Tag Archives: nursing

Breastmilk Isn’t Always Best

Breast milk may be best, but it may not be the best for you or your baby.

You know the old saying, “Breastmilk is best?” I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that nutritionally it really is the best–the immunities that breast milk provides is far superior to formula. Plus, it’s completely free. However, sometimes it’s not necessarily best for the baby or the mother or the family.

Yes, breast milk is the best nutrition for a baby. But, it may not be the best circumstantially.

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I was able to nurse Rhys for four months. Many say that is a huge success. Sometimes, to me, it still feels like a failure. I try not to let the mom guilt get to me. Yes, I wasn’t producing enough due to stress and other factors. Yes, Rhys wasn’t growing as much as he could. Yes, it was causing such horrendous anxiety between both Rhys and I. And yes, he immediately had a big growth spurt as soon as I switched him over to formula. But, the fact still remained that I wasn’t able to provide him with enough breast milk. The fact that my body failed to work properly the way I wanted it bugged me.

Plus, it was very painful. Even before I gave birth to Rhys, my OB had prescribed a specific behind-the-counter cream for me to use to help soothe the pain. The lactation specialists at the hospital all felt terrible seeing the bruising I had because of Rhys’s poor latching. All four months, I had to use a shield to help ease the pain, but it never went away fully.

This time round, I was excited to nurse again. I was sure it would be much better–I wasn’t teaching, I was on anxiety medication, I knew what I was doing. My goal was 4 months.

I lasted four days.

Evelyn was not tongue tied. The lactation specialists all commented how well she latched. Yet, I still bruised, I still broke, I still bled. The pain of the initial latch was excruciating. My whole body would tense up and tighten. I would need something in my mouth to chew on to distract me from the pain. It didn’t help that Evelyn had a very powerful suck and was nursing every 1.5-2.5 hours, never giving me any time to heal. I started to dread feedings, especially at night. I’d start crying and panting during the initial latch.

I wanted to wait it out. Everyone says to try 2 weeks and typically it gets better.

Typically.

I knew from experience that wasn’t 100% the case. But, I tried. My goal then wasn’t four months; it was two weeks. Surely, I could last that long.

Nope.

Dealing with a 2.5 year old trying to get used to a new family member, the pain, the demands of a newborn, and my postpartum hormones was just too much for me. I wanted to give up. I wanted to be done with the pain. I wanted to not dread feeding.

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But, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted that intimacy that comes from nursing. I wanted that joy of knowing I could do what other mothers could do. I wanted to have the privilege of being able to boast that I nursed my baby until her 1st birthday. And, I didn’t want to pay for all that formula–it’s expensive!

And, then came the mom guilt. Not only was I dealing with postpartum hormones, but I was also experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety (which I knew I was prone to). I wasn’t enjoying motherhood.

After having some heart-to-hearts with my mom (who had nursed us all for different lengths of time and fed us all formula and is super sensitive like me), discussing it with Justin, and getting advice from my pediatrician, I finally decided to stop nursing Evelyn.

I felt peace about that decision. It would alleviate a ton of pain and stress for me, which would help the overall atmosphere of my home and family. And, it would allow others to bond with Evelyn by feeding her.

Almost immediately, both my mom and Justin commented on how my entire countenance changed. I was more relieved, more calm, more relaxed. True, I had to endure the engorgement pain as I let my milk dry up. But, I was happier.

Formula helped Rhys catch up on the growth chart after four months of nursing. Formula is bringing peace to our home with Evelyn and relieving me of daily pain.

There are times I miss nursing, especially because formula is a bit rough on Evelyn’s digestive system, but I know this is the right decision for our family.

As my OB and mom have both told me: “Breast can be best. But happy baby and mother is best.”

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Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

How My 4-Month Old Made His Own Decision to Stop Nursing

If you remember, on Wednesday with Rhys’s 4 Month Update, I noted that I had stopped nursing Halloween weekend. Sadly, it wasn’t my choice…it was Rhys’s.

I had always wanted to nurse. It wasn’t because Rhys would give immunities (that was a plus, though). It wasn’t because it was the cheaper way (although that really helped us). It wasn’t because it is the “all-natural experience” like natural birthing and attachment-baby-led parenting, and baby wearing (although those parents who do all that, good for them).

