Archive for May, 2009

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Week End

May 29, 2009

Week end, being the end of the week. Oh my, you have no idea how this week went. I am so glad the “work week” is over. Although Court is still on call 24/7 until 6 am Monday morning.

Monday was our visit to the breastfeeding clinic, where we determined that Penny has essentially been starving for about a month now. Nope, I don’t feel guilty for that… not one little bit. HA! I know it’s not my “fault”, but the fact is she wasn’t getting enough to eat. If we had continued at that pace I’m pretty sure she would have been “diagnosed” as failure to thrive. Instead, I’m taking domperidone (Motilium), and Penny has gained 11 oz in the 3 days I had been taking it (now 4 days, but I haven’t weighed her).

I’ve been working on an anniversary “do” for my grandparents. It is their 50th anniversary this year, and no matter how unassuming and humble they are, I’m not letting an achievement like that go unmentioned. Alot of their family is in Quebec, and without meaning to be offensive, old. They won’t be traveling to Calgary for the festivities. So it seems there will really only be close family and a couple of close friends. We decided to take them for a really nice dinner, and get them limo transportation to and from. In the meantime, I snatched old photo albums from their house to look through for ideas. I happened to grab their wedding album, as well as commemorating the births of my uncles and my mom. I went to Blacks Photography to have some of the photos scanned, retouched and reproduced. The bridesmaids’ dresses really weren’t that horrible, so I’m going to attempt to find something similar to wear to the dinner, and we have an absolutely stunning florist who I’d like to recreate my Nana’s wedding bouquet.

It was bizarre looking through all the photos! I’ve never looked at old pictures of them and never knew what they looked like before the image that I know now. I saw photos of my mom as a child, as a teenager! Again, I’ve never seen them before. Actually, my mom passed away 19 years ago (last Friday was the anniversary of her death). I was 9 at the time, and really the image of her in my mind is the photo that all of us have that was current when she died. It’s amazing how much she looked like me, or I guess I should say I look like her.

In the midst of all my running around dropping off photos, picking up photos, shopping (because we finally got money back from Manulife for Penny’s first glasses, and for Court’s, which the dog ate in January), Penny inevitably got hungry. I try to time it well so that I’m not really out in public to feed her. But it doesn’t always work. Turns out that she got hungry on my way to pick up Court from work the other day. I’m not exactly a fan of making her wait while I pick him up and fight through rush hour traffic out of downtown Calgary. In fact, I won’t do it. It was hot, the car doesn’t have air conditioning. So I told Court I was going to sit in the shade beside his building to feed her before we head home. Needless to say I didn’t have anything even resembling a blanket to try to cover up a bit with. So I sat on the bench on 8th Ave, at 5:10 pm with all the busy worker bees streaming by on their way home and fed my little gal! Most of the women that noticed turned up the corner of their mouths into a bit of a smile. The guys that noticed immediately looked away again. Regardless of their reactions, I finally nursed in public! I was so proud of myself!

And on top of my busy week, my bestest friend ever (since grade 1!) had her second baby girl on Wednesday, May 27th, which was actually her due date. So we welcome little Kacie Michaela! Looking forward to pictures and visiting her soon, and with 5 months difference between her and Penny, they should becoming great playmates.

So as the “work week” comes to a close, we are enjoying an evening of video games with friends. That’s before I put Court to work tomorrow! Muahahahaha!

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My Little Porker

May 29, 2009

Whether it’s the domperidone, or that we’ve switched to butter instead of margarine and I’m using cream in my coffee, Penny has gained weight!

A week ago Tuesday, she was 12 lbs 1/2 oz at the public health office. This Monday, she was 12.009 lbs at the breastfeeding clinic. And last night, she was 12.7 lbs on the Wii Fit! Even adjusting for different calibrations, that’s 11 whole ounces! She’s probably going to gain an entire pound in a week…

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Question:

May 26, 2009

Does anyone have experience getting their benefits provider to pay for something they normally wouldn’t pay for?

Our provider normally covers $300 every 2 years per person for glasses. But with Penny being almost 5 months old, and her prescription is expected to change 2 or 3 times a year… that’s a whole lotta moola out of our pocket. I was reading for Americans (I’m Canadian, remember), that if the glasses are considered prosthetic instead of cosmetic, you can argue for your benefits provider to cover them as a medical necessity. But… aren’t every pair of glasses with a prescription considered a medical necessity?

Argh! I don’t expect them to pay every cent of every pair of Penny’s glasses. But when 1 pair costs $300 and we are theoretically looking at 4-6 pairs in her first 2 years (assuming she doesn’t break any, which I’m sure she will)… anything over that $300 would be nice. But I don’t know how to go about arguing that with them.

Anyone with experience on this? Or any input on the matter?

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Skinny Penny’s About to Gain Some Weight!

May 25, 2009

To update my post on Breastfeeding Failures and Success, we just got home from our appointment at The Alex. I was right, and I feel so vindicated knowing that mom’s intuition hit it on the nail again!

After weighing Penny (12.009 lbs – but different scale than the health office last Tuesday), and talking about how she feeds and when she feeds, the doctor said it sounded like my milk supply is reducing a bit. She also said quite often it happens around this time. Penny has been feeding 3 times a night, and every 2 hours during the day. The doctor said that definitely sounds like she’s not getting enough. Again… not that she’s starving. Just not getting quite enough. I fed Penny, and she was weighed again (5.55 kg, don’t know the pounds). She ate about 2 ounces. When we were at the clinic in February and Penny was a month old, she was eating 3 ounces.

So, with all of that, the doctor put me on domperidone to increase my milk (2 pills x 4 times a day). And she said that we might look at starting Penny on solids shortly. She knows the guideline is 6 months, but believes there’s a window of 4-6 months. Great though, she said there’s no reason to be supplementing Penny with formula. Get some more milk going, and start a bit of solids and she should be packing on the weight in no time.

I can’t wait to see my skinny minnie with some weight on her bones!

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Judgmental World

May 24, 2009

I’m feeling particularly angsty about breastfeeding today. I am participating in the May Carnival of Breastfeeding (from MotherWear.com – the post will be up tomorrow about it, or see my post Breastfeeding Failures and Success). I want to talk more about breastfeeding. Court doesn’t mind me talking about it, although he can’t truly understand when I talk about the pain or about the connection Penny and I have. But I think my family is sick of hearing about it. I think my friends are sick of hearing about it. “So you breastfeed. Just feed Penny and shut up about it.” It’s not that they are judgmental of me breastfeeding. The fact that I do it is not in contention with anyone I know. They just don’t want me to talk about it. And since starting this blog, becoming a lactation consultant has crossed my mind. And taking Penny into the hospital to show new moms in person how to breastfeed has crossed my mind. Going to La Leche League meetings… lots of things.

How do you get involved like that with so many… apathetic people… around you? They’re not supportive, yet not unsupportive. Breastfeeding is natural. Breastfeeding is best for babies. If you choose to formula-feed, that is YOUR DECISION. I’m going to ask you why though. If you don’t want to talk about it, just tell me that. Otherwise, I’m curious to know why, and would like the opportunity to debate your reasons. I’m not an activist, but I am definitely pro-breastfeeding.

I just realized, our health region has so many classes for expectant and new parents. One of them should be on breastfeeding. It would not be forcing breastfeeding on anyone who isn’t interested (because you have to sign up for these things). And nothing replaces actually seeing someone breastfeed. The little dolly they used at our “class” at the hospital was useless. Watching a mother and child actually feeding would really help alot of new moms. They could ask questions without feeling rushed and ignored like in the hospital. They could possibly help reduce the stigma attached to breastfeeding in public, because they’d be exposed to mothers who are willing to sit in a room full of people and openly feed their baby. They could learn how to help prevent sore nipples before it even starts. It could also be a place where women who are undecided about breastfeeding could go to learn more about it and help make their decision. I wonder who I could talk to about this?

Anyway, I’m just going to hang around the house today, with no shirt on. When Penny’s hungry, she can eat – as much as she wants, for as long as she wants, in whatever position she wants. Because that’s the choice I’ve made, and it’s what works for us.

