Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Three Months

The girls are three months old! They're still keeping me on my toes, that's for sure. Here's the over all three month update:
  • We're working on taking naps during the day. They pretty much refuse to sleep for any length of time and take like ten minute micro naps after they eat... that just wasn't cutting it. By the time evening rolled around we had some very cranky, over tired, grumpy babies. I tried letting them sleep in the swing, in the carrier, in sleep sacks in their bed...nothing worked. Today I got desperate and swaddled them like we do at night. So far so good. 
  • They're still small, but are slowly growing into three month clothes. They're definitely too long for most newborn clothes these days and are solidly in most 3 month pants thanks to the cloth diapers.
  • We LOVE our cloth diapers. Love love love them. 
  • Santa is bringing the girls a few toys, a couple books, some cloth diapers, and an outfit each. He followed the "Something you want, something you need, something you wear, and something you read" protocol. 
  • They both HATE tummy time.
  • They're still eating every two hours during they day and for 45 minutes at a time. They're going pretty consistently 3-4 hours at night between feeds. I still feel like I can't go do much because of their eating schedule but, hey, this is what it's like right now. They were preemies and they're still so little so this eating pattern is not abnormal.
  • They're both being supplemented with 3ozs of formula per day and gaining enough weight daily that I think the Ped will be pleased. I was sick last week and that caused a dip in my milk supply so they didn't gain a TON of weight last week, but since my supply has perked back up a little and we've added an extra supplement they're gaining about an ounce a day which is exactly where they need to be.
  • I had mastitis a week ago and it damaged my supply (like it often does :(), so this is a big bummer. I have one last resort that I'm going to try. It's a drug called domperidone. It is not available in the US except from a compounding pharmacy, but world wide (including Canada and England) this drug is often prescribed for women who wish to breastfeed and suffer from low supply. The hope is that this drug will increase my supply enough that I can exclusively breastfeed and still see the girls gaining weight. This drug has been used for a couple of decades and the FDA has a small beef with it that no one really understands. I've done a lot of research about it and all of the biggest names in breastfeeding medicine and lactation science all agree this drug is the safest and best option for low milk supply. I just find myself in a situation that I do not make enough milk for both girls-- probably due to early on supplementation and PCOS. Either way... I'm really hoping this drug works. It may also speed up their eating time because they won't have to wait so long for enough milk. We shall see. If it does not turn out to be the miracle drug it seems to be, then I will likely begin switching to formula and breastfeed as much as possible until my supply dwindles. 

As for Eleanor, she's doing great! In the last week or so she's started cooing more and more. She plays a little game with Brad where she'll make a noise, he'll coo back, she'll answer him and on and on it goes for about ten minutes before she loses interest. She doesn't play it as much with me, but is definitely interested in playing the game with daddy. I think we have a daddy's girl. 

As of this morning Eleanor weighed 8 lbs 4.5ozs. I have no idea how long she is, but she is pretty long! She's almost too long for some of her 3 month pants. She's much much less fussy lately and has many happy periods through out the day, especially on days she takes a darn nap!

Other points of interest:

  • While she may hate tummy time, she does lift her head off the floor, swims around and gets her hips rocking (rolling may not be that far off!). 
  • We had to buy a baby brush for Eleanor's hair. She has almost none on the top of her head, but she totally has a ton in the back. I call it baby mullet.
  • She seems to be intentionally kicking toys hanging from the activity mat. Reaching is not far off!
  • She likes the swing most of the time, but lately has been much cuddlier and wanting to be held. Especially by daddy-- who doesn't seem to mind at all!

As for Amelia, she doesn't coo as much but she is making more and more vocalizations. She smiles in response to someone but may or may not be looking at you when she smiles. She will nap more easily than Eleanor, but tends to want to take her snoozes in the Solly Baby Wrap.

As of this morning, Amelia weighs 7 lbs 4ozs. She's not quite as long as her sister, but I don't think either of them are going to be short. Of course both Brad and I are tall, so I won't be surprised at all if we have tall girls. She tends to be a bit fussier, but when she is happy she is 100% smiles for you.

Other points of interest:

  • She's rolled from her tummy to her back exactly one time and hasn't done it since. But she gets VERY close.
  • Amelia gets angry quickly. She goes from making a few little noises to full on angry yelling in about two seconds.
  • She has more sensitive skin so we have to use mostly natural fiber diapers on her. Thank goodness for blueberry simplex all cotton diapers! She can wear a synthetic diaper, but not synthetics all day. I try to alternate between cotton diapers and synthetic diapers. Minky diapers are a definite NO GO. 
  • Amelia LOVES the wrap. Like, a lot. Poor Eleanor hardly ever gets worn unless dad is home so we can both be wearing a baby.
So there you have it. 3 whole months. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

I want to talk about Mom Guilt.

