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Breastfeeding Woes

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A virtual friend of mine penned this quote on a post about the frustrations of breastfeeding yesterday: “Never give up on a bad day.”

I’ve had a few of those, with our good days being far & between.

In the beginning, little man could latch like a rockstar but couldn’t maintain it. The lactation consultants at the hospital told me I may need a nipple shield & deemed him a, “lazy eater.” He almost lost too much weight in the hospital so we started supplementing with formula. My milk also took practically a week to come in, which didn’t help matters. A friend of mine suggested I start pumping to speed it up a little so I did, getting tiny bits of colostrum in those first days. Once my milk finally came in, things went great for a few days. We laid around the house & did skin to skin all day in his first days while he ate off & on.

I’m not sure where things turned but this blissful state of nursing didn’t last for us. When we tried breastfeeding, not too long after we’d started, he got really frustrated & started to cry, working himself up & making it impossible for him to feed. Along with that, even when he does nurse now, he doesn’t eat long enough to fill himself up via nursing alone. He’ll go 5-10 minutes tops & want nothing else to do with it.

When we saw a lactation consultant for these reasons, she didn’t think he had a tongue or lip tie but did feel like he needed suck training-something I’d never heard of before that moment. She noticed, on both the breast & bottle, he didn’t use his tongue correctly & sucked with his lips instead. In doing so, he was exerting more energy, burning more calories, &, likely, wearing himself out in the process-in addition to losing a lot of milk either way. The lactation consultant also said she didn’t think I needed the nipple shield & hoped we could work toward getting rid of it.

She referred us to suck training with a speech therapist, who also agreed he definitely needed it & he is already doing better with the exercises she gave us to do with him at home.

Fast forward to now: since it has been more difficult for E to nurse than eat a bottle until his suck training is complete, I’ve been pretty much exclusively pumping. Six times a day, without fail. For about the past week, for whatever reason, my milk supply has dropped. It was never fully there, I produced about half of what he needed I think the lactation consultant had said. I was averaging 17 ounces a day & now I’m down to averaging 13. I eat the lactation cookies, drink Mother’s Milk Tea, drink water, eat oatmeal as often as possible, & this is still is happening. It is beyond frustrating to say the least. I feel like I’m trying to do everything right to up the supply & spending a good amount of my time strapped to a machine for absolutely nothing. Not to mention I spend a great amount of time doing this:

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I want to quit.

But I don’t want to do it on a bad day either & then be full of regret later. A friend of mine suggested, before I’d even started breastfeeding, to make small goals. I.E. don’t go into it saying we’ll do it a year, or two. Start with I’ll do it a week, a month, etc, etc. Against all odds, we’re coming up on the two month mark in 11 days. My game plan is to give it until at least then to see if things turn around. In addition to everything else I’m doing, I ordered some nursing supplements so we’ll see if those help.

Have you ran into bumps in the road with nursing?? How did you overcome then?? What advice would you give someone who is struggling with breastfeeding?

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2017

I don’t really believe in resolutions anymore, I prefer mantras…it’s like a promise to oneself without the pressure of I MUST DO THIS IN  A YEAR! Or something we tend to forget about three months down the line.

I have a few for this year:

-Make it through childbirth without dying. That one would be good. lol

-Learn to #MomSoHard

-Become a breastfeeding rockstar

-In the midst of caring for a new tiny human & two fur babies, still find some time for myself & not leave self-care out of the mix

-Continue adventuring

-Oh, & kill some CEU’s so my license doesn’t die along the way

That about sums it up for me! What are some of your hopes/goals for 2017??

 

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Parent Shaming

It happens all the time.

It starts early in deeply personal choices like are you bottle, or breast feeding?

“Breast is best,” you know.

What diapers are you buying, regular or cloth?

Are you going to be cognizant of our environment, or are you & your kids literally not going to give a shit about it?

As children evolve into twonagers & beyond, an even more overwhelming dose of shame comes along with it.

“I would never let my child behave that way.”

“Ugh, did you see what that mom packed?? Nothing is organic, or even remotely healthy!”

“Those tree huggers threw a bunch of weird s*&* in here, what am I suppose to do with this??”

“Look at that parent just ignoring that brat throwing a complete fit!”

“OMG, they spanked their child! They’re the worst parent ever!!”

You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

As a foster mom, I’m new to this judgment game. What I’ve realized so far, however, is that, number one, it unfortunately exists. Two, those who are judging your every move don’t take into consideration why your child may be acting a certain way. They have no idea. None. What they do know, & I use that term loosely, is that they have time to judge you.

My first trial was in a doctor’s office. I’d had an appointment scheduled for over a month. Thankfully, a friend of mine agreed to meet me there & watch kiddo while I went back. We got there a bit earlier than planned so my friend hadn’t made it yet. We’d been in the car all day, literally, up to this point. He was sick with a double ear infection & had just had visitation with his birth family earlier that morning. Afterwards, he was a literal mess. Everything was wrong in his little world & nothing seemed to come close to repairing it at all.

I’d heard how much visitation effects kids in care in our fostering classes. How much it grabbed hold of their world, shook it violently, & threw it back down. It was until this moment, however, that I saw it live. He was pulling everything out of the diaper bag, snagging disposable coffee cups from the drink station. He was pushing his stroller everywhere, which eventually led to him picking it up backwards & nearly cracking his head with it. In telling him we couldn’t do that because he’d get hurt, I folded the stroller up & all hell broke loose. Violent screams erupted as he threw himself backwards on the ground wailing. Everyone in the waiting room-scratch that, office-was staring at us. The people in the waiting room, the people behind the glass window (especially the people behind the glass window!!).

& I knew what they were thinking. My child was a terror & I was just another mom who let him run a muck in a doctor’s office. Never mind what he’d been through in the last month. Never mind he was very sick & not feeling well. & never mind he had JUST had visitation and was reminded of just how much his life had been, “flipped-turned upside down.”

We as a society have became entirely too judgmental. Nowadays, we can sit behind a screen & pass judgment on the people we scroll past. Or we can look upon a screaming child throwing a tantrum without entertaining the thought that they may have a reason for doing so. We don’t think about the fact that his caregiver may also have reasons for just letting them be. 

In the words of that 90’s rap song from some random dude, “Where’s the love?”