No. It was because I wanted to. I was becoming a mother, and to me, that is the epitome of motherhood. I mean, how much closer can you be when your child needs you and your body produces exactly what they need? The bond is just so strong. I can’t even explain it. It felt like Rhys and I were one and the same. The love that exuded during those nursing sessions was the exact same love I felt for Justin on the day we were sealed for all time and eternity.

While I was pregnant, I remember hearing and reading all these horror stories about cracking and bleeding and bruising the first few weeks. My obstetrician even gave me a prescription for a cream. He said, “You have red hair, and red head’s skin tend to be more sensitive.” I know it would hurt the first few weeks, and that is why many women give up in the first few weeks.

The first week or so, Rhys did have trouble with latching, and I was pretty banged up. However, although I was very sore for the first few minutes, I loved every single time I could nurse him. And, I felt proud of myself. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to endure. And, I don’t even like using the word endure, because I feel that is too strong.

Since I started teaching a month and half after I gave birth to Rhys, he has been taking one bottle a day of pumped milk. Well, Rhys got sick at 2.5 months old. He had a really bad sore throat, and nursing was extraordinarily hard for him. One day, he tried to nurse for less than 5 minutes, then just screamed and screamed and screamed. So, my mom came and helped me. We warmed up some of my frozen milk, but I didn’t have much of a supply. So, after we fed him, we went to go get some formula to help him through the weekend with his sore throat.

After a lot of milk or formula bottles that weekend, Rhys was kind of finicky nursing. Some days he’d be willing to nurse. Other times, he’d want the immediate satisfaction of the bottle. My supply started to decrease. So, I went off birth control, took fenugreek pills, and tried pumping more. I’d try to make Rhys nurse, but as he got more aware and distracted and liking the instant ease of the bottle, he’d always push away from me, take a suck, then detach, or just scream until I stopped forcing him. At about 3 months, he wouldn’t even dare nursing right before bed–he’d only take a bottle. So, I pumped and pumped at home and at work, in the morning, noon, and night. But, what I was able to pump was less and less, which I didn’t understand as I knew I had more of a supply.

Then, at about 3.5 months, Rhys was taking half of his feedings from a bottle (only the afternoon feeding would be my milk, taken from about 4-5 pumping sessions to get 4 oz!!). Well, Halloween weekend came along and we went up to Farmington to house sit. I brought my pump and some formula, preparing for more fights. During that 3 day weekend, Rhys was only willing to nurse once or twice!

So, Sunday evening, after crying to Justin, we decided to give up on nursing. It was such a hard decision. I had done everything I could to keep up my supply, and it had increased a little. I had tried different positions, I had tried switch-feeding. But Rhys wouldn’t have it. I felt like a failure. I felt like he was personally refusing me. Now, I know that wasn’t the truth in the least, but imagine how you would feel if you spent all the time and effort in the world to provide someone you love with something they need, and they refuse it! But, Rhys didn’t want to. And, with everything in parenthood, we wanted to do what was best for Rhys. He made his first decision about his lifestyle. He was done nursing, and there was nothing I could do about it.

I am still trying to 100% come to grips and accept this choice, but there is still part of me that wishes Rhys would be willing to nurse. I understand that there was an unavoidable habit formed due to sickness and being at a babysitter’s (and my stress level probably didn’t help), but I yearn to nurse him again. I know he got the right start–almost 4 months worth of nursing–and I know he is on the right track with milestones (except his weight gain is problematic, but that is another post). And, I do enjoy watching him try to hold the bottle on his own and reach for it as soon as he sees it.

The two lessons learned:
1) Doing what is best for your baby may be doing what they want and not what you want.
2) You can fill the trough and lead the horse to the water, but you can’t force him to drink.

Did you nurse, and if so, for how long?
When did you know it was time to move to bottles only?


Check out this astounding-looking girl!
justjacq
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Rhys is Four Months Old!

Dear Rhys Michael,
It seems like just last week I was writing your three month update! Boy does the time fly when you are having fun being a mom!

You had another illness. Momma got sick a few weeks ago–either a sinus infection or a cold. Then, a few days later, you caught it. You had quite the stuffy, and sometimes runny, nose. You also were wheezing quite a bit. But, we caught on quick. We made sure you had plenty of fluids, you were wrapped up nice and warm all the time, gave you doses of baby Tylenol, and you had a humidifier on for all your naps and bedtime. However, one day, you almost lost your voice and were very fussy and clingy. So, Momma took you back to the pediatrician. They were astounded with how you were able to hold your head up so well and the other milestones you had reached. They were a little worried about your weight gain…since the last time we were there (almost 3 months), you had only gained .2 pounds! But, they said you had an upper respiratory viral infection and were powering through it like a champ! A few days later, you were your normal self. Thankfully, your bedtime sleep wasn’t affected very much (Momma’s, however, was because of her cold!).

