Pumping…Success??? WHAT??

I may or may not be having some pumping success now…a whole 2 weeks later…

I FINALLY took the plunge and started waking up at 5 a.m. during the week to add in an extra pump. Now, this is what my day looks like:

5:00 a.m.- wake and pump

8:00 a.m. – pump

10:30 a.m. – pump

1:30 p.m. – pump

4:00 p.m. – pump

7:00 p.m. – nurse

8:30 p.m. – pump

6 pumps to make 24 ounces. It took a lot of freaking work. I am scared to even say this because I’m sure the pumping gods are looking down on me just waiting to give me another set-back, but I am actually a little ahead. I haven’t counted, because I’m scared. I’m scared to get excited, and I’m scared to set an expectation for myself, but as of right now, I may or may not have 3 full bottles of milk in the fridge that are 100% extra. So, for the moment…I am going to just let it stay cold in the fridge and I’m not going to count it. I’m scared to freeze it because then it’s like, “Oh hey, you have extra milk, GREAT. Now, cue the 24 ounces of spilled milk again since you have extra”. I’m just WAITING for that moment.

On the weekends, I do not wake up early. I sleep in a little and wait for Briar to get up between 6:30a.m. and 7:00a.m.. After she eats, then I pump. I yield anywhere from 4-6 ounces. That milk is pure extra milk. I nurse on demand on Saturday and Sunday; ranges anywhere from 2-4 hours between feedings. And then I pump again at 8:30 p.m. Again, the pump at 8:30 p.m. is solely extra milk. So, I have been doing this schedule for about 2 weeks, hence where I think the extra milk is S L O W L Y starting to make it’s way into my refrigerator and hopefully freezer…soon 🙂

So, what do I think the biggest factor was that helped? POWER PUMPING. 10000%. For an entire week straight, I power pumped at almost all of my pumping sessions. It fucking sucked. It was not fun. I felt like I could not focus on anything else except pumping. BUT, I’m lucky enough to work in a small company that allows me to basically do whatever I need. I have my own office, so I’m able to shut the door, pump, and still continue to work. I know I am a small percentage of women that is actually able to do this, which is why I’m forever grateful.

THIS…… —-> Power Pumping Guide THIS is the best thing ever. I had only ever read about one way to power pump, but this guide is BEYOND helpful. It explains all of the different ways that you can power pump. It’s pretty amazing actually. For the most part I used the pump 20, rest 10, pump 10, rest 10, pump 10; but I also used pump 10, rest 10, pump 10; when I didn’t have an entire hour to dedicate. And it truly did work. After about a week of doing this, I went back to pumping between 20-30 minutes (it takes me a long time to completely empty), and my supply was up. I couldn’t believe it.

Along with the power pumping, I have still been taking the “Let There Be Milk” supplement and I truly think that helps to maintain my milk supply. I also found a pretty good smoothie recipe that isn’t terrible for you. AND, the main plus (from a healthy standpoint) you get WAY less sugar than you do if you make and consume the cookies. Also you get as much brewers yeast in the smoothie as you would by eating a dozen or so cookies :/. I mean, I know, I like eating cookies too, but my sometimes my waistline does not appreciate it. In the recipe below, I up the brewer’s yeast to 2 TBSP, and the oats to a 1/2 cup.

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I also still eat oatmeal EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I can’t wait to not eat oatmeal anymore. I’ve also read some things about a drink called Body Armor. I have drank it a few times, but not consistently enough to see a change. I might have to test this one out.

I am still contemplating what to do for milk for our trip to Vegas. At this point, I am really unsure of how much milk I am going to have. As I’ve said a million times, I have about 100 ounces frozen, but with dairy. And it appears that I might slowly be able to start building somewhat of a dairy free freezer stash. I plan on reintroducing dairy into my diet soon to see how she takes it. If I was not going to Vegas, then I wouldn’t even care to reintroduce it to me, but at this point, I just want to be able to go to Vegas and have fun and not have to look up an allergen menu at every single restaurant that we go to. It could be a real game changer if she has outgrown her sensitivity. But, I’m not getting my hopes up. I have already decided that I’m not going to put her on formula for the one week that we are gone. In my opinion, that’s pointless and it would probably upset her stomach more than anything. The last option is getting milk from a milk bank. Then the issue becomes, you told me you were dairy free, but are you REALLY dairy free? It just makes me nervous. I’m also hoping she starts to take less as she gets older and starts to intake more solids. She will be 10 1/2 months when we leave. I basically have 3 months to build some type of stash. I know it’s doable. And I really want to be able to do it. Fingers Crossed!

I hate to even say this, but I will really be glad when I am done breastfeeding. It’s just a completely different experience this time around. Being dairy free, having to rent my pump and pay monthly, paying for supplements, pumping around the clock, always worrying if I have enough milk. It’s just really, really exhausting. Briar turned 6 months on July 22 and I told Scott to remind me every day that it’s all downhill from here. I just need that reminder that I’m on a downward slope so I will keep on pushing. It’s hard work, and it is 100% worth it, but I’m just ready to be done.

Until next time…

 

–The Kentucky Momma

Breastfeeding Fail(s)

Follow up on my previous breastfeeding/pumping post…

So, a couple of weeks ago, Briar’s daycare said she needed 5 ounces, and then a couple of days later, she tells me she think she needs 6 ounces. 6 WHOLE OUNCES….4 TIMES A DAY….24 OUNCES….Bruhhhh…

I knew she was right though. So I went from thinking I needed at least 20 ounces a day, to at least 24 ounces a day. In the breastfeeding world, that’s a big ass jump in ounces especially when I was barely making the 16 ounces she needed. I knew I just needed to bite the bullet and make it happen.

For about a month now, I’ve been using the hospital grade pump. I can definitely tell a difference. My let-down occurs much quicker. And I had read somewhere (multiple places) that whenever your milk stops coming out, you can push the let down button again. Seems like common sense, but I never did it before, and it definitely helps. I can normally get at least 2, if not 3 good let downs.

I received in the “Let There Be Milk” supplement, and again, I can tell a difference in my pumping output. It tastes absolutely awful. I read a lot of reviews about it on Amazon and some people put it directly in the back of their throat and take it straight. I cannot do this. I put it in a shot glass, and put some water in it and shoot it. It’s literally the only way I can take it. BUT, it helps, so I don’t care. I will deal with the nasty taste.