Ok, so, this update isn't a style file or really a update on the girls. In the middle of all my 45minute nursing sessions, I've had time to reflect a little bit about mommy guilt. I've spent a lot of time feeling guilty/sad/depressed over things that are not within my realm of control. Of course it doesn't help that  before this week, the girls would pretty much be awake and crying with very little awake and happy time-- unless they were nursing of course. That was very trying and made me question everything. It got even worse when they would be fussy ALL DAY and then get even worse in the evening. Needless to say... I am so glad that this week they've been MUCH happier. It makes me be more confident as a mom that my babies are awake and happy. Oh, and that I was able to put Eleanor in the swing and Amelia in the bouncer and they STAYED NAPPING. That is a huge victory. Basically for the last 11 weeks I've had a baby on me at all times. That in and of itself is exhausting.

All of that fussy time made it impossible to do things like tummy time or other play time to work on some of their developmental skills. We had a pediatrician appointment yesterday for their "2 month" check up (never mind that it's actually closer to three months. Oops), and I had to fill out this HUGE questionnaire about how they're developing and I was very generous in my assessment of them and they still scored in the "grey area" in some areas. My babies don't really recognize me as their mom, Eleanor doesn't push her head up during tummy time, they only sometimes follow a toy with their eyes but will usually follow it with their heads, among other things. That's when mommy guilt kicked in. "I should have been doing x,y, and z differently because now my babies are BEHIND!" I spent some time sad about that but then realized a couple of things. 1.) They were premature. 2.) I was in survival mode. I can't do tummy time or help work on skills when we're still working on not crying if you're awake 3.) there is an obsession in the medical arena with making sure your babies develop at a certain rate, gain weight at a certain weight, etc. It's silly.

Also, at the appointment she freaked out about Amelia's weight gain and was "very concerned" about it-- but she was only looking at one piece of the puzzle. In six weeks she only put on 300ish grams which is not a lot, admittedly and definitely not following the WHO curve. BUT. I was aware of it. For two or so weeks I just let it go to see if she would start gaining, when she didn't I called in a lactation consultant to help and for a week tried a couple things to see if she would gain. When she didn't gain in that time I began supplementing her. For the first week of the supplement she put on four ozs in a week-- on target for the low end of normal. She did that for a while. Then this past week her gain kind of exploded and she put on four ozs in three or so days. The supplement is working and I'm comfortable at the rate she's gaining now. In fact-- in a month's time she's put on a pound. When I said that first, the doctor kind of brushed it off and continued to try to scare me into feeding her more formula. Here's the thing, I know why they freak out about this stuff. There are situations of neglect they have to keep track of, slow weight gain can be indicative of a medical problem, whatever. I am aware of the situation, though, and addressing it. She finally got talked down after I explained to her that in basically three weeks she put on 11ozs. In fact, from yesterday to this morning she put on 1.5ozs! Eleanor isn't quite where she wanted either, but I told her I just started supplementing her too and she's been doing fine ever since.

So back to this mommy guilt stuff. I felt guilty for having to give the girls a very small amount of formula-- they're each only getting 2ozs total per day. That's 1oz supplement after the last two feedings of the day before bed. Not a big deal at all. The guilt voice in my head, though, screamed that I SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFEED! IT HAS TO BE ALL OR NOTHING! Then I felt guilty for NOT supplementing sooner and possibly contributing to the developmental stuff. Then I felt guilty for this little diaper rash, or the fact that I only get a chance to bathe them once a week, or this or that.

When I got home I decided that it's all silly. The developmental stuff is just what it is. We need to expect that they'll be a little behind because they were essentially four weeks early-- there is a reason babies need that 40 weeks inside! They are beautiful and I can already tell they're very smart girls and  they will catch up. The doctor wasn't actually concerned about this at all. Didn't even bring it up, so why was I feeling guilty about it? The weight stuff is silly because babies grow at their own rate. The weight gain is only one piece of the puzzle-- they are growing just fine in length and all of that. They have plenty of pee and poop diapers so they're NOT malnourished or dehydrated.

Basically, I've decided a couple of things. First, in regard to the weight gain obsession. It isn't my fault at all and I just need to do what is best to make my babies grow. I have done what I feel is best every single step of the way and that's all I can do. I have made informed decisions based on (real) research about breastfeeding and weight gain so I have no problem doing what I'm doing and not increasing their supplemental formula just yet. Regardless of how the numbers look right this second, I am comfortable with where both of the girls are. I have not done anything wrong in trying to make exclusively breastfeeding work, nor am I doing anything wrong in feeding them formula. Even if I chose to fully formula feed, that is no reason to be guilty.

Second, mom guilt is going to be a constant until...well forever I would imagine. I can't let it run my life because it's not correct thinking. If I am doing my best and doing what is best for the babies I have no reason to be guilty for any reason. So, moving forward I am trying very hard to not allow faulty thinking in regard to my mothering to drive me to feel upset, depressed, sad, or to make uninformed decisions. It isn't easy, especially in the midst of sleep deprivation, but once I decided that mom guilt is has seemed much brighter. Especially because these moments happen: