Saturday, October 04, 2014

Baby Progress

Verity had another weight check yesterday, and I am very pleased to report that she has gained all of 4 ounces, bringing her all the way up to 7 pounds, 15 ounces!  Yay!  That is the good news.  The bad news is that giving her supplemental bottles Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday pretty much killed her desire to nurse, so that was very discouraging.  Thursday I purposed that we were *not* going to stop nursing, and that she would drink some from each breast before getting the bottle, but it was a slow go.  Each feeding was taking about 2 hours, with the first hour being her crying with the nipple in her mouth, but never sucking.  Even when she would finally give up and latch on, she would suck a few times, come off, cry pitifully like, "WHY are you torturing me with this thing??", shudder and make sour faces like I was actually making her suck on a sour lemon, and then suck a few more times.  Obviously she was not really getting anything from me, LOL, and didn't matter if I pumped before she tried (so that she would theoretically get more hindmilk) or after, because the problem was that she just didn't want to suck from me.  At all.  Of course, as soon as I brought out the bottle, she latched right on and drank that steadily with no complaints.  Sigh.  I was really feeling pretty rejected!  (Me:  "These nipples were plenty good for 9 other people!!  Why won't you take them?!?")  I went to WalMart and got some low-flow nipples, since the only ones I had on hand from the other kids were older-baby ones, and I knew she wasn't having to work hard at all for milk out of those.  Even with the low-flow nipples, she still didn't have any objections to the bottle.

I did mention to the lactation consultant that Verity's poor nursing habits had started in the hospital, where she would take the nipple, then gag, cough, and spit up mucus.  We asked people about it, and no one really had any ideas or thought too much of it.  The lactation consultant said Verity most likely had an overly sensitive gag reflex, and so she just sort of gave up on nursing in the beginning because she didn't like all the gagging.  Makes sense!  The lactation consultant said fortunately babies have very short memories, though, LOL.

I really was surprised at how very quickly Verity rejected the breast.  If I had known that, I probably would have just syringe-fed, like my friend Siri had to do to supplement.  But I was mainly concerned with stopping the weight loss, and a bottle was a faster, more efficient way to get the most milk into Verity. Oh well.  We have our work cut out for us!

So I was pretty discouraged when I got to Bethesda yesterday morning.  My appointment was actually with the lactation consultant, so after we weighed Verity, I showed the LC how Verity just fussed around at the breast.  She checked Verity's mouth again and said again that she really had a fine latch/suck--Verity just didn't want to work hard.  So we tried a nipple shield.  I always thought those were mainly for poor latches, where the babies were really making the breast hurt, but no, it turns out that nipple shields can also make babies who only want bottles think they are getting a bottle, LOL.  So she wasn't crying the whole time, but she still wasn't all that enthusiastic about nursing, so we added on the supplemental nursing system, where you put breast milk in a bottle-thing, hook that to your bra, tape some tubing to your nipple, and let the baby suck, so she gets some milk from the breast, but also from the tube, so she is rewarded more.  That combined with the nipple shield was a winning, albeit complicated, set-up, and Verity drank an ounce of pumped breast milk I had brought on the spur of the moment (SO glad I did though!).  So I got sent home with all those supplies, and things have been going fairly well since then, although feedings are still taking about an hour.  Less crying though.

I decided that I was not going to use all the SNS stuff in the middle of the night, so last night I tried nursing with just the nursing shield.  Verity actually fussed around with that, knocking it off eventually, and then I tried her with nothing.  She actually did okay--not great, but better--so maybe we are on the right road.  The nice thing about her gaining some yesterday is that we don't have to go back until Friday, for her normal 2 week well-baby appointment.  So hopefully she will continue gaining weight, and maybe after that appointment we can play around more with not using all the extra stuff.  I'm still not planning on using it at night though.

Having all this hassle with feeding has certainly put a crimp on my social life!  I missed most of Bible study last night because I was feeding.  There is a Civil Air Patrol family cookout tonight that only Nathan, Luke, and Caleb are going to, because again, it is just too hard to drag all that stuff out and nurse somewhere in public!  I really want to go to church tomorrow because a possible new assistant pastor is preaching, but again--that probably isn't going to happen.  I really DON'T want to just bring a bottle to give her, thereby setting us back to the beginning again!

I can honestly say that having a baby with nursing issues is simply not something I ever really thought would happen, once I got Nathan nursing successfully over 17 years ago!  So once again I am learning all sorts of new things, and and gaining all sorts of new useful experience, even though I am doing it reluctantly, LOL.  It has been such a tremendous blessing to have friends bring us meals this week.  I am sure that worrying about making dinners would have put me over the edge!  All my time is spent either nursing or pumping, it seems.  On the positive side, I am certainly going to have a milk supply to feed a small nation, since I usually have tons of milk even without pumping a zillion times a day.  And another thing to be thankful for is that I am a good pumper.  I remember when Nathan was a baby struggling with nursing, and pumping was definitely not so easy for me then.  I guess there is still some benefit to this being my 10th kid!

Speaking of the 10th kid, Bob and I had a "deja vu" moment when we left the hospital on Monday after Verity's appointment.  We were getting in the elevator in the parking garage and 2 chatty older ladies came in with us.  They were oohing over the baby, and commenting on how she should be more covered up and wearing a hat (even though it was a very pleasant day and she was wearing a sleeper with a blanket) . . . then they asked if this was our first.  We said, "No, number 10", and they were literally sputtering, LOL.  "WHAT???  Number 10??  You birthed all of them??  None adopted???  Wow!  Well . . . good luck . . .Wow!! . . . "  It was funny.

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