Another huge factor, when we upped her bottles, I knew she was getting enough milk during the day so I decided that if she did wake up in the middle of the night, I was not going to feed her anymore. Well, I decided I would see how it went if I didn’t feed her. It’s been about 2 weeks and I am successfully not feeding her during the night anymore. She still wakes up from time to time, but she is not eating, so that makes my morning pump even bigger.

So, I went from barely being able to make 16 ounces to now barely keeping up with 24 ounces. I am making 24 ounces a day, but B A R E L Y.

But, yet another setback occurred….Every morning I send 1 bottle and a container full of milk for Briar. I put it in the diaper bag. When I was dropping them off one day last week, the bag was leaking….

ALL 24 OUNCES OF MILK WAS COMPLETELY GONE. ALL OF IT SPILLED IN THE DIAPER BAG.

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I didn’t realize this until I got to daycare. I just started crying. It’s the most terrible feeling when I am barely making what she needs and then I lost it all. All I have in my freezer that did not have dairy in it was 24 ounces. So, I had to go back home and get it and deplete my only freezer stash. What a terrible day.

Now, I literally have zero good freezer stash for her. So, if I’m ever short on making the milk she needs, I’m screwed.

THEN…this past weekend, I had an extremely sore throat, like it hurt to swallow. And I never have a sore throat so I immediately went for some cough drops. I basically had to keep one in my mouth for 12+ hours. Even in the middle of the night.

Woke up….pumped half of what I normally pump…Why, you ask…because menthol (active ingredient in cough drops) can cause a dip in milk supply.

I seriously give up. Everything I do, I am getting a set back.

I know I should just be focusing on the day to day, BUT, we are going on vacation in November, WITHOUT the kids. We are going to VEGASSSSS 🙂 I should be so excited, but I’m not. Because, all I worry about is how is my child going to be fed while I’m away? As of right now, she will starve, so that’s great. I have NOTHING extra to give her right now. So between now and November, I have to somehow freeze 200 ounces. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? That’s roughly 11 ounces a week that I need to freeze. And with no freezing in sight, that number will likely climb each week that I don’t freeze something. So it’s not looking very promising for me.

I HAVE TO WAKE UP EARLY AND PUMP. I KNOW THAT’S WHAT I NEED TO DO, BUT I JUST CAN’T BRING MYSELF TO GET OUT OF BED. BLAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Lord help me. I am literally counting down the months until I can be done breastfeeding. It’s been much more stressful than enjoyable this time around.

Until next time…

 

–The Kentucky Momma

Breastfeeding/Pumping with Briar

I never thought things would be so different. Like literally night and day different. I have been wracking my brain and going back through my old posts and I’m kicking myself in the ass for not being more detailed with Raelynn.

I am currently on a big time struggle bus with Briar and breastfeeding. Well, pumping, not really breastfeeding. It really, really sucks.

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Big differences so far:

  • I had an extremely hard time with Raelynn in the beginning. Bad latch, bloody nipples, long nursing times because she wasn’t extracting enough. With Briar, it was the complete opposite. I had about 2 – 3 weeks of sore nips, some bleeding, some toe curling in the beginning and then after that, it was pretty easy. But, pumping output is a completely different story.
  • I never, ever had to worry about having enough milk with Raelynn. At this time with her, I had about 600 extra ounces of milk in my deep freeze. Now, with Briar; I have about 140 ounces of milk frozen and at least 100-120 of those ounces contain dairy so I cannot give them to her just yet.
  • Raelynn’s bottle size was small, I think, maybe about 3.5 ounces for a very long time. Briar’s has been 4 ounces for a long time and now her daycare thinks she needs 5, and I think the daycare is right. I am BARELY, and when I say BARELY, I mean by the skin of my teeth making enough for Briar right now. And I’m not freezing any extra. Which is a whole other issue. Plain and simple, I did not have to work this hard with Raelynn.

A typical day for us:

Lately…***knock on wood*** Briar has been waking up around 5am for her first feed. I feed her and put her back down. Sometimes she goes back to sleep, sometimes she doesn’t Regardless, she still gets one full feed in the middle of the night. And it’s anywhere from 3am – 5am. Her last feed for the day is at 7pm, and when she eats in the middle of the night, she really eats, a lot. She’s not just soothing herself back to sleep.

So, Nurse at 5ish am

4oz bottle at 7:00am (at daycare)

I pump at 7:30am when I get to work

4oz bottle at 10:00am

I pump at 10:30am

4oz bottle at 1:00pm

I pump at 1:30pm

4oz bottle at 4:00pm

I pump at 4:00pm

Nurse at 7:00pm and then bedtime.

So as of right now, I am pumping 4 times a day while at work and replacing all of her feeds with a pump and she is getting 16 ounces of milk while we are apart. If you take the general rule of thumb, 1 – 1.5 ounces of milk for every hour apart; we are apart for 10 hours, she is actually beyond the higher end of ounces. But she is only nursing 2 other times at home while we are together. Average milk intake ranges anywhere from 24oz – 32oz and I know she is meeting that quota. Especially with still having the middle of the night nursing. I’m sure she gets several ounces then.

I don’t nurse her in the mornings for two reasons: I have to get to work as early as possible and I NEED that morning pump. It’s the only time of the day that I make more than 4 ounces. So I count on that to make up for what I lack at other pumps throughout the day. And trust me, I lack, big time.