Weight: 12.6 lbs (3 months: 12.2 lbs)
Height: 24.75 inches (3 months: 24 inches)
Nicknames: Bucky, little stinker

Eating
You have been nursing less and less. Either you are distracted (no matter where Momma feeds you and no matter what position!), or you are hangry and don’t want to work for the milk. Most of the time, it’s a screaming fit and a fight for you if I try to make you nurse. So, more and more, we have been giving you bottles. Momma tries to pump for every nursing that you refuse, and has taken fenugreek pills a few weeks and tried not to use birth control (as it stunts milk production), but it’s been hard to keep up with pumping demand. This past weekend, out of 3 days’ worth of feedings, you only wanted to nurse once! So, Momma made the hard decision of deciding to just stick with formula, and try to nurse you only when you first wake up in the morning (if you are willing), until her supply is depleted.

You have become very aware of food! You want to hold your own bottle, and can mostly do it for a little bit at a time. You also see Momma’s water bottles and try to reach for them. You watch Momma and Daddy eat their meals and sometimes try to reach for it. You’ve had licks of popsicles and have gone crazy with excitement over the flavor. You also tried your first rice cereal this week and loved it, although you weren’t really sure on how to use your mouth to eat it.

Sleeping
Daytime: You are sleeping less during the day. Around 8:15 AM you will sleep until about 9-9:30AM. Sometimes you will fall asleep on our way to your babysitter’s, around 11, but really, it’s anywhere between 11-12. This is typically your longest nap, and you’ll sleep until 1:30-2, then your babysitter will feed you. Then, you typically get a 30-45 minute nap around 2:30 before all her kids come home from school. Then, when Momma picks you up, you sleep on the ride home from about 3:40-4:20. We try to keep you from sleeping more than an hour at 5:30, as we have moved your bedtime routine down to start at 7:15. About half the time you’ll sleep in your crib, and half the time you’ll sleep in Momma’s bed.

Nighttime: We start your bedtime routine at 7:15. We give you a bath, lotion you up, pj’s, story time, swaddle and last minute cuddles with Daddy, then a bottle. Momma will rock you for less than 5 minutes after you finish the bottle and put you in your crib, with your lovey next to you and a fan blowing on high in the opposite corner. Recently, Momma’s been putting you in your crib with your eyes partially open, and you’ll finish putting yourself to sleep. If you get fussy between then and 10:30, Momma and Daddy use the 5 minute pause before going up to give you back your pacy. Most of the time, you fall back asleep on your own. When Momma and Daddy go to bed, we give a big bottle of milk to try and hold you over. You typically sleep until between 3-5AM. You don’t need to be fed anymore in the middle of the night! We try to give you your pacy, and sometimes you’ll fall back asleep, but most of the time, we have to resort to bringing you into bed with us. Since Daddy has started his 7AM job, sometimes you’ll wake up in our bed between 6-6:30. Momma will try to get you to go back to sleep, but she isn’t always successful. However, the past week or so, you’ve been waking up about 3 times a night again (for less than 5 minutes each if we give you your pacy again), and Momma and Grandma think you are having a sleep regression.

Relationships
You love your Momma and Daddy. You’ve definitely started to show some signs of being a Momma’s boy, but you also love to follow your Daddy around with your eyes. You always get excited if I mention going to Grandma’s house. We’re pretty sure you recognize her name, as well as your babysitter’s. You are a very talkative, social boy. You’ll jabber and jabber and jabber. You’ll even jabber with your toys or to yourself. You’ve also discovered yourself in the mirror and smile, then try to grab your reflection.

Milestones
Milestones hit at 3 months:
– Inchworming
– Focusing and finding objects and noises
– Smiling during conversations
– Trying to grab a toy
– Grabbing your feet
– Holding your hands together

Tummy Time: You are inch worming across the floor! You can scoot like an inchworm towards a toy. You always grunt as you do it, and love to do it. But, you have a really hard time changing your direction. So, if you run into the couch, you’ll keep trying to go through the couch! Sometimes, you’ll get frustrated and forget that you can just roll over onto your back. You are also trying really hard to roll onto your stomach from your back. Yesterday, you were finally successful and did it about 4 times! Then, in your sleep last night, still swaddled, you rolled over onto your stomach and spat-up. You couldn’t move because of the swaddling and you freaked out a lot. Poor boy.

