Friday, January 2, 2009

Mommy Guilt and More Nursing Notes

Hello to Jess! So glad you decided to comment. I stole a few minutes to read a few of your posts. I love your blog!

In response to your kind comment let me just say that I don't feel any pressure at all to breastfeed. My main reason for wanting it to work so badly is that I simply love nursing. I'm not relaxed by nature, so maybe that is why I feel I need that skin-nursing time with my babies? It releases natural relaxation hormones in both mother and baby. I just feel so good about it, and I know if it doesn't work out I will have regret and sadness for a long, long time.

I am fortunate that the pump works for me, but it still doesn't drain the breasts as well as baby; I end up with frequent clogged ducts. Plus, the pump rental is $40/mo, which is no small change to us. And God knows I don't have any extra minutes right now, so keeping up with the pumping for two years would be extremely difficult. Could a pump even guarantee a good supply for two years? I don't know.

Anna Grace nursed three times in a row on Wednesday; I was almost ready to do the victory dance. Then she didn't nurse for the next two feedings. The following day she only nursed twice, and today she got on the left side twice in a row. Our main problem right now is not the nursing or pumping so much. Rather, it's the incredibly long time it can take her to eat. It takes up all of my time, not matter whether it is the tube feeding or the breast. I felt like crying yesterday because it took her three hours to finish two ounces. I took breaks, but it still meant I could do little else, and the other kids definitely felt neglected and Don felt overwhelmed by having to do everything else.

I called the pediatrician today and asked him about the long, drawn out feedings. He was sympathetic and said to keep the feedings to twenty or thirty minutes, trying again when she seems hungry. He said it will improve with time and that at this point it didn't indicate any problem. Her pattern is to take five to ten sucks at a time, then rest. Her eyes are often closed for most of the feedings, except initially.

She is gaining fat and having more than enough wet and soiled diapers; in fact, she's a constant pooper, going before, during and after her feedings. We're spending a fortune on wipes, which I recall happening with Emily initially also. After a couple of months I'm sure the frequency will improve. Daniel, at two to three months old, often went a couple weeks without pooping, since breast milk is processed so completely by their bodies. His pediatrician said the record for their office was three weeks (of no poops) for a breastfed baby. Can't wait for that!

I am feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility of making each child feel loved and special. A large family, I'm realizing, definitely comes with many challenges and more parental guilt. Mrs. Duggar just had her eighteenth child! I would sure love to pick her brain. In larger families it seems as though the children benefit from the sibling relationships and the joy and fun inherent in a bigger familial unit, but definitely each child, especially the later-born ones, miss out on a really close relationship with parents. It is a trade off and one I will have to come to accept, while still doing my best to have special one-on-one time with each child. Many of the rewards will come later, when everyone can pour their own drinks and wipe their own bottoms.

I felt some pressure from a few relatives and one church member not to isolate my older three kids, in order to prevent them from bringing home colds or other illness to Anna Grace. My initial plan was for us to hibernate for a month to keep Anna well. I am now so sorry I decided to let the kids go to church last week! Emily came down with a bad cold on Wednesday; the church nursery was the only place she had been. Now we all have it and I'm fearful of Anna coming down with it. It could very likely be an RSV-related cold virus. They used to cause the croup in Daniel and this morning I noticed his familiar barking cough appearing. He doesn't get the stridor anymore (grew out of it), only the characteristic cough. There are several cold viruses that cause RSV, and they are all nasty, although not dangerous for most children. Preemies can be in danger from them or any child with a compromised immune system. But it is never good to get something so nasty at less than a month old. We're praying and washing our hands like fiends.

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