So, with all that said, I need to increase my pumping output. This is what I’ve done so far:

  • When I was barely and sometimes not even meeting the 16 ounce daily requirement, I started getting out of my frozen stash temporarily. To replace that, I also added in another pump at 8:30pm. I knew that if I continued to supplement with my frozen stash, I was telling my body that it was okay not to make that milk, therefore, I added in the 8:30pm pump. It has helped me and I think I only had to take from my stash for about 2 weeks before my supply increased permanently. As soon as I am done pumping, I go to sleep.
  • I have actually started power pumping at my 8:30pm pump. Powering pumping is pump 20 minutes, stop for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes, stop for 10 minutes, pump for 10 minutes. So that puts me to bed around 9:30pm.  I cannot muster up another night pump. Plus, my supply, as everyone’s, is low at night, so what’s the point.
  • About a month ago, I also rented a Medela Symphony which is a hospital grade pump. All in all, I think I have noticed a difference.
  • I also ordered some lactation cookies. Yes, I’m lazy. I realize I could make them on my own and I still might, but for the time being, I am desperate. I have all of the ingredients to make my own, but the ones I order are really really good. I overindulged and did not make them last as long as I could have :/ So, now I’m patiently waiting for my next order. I feel like the cookies did help as well. Whenever I ate them, I was definitely engorged when I woke up in the morning.
  • Besides coffee, water is all I drink. And I get at least 150 ounces a day.
  • I have been eating steel cut oats since Briar was born.
  • I drink Gatorade at times, but I probably need to incorporate it a little more.
  • I have been trying different size flanges as well. My sister in law gave me the pumpin pals and they are much more comfortable. Not sure yet if I am extracting any more milk.

These are the next steps I know I am going to have to take:

  • I know I’m going to have to add in a pump, somewhere. And I think it’s going to have to be in the morning. God only knows where, in the morning, I’m thinking after her middle of the night/morning feed, I am going to pump right after. I just really do not want to do it. I’m just starting to get a couple of decent sleep stretches, around 5-6 hours at least once a week, and I do not want to stay up any longer and pump. Plus there is always the unknown, and with Briar, the unknown is scary. What if she doesn’t go back to sleep and I’m hooked up to the pump and I have to keep unhooking to go check on her? I already know how pissed I’m going to be because I don’t want to be pumping anyways. Regardless, I have to do it.
  • Something else that I am trying is I order this supplement.IMG_0363 I read about it in a blog and it wasn’t too much money, about $25 shipped, so I was willing to try it. I will follow up with the results. Hoping for a big increase :).
  • If my supply keeps stays the same, my absolute last resort is to give up coffee. I have already resorted to no creamer since I’m dairy free now, so I’m drinking black coffee. If I have to give it up altogether, I might cry. A lot.

So that’s where I’m at….hoping for a good follow up in a couple of weeks.

 

–The Kentucky Momma

 

 

3…..4 months with a Toddler and a Newborn

Well, I’m 3 months into our new life of 4. It’s definitely hectic and we are still trying to figure things out.

I’ve been asked several times how much harder are things with two kids. Everything is harder. But, in my personal opinion, the hardest adjustment was going from 0 kids to 1 kid. You have to sacrifice literally everything and care for another human being. You have to put someone else before yourself. Our family of 3 got into a routine and then we added Briar. Things are a little shaky, but we are already in the habit of caring for another human being, and now we just added one to the mix.

As I assumed, balancing time between kids, our careers, our marriage, our social lives, household chores is all very hard and stressful. But, we manage. Some days are better than others, and that’s okay for now.

For the first three months, Briar has basically been attached to me. Which leave Scott to care for Raelynn. I’ve had hard time dealing with this because I’m sacrificing a lot of time with Raelynn. In my head, I told myself, things weren’t going to change. I would get equal time with both kids, but that’s just not reality, unfortunately.

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I’m going to lest this post Rest In Peace because we are now 4 months into our new life….

And I’m dying….

Literally dying from no sleep…

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The moment I think that Briar has somewhat turned a corner, it’s like she looks at me and laughs in my face for even thinking such a reasonable thing can happen.

From month 3 to month 4, a lot has changed.

Developmentally, Briar has learned to roll over both ways. She smiles SO much. She laughs out loud. It’s the cutest thing. If we place a toy in front of her, she will grab it. It’s amazing the things we get excited about as parents.  Me to Scott – “OH MY GOD SCOTT, LOOK!! SHE GRABBED THE RATTLE!!!” Scott to me – “KEISH, SHE’S ABOUT TO ROLL OVER, STOP EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING AND COME LOOK!!” I mean, seriously. Who are we??

She is still pretty fussy from 5pm – 7pm. It does seem we have more good days than bad though, so that’s a plus. I remember feeling completely locked down with Raelynn when her last feeding and bedtime was at 7pm and I already feel like again. Briar has no fear in letting you know that she is hungry and ready for bed. It doesn’t matter where we are.

Sleep…Sleep is still the biggest issue for me…I guess sleep really is overrated because it’s still pretty nonexistent. She was really taking well to the swaddle and then she started to roll and I was done with it at that point. I would feed her at 7pm, when she was done eating, I would swaddle her, and then I would have to rock/hold her for about 40-50 minutes before I could set her down in her crib. At this point, there was no putting down to sleep drowsy. This worked for us, so we did it. From there her sleep varied tremendously. Some nights she would wake up at 11pm. The majority of nights she would wake up between 12am – 1am, A very small handful of times she would sleep until 2am, and we had one instance where she slept until 3am. Of course that night, I didn’t make it to bed until almost 11pm :\. Go figure. So, she was overall having a very good first stretch of sleep. I would go to bed anywhere from 8:30 – 9:30. On most nights it was 8:30 just so I could get at least 3-4 hours of sleep. After her first stretch of sleep, her middle of the night wakings were literally everywhere. Sometimes it was every 2 hours, sometimes it was every 3 hours. On average, she was still waking up 3 times a night. After her first stretch, she would either come in the bed with me or go to the couch with me. I couldn’t muster up enough energy to stay awake and nurse her in her room and put her back down asleep in her crib. It was easier for me to nurse her, then lay her next to me so I could at least get some rest.