Focusing and Tracking: If you see a toy you want while on your stomach, you’ll head for it. You can grab a toy and pull it to you. You have been practicing a lot with your pacy. Momma will hold your pacy out, and you’ll grab the sides and try to put it in your mouth. About 80% of the time, you are successful. The rest, you either get the sides or the back into your mouth. You also like to take your pacy out of the your mouth! We’ve also started to read to you, and you look at the pictures and try to touch some of them. We want to get you a few texture books for that very purpose! You are very interested in the faucet of the sink we give you baths in. You are always trying to grab at it. We just hope you don’t accidentally pull either handle and shock yourself with hot or cold water.

Arms and Legs: You are practicing using your fingers more and more to grab things. Your legs and feet are some of your favorite toys, and as such, you have a few cuts and scratches on them now. You love to have Momma and Daddy help you stand up. You also love to have them help you sit up.

Other Experiences
You had your first trunk-or-treat. You were so interested in watching everyone pass and you sat so calmly in your seat in the trunk.

When Momma and you were both sick and stuffed up, Momma decided to bring you into a steamy shower with her (the water wasn’t piping hot). You thought the feeling of the water hitting different parts of your body was so interesting. You didn’t even mind it hitting your head and running down your face! It was so cute when you tried to grab at the falling water.

You’ve finally discovered Grandma’s puppies! They love you and always are so excited to sniff you and lick you all over. But now, you are tracking them as they move around. You lick your lips after they lick you. You even try to grab at them and sometimes can get a fistfull of fur. One time, you even accidentally grabbed Tucker’s privates. His eyes opened wide and he ran away. But then, he came back and licked you as if to say, “It’s ok, I’m not mad. I still love you and forgive you.”

Personality:
You are definitely a cuddler, and a Momma’s boy. But, you are getting more complacent about playing with yourself. You are such an explorer. You love to scoot around and want to grab at everything, especially if Momma is holding it! You are also very independent–you want to hold your own bottle, you want to hold your own toy, you don’t want to cuddle sometimes because you’d prefer to look around.

Likes:
– eating new foods
– your pacy
– your toys
– bathtime
– showers
– cuddling with Momma before dawn
– talking
– peek a boo
– The Itsy Bitsy Spider
– when Momma sings to you

Dislikes:
– going down for naps
– nursing
– loud noises
– being burped in the middle of a feeding
– when we are out of your sight

We are astounded at how much you’ve learned and discovered this month. Momma would be a bit more worried about your weight gain, but seeing how alert you are and how many milestones you’ve hit early relieves some of that fear. Grandma believes you will be walking by 10 months and Aunt Rachel (a lactation specialist) thinks it’ll happen by 7 months! Holy cow! We shall see! you still need to perfect rolling onto your stomach, crawl, and sit! We are excited to keep feeding you rice cereal and introduce new foods to you as well!

You are such a smart boy and Momma and Daddy love you to the depths of our hearts and souls!

Love, Momma and Daddy

Check out this astounding-looking girl!
justjacq
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

My Thoughts on BabyWise, Scheduling, and Sleep-Training

I’m the type of person who over analyzes situations and worries that I’m not doing the right thing. I’ve had many insecurities about being a good mom and raising Rhys well enough. I guess I had high expectations since he was my first and I was first and hit every milestone early and was always an excellent student and a very active child. I want that for Rhys, as well.
Ever since Rhys was born 5 weeks ago, I’ve been going back and forth as to how I want to manage his eating, sleeping, and wake times. I read numerous articles, numerous forums, What to Expect The First Year, and BabyWise; asked my mom and my friends who have babies for their experiences; and asked my aunt (who is a nurse that works with babies) and my SIL (a lactation specialist) for their advice.
At first, I noticed that by around 2 weeks old, Rhys had sort of developed his own eating pattern: 7AM, 10AM, 1PM, 4PM, 7PM, 10PM, 1AM, 4AM (give or take). So, I started to follow that very strictly the next week. I’d even wake Rhys to keep to this schedule during the day (I know, I’m terrible). But, Rhys’s spit up amount hadn’t decreased–he spits up at least once right after a feeding, and often he’ll spit up within an hour of eating. So, I decided to take some advice and try just to do feed on demand–it was pretty similar, but with larger gaps (such as feeding at 4:45, rather than 4, but I never let him go more than 3.5 hours without feeding). Well, that didn’t change the amount of poopy diapers or spit up, which means, it worked just as well as his pattern.

