took it — literally — one day at a time, and constantly found ways to motivate myself to keep going.  I just convinced myself that if millions of other moms could do it, then so could I.  At first, I took a breath each time I Sam was about to latch and say to myself out loud that I could do it again and again.  Eventually it got easier, we (each of the girls and I) got the hang of it until I didn’t have to think so hard about it anymore.  In the first few months with Jamie, I knew what to expect pain-wise, and so I followed the same techniques which also made it easier faster.

Top Priority:  Keep Up the Milk Supply

In all the days that I breastfed, the amount of milk I produced was always at the forefront of my consciousness.  I knew that to be able to keep on breastfeeding, I had to keep making enough milk.  So that became my top priority.  I had learned from my doula that in order to keep the supply up, I had to “trick” my body into thinking it needed to produce more.

So I set aside specific times in the day (and night) to express milk.  That meant losing sleep and spending a lot of time (several times a day) pumping.  I’d pump out the milk from the breast that was not drank from and completely drain the one that was.  I’d even pump in between feedings the minute I felt some sort of a let-down.   I took malunggay supplements.  I ate all those foods they say you should eat to build your milk supply.  Whatever it took to ensure I would always have enough milk for Sam (and now for Jamie), I did.

I brought my pump everywhere I went as well.  At first it was an event all on its own; I had to stop what I was doing to get the milk out.  Eventually, I learned to multitask; I would breastfeed (or pump) while checking emails, making a phone call, or accomplishing chores that I could manage with one hand.  And then I learned from my sister-in-law (who breastfed all her three kids for a year each!  Someone please give her a medal…).  With her breastfeeding cover, she could walk, shop AND breastfeed all at once!  So I tried and practiced.  Eventually it became a necessary skill; breastfeeding and chasing Sam around a playground.

Whatever the situation, I looked for ways to ensure that my milk supply stayed constant and that I had more than enough milk for my girls.  I know that sounds like a lot, and it is.  But once you set your mind to it and make it a priority, then everything else will work its way around it to make it happen.

Have a Pro-breastfeeding Support Group

I was fortunate to have been surrounded by people who encouraged and supported my decision to breastfeed.  At the forefront of the cheering squad was my husband.  I was lucky enough that he believed his daughters should be breastfed for at least a year, and so he does what he can to help me achieve that.  With Sam, it was a matter of coaxing me through the rough times, ensuring I had enough rest and food and even to the point of waking me up so I wouldn’t skip a pump session.  Now with Jamie, he helps entertain Sam while Jamie nurses, or he’ll take both girls on the times that I’ve identified when I do need to pump.  We’ve learned to adjust our schedule accordingly.

The Midwives (my doctors) and KK, my postpartum doula, all made it their priority to ensure that I had all the information and the help that I needed, particularly in the first few weeks after birth.  Those are the weeks which I feel are all moms’ “make-or-break days” in deciding how long they intend to breastfeed (if at all).  Everyone was conscious about how challenging it could be for a new mom like me, so that became the focal point for their support.  They stuck with me too until the saw that I wasn’t having a difficult time anymore.

I was also surrounded by mommy friends who were going through the same breastfeeding struggles as I was.  I learned a lot from friends and new moms in my group who had been there before and have breastfed for longer.  They had words of wisdom, insights and tips that one wouldn’t normally find in books, and those helped more than you could imagine.

Having said all of the above, I do commend all moms who take that first step and commit to breastfeeding.  Starting out and trying is the hardest part but once you’ve overcome that, it does get easier.  I know I got lucky; I had a fairly easy breastfeeding experience with Sam, and that eventually made it easy for me to decide to do the same thing with Jamie.  I’ve spoken to some mommy friends who weren’t as fortunate as I was the first time around, and now that they are expecting their second child, they are currently wondering if they could do it this time around.

