Friday, November 10, 2006

On Sucking, Part II

First of all I wanted to thank everybody for the supportive comments. I have decided to discontinue any regular attempts to breastfeed, but to continue pumping for him at least until I return to work at the end of the month. I am able to pump enough for one meal each day, so I feel good that at least he's getting that much breastmilk.

If circumstances had been different, I probably could have gotten breastfeeding to work. In particular, if he hadn't stopped breathing at that lactation consultation, I think the problem would have been resolved right then and there. I think that hospital stay really messed us up, because I was too upset and afraid to continue attempting to breastfeed while in the hospital. Also, if I had known then what I know now about proper latching and what it's supposed to feel like, I think that would have helped too. Next time (if there is one!), things will work out better.

Since I have to work (I'm not saying that out of disappointment -- I like my job and I make four times what Jeff could ever make), Vinny is going to be mostly bottlefed anyhow. Oh sure, there's a difference in the ingredients of breastmilk and formula, but at the same time one of the main advantages of breastfeeding -- the variability of caloric content based on how hard he sucks (i.e. hindmilk from a long feeding session, the more watery stuff for a light snack) -- will not apply even if he is drinking breastmilk out of the bottle, by virtue of the fact that it's a bottle.

Given Vinny's genes, we are concerned about obesity but we are being careful not to immediately offer a bottle the first time he cries -- we change his diaper, or hold him upright (he suffers from a bad case of reflux), or try other things unless it's obvious that he's hungry.

I kind of like the fact that I don't have to be the only person to feed him. Jeff has been feeding him primarily, but others have also gotten a chance to do so, and I think they kind of enjoy the experience. For a while I was trying to pump religiously every two hours (except at night) but that was driving me crazy because I was literally spending a quarter of my time doing that and I was sick of it. So instead I have resolved to pump enough to produce at least four ounces per day -- something I can do in three or four pumpings.

Something else that was driving me crazy was that I was told that I couldn't drive for six weeks. I don't know if that's a real prohibition, or if it was because the nurse who was debriefing me for my discharge from the hospital thought I'd had a c-section, but it was making me feel extremely depressed, like I was living in Saudi Arabia or something (especially because when we went out, I was always sitting in the back seat with Vinny). After talking to several people, including the speech-language pathologist who was working with Vinny, I decided that either that was an instruction that applied only to a c-section or the patriarchy was trying to keep me down, because there was no logical reason that I should be prohibited from driving. So I've started driving again. Mostly the prohibition from driving was what was making me nuts; now that I feel like I can drive, I have no real desire to drive anywhere. I did drive once on an errand with Jeff and Vinny in the back, but when Jeff offered for me to go alone on an errand, I declined because I didn't mind staying home. Just knowing that I can get out if I want to was freeing enough for me.

We had his one-month checkup on Tuesday, and it went well. He has reflux so the doctor gave us a prescription for some medication to deal with that. Vinny now weighs over ten pounds, so he is still right about average on the growth charts, except for his head, which has grown more rapidly than the rest of his body. So just in case there is something wrong, the doctor ordered a head ultrasound for next week, which will probably show that nothing is wrong. Personally, I just think it's his enormous brain. But I am glad that even though I am unable to feed him in the way that I wanted, he is thriving. Ultimately, that is what is the most important.


Sally said...

I'm so glad things are better for you. It sounds to me like you made a really good decision on the feeding. I'm so impressed that you were able to think about your options and make a reasonable, rational decision this soon post-partum. I wasn't able to do that for a very long time.

When you go back to work, you won't have to worry that Vinny will refuse to eat the entire time you're away as sometimes happens with 100% breastfed babies who refuse the bottle when their moms go back to work. He'll be happy and healthy and well fed and that will make you happy too. Go you!

Laura said...

Glad you can drive, glad you're more free of that pumping machine, glad you can feel good about Vinny's feeding and health.

Glad things are looking up for you!

Love you!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're happy with your decision to bottle feed. I didn't even make it out of the hospital nursing. Alex just chewed, and Annika wouldn't stay awake. I made the command decision that my kids needed a sane mommy much more than they needed breast milk. I would have spent half my time nursing! It is so nice to have other people able to do the feedings too.

Congrats on the car too!


Madeleine said...

As Sally said, it is really impressive how clearly you can think, and so quickly. Good luck with the pumping. Keeping yourself sane is an important criteria!

I think you are right that the discharge nurse made an error. The "no driving for 6 weeks" rule is generally for c-sections (from what I've heard, I'm not a doctor) so if she thought you had a C, that would make sense. I haven't heard of a new mother being told not to drive for any other reason.

purple_kangaroo said...

Hey, I thought I'd better reply to your question here so as to not clutter up Phantom's comments section. :)

Baby E is on a PPI drug instead of a simple antacid like Zantac. We have to have it compounded b/c of allergy issues, so I'm not sure of the brand name, but the active ingredient is omeprazole.

From what you mentioned of your baby, I wonder if he's also aspirating fluids like Baby E is. My understanding is that reflux can cause that. Are they having you thicken his feedings? Have they done a swallow study or anything like that for him?

I'm sorry he's having these issues--please drop me a nite if there's any other information I might be able to help with.

P.S. Food allergies can sometimes cause or exacerbate reflux, so if it's not getting better with medication you might talk to your doctor about trying an elemental formula.