Friday, July 24, 2009

33 weeks!

Well... this is a new one for me, I think, blogging while pumping. I'm on campus. Kev is home with Caroline. This has been our arrangement the last three days and will be our arrangement most days starting a month from now. We figured that some practice was in order for all of us. Caroline needs to get used to not being with mommy much of the day (and not having on-demand access to boob- what a lucky girl she's been these last almost 8 mos! though still lucky- so much quality time with daddy!) Kev needs to get used to balancing baby and home and personal commitments (hard task for sure). I need to get used to pumping away from home and being focused in my time away from my loves. As I have a paper I need to write in the next several weeks and had a sermon to write for this weekend this seemed a good time to practice. Likely our practice will continue next week. Who knows maybe right up till it is for real? Kev should probably weigh-in with a report, but my sense is that so far, so good. She has had some rough stretches, but she did when home alone with me too. We are slowly, but surely accumulating a milk supply (hard to do when one's average yield is 2 oz per pumping- maximal yield 3+). I am discovering places to pump. Today's choice won't work in the fall, but seems fine for now. I am also discovering that it takes time to pump away from baby. Yesterday I looked at pics of sweet C on my iPod and it went faster. Today I thought I'd blog. (Just checked- almost to three oz! i haven't gotten this much in one go in DAYS- mind you- 40 minutes or so of pumping!) Bedtimes have been bumpy the past two nights. I've been totally exhausted and have just ended up bringing C into bed with me and going to bed early. Kev hasn't found much practice time (playing at church on Sunday) so I'm hoping to go home a bit early today to let him practice and planning to take C to presbytery with me tomorrow to give him lots of focused time to himself. (O.K., done pumping for now- 2.5 oz... better... but not as great as I hoped. bit by bit...) Our plan had been for Kev and Caroline to meet me on campus midday each day this week for a feeding and a hand off of whatever milk had been pumped since I left home. Wednesday I just went home with them early as they came a bit later given her nap schedule and it didn't make a lot of sense for me to pump and bus it home in the afternoon. We figured this would help build our supply. Right now (there has been a bit of a pause since I last was writing) I'm waiting for them to pick me up early again. Everything I'm doing on campus I can do at home and this will give Kev a chance to practice. But yesterday... I took the bus to campus and took the bus home and they checked in midday and all was fine. I think we're going to be fine. If only I can start filling up that freezer with milk!

But perhaps I shouldn't worry that much about having a full freezer. Our girl is eating more and more solids these days. We've started using a teether that her cousin Gracie loves so much that Mamie bought one for us- it is a teething/feeder- a cool (as in chilled) base with a sturdy ring on it to which a mesh bag in which you place fruit (or other food I suppose) for gnawing on. The baby gets the food in safe bits through the mesh and has relief for the gums. Caroline LOVES this thing. This week she has used it with both watermelon and banana. She has eaten a lot of both of these fruits this week. She can eat almost a whole banana in a day if we let her. As this has a binding function we switched to applesauce yesterday to try to move things along, soften things up... and she happily took to that. (Mamie just reminded me that applesauce is in the BRAT diet... so we may need to get some other fruit...) We did try avocado this week as well. She wasn't terribly interested, but we'll try again. We have some carrots ready to cook up for her to try. She has fed herself some- watermelon bits, banana bits... She often takes the spoon from us as we put it into her mouth and puts it the rest of the way in, sucks it clean and chews on it a bit before we reclaim it. We usually reclaim it when she starts inserting the wrong end into her mouth (am I the only mom with soft palate puncture phobias- oh, not a phobia, just a heightened concern about the soft palate...) It is fun, if messy, this venture into more solids. We still haven't tried cereal... I know... we really should.

So, just last week I was saying that it seemed her desire to walk was hindering her growth as a crawler... but SHE CAN DO IT NOW! Rather than just melting down when we set her down on the floor in her nursery and walk away (temporarily) to get or do something, she fusses a bit and sets to crawling out to find us. She makes fast progress. She still has moments of trying to crawl with straightened legs, but for the most part she's really crawling now. And she seems quite pleased with this. (I watched her a bit this afternoon and see she still has a bit of an unusual method... but it works... more or less.)

We think she might have a future as a drummer, perhaps with congregation number 2, she found a metal canister (that I had been using as a yoga brick when expecting her) while exploring the living room the other evening (she is QUITE the explorer these days... with a real fancy for cords and paper...) and immediately turned it into a drum. She often drums on her feeding chair or while seated on my lap at the dining room table she drums on the table (unless of course she can pull a place mat off the table (preferably with stuff on it it seems), that is MORE appealing than drumming, but drumming is pretty appealing. We brought down one of the drums Kev owns a while ago and she made some good sounds on it. She keeps a fairly steady beat.

It continues to seem like she sings along with us from time to time, or matches or echoes pitch quite well. Perhaps this is wishful thinking on our part, but we don't expect it and yet both hear it... so maybe.

This week also has seen a real increase in her babbling, particularly in her stringing together of single syllables- favorites being "bababababa" and "dadadadada", but i've heard more "mmmmm"s this week than ever before (mostly on the way to crying) and lots of other complex sounds too.

She is soooo funny. She makes the funniest faces. Right now I'm home with her and she's sleeping on my lap, she's even making funny faces in her sleep.

Mamie wants pictures of Caroline standing, but we don't actually have many good places in our house on which she is able to pull up, certainly not on which she's able to hold herself up for very long. This doesn't make for great picture taking. She can pull up on the couch if I hold a finger to steady her. I don't pull her up, I just let her hold on to me and she pulls up all on her own strength. Soon enough we'll get a picture. Soon enough.