So, when she started to roll, we ditched the swaddle.I had read several different articles about how to wean off the swaddle: one arm out, two arms out, Merlin’s Magic Sleep suit, Zip a Dee suit. I told Scott that I just wanted to cold turkey it. I figured, there was nothing consistent about her sleep right now, so what’s the point in trying to slowly transition out. Let’s just do it and get it over with. The first couple of nights were a little tough. She had a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep, initially. It would take around 1 1/2 – 2 hours to finally get her to sleep. That was a combination of Scott and/or I going in her room and shushing her or putting that god forsaking pacifier back in her mouth. We let her cry a little bit. I’m very hesitant to do a full on cry it out with her because of Raelynn. I can’t imagine having to calm two kids down and put two kids back to sleep. We do a somewhat modified version. We let her cry for a couple of minutes and then we go in and reassure her that all is well. That has paid off tremendously for us. For the past couple of days she has went right to sleep after her feeding. She may toss and turn for a minute or two to get settled, but no real crying or having to go back in.  For about a week, she was sleeping like a champ, down at 7pm up around 1am-2am then up around 5:30am – 6am. Still very broken sleep for me and no more than 4 hours at a time, but I felt like I could see the light. Then….the 4 month sleep regression happened. It happened with Raelynn too. I was just hoping to slide right on by this time. It started last weekend. Friday night and Saturday night she was up every 2 hours. Then Sunday night happened. She never slept for more than an hour at a time. I was awake from Sunday morning until Monday night. I was awake for around 40 hours. It was terrible. I never EVER go into work late and I didn’t make it into work until around 9:30am Monday morning. I felt terrible. I know I looked terrible. WHYYY was this happening? I swear, I’m never getting sleep again. My body might be regulating to 4 hours of sleep, because now 4 hours of consistent sleep feels natural and normal. This past week (Monday – Wednesday), I thought she had somewhat went back to normal sleeping habits. I was putting her to bed around 7pm, then getting up around 1:30am – 2:00a.m. and then again around 5:30am – 6:00am, UNTIL Scott informed me that she was waking up every night between 10:30pm and 11:00pm. He was getting to her before I woke up and has been able to settle her back down to sleep until she wake up for me. So, instead of the normal 2 night wakings, we have somehow increased to 3 wakings. Last night there was even a 4th waking. All I know to do is to keeping being consistent and hoping this passes soon. I’m at a loss. Since she has been born, I’ve not got more than 4 hours of sleep, a handful of 5 hour stretches, and one 6 hour stretch. And at this point, we are going backwards, but hopefully not for long.

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We had our first overnight with both kids away and I wish I could have enjoyed it more. I guess, the sleep, I mean. That was my only 6 hour stretch. They stayed at my in laws house. I was not sad at all to give them away. LOL. I wish I could do it more often. Scott and all of his guys went to a BeerFest and me and all of the girls went to a WineFest. It was much needed. But, as you can imagine, I didn’t wake up feeling refreshed. I woke up feeling very hungover. I had to get up early to pump, then pick up the kids from my in laws and take them daycare so Scott and I could recover. I didn’t really feel like myself again until about 5pm.

Breastfeeding is becoming another issue. The beginning of our breastfeeding relationship was MUCH better than Raelynn and I’s. Briar is eating MUCH more than Raelynn did at this point. Raelynn was around three or four, 3 – 3.5 ounce bottles every 3 hours while we were apart. Briar is four, 4 ounces bottles every 3 hours. That’s 16 ounces for Briar compared to around 12-14 ounces with Raelynn. It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but I struggle majorly to get 16 ounces a day. I had to add a pump session in at night, which I absolutely hate. Instead of going to bed at 8:30, I now have to pump at 8:30. I’m considering power pumping for a while until my supply goes back up. I drink Mother’s Milk Tea every single night. I put flax seeds in my protein shakes and in my morning oatmeal. I have just recently ordered some cookies from a nursing mom. The company is called Milk Boosters. I’ve read rave reviews about them. I am praying they work. I also just ordered some brewers yeast to make my own cookies. I’m hesitant to take Fenugreek because I’ve heard it can upset mom and babies stomach so I will hold off on that for now. For a couple week straight, I had to get into my frozen stash to make up the 16 ounces. I knew that once I started supplementing with my frozen stash, I was letting my body know it was okay not to make any more milk than I was making, so that’s why I added in the 8:30 pump. I am currently making just enough day to day and as of the last two weeks I haven’t had to dig into my frozen stash. I maybe freeze 3 – 5 ounces a month which is terrible. I think I maybe have around 120 ounces frozen and 100 of those ounces contain dairy :/. So I am on the struggle bus for sure to make the milk. Ideally, I would love to add a pump session in the morning, but Briar is just too inconsistent with her sleep. I know the day I would wake up, so would she and she would want to eat. Or she would wake up as soon as I get done pumping. I would love to have just an extra ounce or 2 a day. I don’t need or want a huge stash, but just enough to feel comfortable if something were to ever come up.

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And my little Raelynn. She is becoming a feisty…almost 3 year old…cue the tears. I don’t know where the last 3 years have gone. It’s really sad. She’s so smart. But, she takes after both me and her daddy…she is a head strong little girl. She is starting to give us a hard way to go. I don’t think it has anything to do with Briar because she gets ample time with us after Briar goes to bed. We make sure to spend quality time with just her. I just think she is going through a toddler stage. She is definitely Miss Independent, she is strong willed, she is so bossy (me). Sometimes I feel like I see some of my negative traits come out in her. I expressed this to my therapist in my last meeting; the bossiness in particular. I want Raelynn to be a good leader and I want her to stand up for herself, but I also want her to listen and be able to help other people. I told the therapist, my controlling and bossy side has come out majorly in Raelynn already. I am scared to death more than anything that I am going to portray my anxiety onto Raelynn and that’s the absolute last thing I want. I would not wish my anxious self on anyone. I try to be very careful and mindful what I say, but sometimes, I just say the wrong shit. I’m trying very hard. Plus, I want to be happy. I want her to see me happy. I want her to see me and her daddy happy. All of those things are very important to me and balancing all of them are really hard.

Speaking of being happy with Scott. We are about the same. We aren’t terrible, but we aren’t great. When we both get home from work, it’s balls to the wall until Briar goes to bed, then Raelynn goes to bed, then I have to pump, then I’m tired so I go to sleep. The weekends are already getting crazy with plans. It just seems we never have time to ourselves. We never MAKE time for ourselves. Just today, I asked him if he would be okay with me going out to eat Friday night with a couple girls. He said yes, and then in turn asked if he could go to grab a drink with friends tonight. I, of course, said yes, then immediately said, “Next time we need to make plans together, not separate.” The last time we had a date night was when I was 6 months pregnant, so around 6 months ago…and before that….I think it was well over 6 months.  Another thing that plays into us never making plans together is that we feel one of us always has to stay home with the kids. If not, we have to find a sitter and they are hard to come by with two kids. Everyone is a little more hesitant to jump on the babysitting bandwagon with two kids. One that we use regularly, we pay hourly, and sometimes that’s just not in our best interest to have to pay someone, or we literally don’t have the money. So we each make a sacrifice so the other can have some time away from the kids. It just sucks that we don’t spend more time together without the kids.

