Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Milk Dramz

My milk is back-- 100% normal.  Abundant even. SO WEIRD.  I have looked back through my blog and frantic text message log and have determined that this happens to me every 26-30 days.  Hmmmm.  It seems to be a cycle.  And I should add that Cooper is totally and completely fine when this happens.  A little annoyed that we keep shoving bottles in his face, but lots of wet diapers (he's always wet, in fact), lots of poops (on his weird poop for a day, not poop for a couple of days schedule he's been on since like week 2 of his life-- he also has sleep and not sleep days and always has-- such a funny little guy)-- a little fussier than normal (which is not fussy at all) but totally fine.

In the couple of weeks before I lose my milk again, I have a multi-pronged attack plan to fix this blip in production.

1.  Pump again and continue to increase frozen milk supply.  I stopped pumping for my freezer supply because I had like 187 ounces (yes, I counted), only needed 3 small bottles a week (you know, when I am actually making milk), and thought the stress of pumping was inhibiting letdown (it wasn't-- that was hormones.  Slow letdown is the first sign my production is halting; I know that now).  So, I am pumping again.  My goal used to be 3 ounces a day but I would be happy with 2.

2.  Get Cooper used to other food.  He is rocking the oatmeal and really LOVES to eat-- bites the spoon, swirls the food around in his toothless mouth, swallows happily and then opens wide for another bite, squawking if we are too slow.

3.  Continue to slowly integrate formula.  You know I hate processed foods, but it would be so much less stressful if I knew I had a renewable source of food for him when my milk is low.  So we have been adding 1-2 ounces of formula to the bottles Ben gives him when I am at class or meetings.  So far, he still doesn't eat more than 2 ounces from a freaking bottle, but he never has, so the formula isn't making him eat less, anyway.

4.  Up the supplements.  I still drink Mothers Milk tea, and I just ordered a bottle of More Milk Plus capsules from Amazon.  I think I will try those (b/c the are supposed to be stronger than the tea) during my low periods.

5.  Nurse, nurse, nurse all the freaking time.  I am trying to make sure he eats every 2 hours-- every 90 minutes if he wants to.  He went 3 hours between feeds yesterday because he was asleep (woo-hoo!), but otherwise, during the day, he ate 8 times, which is good for both of us.

Any other suggestions?

And on another note, he can roll both ways now-- I found him on his belly this morning with a red mark on his head where he apparently smacked into the side of the crib.  D'oh!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nights

I think my milk is coming back.  No bottles today.  Sometimes a faster letdown. Good, long naps.

Nursing Cooper to sleep while I write this, and he managed to get a second letdown 15 minutes in, even.  I don't have much time because I spilled an entire bottle of freaking hot pink gas drops all over my bedspread and carpet and I need to keep blotting ASAP.  (Gas drops because that single tablespoon of cereal and the 2 or 3 ounces of formula Cooper has choked down since Thursday have rendered him totally poopless, and he is getting annoyed about it).

But Cooper is doing something precious right now, and I wanted to write it down.  He wants to sleep next to me all the time, in my arms, even.  He's an increasingly restless sleeper in his crib, rolling first onto one side and then onto the other, scooting his body from one end of the bed to the other, but in bed with me, he is perfectly still, as long as he is cradled next to me, with me on my side facing him, both of my arms around him.  If I try to inch away from him, he flings his legs over my waist and grabs my hair with both hands and sleeps holding onto me.  I wake up in the middle of the night just to stare at him, his dark lashes curling on his fat, red cheek, his face frowning in repose, his dimpled knuckles pressed to his chin, his fuzzy hair damp with sweat against my arm.  When I hear him through the monitor at 3 or even sometimes at 1, I am happy to stumble to his room and gather him out of his dark crib and settle him next to me, clasped, until the sound of the big boys stomping in the hallway wakes us both the next day.

(And now that I wrote that, he is going to come in my bed and fuss for 6 hours tonight).

Friday, January 27, 2012

The sun!

The sun came out today for the first time in forever, and I feel more optimistic.  And I just spent over $100 on bottle accessories at Target because OF COURSE the kid only likes the most expensive bottles on the shelves OF COURSE.  Also I got a bottle warmer because last night, I tried to mix a half breast milk/ half formula bottle at 3 am and it was a giant cluster.  And also, he didn't want to eat-- just to come in bed with me and snuggle because he had already nursed but of course I am paranoid that he is not getting enough. OF COURSE I am.

So, last night, he sat with us at dinner and we gave him a tablespoon of rice cereal mixed with an ounce of formula, and he liked it.  Then before bed, he nursed on 1 side, cried at the other, and ate 3 ounces of a 4 ounce bottle that was 3 parts breastmilk to one part formula. (and slept from 6:30 until 3 am)   And I fed him the bottle!  Tommee Tippee and faster flow nipples for the win!

I am sure that we will work out a breastmilk/formula compromise that works for us, lets me nurse, and lets him stay fat and happy.  But it is a little stressful in the meantime when he is crying for food he can't have (breastmilk) or over food he doesn't want (anything in a bottle).

It was not my plan to start solids at 4.5 months, but we'll spend a week on rice and a week on oatmeal, and add in purees when he is 5 months old.  And then, it'll be no time before he's eating YoBaby and all kinds of other stuff.  And I know that solids are mainly for practice, but we might as well start practicing now.

Definitely feel better over here, but still not a lot of milk.  So weird.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Milestone!

Sitting at dinner
Preparing for the first bite
First bite!

First bite from a better angle
Not sure
Very surprised


Still surprised
Liking it
Still thinking
He likes it
Waiting for the next bite
Serious business
He likes it!

Gone baby gone

I am having a really shitty time with breastfeeding right now, and that Violent Femmes song Gone Daddy Gone is going through my head, only I have been replacing Daddy with Baby and love with milk.  Because the milk is gone.  Three nights ago, I woke up with leaking breasts after Cooper slept more than usual, and he nursed like normal all day.  Then, yesterday, no milk.  Lots of crying (me and him), much refusing the bottle no matter what was in it.  Gnashing of gums, chomping of hands, not much sleeping.  Today, more of the same, with grudging consumption of 1 ounce of formula and 1.5 ounces of breastmilk in a bottle.  Empty breasts.  Slow let down.  Baby nursing for 3 minutes on each side and crying when he's done because he's not done.

This has happened before.  Twice.  The week after Thanksgiving and the day before New Year's Eve.  Two bad, bad milkless (milk light) days and then a return to normal. Totally hormonal, right?  Right?  That's what the google tells me.  La Leche League tells me I am not a good enough mom because my baby takes a pacifier, and this is my own damn fault because if I really loved him and wanted him to have the perfect food, I would keep all silicone nipple products out of his piehole. 

So, I am hopeful that the milk will return but also worried because if it doesn't, what the hell is he going to eat?  I got some new nipples for our Dr. Brown's and Vent Air bottles, thinking he might like a faster flow.  I got a Tommee Tippee bottle, too, because its nipple looks totally real (creepy).  I have been nursing every 2 hours and pumping even though nothing is coming out and drinking Mothers Milk Tea and lots of water.  I also started remembering my prenatal vitamin again because I have been reading about low calcium from ovulation through the end of a cycle.

And of course, I have found myself in the formula aisle.  Feeling like shit.

I try to feed my special snowflakes the very best of everything.  Organic kale is on the menu tonight for goodness sake.  I know better.  I have read the mile-long, unpronounceable ingredient list on the back of the BPA-leaching can, and I don't like it, but, oh, how I wish he would just drink it. I don't want to see him cry in hunger or watch his baby fat rolls disappear.

Tips?  Advice?  Support?  How do I get him to take a bottle he doesn't want?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crabby Wednesday

The fam is a bunch of bitches.

You know how I have been making all my own baked goods?  I mentioned I was making brownies, and Ben said "Make sure you use a box.  I don't want you to mess them up-- I want Betty Crocker."  What an asshole.

So, I made 2 batches-- one from a Betty Crocker box and one from scratch.  In a blind taste test, both of my (asshole) kids picked the box.  Harry said, "I like this one.  It takes like a real brownie.  This one," he said, indicating the one made with LOVE, "Tastes like those muffins I had at hot lunch the other day."  Those muffins?  Were made of beets.

Hmph.


Speaking of assholes, Cooper (OM-G-- cussing about babies cracks me up) slept for 12 hours straight the night before last, waking for exactly 8 minutes to eat around 2 am.  Then, last night, he woke up at 9:30, 11:30, 12:30, 3-4:30, 6, and then finally at 7:30. The 3-4:30 stretch nearly killed me.  I would nurse him, put him in his crib with his pacifier firmly in his cry hole, stumble back to bed, throw myself on my pillow, an drift back to sleep when his squawks through the monitor would jerk me awake.  I repeated this pattern for 90 minutes, adding handfuls of animal crackers on my way back to bed, which is GREAT for the weight loss.

On that note, a visiting scholar from China who saw me last semester in the course I direct is sitting in on my rhetorical criticism class this term, and she said to me after class, "You don't look so fat." I think the nuance was lost in translation.

Bouncing:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The bounce back-- not very much bounce

Yesterday, the Whole Foods deli was my downfall.  I thought I was eating like a reasonable human being (no snacks when Cooper ate through the night-- a good first step for me).  Then Ben and I grabbed lunch while grocery shopping, and before I knew it, I had eaten an entire chicken, apple, and Gouda panini the size of my face.  And for dessert last night I had half a piece of coconut cake.  WTH is wrong with me?  Then I drank a delicious oatmeal stout beer and a half and went face down in a bag of pretzels. It's like I WANT to be chubby.  But I don't, I swear.

I am so not even kidding you when I say the baby doesn't sleep.  Last night, he went down at 6:30 like always.  Up at 9:30.  Up at 1:47.  I mean like up, up.  Like did not go back to sleep.  Like used me like a pacifier and whined a lot.  I gave him to Ben at 5 and slept 2 more hours because damn.

He is also making a screeching noise like a dolphin or a cat all the time, and I remember the other kids doing that, too, when they were teething or going through some other developmental mind fuck.

It blows my mind because he slept through the night at such a young age.  Clearly, he was just toying with us.

I m not a sleep trainer, more of a bitch-about-the-baby's-sleep-until-it-magically-gets-better-er.  Because this too shall pass, I know, and it's a small price to pay for the pleasure of having such a squishy little ball of happiness to nibble on throughout the day.  But holy shit am I tired and fat.

Also my scale says I have gained 2 pounds.  I blame the salty, salty pretzels before bedtime.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

OMG. Need seep.

Baby no longer sleeps.

Got a new scale at Costco and found out I have not lost any weight since 6 weeks post partum.

Harry and Ben were gone all weekend at the Cubs Convention in Chicago.  Jack and I had what he called "the special day" where we watched Dolphin Tale, went to Toys R Us and let Jack pick out anything he wanted, and ate all Jack's favorite foods (like Whole Foods guacamole-- skinny Jack can EAT that stuff).  Unfortunately, we started the started the day off with a fender bender (my fault-- got a ticket-- my first ticket ever) and Cooper didn't sleep the WHOLE TIME, and Harry and Ben didn't get home until late Sunday afternoon. Gah.

Have decided that GMO food is unacceptable and even though we didn't really eat it before, I am NEVER eating it now.  Excpet this morning because I didn't pack any lunches, so Harry is going to have whatever GMO laden shit the school is serving up.  And OMG-- I like the FLOTUS' focus on healthy lifestyles, but lets face it:  diabetes and obesity aren't all because of bad personal choices.  The fucking food chain is polluted, and companies should have to label the GMO garbage that most people buy everyday and feed to their growing babies and children.  It's everywhere from baby formula to cereal bars to snack crackers-- stuff people eat EVERY SINGLE DAY and stuff that you might even think is good for you.  Ugh.

The lack of sleep.  It's making me cranky.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Calm

Tomorrow, we should wake up to 6-8 inches of snow that will continue to fall throughout the day.

Today was 50 and sunny, not a cloud in the sky, the most beautiful January day I've spent in Wisconsin. Actually, it would have been a beautiful October day, and Wisconsin excels at Octobers.

We spent a solid hour after school at the playground, hanging out with 3 other moms, kids, and siblings from Harry's class.  Cooper slept in the Ergo (so much more comfortable without the infant insert, by the way), and we only paid attention to our manically frolicking children when their hysterical is-this-really-winter-oh-my-god-vitamin-D-at-last play turned violent.
I can't stop myself from calling Cooper Mr. Baby.  He doesn't mind.

