YOU GUYS. I am absolutely floored at the incredibly kind, thoughtful, and insightful comments left on Monday’s post. I read each and every one of them and still want to respond individually. I feel so much better, and in part it is thanks to reading your words. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to do that for me. As silly as it sounds, it can be annoying and inconvenient to comment on a blog and yet so many of you took that time. I will try to pay it forward, in whatever ways I can!
THANK YOU and more thoughtsFebruary 28, 2018
Here are some of the conclusions/realizations that I have had over the past 1.5 days. In no particular order . . .
From a philosophical standpoint . . .
1) From Irene’s comment: “My only thought for you is that we have learned from my very perfectionist daughter that we need to praise effort where we see it, not the result. The thinking is that you can control what you put in to something but not necessarily what comes out.” YES. Wow. That was powerful. In this particular area, I have so little control on what the result is, and I need to be kind to myself about it.
2) In the end when you fast-forward, it is not going to be the end of the world if our nursing relationship ends earlier than I want it to in an ideal world. We don’t LIVE in an ideal world, after all. She is going to be okay. I may be emotional about this issue, but on the spectrum of real problems, it’s not really even on the map. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try my best, but keeping perspective is very important. (I realized this already, but you helped reinforce it!).
From a practical standpoint . . .
1) This is not something that is ‘wrong’ with me, but may be a perfectly normal developmental phase for G. Perhaps this is/was her way of getting my supply to increase — after all, demand is what drives milk production in the first place. It was so helpful and reassuring to know that many of you went through something similar at her age!!
2) Sleep may have been an issue. The past 2 days I was much more careful about encouraging good naps and — probably more importantly — put her to bed closer to 7 (was previously doing it AFTER the big kids were in bed; this meant moving it to before). She really had almost no evening fussiness either night! Yes, she was up earlier to eat (midnight Monday night, and 9:45pm for a random feeding last night) but nothing unbearable.
3) I might be trying to do too much. (This is not going to improve when I start back at work, but there it is). Our weekend was jam packed and I didn’t have much time at home to feed her in a relaxed setting. I need to design my days when I am with her (weekends, my day per week of being off) to at least have some portion at home with her just chilling out and having leisurely nursing sessions.
4) There are a number of supplements/foods to try: oatmeal with flax or brewer’s yeast (already doing the oatmeal, but hadn’t tried those add-ins), dark beer, mother’s milk tea, Legendairy Milk supplements, More Milk Plus, and (maybe) domperidone down the line if needed.
5) It might make sense to find a lactation consultant to work with down the line, just for that extra layer of support/advice. (Although I have been incredibly lucky to have one reader/listener who is a certified LC email me with incredibly thorough advice and support! Thank you J!).
Right now, I’m just going to take it one day at a time, and — particularly when I go back to work — decide on a baseline of effort I am willing/able to put in, and then just see what plays out. I feel so much better now — in part because G has been much better, but also because I feel like I have a way forward.
AND NOW, to deal with the last 3 days of maternity leave. In addition to nursing plenty, I am going to:
– get my wardrobe ready (will take some pix for my promised superficial back-to-work post)
– go shopping for makeup (will be my one activity today!)
– visit my office to drop off my mini fridge / pump / say hi to everyone (with G) so that Monday can go more smoothly
– read, relax, and enjoy as much as possible
I also will be sending out the 3 invitations for the planning makeover TODAY. I had to upgrade to the professional survey monkey because there were well over 100 responses, so I am now planning on doing at least 2 rounds! But I don’t want to overwhelm myself so I’m starting with 3 🙂
perspective. I am so lucky to have these 3 healthy ones.
Yes you’re lucky and you’ve worked diligently.
It’s evident in that beautiful healthy chubby baby you’ve built partly with good nutrition and exercise before and during your pregnancy as well as the milk you’ve fed her. You’re doing great!
It’s also normal to be anxious sometimes about something so important.
I love your posts! It sounds like you’ve approached your last weeks of maternity leave and your return to work so thoughtfully. Sending lots of good vibes to you this week and next!
I’m new, via your podcast, which I love. Others may have brought this up: When someone gave a bottle to my BF babies, we made sure the bottles had the slowest flow nipples. Then, it wasn’t easier for them vs. the breast. I had my supply issues around 6 months due to growth spurts and distracted babies. Also, if I thought about exercise, my supply would go down. My two were very different eaters and they are the same today. Also, my last was a cluster-feeder at night. He liked his milk fresh and would hardly eat at day care during the day. Good luck! Thank you for what you do!
I can remember being in the same boat. I was so frustrated and disappointed. One thing also, she is becoming more aware of her surroundings and with older siblings she is that much more distracted. She may not have taken as much during the day and especially with a growth spurt trying to increase your supply. By the time evening came she was tired and realized she was hungry. I can look back at my son’s as infants through the lens of many years (17 & 20) and link their early behavior to their personalities today. It is only in looking back that I understand. At the time though it is so hard.
She is adorable. Thanks for sharing.
Your story is very useful for all mothers. Mothers should be careful. Thank you for this story.
Glad to hear that thought resonated with you too! Wishing you such good luck and so much peace on this!
I’m following dojin
G. is seriously the cutest baby ever….omg!
When I was struggling with BF with my second, I think it was a nurse who said that even some BF will provide the baby with a healthy start. that some is better than none and to show ourselves some kindness. We do the best we can. I think you are doing an awesome job! All three of your kids look healthy and happy!
I’m glad you made those conclusions! I didn’t get a chance to read your post until Last night and just commented but I think you are right that it was developmental / growth spurt + distracted baby! I’ve found that I have to have some downtime at home with B on our weekends (which is so hard and I’m missing a lot of fun big kid things with G) to maintain our nursing relationship. It’s a short season but worth it! <3
Also I like your pants in that last picture!
I missed the chance to comment on your first post, but I just wanted to add my support. Sarah, you’re doing an awesome job. When I was having my first and stressing over everything, someone said to me, "If you’re worried about it, you’re already doing a great job– the type of parents who worry about what’s best for their kids are inherently the right kind of parent." It doesn’t have to be perfect or even ideal, just do your best and let the rest go.
Just catching up on reading/commenting (stupid URIs) and I’m so sorry you were hurting, and so happy you were able to reframe and feel better. I still have very very complicated feelings about nursing/not-nursing, and no amount of rational thinking will really change the deep down disappointment, but I can at least logically convince myself that its OK.
Hang in there! Breastfeeding has its highs and lows. I”ve dropped a freshly pumped bottle of milk on my office floor spilling it everywhere and then had to clean it and my tears before walking into a meeting. Or the week where every single bag of frozen milk leaked while thawing. Apparently I had a box of imperfect milk bags. But the moments of cradling in a dark room or the sweet faces looking up at me compensate for the lows. I”m done nursing now and not sure every moment was worth it. But it”s so personal and you know what”s best for you and G. Keep loving on your babies and know you are the best mother for all three of them. Try to laugh at the low points and keep doing what is best for you and your little ones. If there was one perfect way to mother, we would all do it that way.