Work is a whole other issue and it’s praying on me more and more each day. Ever since Briar, I feel like I just cannot get back into the swing of things and I hate it. I feel myself becoming less and less focused at work. It’s a very huge struggle for me because I’m normally very work oriented. I stay under a lot of pressure at my job and it really sucks to not be 100% focused.

A couple of pictures of the girls over the last month or so…

 

 

That’s it for now. Until next time…

 

–The Kentucky Momma

And another 6 weeks later…

I’ve been slacking, as expected, just hoped it wouldn’t be another 6 weeks later…

Well, I’m just going to dive right in. These past 6 weeks have been pretty terrible. My thoughts are pretty scattered right now, so I’m sure this post will be too. I apologize in advance.

I am most definitely going through post partum depression again. The realization hit me over the past weekend. I seriously hate this feeling more than anything. Currently, at this moment, I am not in a good place at all.

Picking up where I left off at my last post….I was not getting any sleep, I discovered that Briar probably was allergic to dairy, I was going back to work, I was going to start back at the gym.

Briar is not allergic to dairy, just sensitive to dairy.  I am now dairy free, soy free, and egg free. She got a blood test at her 2 month appointment that tested for the milk protein allergy and it was negative. I have decided to stay dairy free since she had an obvious reaction to dairy. For the most part, it’s not that terrible. I have days where I get really pissed off that I literally have to fix every single one of my meals. There is no “grab and go” when you are dairy/soy/egg free. I was dairy/soy free for around 2-3 weeks and her face was breaking out still. I decided to cut eggs and it seemed to make her face better. I’m still somewhat unsure if she really had a reaction to eggs or not. I plan to reintroduce eggs first to see if she really had a reaction. I won’t reintroduce dairy until she is at least 5 or 6 months old. Hoping she has grown out of her sensitivity by then.

Going back to work and the gym have both been a good thing for me. I thrive on on schedule and routine. Currently, I only have one more week of working part time. I’m so ready to be back to work full time. I’m thankful I was able to slowly ease back into work, but there is too much shit to do and I’m a workaholic, so I’m ready to be back full time.

The most positive thing that has happened in the past 6 weeks is being able to go back to CrossFit. In the beginning, I was so ready to jump back in full force. My body was like, “Hell nah, girl. You just pushed a baby out 6 weeks ago.” I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, but it was. I have NO CORE. Core is everything for all of the movements I do. I thought I would just be able to jump back in and be able to hit all of my maxes…wrong. I’ve been back in for about 6 weeks and I’m slowly getting stronger. I started out pretty slow, 2-3 days for the first couple of weeks. Then I started 4-5 days a week. Plus, I have a squat rack, barbell, and weights at home, so I’m able to do some strength training at home which has been very key for my recovery. It was very surprising to me, but I could do more in my 9th month of pregnancy than I could at 6, 7, even 8 weeks post partum. But, again, slowly recovering. Very happy to be back.

So, addressing the post partum depression…

Still…not getting any sleep. For almost 3 months, I’ve not got more than 4 hours of sleep at a time.

No sleep has, in my opinion, been the number one factor. I only know what I’ve been through with Raelynn, so all I do is compare. I don’t remember anything about Raelynn’s first 4 months of life except she just cried non stop and hated her life. I don’t remember too much about her sleep patterns. I just know she slept in the bed with us for the first 4 months.

We have tried everything with Briar. We have found some success, but we still have room to improve. She finally started to take to the swaddle. Technically, it’s a Halo Sleep Sack that we got from the hospital, but essentially comparable to a swaddle. Every night at 7pm, I feed her, then swaddle her, then take her to her room, put on white noise, and rock her to sleep in the rocking chair….

Yes, we tried the infamous put the baby down drowsy and let baby soothe herself to sleep. NOPE.

Yes, we even got so desperate for sleep that we tried, cry it out. I’m not a fan of this, but I was desperate for sleep. We tried it for 2 nights. The first night she cried for 2 hours. The second night she cried for 2 1/2 hours. Never stopped. We went in and got her eventually.

So, the rocking her to sleep works for us now. I’ll take it. Once she is asleep, which takes about an hour, I am able to lay her down in her crib. At first she would sleep until 11:00 – 11:30, she gradually made it to midnight, and now she is sleeping until about 1:00 a.m. in her crib. Two nights, she has slept until 2:00 a.m.

Sounds good right? The problem is when she wakes up. She wakes up, I feed her, and sometimes she goes back to sleep, and sometimes she does not. I tried for about 2 weeks to keep her in her crib all night and I was losing so much sleep. So, I decided after her first stretch of sleep, I was going to put her in the bed with us. In my mind, I could at least lay there while she did whatever and I could rest a little bit. For the most part it worked. However, it was not comfortable for myself, Scott, and Briar to all be in bed together. So, Scott and I do not sleep together as of right now which is a whole other issue. We take turns, one of us in the bed, and one of us on the couch. We are able to safely use the couch for Briar to sleep on because we have a huge couch and she’s not rolling, yet, so I feel comfortable with this.

So, when she wakes up, sometimes she able to settle herself, and sometimes she is not. On the nights that she is not able to, it’s terrible. We had a terrible night last night, which prompted me to finish this post because I needed an outlet. I have such a love/hate relationship with the pacifier. When she actually takes it, it soothes and she is able to go to sleep; HOW-FUCKING-EVER….she will not keep that damn thing in her mouth. She will suck a little and then spit it out and then cry. We have tried every pacifier known to mankind and pretty much the only one she likes are MAM pacifier. She goes through this vicious cycle in the middle of the night and she ends up working herself up because she can’t go back to sleep, therefore, is wide awake. It’s so fucking annoying. Like, I’m ready to get rid of the pacifier.

I’m just at a loss. I need her to sleep. I know that will come with time, which is why I’m wishing these newborn months away. I really didn’t want to do that with Briar because I did it with Raelynn. However, I didn’t regret it, and I don’t regret wishing it away now. I need to be sane for myself first, and my family second.

It is so hard for me to find a good balance in life right now. I honestly felt like Briar was going to be different. That I wasn’t going to have to walk down this post partum depression path again. Yet, here I am, with the exact same feelings that I had approximately 2 years ago.