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Free Nursing Cover

May 24, 2009

I just found a Google ad for a free nursing cover from UdderCovers.com. The nursing cover is worth $32, and it is the better ones with the hoop by your neck so you can still see your little one (and not smother them). Only blue and pink left. All you pay is shipping (seems fair to me). US shipping was $7.95, Canadian is $9.95.

Enter the code “onefree” to get this amazing deal!

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Breastfeeding Failures and Success

May 23, 2009

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding Readers!

This blog isn’t intended to be solely about breastfeeding. But it is important to me, and I want to talk about it.

Other moms have written about their breastfeeding experiences as well. Read about them here:

When I was pregnant, I didn’t know that almost every mom should physically be able to breastfeed. I was asked if I planned to breastfeed, and it wasn’t even a question for me. I said as long as both of us were willing and able, I would be breastfeeding. And I only said it like that because the one friend of mine who has a baby wasn’t able to breastfeed. I just thought breastfeeding was natural and was the right way to feed a baby. Plus I wanted the bonding time. During our prenatal class, the instructor was listing off the benefits of breastfeeding, including cost (aka FREE) and ease (aka you don’t need to haul bottles around or sterilize or any of that). To me, that was 2 perfectly good reasons to breastfeed, beyond the fact that I just wanted to.

Well, when Penny was born, I had a pretty bad hemorrhage. I didn’t get to feed her right away because the doctors were busy fixing me up. Apparently my lips were blue, and I actually had to tell Court to go get pictures of Penny. I didn’t even get to hold her until almost an hour after she was born, nevermind feed her. After they eventually got me over to the maternity ward and settled into the bed, they pretty much thrust Penny at me and said “FEED!” That was the start of my problems…

To make a 1789 word story a heck of a lot shorter, over the course of about a month, I had at least 6 different nurses and lactation consultants tell me that my latch was fine, even though I was still in alot of pain.

I signed out books from the library and bought some from Chapters. Reading one of them, a light bulb goes on. When holding your baby in the cross-cradle position, your middle finger should be on their jaw on the bottom side, your hand around the base of their skull and your thumb just under their ear on the top side. Well geez! If someone had said to put my middle finger on Penny’s jaw I bet half of these problems could have been eliminated!

At a follow-up appointment at The Alex Community Health Centre, I tell the doctor about the jaw thing and how it made a world of difference for us. Still not perfect, but I can feel improvement. I get talking to her about positioning and using the breastfeeding pillow. Apparently most moms using the pillow rely on it too much. They actually use it to hold up the baby, rather than using it to support their arms which should be holding baby. That’s exactly what I was doing! My other failing was that I thought you couldn’t move your breast around to help feed the baby, as in move the baby over to where my nipple is, not move the nipple to where baby is. So I was moving Penny so far over to the side that her chin would end up near her chest. BAD! Over the course of the next week, every appointment I had, every book I read, even the videos I watched on YouTube, helped! Each one had one more tidbit that helped perfect what was going on. It still wasn’t perfect, but we could manage. I could feed Penny without being in too much pain, and she could get enough to eat and was gaining weight again. It took almost 3 weeks to get back to her birthweight (the norm is 2 weeks).

After a couple of weeks of not-perfect, but not-too-painful feeding, I got so frustrated with feeding Penny one morning that I just got up and fed her without hunting down my breastfeeding pillow. I just plopped down on the couch with her in the cradle position. And everything clicked into place! Jackpot! I couldn’t feed her with the breastfeeding pillow without having problems. Now that I know that, everything’s gone so much better!

We still have a bit of trouble with Penny squirming and flailing while she’s eating, and I’ve wanted to get into the clinic to ask about that. Last week, I finally attempted to feed Penny while lying down in bed at night. I was so tired that night! I’m sure we don’t have the position perfect, but we found a spot that works for us. And it’s totally hands-off for me (I might put a hand behind her just to keep her from rolling backwards away from me). I immediately noticed a difference with her. Where she’d kick and squirm before, she mostly lies quietly and feeds. Where she’d feed for 10 seconds, pop off, look around, then try feeding again – she latches on and stays there for almost the full feed. She sounds like she’s sucking and swallowing better, and she seems more content while feeding. I’ve now applied this idea to feeding her during the day too. I hold her up on the breastfeeding pillow again, but I don’t use my arms to try and hold her at all. I let her lay how she wants and feed how she wants. It really seems to be working for us!

