Feed Me!

The past couple of weeks Lilly has enjoyed feeding us – especially the cat! She also holds out a toy to share (wonder how long that will last 🙂 ). Check out the videos below:

Finger Foods

We started Lilly on finger foods this week.  She enjoys the rice puffs and will eat those but mostly plays with the rest of the foods we give her.  I thought feeding her solid foods was messy when we started with rice cereal but it’s a whole lot messier now!  So far she has tried small pieces of avocado, tofu, bananas, peaches, and bread.  Watch her in action:

Who needs sleep?

What’s so difficult about having a baby, anyway?  If you ask most people or read about it in a book, it is sleep deprivation.  Well, this has not been my experience.  Fortunately I was not working two months previous to Lilly’s birth, so if there’s any truth to banking hours of sleep I was off to a good start.  Most days we got 10+ hours of sleep.  Once Lilly’s birthday approached we knew these ’10-hours of sleep’ days would likely never (and I do mean never) return.

The first week with Lilly was indeed tough because she, like most newborns, was up most of the night.  Since I was recovering from surgery, Bill was her primary caretaker.  He would bring her to me when she was hungry and comfort her the rest of the time.  When we returned home we spent most of our energy that first week trying to get her to ‘sleep’ at night, and were successful.

Since then the ‘lack of sleep’ has not been much of an issue for me.  It’s definitely important to nap when you can during the first month, but never did I feel too exhausted to care for the baby or carry on with day-to-day tasks.  Instead, I have found feeding and lack of time to be most difficult.

I have written about feeding problems previously (see ‘Battle of the Breast’ below), and they continue to persist.  Nothing worrisome, as Lilly continues to gain weight and move up on the growth chart, but anywhere from three times a week to three times a day she can be extremely fussy when eating.  I never know if she is going to drink half an ounce or six ounces and have had to limit the amount of time spent breastfeeding and pump instead.

Time.  So you have a baby who needs your full attention almost the entire time she is awake.  But she naps 12-14 hours a day, right?  Right, but somehow during those 12-14 hours I still feel lucky if I have found time to take a shower.  Taking her anywhere takes twice as long as it used to and so much needs to happen during the day, from laundry, to dishes, pumping, eating, ordering diapers, calling the doctor, updating the blog :), etc.  Of course I usually finish the things on my ‘to do’ list just as she is waking up from her nap, which was an adjustment at first.  When the day winds down (which for me is around 7pm), I typically have gotten in about an hour of ‘me’ time and accomplished a multitude of tasks, feeling every day exhausted but like I truly accomplished something wonderful.

Battle of the Breast

My intention has always been to breastfeed Lilly for one full year.  Little did I know how difficult it would be.  Breastfeeding Lilly the day she was born was an overwhelmingly joyous experience.  That first week was a bit tough because, like anyone else starting out, Bill and I didn’t know if she was getting enough to eat, latching properly, etc., but lactation consultants at the hospital assured us that things were going very well.

Our pediatrician’s first home visit raised some concerns because Lilly had lost a little more than 10% of her body weight.  Because of this we scheduled another appointment for later in the week, at which she had only gained 1 oz. (should have gained 3-5).  The jumped-to explanation for her insufficient weight gain was a low milk supply, and the pediatrician asked us to supplement with formula while my supply increased.  I was devastated but determined to increase my supply.

Since that appointment we have been on an uphill battle with breastfeeding.  I have seen 3 lactation consultants and a La Leche League rep., rented a hospital-grade pump, weighed Lilly before and after every feed, pumped for 15 minutes after every feed, used a Supplemental Nursing System for 3 weeks, taken every herbal supplement available as well as a Rx medication (Reglan), eaten as much as possible, slept as much as possible, de-stressed as much as possible, and done everything in the book that one can do to increase their milk supply (needless to say I could not have done all of this if Bill was working).  While my supply has increased, I still am not able to produce enough to feed her on breast milk alone.  Ends up that the reason for the low supply is not biological but due to the way Lilly sucks.  She has a weak suck and definitely takes her time when eating!!!

I had been breast and bottle-feeding at each feed for about two weeks when Lilly seemed to catch an extreme case of nipple confusion.  Since I had to cut out one of the options and don’t have enough milk for her, I have been bottle feeding her during the day and am giving her as much pumped breast milk as I can.  I’m still doing both at night because she is half-asleep.

I was pretty distraught about this for quite some time in the beginning but have definitely come to terms with it.  It is impossible not to wake up each day with joy in my heart when I see the smile on my beautiful, healthy, happy girls’ face.  In the end, all that matters is that I am there for her 100% and making sure she is getting proper sleep and nutrition.  Hopefully when we have another child the breastfeeding will work out for both of us!