Besides sleep, I am not enjoying much of anything. I don’t want to do anything, I don’t want to leave the house, and I don’t want to have anyone over. This was my realization that I was in the throes of post partum depression already.

Last weekend, Scott asked if I wanted to have some people over for dinner. Without hesitiation, I instantly said no.

Here’s my thought process:

  1. First of all, I was not going to cook dinner at my house and then not be able to eat it. Let’s face it; most normal people on the weekend do not want to eat chicken and vegetables, which is essentially my diet being dairy/soy/egg free.
  2. I was already anticipating the chain of events that would happen through the night.
  3. Come 7:00p.m. I was going to have to be the one that went back to Briar’s room and secluded myself for the hour – hour and a half that it took to feed her.
  4. I was not going to want to entertain anyone after I put Briar to sleep because I was going to want to get ready for bed.
  5. I was going to have to be the one that woke up with her at 1:00a.m. and deal with her antics, whatever they may be for the night.

What part of that sounds like fun? I instantly realized that I was not enjoying things like I should be. That was my epiphany that I was balls deep in post partum depression already. It was not a welcome feeling. I became extremely emotional after this. I just did not want to be in this dark hole again. I had made so much progress, only to take leaps backwards.

There are several social events that are coming up and I’m probably going to stay at home for all of them. I literally just don’t have it in me to participate. I just feeling like I’m losing control of my life right now.

Another issue…my relationship. Things are not terrible; but they are not great either. I don’t really know what I expected this time around. I mean, introducing a newborn into your life is a big deal. I totally get how couples do not make it through kids. It puts major pressure on your relationship. And, Scott is having a really hard time with Briar in general.

We have several different situations right now that we both do not like:

  • Our sleeping situation is that we don’t sleep together right now. I hate this more than anything.
  • I am the only person getting up with Briar each night. Hence, Scott gets a full nights of uninterrupted sleep every single night. I hate this. He seriously does not even hear Briar cry. I am nothing less than amazed by this.
  • Scott only has to worry about Briar from 5:00pm – 7:00pm; which is her extreme fussy time. He has expressed to me that he does not feel connected with her at all right now.
  • Scott gets to not have a care in the world. I feel as though I carry all the burden.
  • Scott gets to enjoy himself and go out with friends. He does not have a hard time detaching from Briar, Raelynn, or myself at all. For me, I’m more so envious and jealous of this. Not mad about it.
  • I feel like he does not acknowledge any of the hard work that I’m putting into this.
  • Scott gets all the time with Raelynn and I practically get zero time with her.

Whenever I realized I was experiencing PPD, I took some time to gather my thoughts and then I had a conversation with Scott afterwards. It was a good, civil conversation. I told him that I didn’t want a pat on the back because I’m doing what any mom would do, but shit, give me a break every once in a while. Like, I’m not the one that has to put Briar to sleep every night. I’m not the one that has to wake up with her every single night. That’s when he told me that he didn’t feel connected with Briar. It made me sad when he said that, but I get it. We both equally agreed that we weren’t enjoying our lives right now. That made me even more sad. We both knew this, but just to vocalize it is a different story.

Here are the positives with Scott and I. We don’t hold anything back. So, whenever we have an issue with each other or just in general, we talk about it. We love each other too much to just let things keep building until we blow up on each other. We love each other too much to just let things go. We love each other so much that we realize we will have many bumps in the road that will test our relationship, but that doesn’t mean we give up. We fight harder. We overcome. And we always do. Which is exactly why Scott and I are perfect for each other.

Hoping for a more positive post the next time around…

 

–The Kentucky Momma

6 weeks later…

I’m not sure why I had the inconceivable idea that I could actually blog during Briar’s first 6 weeks of life. Sounds really optimistic, doesn’t it? I did, however, keep a small journal of notes, feelings, emotions, etc. that I experienced during the first 6 weeks so I could relay them here.

As I hope you have read, Briar was born 2 weeks early. It was somewhat expected because my first, Raelynn, was 2 weeks early. So, I am going to pick up exactly where I left off at with my Week 38 post.

Right after I had Briar, they had some small issues delivered the placenta. Not a huge deal. After about 15 minutes of trying to deliver it with no luck, the hospitalist just reached on up in there and proceeded to dig it out. That was interesting. It didn’t hurt, I could just feel her whole hand inside of me. Guess there is a first time for everything. Once it was delivered, she showed Scott and I, and Scott compared it to an uncooked steak. I suppose that’s why some people dehydrate it and eat it or encapsulate it. No judgment at all, that’s just not for me. After that, she started to stitch me up. They numbed me, but I could feel everything. Halfway through, my doctor finally arrived. She finished me up. It was somewhat of a blessing that we had her in the middle of the night because we had her all to ourselves for several hours before we ever had any visitors. When we actually got into our private room, it was about 2:00 a.m. My adrenaline was still pumping from pushing out a child not even 2 hours ago. I knew there was no way that I was going to get any sleep. Scott, on the other hand, snoring his little heart out on the pullaway bed. It’s hard to sleep anyways with all of the nurses and doctors constantly in and out.

The first day, we didn’t have many visitors, just family. The second day, we mainly had friends. Scott and I convinced all of our doctors and nurses that we should go home on the second day since there were no complications with myself or Briar. They all agreed, so we only had to stay one night in the hospital. We got discharged on Monday around 3:00 p.m. It was just enough time to get home and get settled before Scott had to go pick up Raelynn from daycare.

Our first week home…

Monday, as soon as Raelynn got home, I immediately started feeling all out of sorts, in particular, about Raelynn. I just spent the last two days bonding with Briar, and essentially not seeing Raelynn at all. It was just a whirlwind to have them both together and finally be a mother of two. It was a lot to deal with. I hoped these feelings would go away soon. That night, Briar nursed for 5 hours straight. It was terrible.

Tuesday, I was feeling so tired from no sleep at all. We had a doctor appointment for Briar. She weighed 5.13. Since she was under 6 pounds, they wanted her back on Friday for a weight check.

Wednesday, I was feeling better because Briar had slept a little. My nipples were killing me. They were so sore and the pain was toe curling. As a matter of fact, my whole body hurt.