A few friends mentioned how young their babies slept through the night (5 hours minimum) and mentioned BabyWise. So, I read it through. I also noticed a huge negative attitude towards it online, many saying it’s a terrible book because it advocates crying it out and “starving your baby” to sleep-train them, as well as the whole thing not being supported by medical journals. But, as I read it, I liked it.
The most appealing thing to me was the fact that their example schedule for a baby of Rhys’s age was the same pattern that Rhys had developed on his own. Also, I didn’t find that it was trying to get parents to follow a strict schedule or starve their babies at night. On page 87, it specifically says, “But what are parents supposed to manage? The short answer is the continually evolving, changing, and growing needs of their baby.” They also mention to feed you baby when he is hungry, always. And they mention that when your baby is going through a growth spurt, he’ll eat more; and when you are traveling, or there is some disruption, that is ok, too! To me, BabyWise had some great principles for setting up a flexible schedule. And that’s what I’m doing, a flexible schedule, following Rhys’s cues, but sometimes intervening. I don’t want him going more than 4 hours without eating and I make sure he has at least 8 feedings in a 24 hour period.

One of the biggest pieces of advice I am following from BabyWise is the schedule of Eat-Wake-Sleep. As soon as Rhys wakes up from his naps, I feed him. Then, I try to keep him upright for a while because of his reflux. Then, we play. Sometimes I play with him, which includes tummy time and other skill training, and sometimes, he has independent play time. When Rhys has been awake for at least 50 minutes, he starts to get tired, so I put him in his bassinet and put a blanket on him so he can fall asleep. For the most part, he is very good about falling asleep on his own. Sometimes, it take 5 minutes for him to drift off. Sometimes, it takes upwards of 20 minutes. But, he’s always calm (for the most part). If not, I give him a pacy and caress his head for a bit, then he’ll start to drift off.

Rhys still hasn’t slept through the night. The longest has been 10:30-2:30, then 3:00-6:45, and that has only happened a few nights. Most nights, he wakes up between 1-2 and then 4-5. He typically wakes up by 6:30, but Justin and I aren’t ready to wake up then, so I make sure his pacy is in, pick him up, and put him in bed with us until 7. Sometimes, he won’t even fall back asleep after his 4-5AM feeding, due to fussiness, so I’ll put him in bed with us then, too. And it works wonders! Cuddled up to his momma and daddy, he falls right back asleep. (I’ll sometimes put him in bed withe me during naps to help him sleep, too, so I guess you can say I’m a part-time co-sleeping follower.) 





BabyWise does say that by 5 weeks, he should have merged his two night-time feedings. And by 6 weeks, he should be sleeping 6 hours a night, if I have a consistent Eat-Wake-Sleep schedule with at least 7 feedings during the day. Well, I do, and he hasn’t. A few of my friends babies, (a week older and week younger) are consistently sleeping through the night already! I started to get a little jealous. But, again, BabyWise states on page 161, “Do not worry that your baby is not following the plan exactly like the book describes. no baby can.” And I’m just thankful that Rhys doesn’t wake up at night with loud screams. He’s too good of a boy for that. I wake up to fussiness and grunts, because as a new mom, I’m a light sleeper. But, sometimes, it still takes strength not to compare Rhys to other babies. He’ll sleep through when he’s able. What to Expect The First Year does suggest that once babies hit the “magic weight” of 11 lbs, they’ll begin to sleep longer. Well, Rhys has about one pound more.
Again, I do a flexible schedule with Rhys, but with my Type A, anxiety/worry-prone personality, and being a first-time mom with huge curiosity, I bought an app called Baby Log. It’s only $4.99, and totally worth it. It tracks Rhys’s age, weight, lenght, and head circumference, as well as his vaccinations. It also keeps track of his feedings and how long they are, his naps, and his diaper changes. There is also an option for play time, bath time, and poo (I think that’s for potty training), but I don’t use those 3. 

As you can see, for the most part, Rhys has a pretty consistent schedule with some variation due to running errands, extra long naps, growth spurts, etc. With this app, and reading BabyWise, and taking advice from my aunt, SIL, and mom, I’m beginning to feel a little more confident with being a mother and managing Rhys’s growth. I’m sure I’ll never feel 100% confident raising a child, but I’m more confident that I’ve been since he was born!
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.