I was also concerned about weight gain. Penny had her 4-month immunizations last week, and the nurses mentioned that she’s “on the lean side.” She is 24.5″ long and 12 lbs. Birthweight was 7 lbs 14 oz. But on last week’s Carnival I read about increasing my milk supply naturally. What I’ve taken from that is to use good fats for my extra calories – cream in my coffee, olive oil where I can. Between that, and letting Penny feed how she wants so, I think her weight is going to get back on track. I still have an appointment at the clinic on Monday, but I think everything is falling into place. (See the update to the weight gain issue here)

I’m glad breastfeeding is really working out now. I enjoy my bonding time with Penny, and I didn’t realize I would enjoy breastfeeding her this much. I think I’d be rather sad to have this connection and experience taken away from us.

This post naturally follows

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Absolutely Beautiful!

May 22, 2009

Baby Blue by =MEGAN-Yrrbby on deviantART.

Absolutely Beautiful!

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Penny’s First Swing Ride

May 21, 2009

Ok, so Mom isn’t the best photographer. But I did the best I could while pushing Penny on the swing and trying to take pictures with a dead battery in the camera.

Wee! This is fun Mommy!

Wee! This is fun Mommy!

Maybe that's a little too high, Mommy...

Maybe that's a little too high, Mommy...

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Unbuttoned | Books for Nursing Mothers

May 19, 2009

I found these book club discussion questions on NursingMothersCompanion.com. I thought they’d be a great way to outline my thoughts and feelings on breastfeeding.

1. Some of the women who write about their experiences in Unbuttoned had mixed feelings about breastfeeding. In what ways has breastfeeding been a positive experience for you, and in what ways has it been negative?

I really enjoy the time I get to spend with Penny, but on the flip side, it feels like every time I turn around I have to feed her. I am glad that it is cheap (free) and easy. But it was hard to get going, and nursing in public is still a bit of a feat.

2. If you plan to have more children will you make the same decisions about breastfeeding? Why or why not?

The same thing I said when I was pregnant with Penny: as long as we’re both willing and able to breastfeed, we will do it. Now that I have done it, I will fight to be able to breastfeed (if we’re having any problems).

3. Many of the writers in Unbuttoned had unrealistic expectations of breastfeeding. Why do you think this was so?

Haven’t read the book. Think I’m going to have to though.

4. Some of the writers in Unbuttoned got fixated on pumping; one even practiced competitive pumping. Do you think that many women are overly dependent on breast pumps? If so, why?

I had my own brush with pumping, aka a pushy nurse at the hospital telling my that if I didn’t start pumping by the next morning I was going to lose my milk supply (that hadn’t even come in yet). I still have a pump.. or two. I’d really like to be able to pump some excess milk for evenings out and whatnot. Even though I know pumps do not re-create the same effect as a baby suckling, it depresses me to pump both sides and get maybe half an ounce. And I don’t know if I’d consider hand expressing, because every experience I’ve had with it is nurses basically walking up, grabbing my breast and squeezing as hard as they can. OUCH! So I’d have to say I’m dependent on a pump to a certain extent. I could say that I don’t know what I’d do without it, but you know… I’d figure something out.

5. Breastfeeding rates in the United States are among the lowest in the world. Why do you think this is the case? Do you think pediatricians and government health experts should play a bigger role in encouraging women to breastfeed?

