These past few months with BBZ by my side have been another whirlwind adventure. The roller coaster ride that is my life. I've gotten lucky in the past with some things, but with this kid nothing is easy. Let me give you a run down of the events that have been his life so far.
Day 3: Home at last, but I notice a yellow-tint to the corner of his eyes. Jaundice. I had seen it before in cats and dogs and knew it could be serious if not addressed.
Week 1: After several trips back and forth to the hospital and the doctors office, BBZ does not need to be put under the UV lights to help with his jaundice. We continue to pump him full of liquids, either pumped from me or formula.
Week 3: Daddy leaves for Georgia leaving me with two boys and Pop-pop. My lazy baby and I have been to the lactation consultant several times to try and alleviate his issue of eating enough and latching on properly. I complain about "pins and needles" sharp pain in my breast, but the lactation consultant blames it on my milk supply coming in, the "letdown tingle", and his improper latching technique. (Remember this for later!)
Week 5: I am in such excruciating pain when BBZ latches on I begin to strictly pump my milk. My dear friend finally convinced me that this is NOT a "phase" in my breastfeeding dilemma, this could be a serious problem. I decide to call the doctor and get an appointment. The Nurse Practitioner believes that it could be mastitis, but I don't have a fever. She put me on the antibiotic anyway. I have an appointment with my OB the following week so things will get rechecked then. By the end of the week, from only pumping my milk, I start to lose my supply. The lactation consultant seems to think I need to bare through the pain and nurse him anyway to tell my body to continue to produce milk.
Week 6: Turns out its not mastitis, it's a raging yeast infection and guess what? BBZ has one too! Which could also be another reason for his slow eating habits (or he could be just a lazy baby). Which that in turn is probably why I got the yeast infection. For three weeks I complained about these symptoms and everyone, except my dear friends, thought it was "just a phase". We're both put on antibiotics which give BBZ the runs and horrible gas. Thankfully, I start to feel better and am able to "comfortably" nurse BBZ again and my supply begins to return.
Week 7: Still dealing with sleep issues with BBZ. By 5 weeks old, I was gloating about him sleeping 5 hours, but that is no more. He is awake every 3 hours even during the night. Thankfully, he goes right back to sleep, but if he doesn't get a full feeding he is awake only two hours later. This of course makes me very tired and irritable and unfortunately it's usually toward LMA or Pop-pop, who god love him is just trying to help, that I get short with.
Week 8: Feeling as though I am not producing enough milk to nourish my 13 pounder, I once again call in the help of my lactation consultant and OB. Lactation consultant recommended the herbal approach of Mother's Milk tea and Mother's Love elixir. I try both - COMBINED - and still no increase in supply. My OB prescribed a medication that could help.
Week 9: Still no increase in milk supply, so we continue to bottle feed him soy-based formula, because of his gassy problems, and I nurse him as much as I can. I continue to pump some times and feed him that later. Thank goodness my father is still here with me or else BBZ would have been a strictly formula fed baby way back in Week 4 after hubby and Gramma left.
Today (Week 13): Still dealing with sleep issues at night, getting BBZ to take a full feeding so he'll sleep more than 3 hours. Sometimes I'm lucky if he'll take the pacifier and go back to sleep. I'm so exhausted, sometimes we both fall asleep while I'm feeding him. Two hours later, I'll wake up with a baby fast asleep stretched out on my lap and with cold legs. I wrap him up and put him to bed. One hour later, he's awake again for another feeding.
To top everything off, I have another yeast infection. Fortunately, I was able to catch it before it got as bad as last time, but that means we both need to be on antibiotics again.
I continue to get frustrated because he's not sleeping more than 3 hours at a time, even if we play around with breastmilk and formula combination before bedtime. Or even alter his naptimes during the day. There may have been a handful of times since week 5 that he slept 4 or 5 hours during the first stretch of the night, but after that if he didn't get enough to eat and would be awake 2-3 hours later. Poor hubby just wanted to come home for Christmas and relax, but instead came home to BBZ and his nighttime issues.
When I first found out I was pregnant again, I told myself that I really wanted to breastfeed this last time. If I had stopped at week 3, I should have been fine with it - I mean my baby was able to get a head start with what I was able to give him - but my heart was telling me I wanted to do it longer. With the way finances are now and how expensive formula can be for a big baby, I wanted the good "free" stuff for my baby for as long as I could. I told myself that I wanted to make it to at least 3 months.
And now, I'm here. I've given my child the best head start as I possibly could for the last 13 weeks. I've made it through having a lazy eater, not one but two yeast infections, and I'm still going.
I am not a quitter.
I will keep going for as long as I can, both mentally and physically. If it were not for my father being here to help, I wouldn't think twice about stopping breastfeeding. I just wouldn't be able to handle it with a toddler and a newborn. Not to mention it's just tiresome - even without a toddler in tow.
More than likely, it won't last longer than March, with our move and everything that will be happening that month. But like my good friend told me, if I stop before March - it will be okay. If I stop next week - it will be okay. If I stop tomorrow - it will be okay.
My brain says she's right. I just need to tell my heart that too.