Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Packing on the ounces

When I get the full script I will ask how babies' birth weights and lengths are determined. As well as how mothers' milk supplies are, as well as breast milk fat content. For me, those few questions have been extensively thought about with every baby. 
  Size is somewhat determined by mother's health but some part isn't. My babes are average, 6 pounds 6 ounces to 7 pounds 15 ounces. I am not huge, but neither am a small, but my babies are average. I had a friend whose last babe was 10 pounds 15 ounces. The mom is super healthy, and smaller than me. Just interesting. Plus all my kids had small heads, which get proportionate as they grow, but start small. Thank heavens.
 Milk supply is once again a challenge, more so than ever before. I don't know what I did or didn't do, if anything, that made this go around so much less adequate in this department. Little Zach started off 7#12oz. Perfect. But by 2 weeks was only 7#10oz and at 1 month was 7#12oz and at 2 months (and this was after a month of nursing EVERY 2 hours during the day) he was only 8#12oz. Each of the other kids also dropped to the bottom 5-10 percentiles at some point, but it was usually at 4 or 6 months, not 1 month, and Zach was down to the 0.3 percentile at 2 months. Talk about stress and feelings of failure and inadequacy and all those other negative emotions. I have done almost everything that sounds reasonable and somewhat proven to help, More Milk special blend tincture (the most awful thing ever, especially since it's not the alcohol free one, so it burns!), non-alcoholic beer (for the hops, also quite gross, why does anyone drink that stuff??), oatmeal, tons of pumping, wearing Zach when possible, having him in our room at night... It's helped but man o man. To be one of the women who don't have to worry about making enough milk to satisfy your baby. Most of the time we nurse, give a supplemental bottle (with extra formula powder for extra calories to catch up some of the missing ounces), and than I pump. At one point Zach wouldn't nurse at all, oh that was pleasant, incessant screaming when I tried to nurse him. So that is greatly improved, he'll nurse half the time I try to feed him, but he still screams at other times and refuses to nurse. If only he realized it would take less time now to nurse than make a bottle and in the long run he'd get the milk he wanted if he would nurse now. Good luck reasoning with a 12 week old, right? But I have to remind myself that it could be worse, he could not want to nurse at all, he could refuse to take a bottle at all, he could refuse to drink formula at all, any of which would impede our packing on the weight attempt. We have gotten him to 10 pounds 2 ounces as of Monday. We are hoping for a steady 1 ounce a day gain, which seems supper easy compared to the 2-2.5 ounces he's been putting on daily with all our interventions. At 1 oz/day he'll be well above Sean and Julia at 4 months. So he'd be going up the scale instead of down, and could end up the biggest one yet.
 And fat content, what is up with that. As a pumper I see my milk fat layer on top, it's pathetic. I make skim milk. How do others make cream?? What determines that the 10#15oz baby gets cream and the 7#12oz baby gets skim?? Is there anything to be done to inject fat into the milk?? Is it even possible??
  Part of me says this isn't my fault. I didn't try to starve my baby. But part of me recounts all the things that might have contributed... that darn pacifier, not wearing Zach all the time like I thought I would this time round, not pumping long enough initially, the birth control pills (I can do a bottle right now, but not another pregnancy, don't judge), my tired and depleted body, stress, four other kids at home... the list could go on.
  This has been rough and will continue to be work until he's eating food food, that's when all my kids started picking up weight. Renting a good pump, weekly support meetings, nasty tasting medicine, they will continue longer. Is it worth it? I hope so. I hope it's not so overwhelming that that's all I remember when I think about these months. You do what you can but man, sometimes it's a little too much, almost.