Friday, July 26, 2013

Feeding, Breast and Otherwise

I feel like if I had a third baby (not in the plan) I would really get this nursing / pumping thing down. I'm like the Goldilocks of breastfeeding - too much, too little - and I haven't quite gotten to the juussstt riigghhttt part.

With Ellen, I've come to the realization that I had a SERIOUS oversupply of milk. When you see how much milk was in my freezer, I think you would agree, but it didn't occur to me at the time how unusual it was. I started to wean her at 9 months, she was fully weaned at 10 months, and she still had breast milk through 12 months. Not exclusively, but most of her feedings each day were breast milk. Crazy. And, that was after I had purged about 600oz of milk shortly after I went back to work for lack of freezer space. That's all fine and good, except it also reflects the fact that I pumped every morning after I nursed her (literal time suck), and many times during the day if she didn't nurse well, and I leaked when she was due for a feeding almost every time for 9 months. No bueno.

So, with Georgia I was trying to reach a happy medium. I ordered 6 boxes of freezer storage bags before she was born and have barely cracked the second box. I have a little bit of milk in the freezer, but probably only a week's worth, and I find myself thawing some each week to make up the balance of her bottles and not putting any back. I think any time spent breastfeeding is worthwhile and I know 9 months is an accomplishment, but I have an unrealistic standard for myself based on the first go-round and I'm a little stressed about my supply.

I stopped pumping after the first morning feeding around the time I went back to work because I just couldn't make it fit with the morning (harried) routine. But, I think most breastfeeding moms will say that they can pump the most milk in the morning and sometimes relatively little late in the day. I would always pump if Erik gave her a bottle, but if that was the last feeding of the day, I wouldn't always pump an equivalent amount. So, it's kind of a vicious cycle of chasing your tail. I was pumping enough at work to make her bottles, but that has slowly tapered down (and probably accelerated when she was sick for 2 weeks and feeding poorly) and now I'm not. I know it's not a big deal to give her formula, but I would like to avoid the cost if I can. Also, if I'm being really honest, I'm just not ready to wean her. She isn't disinterested in nursing at this age like Ellen was. It's fast and easy. It burns calories! So, we'll see how much longer we can hang on ...

Finally, in reading about pumping and supply and such, I've come across a few things about the motor on your breast pump wearing out. I'm not sure what Medela would say, but I've seen a few posts from moms who exclusively pumped about their motor wearing down. Not that it would quit, but was just less effective. I didn't exclusively pump the first time, but sure pumped A LOT, and I wonder if that may be contributing? Too late for me to get another pump, but might be worth investigating for someone else and I think many insurance companies cover the cost of pumps under the Affordable Care Act.

So, moving on to solids. Again, unrealistic standards I set for myself. I've decided that part of the reason I cook most of the food for my babies is because that is one of the ways I show people I love them. I like to cook, and generally find it kind of relaxing, but also I think I'm good at it. Not gourmet and not an expert, but cooking doesn't scare me. I'm not the best mom at taking my kids on adventures or reading all day long or playing sports with them, but cooking I can handle.

That being said, I spent 6 hours in the kitchen last Saturday (Ellen was gone which is the only reason it was possible) cooking for Georgia and I wondered at the end of it What.The.Hell.I.Was.Doing. I used to make the argument that it was cheaper to make your own baby food and I think it can be if you are strategic, but for me it always involves a trip to Whole Foods (with some extra things thrown in the cart, OF COURSE) and then 1+ hours cooking. Maybe (maaayyybbee) I break even if compared to organic food pouches.

But, I like knowing exactly what goes in her mouth and I love that she eats it up. Seriously - this girl can EAT. Hasn't turned her nose up at a single thing! We are venturing into meat and chunkier textured foods and I still find that the recipes on Nurture Baby are some of my favorite. I made the pork with apples and sweet potatoes last weekend in the crockpot, and the chicken soup (minus pasta, stirred cooked brown rice in after I pulsed it up), and the turkey and white beans. For all the recipes I strained the solids out and pulsed in the Cuisinart until tiny chunks, but not smooth.  I figured out the easiest way to freeze it is to use a small ice cream scoop and freeze single scoops on a foil-lined baking sheet, then move to a plastic freezer bag. We are stocked for 1-2 months and maybe then she'll be on mostly finger foods. Phew.

Finally, on the feeding front, I've wised up and realized that baby puffs are just an expensive thing to sweep up from the floor. Georgia really wants to have some kind of food to eat while we have dinner, so puffs kept her happy, but I've switched to puffed brown rice from Whole Foods. It comes in a plastic bag in the cereal aisle and is about $2 and lasts forever. They have all kinds of puffed grains, but rice seemed about the right size to start with.

And, just a health note of sorts. In the midst of Georgia's two week respiratory junky awful-ness, she was found to have an ear infection and we started amoxicillin. About a week later I noticed she had a little rash on her back, which progressively worsened over about 5 days. It conveniently started the day she first had wheat (pasta) and was worse the next day when she had wheat again. So, I took all wheat out of her diet, stressed about a wheat allergy, and racked my brain about what she could possibly be eating that would make her rash worsen. I took all sorts of stuff out of her diet (I had really just been giving her anything and not keeping track of what/when) and it was super annoying. We've come to the conclusion that she has the relatively common amoxicillin-associated rash, which I guess isn't a true allergy. It just didn't occur to me that the medicine would be the culprit because the rash started about a week after we started the medicine, but I guess that is how it typically starts. Sooo ... if your kid starts a new medicine, maybe be more mindful of what they are eating and not starting any new foods to save yourself a lot of time Googling "nightshade family allergies".

1 comment:

McGinnis Family said...

Love it. Thank God the rash was not a wheat allergy - I bet you were so relieved. Hang in there with nursing - these last few months are the hardest I think. It's not as often - true, but we moms are just kind of over it. ;) I'm still nursing Kate and she's 10 months next week. She has never taken a bottle - so it's just me, 4 or 5 times a day. I'm so ready to be able to leave the house for more than a couple of hours!!!!!! :) I'm hoping to start weaning her to whole milk during the day around 11.5 months - so just about 7-8 weeks to go! Then by the time she's a year - she will be full weaned to whole milk in sippy cup. I waited too long with Molly and she wasn't totally done nursing until 14 months. You are such a good Mommy!