I say:  Unequivocally YES!  Most definitely.  While every child is different, every breastfeeding experience is also different.  I do believe you’d still have to take things one day at a time and set your mind to it so that you can achieve your breastfeeding goals.  Ultimately it’s just a matter of finding it in you:  a little bit of luck, and a mix of perseverance, resilience, endurance, resourcefulness and a whole lot of love.  No doubt about it; breastfeeding is a huge act of self-sacrifice.  But this much I can tell you — when you’ve achieved the breastfeeding goals you’ve set out for, and you see your happy, healthy child(ren), the feeling of fulfillment and the rewards it brings are also, without a doubt, beyond words.

***

Check out our other carnival participants’ blogs:

J and the Three Boys – No more “de-de”
Mommyluscious – Breastfeeding for Two Beyond Two
Truly Rich Mom – On Extended Breastfeeding (a perfectly normal thing to do)
Life of a Babywearing and Breastfeeding Mommy – Still breastfeeding after 2 years
Got To Believe – Breastfeeding Room Story

Apples and Dumplings – My Constant Challenge with Extending Breastfeeding
Mommy Kuwentos – Challenges and Rewards of Extended Breastfeeding
The Odyssey of Dinna – Nurturing Rafael: Extended Breastfeeding, Stretching Some More Lovin’
Legally Mom – Breastfeeding Beyond 1 Year: Barriers and Issues
Mec as Mom – Shooting for the Benefits, Extending the Love
Homeschooling Mommy – Yes, I’ve Got Milk
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom – Barriers/Myths vs. Extended Breastfeeding
SOlovelyN – As long as he wants I can
Touring Kitty – Extended Breastfeeding is Possible

 

Categories
For Expectant Mommies Mommies of Newborns My Mommyology Wants to Help

More on Breastfeeding

Here’s another email request that I’d like to share.   Again, thank you so much to my friends and readers for wanting to hear my opinions on these things!

Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Month!

My Mommyology Breastfeeding Awareness
Source: http://thesoulmom.blogspot.com/

I’m currently breastfeeding my first baby but I’m planning to supplement because I’m worried the milk I produce isn’t enough.  My 4-week old baby is always crying, it’s like he’s never full.  He nurses almost every 2 hours and I don’t get any sleep in the wee hours of the morning.  What’s your advice?  Thank you and God Bless!

My Mommyology says…

First of all, congratulations on your first baby!  I can relate to what you’re going through because Sam was like that.  She would feed almost every hour, so I wouldn’t get any sleep either for the first month or so.  I feel that it is normal, since their stomachs are so small (I was once told that it’s the size of a golf ball at that age) and breastmilk is easily digested so they poop a lot of it out right away and empty their stomach.

If you want to increase your milk supply, you can check the post on Breastfeeding prior to this one as a reference.  Sometimes it takes a while to build the supply — with Sam I started to pump after a month and I could only produce 1 – 2 oz per pumping session.  Eventually as she got bigger the amount of milk I would pump increased as well.

My doula also told me that when babies are born, they come with an excess amount of Melatonin (the sleepy hormone), and they naturally lose it after about 2-3 weeks time.  Since they still don’t produce enough of their own and they don’t know how to self-soothe, it’s generally around this time as well that they’re awake more, even if they don’t want to be.

I’ll say it again, breastfeeding (especially if it’s your first time) is a painful process… but if you can push through the pain, it will be worth it!

Lastly although most importantly, take the advice of your pediatrician.  If he says he’s healthy and not losing weight, then maybe there might not be a need to supplement.  We were at the pediatrician’s office almost every week for the first 6 weeks of Sam’s life because I was concerned that she kept eating (and I wasn’t sleeping), but her charts showed she was steadily gaining weight, so they said there was no need to supplement her milk supply.

You will get the hang of it, I’m sure!  It takes time (to survive with minimal sleep — I am still trying!) but eventually it gets easier.  Good luck! 🙂  I hope that was helpful!

My Mommyology Breastmilk
Also known as... LIQUID GOLD! 🙂

If you feel you need to supplement, and would still like to supplement with breastmilk, you can check for a milk bank in your area and I’m sure that they can help you too. 🙂