Thursday morning, I woke up to the chills, literally teeth chattering chills. I had a low grade fever, my whole body ached. I had a mild case of mastitis. My right boob was the size of a basketball. Not joking. I called the doctor and they prescribed some medicine, but I ended up not even taking it. I nursed right through all of it and it was extremely painful. I wanted to cry every time it was time to feed her.

Friday, I felt much better. Briar’s appointment went well, she was up to 5.15. I started having night sweats. OMG terrible…..drenched in sweat from head to toe.

I was very anxious about Saturday and Sunday because it was our first full days with both kids. Throughout the week, we still continued to send Raelynn to daycare. We wanted things to stay as normal for Raelynn as possible. The weekend went well though.

The first week was as good as expected I guess. Notable items – night sweats suck, nursing sucks this week, I only had irrational feelings the first day, after that I felt okay, I didn’t get more than 2-3 hours of sleep at a time all week, but that is expected with a newborn and breastfeeding. Briar slept in our bed all week. We have other options (bassinet, rock n play) that we are going to try next week

Second week home….

Monday, Scott went back to work. Even though I had done it once before, I was dreading  being alone with Briar. Overall, it went well. Briar started cluster feeding again (7-10 day growth spurt) Basically from 5pm – 9pm, nursing every hour, then still getting up every 2-3 hours at night to nurse. Raelynn started acting out today. I don’t think it was because of Briar. I think it’s typical toddler stuff. But, we had lots of spankings and time outs today.

Tuesday, getting really tired. No more than 2 hours of sleep at a time.

Wednesday, I felt like she cluster fed during the day??? I found myself getting really anxious for the first time. I was able to talk myself down though.

Thursday, still no sleep. Up every 2 hours.

Friday, still struggling with sleep at night. She finally goes to sleep around 8pm, then is up at 11pm, 2am, 4am, 6am, 7am, 8am…

Sunday night, getting really frustrated with the 11pm feeding. I feel like she just goes to sleep only to wake up again to eat.

Second week notables – not sleep at all. Still managing to function. Cluster feeding sucks. Being anxious sucks. I JUST WANT SLEEP. She has still been in our bed, by our choice. I’m not sure she liked it though. And she is a very, very loud sleeper. Big grunter

Third week home…

Monday, Tried the bassinet tonight, hated it.

Tuesday, we tried the swaddle and the rock n play for bed time and she slept the first stretch in there and then was back in the bed with us.

Wednesday, hoping growth spurt (2 week spurt) was over with. She slept for a long stretch during the day. I also had therapy today. I took Briar with me. We mainly just talked about how I was feeling (so far, so good) and how things were going. Nothing monumental to report. I also went into work today to talk to HR about my return. Planning on returning after my 6 weeks, part time only. 2-3 days a week for 6 more weeks and then I will go back full time.  Projectile vomited tonight. Completely out of the ordinary for her. Still didn’t think much of it though.

The weekend was not fun. Multiple night wakings. We are trying bedtime between 7pm  and 8pm. Waking between 6-7 times a night. I started experiencing some desperate moments as she would not go right back to sleep.

Week three notables – NO SLEEP SUCKS. Projectile vomit worried me. Only did it the one night though.

Week four home…

She is starting to fall into a good daytime routine. I let her lead. she wakes up from 7am-8am and we TRY to follow eat, wake, sleep. It doesn’t always work, but we try. Nighttime is a different story. We cannot find a constant at all. Nothing seems to work for her. Swaddling is hit or miss, the rock n play is hit or miss, the bassinet can suck it, she’s not comfortable in our bed, up to this point, she still hasn’t taken a pacifier. From 5pm – 7pm – she is becoming colicky. Nothing compared to Raelynn, it’s just frustrating for both Scott and I.

I kept Raelynn and Briar home by myself for the first time this Friday. They both had doctor appointments. They both went well. Raelynn weighed 26.8 pounds and Briar weighed 8.6 pounds. Keeping both of them went better than expected. I actually really enjoyed having Raelynn at home with Briar and I.

With a month of no more than 2-3 hours of sleep at a time and some nights, no more than 2-3 hours of sleep PERIOD, I needed a break. I told Scott that us two and Raelynn should go have dinner somewhere without Briar. It was nice to just have us three together. Plus, we both want to have times with just Raelynn. We went to dinner and then went and had ice cream. I had mentioned to Scott that I thought when Briar projectile vomited, it could have been because I ate cereal that day (not sure of timing). I am not a big dairy eater so it just kind of stood out to me. I chose to eat the ice cream anyways and see what happened. Well, she projectile vomited everywhere again almost instantly after  I had the ice cream. So I quickly came to the conclusion that Briar was allergic to dairy. I do not eat big dairy items, so I decided to do the elimination diet. But I also decided that I would eliminate the hidden dairy as well. From everything I had read it would take 2-3 weeks for the dairy to get completely out of my system and it could also be the reason for Briar’s consistent waking at night. Essentially I decided to follow the paleo diet. I very loosely followed it before I got pregnant, but I figured now is the time to do it hardcore. It also goes hand in hand with CrossFit, so it’s a win win for me.

Week four notables – no consistent sleep for me is killing me. It’s all starting to catch up. Really desperate to find some type of night time routine for Briar with my return to work fastly approaching. I realize it’s not going to happen in a week.

Week five home…my last full week home…

I started the dairy free diet this week. It’s going okay so far, just a lot of meat and vegetables. I feel like I cook vegetables about every 2 days.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I slept on the couch with Briar on my chest. Nothing else is working. I don’t get much sleep, but it’s better than nothing. She completely said FUCK your bed and FUCK the rock n play. A couple of nights she was awake for several hours at a time. I was finally reaching my desperate stage. I was feeling so anxious and overwhelmed. I just needed sleep. I was thinking not so great thoughts. **Disclaimer, no babies were harmed** But, all I really wanted to do was swing her by her feet into the wall. Obviously that solved nothing because then she would just more more awake and cry a lot more, but I was over it. Badly over it. Thursday, I finally got four whole hours of sleep, thanks to Scott. I climbed in bed with Scott around 3am and he cuddled up with me and I just started crying. I missed him and us and sleep and just being normal. I know this newborn stage doesn’t last long, but I am just over it.