I have to apologize to who did write this for hijacking it, but I particularly like their idea. I agree that women should have to sign something before they leave the hospital, saying that they’re aware of the health risks to non-breastfed babies. In other words “the benefits of breastfeeding”. I think they should have to sign that they tried it and list their reasons for not continuing. Somehow there should be repercussions for not giving breastfeeding a full effort, or awarding moms that continue with it. Breastfed babies are overall less of a drain on the health system (generically speaking). Oh wait, then how would all the American HMOs make all their money? (I apologize for that one. I am Canadian. And I think that’s a huge can of conspiracy theory worms that even *I* don’t want to open.) I think health professionals should be following up with moms at home (more than they do). The time spent in the hospital is a blur. Wait until mom gets home and THEN deal with all the issues in detail. The government should be doing more to restrict formula companies’ presence and should seriously promote breastfeeding. Make breastfeeding more appealing. Quebec in Canada pays moms to breastfeed. Ah, so many opinions on this one. Also, maybe any follow-up with new moms should include these discussion questions. Maybe if a public health nurse or lactation consultant could discuss these questions with new moms, they could help sway them to breastfeed by dispelling myths or offering advice on how to deal with situations like breastfeeding in public.

6. Have you ever felt uncomfortable breastfeeding in public? Did anyone ever confront you while you were nursing? What was your reaction?

I have been very lucky not to have anyone say anything to me yet. I am not completely comfortable breastfeeding in public though. I will make an effort to feed where I am less likely to get comments (like in the car in the parking lot at the off-leash dog park). I will also ask for tables at restaurants, whereas we used to enjoy booths more. Booths don’t afford enough space for you and baby between the seat back and the table (unless you’re 72 pounds and baby is a newborn). But ultimately, if I don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding somewhere, I will either go out to the car or we will head home. I would like to progress to the point where I am comfortable breastfeeding in public. I don’t want to feel like I have to cover up (and I feel like I’m smothering Penny every time I throw a blanket over my shoulder to cover her).

7. Do you think that women who have chosen to breastfeed are too judgmental of women who have chosen not to? If you’ve fed your baby formula, have you ever felt that you needed to justify your decision to do so?

I see 3 camps of baby-feeding women:

  • the very vocal, very pushy breastfeeding advocates, who ARE judgmental of non-breastfeeding women;
  • the women who choose to feed either way and to them it’s their personal decision regardless of what anyone else thinks of it. They don’t care what people think of their choice, and they don’t care what other women choose to do;
  • and the women who wish they could have done differently. This might be due to judgment from others or from desire to do it the other way and not being able to for whatever reasons (and I don’t necessarily mean wanting to breastfeed. It could be a breastfeeding mom who wishes they could formula feed and simply can’t afford it

There are some women that don’t fall into any of these, but that will always be the case. I think these are the major 3 categories.

8. Do you think that women from previous generations felt the same angst about breastfeeding that the current generation seems to? What is it about our modern culture that seems to provoke so much discussion about the topic?

I think only the 2 previous generations to me (my parents and my grandparents) faced the option of formula versus breastmilk. This would have come about with the emergence of formula companies. Prior to those generations, I don’t think formula really existed, so it wasn’t a question or an option.

9. Breastfeeding can sometimes be a divisive issue. Did you ever have a friend or family member criticize your choices about breastfeeding—whether it was because you opted not to breastfeed at all, or because you nursed your baby into toddlerhood or beyond? How did you react?

I find that I am becoming more active in promoting breastfeeding, although I sincerely hope I never hit the point of zealotry. I want to educate people about breastfeeding and the benefits and all sorts of things I’ve learned about it. But I don’t think so many people want to hear what I have to say. No one has criticized my choice, in fact I’ve had the opposite. But I think I might get criticized shortly for how vocal I am about it. I feel like people think I should be a “closet breastfeeder” – quietly disappear to feed Penny, and sneak back with a happy baby with a full tummy.

10. When your children eventually have their own babies, what will you tell them about your breastfeeding experiences? If you didn’t breastfeed, will you encourage your daughters (or daughters-in-law) to try it?

Well, becoming a lactation consultant is crossing my mind, so at this point I’d have to say I would encourage women to try breastfeeding. And by try, I mean longer than 24 hours in the hospital. Hospitals = bad vibes = stress for mom = stress for baby = bad breastfeeding experiences.

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