Notice that Jack's gaze is still firmly planted on the glowing talking box.

Matching shirts!  Cooper is always missing that sock, by the way.  Also, he wears 6-12 month clothes at 4 months, a first for one of my kids.  The others always wore 3-6 until they were way past the 6.

Jack has been eating lots of fruits and veggies in his breakfast smoothies. Here he is showing me how strong he's become.

Harry loves Cooper and vice versa.  Also?  It's like Cooper WANTS a flat head.  I put him on his tummy and BAM! He flips over.

I am having a severe cookie problem.  My chocolate chip cookies are flat as a pancake.  I made some the other day and blamed  too-soft butter (melted it a little in the micro on accident) and maybe even the whole wheat pastry flour.  My Facebook friends agreed and offered some suggestions for improving them.  I made them again today with twice the salt, white flour, and half butter, half shortening, and I chilled the dough for 2 hours before baking.  EVEN FLATTER.  I am using the recipe on the back of the chips-- nothing fancy.  Could I be over mixing them in my stand mixer?  Could it be the parchment paper on my cookie sheets?  What is wrong with my cookies?

Gotta go-- Mr. Baby has decided to add a 10:00 feeding-- nice of him, huh?

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Old Lady

I am so lucky because I got all of the awesome household goods on my holiday wish list this year.  I must have been super good.

Ben's parents got me a bread machine, which is SO MUCH FUN to use.  I made cinnamon swirl bread this morning just for the hell of it, and I have already used a whole giant bag of whole wheat flour.  (Harry hates my bread, BTW, and looked longingly down the commercial bakery aisle at the grocery store yesterday asking wistfully about "that bread with the slices in it."  Whatev.)  I love that my house smells like a bakery.

My grandma sent us a very generous Amazon gift card, and I ordered this book:

(also lots of Power Rangers for the big boys, a white noise machine that projects pictures on the ceiling for Cooper, and a new DVD player for our bedroom).

My parents stocked my cupboard with new Le Creuset bake ware, and Ben got me the Beaba babyfood maker and cute little accessories I have been drooling over.

And all of this stuff is wonderful, and I love it, but it makes me ask the question:  WHEN DID I GET SO OLD?

I was teasing Ben about the gift I got him and I told him it was a Dyson, and you know what?  He was really excited because he WANTS a Dyson, so he is super old, too.  So old, in fact, that he has been putting wheat grass in his breakfast smoothie (the kids LOVE it).

In other old people news, we did 2 small projects at home this weekend.  First, we finally put something on the walls in our upstairs hallway, which has been sadly blank since July:
It was fun going through a billion pictures to find the 15 we wanted to frame. Now we just need stuff for the other side of the hallway, the entry way, and oh, EVERY WALL in our bedroom. Baby steps.

We also moved all the furniture around in the family room:

I am not nuts about this set up, but it does leave more room for this:
He can't wait to join in
Speaking of old lady, I am going to retire to the couch now to drink lactation tea and watch The West Wing. And also eat the most gigantic piece of carrot cake ever (why isn't that baby weight pouring off?)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Notes from the end of break

I've spent the last week feeling like a total failure because I swore to god my milk was drying up.  But now-- a day when Cooper has been been asleep more than he has been awake after he ate every 45 minutes yesterday-- I think maybe he's just been having a growth spurt.  Hmmm.  I thought that happened at 3 months, not 4.  But still, he looks large.


Sometimes I feel like a total breastfeeding rookie even though this is the third one. It just seems like a long time before he can eat solids (2 more months), and he HATES bottles, so Ben is going to have to meet me outside my classroom twice a week. It would be helpful if he could eat some cereal and purees instead. I am totally committed to exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months, though, so that stuff will have to wait. And believe me, I don't want to rush his babyhood. Harry and Jack, though, took the occasional bottle, but this kid absolutely HATES them-- he drank one for a babysitter once when I went to a meeting. Ben has limited success and a cranky baby on his hands. When I experience an issue with my milk (or when a growth spurt makes me THINK there's an issue), I kind of panic because the breast is the ONLY thing he wants. Gah
.

I was just crazy enough to let the kiddos play play-doh this morning.  Harry was able to clean it up all by himself, and I gave the vinyl a quick vacuum, and it was SO EASY!  I love our playroom.