I succumbed to the bug that Kev had late last week early this week. I was nowhere near as sick as Kev, but he did the lion's share of care of Caroline Monday-Tuesday. So in addition to his three relatively solo days with her this has been a daddy intensive week. Lucky baby. Lucky daddy? I think so... but perhaps he'll let you know himself. He had a clever line this afternoon and I asked if I should blog it. He said "Yes." And then thought a bit and said "Or I could guest blog..." Great minds... didn't I say at the beginning of this post that perhaps he'd want to speak for himself this week?!

That's all the news I can think to share for now... pics and/or video and possibly a daddy post will follow.


Mama V said...

Hey mama,

Thanks for these great updates!

I'm not sure if you knew that I pumped for almost 7 months (!) after Lucas went on a nursing strike before I was ready... I'm not sure what kind of pump you have (mine was a hospital-grade, which is a whole other pumping ballgame in terms of efficiency and comfort! but they're expensive to rent and not really necessary unless you're exclusively pumping or trying to raise a chronic low supply) but basically most of what you'll get will be pumped out in the first 10-15 minutes. After that you're just stimulating until you get another (increasingly smaller) let-down. You probably already know this but it helps to lower and then raise the frequency/strength of the suction after those first 10-15 minutes to bring those let-downs sooner and get more milk out of them (though I think commercial-grade pumps only give you one option, right?). I found that trick to help considerably with the milk volume and you might be able to decrease your total pumping time, not to mention that you'll likely eventually be on a regular pattern that will tell your body to produce at a certain time...

You/Caroline might already have a favorite bottle but a low-flow nipple also helps. Remember that babies can take more at one time from the bottle and not always feel the fullness in their tummies as fast as when they're on the breast, so even if the bottle runs out and she seems angry, in theory she should be okay. ;)

Okay, enough unsolicited advice from me! Loving these photos and videos! It seems that "the shift" has occurred and Caroline is no longer such a little baby but becoming quite a big girl! Wow!

esperanza said...

Yes, thanks for the pictures and news!

Like Mama V, I was using a hospital grade pump for hmm-mmph months (really, you don't want to know). I found it FAR more enjoyable/productive/make the time go faster to do something else while pumping. I see you have mastered the typing while pumping, which is a bit of a trick. Reading, surfing the internet, anything. Anything is better than watching the bottles slowly fill up, or not.

I wish Caroline and A had been more of the same age, and I would have sent you some of our massive stockpile before it got too old. I donated it, but I would have been happy to send it to a friend.

It will become routine after a while...I have pumped in way too many strange places to remember.

Oh, and the funny crawling: from the pictures, it looks like what our niece did, and she indeed was a very early walker (10 months).

Sarah S-D said...

Thanks for the pumping tips my expert friends! I'm not sure I quite follow your advice, Mama V, but I want to! My pump is far from hospital grade, it does, however, allow some adjustment in strength. I just always run it on full strength. I have, however, taken to pumping for a good while (prob 10-15) on a side, and then a good while (again prob 10-15) on the other side, and then switching back and forth every five minutes or so, generally I get a bit of a burst when switching initially, but it fades quickly. Is this a good approach? I'm not sure. If either of you wants to drop an e-mail I'd appreciate it!

Caroline does suck down a bottle mighty fast. I doubt we have a low flow nipple. Kev is very good at pacing her on the bottle... babysitters... let her run right through them.

Do either of you have any breast milk bags you could pass along? I don't have any... I don't think.

Silent said...

I don't have any better pumping advice...I always pumped both sides at once--usually got less on one side than the other (the one she had actually nursed on last had less), but I also always seemed to have PLENTY of milk.

I do, however, second the low-flow nipple advice.

And I do have breast milk storage bags that I will be glad to send to you. Just email me your address and I'll try to get them in the mail on Monday.

esperanza said...

I always did both sides at a time, too, so I don't know about the switching idea. But if it works, hey, go for it. The low flow nipples are a good idea. A used them for over a year, I think. And, sorry, my milk storage bags went to my SiL. I've heard you can use plain ziploc bags, but you wouldn't want to put much more than a couple of bottles' worth in them. And I was always a little paranoid about the whatever-that-chemical is (sorry, pregnant brain) in the plastic.

Mama V said...

I thought I'd check back in here to see other responses and I'm glad I did!

So... ultimately you should do what works best for you after you play around a bit. My handy-dandy breastfeeding guide (did I tell you I'm in the training process to be certified as a local La Leche League leader?!) encourages double pumping for several reasons. I'm not sure if you can feel this, but as you're having a letdown on one breast, you're also having one on the other side. (I've always had a strong, painful let-down that I feel on the opposite breast from the one I'm feeding on.) So you can often save considerable time by pumping from both sides at the same time. Do you have a pumping bra?! It's a gadget that looks quite Victorian but for $10 can make a huge difference in the pumping experience! There are many kinds out there (I'll look around the 'net for a link) but usually you just strap it on (over your bra even), hook up the flanges (yup, that's what they're called!) to the holes, and pump hands-free! You can type and eat and write and study to your heart's content!

Okay, there's much more to share so I'll email you offline. I wish I had bags to give you but they're long gone... I ended up donated 64 ounces in the end - wow!

May your breastmilk bags also overflow with precious gold for your babe, my friend. ;)