This week, we also somewhat successfully got her to take a pacifier. We have been trying for about 2 weeks now with no luck, but she finally took one. And now it’s hit or miss. Sometimes it works for her and sometimes it doesn’t. Why am I not surprised.

It’s now the weekend and I am preparing to go back to work. I am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with everything I have to do. I need to make sure I have enough food for the week, I need to remember my pump, I need to remember my computer, I need clothes that fit; which let’s be honest, isn’t happening, is Briar going to follow the schedule that we started? What if she doesn’t? OMG no sleep and now I have to go back to work.

BUT, I also get to start the gym again which I am super excited about. I need the gym so badly. I do need work also. I need adult interaction and I need to something to get my mind off my kids all day long. I need to feel useful. Work does all that for me. I am only starting back part time. I will be there a full day Monday, a half day Wednesday, and a half day.

Here are some pictures from the first 6 weeks. She looks so sweet and innocent because all she is doing is sleeping….

So that pretty much sums up the first 6 weeks. Pray for us, y’all. This momma needs sleep…..

 

–The Kentucky Momma

 

Our Last and Final Breastfeeding Milestone

Friday, November 6th, Raelynn had her last bag of breastmilk. It was a happy and sad day all in one. At this point, I know both my husband and I were tired of dealing with thawing out a bag of breastmilk, mixing it with whole milk, and sending it to daycare. Now we just send a half gallon of whole milk every week and it’s much better and easier and just less to deal with in general.

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Of course, I had to take a picture with our last bag of milk 🙂 It turned out cuter than I expected!

While I don’t feel like a “pro” at pumping, I think I probably have some useful advice to offer or things I would have done differently, especially towards the end. I feel like I must disclose that everyone “pumps” differently. Everyone will develop their own schedules and fall into their own routine that works for you and your family. I felt like I was constantly searching the internet for mom’s schedules and how mom’s made pumping easier because pumping really fucking sucks. So, while this may not help everyone, maybe it will help just one person. And for that, I will feel useful 🙂

  • In order to keep up with the needs of your baby, you have to pump every 3 hours. Some moms even have to pump every 2 hours to produce more. I know if I ever had a dip in supply, I would add in an extra pump until my supply came back up. Breastfeeding/pumping is a supply and demand relationship. You must pump or breastfeed to tell your body to continue producing milk.
    • As far as a schedule goes, I think that solely depends on you and your work schedule. There is not a schedule that works for everyone. After going back to work, it takes a couple of weeks to get back in the swing of things. As long as you are being mindful of pumping every 3 hours, you should be okay.
  • PUMP AND DRIVE! I cannot stress this enough especially if you have a long commute to work or if you have things to do on the weekend. PUMP AND DRIVE!! It will save you so much time. This is somewhat controversial because some women do not feel this is safe. I never felt that I was harming myself or other drivers out there. It’s a little awkward at first, but you will get used it to and then you will question yourself as to why you didn’t do this from the start.
    • I had a 45 minute commute to work. I would drop Raelynn off at daycare, pull off to the back of the parking lot, put on my hands free bra, hook up my pump, start the pump before I actually took off, drive to work, then when I got to work, I would unhook and store my milk.
      • Things you need in order to do this: hands free bra, car adapter for your pump (Medela makes them), a nursing cover if you want one (my windows were like limo tint so I never used one), the Medela cooler and ice pack that I could store in my backpack pump, cleaning wipes so you can clean your pump parts quickly.
      • IT’S TOTALLY DOABLE AND TOTALLY WORTH IT.
  • When I started freezing milk, I feel like my logic behind it was good. I started freezing in 3 ounce increments because that’s what she was eating at the time. When she went up to 4 ounces, I increased how much I was freezing to 4 ounces. She only ever took 5 ounces, so toward the end all of my bags were 5 ounces.
    • When she was just getting breastmilk, I would add fresh and frozen. For example, if she was getting 4 ounces bottles, but I was still on the 3 ounce bags, I would add one ounce of fresh milk from the day before.
    • This became tricky when I was trying to portion out whole milk. I very, very slowly introduced whole milk. I did 1 ounce in her bottles for like 2 weeks, then 2 ounces in her bottles, etc…. Towards the end, all I had was 5 ounce bags so it didn’t always measure out correctly. Point being, I wish I would have frozen in all different increments towards the end, if not throughout. I wish I would have froze more 2 and 3 ounce bags because it would have been easier.
      • Something important to remember: from the moment you pull the frozen bag of milk out of the freezer, you are supposed to use it within 24 hours. Sometimes I went over that threshold and Raelynn was fine. But I always tried to be mindful of that.
  • Cleaning pump parts….this is also a touchy subject and totally up to you and how you want to handle it. But here are some options and hopefully helpful information:
    • Breast Milk stays good at room temperature for up to 8 hours. This is good to know in case you are in a bind and can’t wash your part rights away. The world is not going to end and you’re not going to spoil your next batch of milk you pump if you don’t wash your pump parts right away. I’m not saying DON’T wash them every time, I’m just saying shit happens and it’s okay.
    • I am a firm believer in saving time and cutting corners. When I pump and drove, I strictly used the Medela wipes to clean the parts. 3 hours later when I pumped at work, I would go to the bathroom afterwards and rinse out with hot water. When I got home for the night is when I would soak them in warm soapy water and clean thoroughly. Some people feel like they need warm, soapy water every time. Great, if you want to do that. I sure as fuck didn’t want to. I had better shit to do.
    • An alternative, you can store your pump parts in the fridge in a gallon size ziplock bag or by putting them in tupperware. The reasoning: if there is any milk leftover on your parts, the fridge will help keep the milk good. I know several people that swear by this.
    • Sterilizing….sorry, but my take, fuck it. Some people sterilize their pump parts after every pump, once a day, once a week. Me, once a year, when i packed the shit up and I was done with it.  Just solely my opinion.
  • Do invest in a set or two of extra tubing. No matter how careful I was, I would always get milk in the tubing, somehow and I could not get it out. I did try to sterilize it and clean it but then there was condensation buildup and it turned into a moldy mess. Just buy the extra damn tubing and save your time.
  • Also, buy extra membranes. Super cheap pretty much everywhere. They need to be replaced every so often to help suction. I think I replaced mine a total of about 2 times.

That’s it. That’s everything.

–The Kentucky Momma