Then we went to the park because it was a freakish 40 degrees. everyone had fun, and Cooper fell asleep for the third time today, a mere 40 minutes after waking up from his second nap. He's stretched his feedings out to like 3 hours apart today, too. So confusing. I can see why people freak and think they don;t have enough milk and wean early. Because I was so almost there the other day, and I have done this before. Successfully, even. I think I'd like to stop pumping because it is driving me batshit crazy. I aim for an extra 3 ounces a day and have quite the stash in my freezer, but I have been breaking into it because I thought my milk was drying up, so I have probably wasted 30 ounces over the past week (because he.won't.drink.it).

Okay. This is turning into a really boring rant about ounces of breast milk.  How about a few pictures from the park, huh?

OMG. Got to go break up a violent kerfuffle about whose Bat Cave is bigger (Freudian, huh, on a couple of levels?). School is back in session (for them and for Ben but not for me) next week-- phew!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Resolved

Ben claims he bought most of my Christmas presents on Amazon.

When he was drunk.

He got me great stuff, so I didn't believe him until I opened this planner:
It's a Pac Man Moleskine planner. WTH? But I love it-- I love a new planner, a new year spread out all clean and boxy.

Even though I use Google Calendar for pretty much everything, I've opened up a new pack of pens to scrawl in some dates in my Pac Man (seriously, WTH?) planner, too-- you know, when I teach, meetings, Jack's Little Gym class-- IMPORTANT stuff.

All this planning, of course, makes me think of resolutions. As always, I have a few.

1. Cut out commercial baked goods. If we are going to have desserts (and we ARE), they're going to be homemade. Thanks to a bread machine I got for Christmas from Ben's parents, I am also going to bake my own bread. But Sarah, you say, aren't you supposed to be writing a book and teaching and directing a course, too? Well, um, yeah. So, if I can't always make everything from scratch, I will be sure to spend the extra cash to buy it from a local bakery-- it'll still be from scratch, just not my scratch.

2. Follow the 5-ingredients-or-less rule more stringently when it comes to food I am buying at the store. Except for instant oatmeal packets and Annie's bunny crackers and Z-bars. Can't live without and at least they're all organic?

3. Make sure I eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies everyday.

4. Publish 2 essays in academic journals.

5. Get rid of this fat donut around my middle.

6. Finish Cooper's baby book, keep my blogs up-to-date, and carve out time for fiction writing everyday.

7. For every book I read on my iPad, read a real book, too.

What about you?

Monday, January 02, 2012

iPhone dump to ring in the new year

We've been having the laziest break.  

Lots of eating out to avoid cooking.  Here's Cooper traveling incognito to our favorite Mexican place.
Harry and Jack loved Hanukkah-- we wrapped all of their presents and put them under the upstairs tree, so they could check them out and decide which one they wanted to open each night. Unfortunately, they got the exact same gifts, so on nights they picked different packages, they ruined the surprise for each other. Next year, I'll buy different stuff.
They picked out gifts for each other and warmly embraced after opening them on Christmas morning.
Last year, Jack could not open his gifts without help. This year he was an expert.
Ben loved the tie the kids got him.
Ben's parents got the kids a bounce house. They LOVE it.
Cooper is ginormous
Jack enjoyed a day of chocolate chip pancakes
Cooper can grab stuff on purpose, but he can't always let go. The other day at Noodles, he grabbed my chicken, which was warm, and even though he was bothered by the heat, it was like the chicken was glued to his fist
We made Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls for New Year's Day breakfast, and they were AMAZING. Amazing. I ate three and have sworn off them. We sent some home with my brother and some with my parents and Ben and Jack are taking care of the rest.
My parents in their NYE party gear. They came for the big night and for a late Hanukkah celebration (the kids got iPod Touches, and they LOVE them).
Ben made an amazing dinner: shrimp cocktails, NY strip steaks and king crab legs, a delicious salad, sesame garlic green beans.
I made a loaf of bread and a chocolate cake. We had lots of wine, champagne, and sparkling grape juice.
Harry loves a celebration
So glad I bought baby new year a Gwen Stefani for Target tux-- NYE is fancy
Tummy time
From this morning
And there you have it- you're up to speed.