Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The never ending adventures of a breastfeeding mother...

On Monday, I started feeling some pain in my left breast. It was sore. I remembered that over the weekend, Exton had seemed to be latching on much harder than usual. At the time I didn't really think about it much but on Monday, I realized he was probably doing this because I might have a plugged duct, and he wasn't getting as much milk as he's used to getting.
Plugged duct! Doesn't that sound like an issue you'd have in your bathroom? And not, um, your breast?
Then, while I was pumping at work, I noticed that I wasn't getting anywhere near as much milk from that breast as I normally do. This isn't the one that had the abscess; my left breast has always done twice as well as the other one. And now I'm only getting about an ounce of milk per session, which is really poor production (I usually get 3-4 ounces from the left side, and 1-2 on the right. Sometimes more on the right, never less on the left).
This comes on the heels of a conversation I had with Exton's daycare teacher, who suggested that we start sending more milk. I currently send him to daycare with five 4 ounce bottles. He almost never drinks the fifth one. But she thinks that he's still hungry (so give him the fifth bottle! But like I said, they never do). So on Thursday, I sent a couple of 5 ounce bottles, and three 4 ounce bottles. He didn't touch the fifth (4 ounce) bottle again. So I'm a little confused. He only got 2 extra ounces of milk that day. Then on Monday, Patrick tried the 5 ounce bottles and said that getting that extra ounce in him took awhile. I don't think he needs more milk. Also, the daycare thinks he's ready for solids, but I totally disagree. For one thing, I've been reading that he needs to be sitting up mostly unassisted. He's not. He's trying, he's getting there, but he's not sitting up yet.

On her advice, though, I let Patrick give it a try while I was at work. He made Ex a teaspoon of rice cereal, mixed with an ounce of breastmilk, and let him taste it. He didn't seem to have any trouble swallowing (it was very, very watery) but boy he did not like the taste.

So in addition to trying to wrap my head around the idea that I now need to produce 20 ounces of milk a day (seriously, that's just not possible, not even on good days), the idea that we need to start solids is freaking me out a little.

Monday night I was still feeling sore, so when I went home, I used heat on my breast and that relieved some of the soreness. I stayed home with Patrick and Ex yesterday and continued the heat while nursing, and now I feel fine. But my supply is still low. I read this on
Plugged duct

Milk supply and pumping output from the affected breast may decrease temporarily. This is normal and extra nursing/pumping generally get things back to normal within a short time.

Occasionally a mom may express "strings" or grains of thickened milk or fatty-looking milk.

After a plugged duct or mastitis has resolved, it is common for the area to remain reddened or have a bruised feeling for a week or so afterwards.
and, I feel a little better about it, knowing that a decrease in production is normal, but I hate seeing a decrease. It really bothers me. It reminds me of the time period leading up to my abscess getting infected, and I hated that! I was just so miserable then.

I was emailing with a friend of mine who has a lot of experience/knowledge about breastfeeding, and she had good information for dealing with the duct. It feels so good to have people to talk to about this stuff! Being home with Exton all day yesterday really helped. I kept thanking him for "helping to make mommy feel better." The soreness was painful! Today I'm back at work, and I plan on pumping every two hours. It's harder to do; even my incredibly generous and understanding boss starts looking for me sometimes, but I need to take care of this.
I emailed Ex's pediatrician yesterday, and she confirmed that 16 ounces of breastmilk during the time he's in daycare is an adequate amount (actually, she said that I could send whatever amount of milk that I can pump easily; 16 ounces used to be easy!). She reminded me that when he starts solids, the amount of breastmilk he needs will decrease, but she also said that I could wait a couple of weeks.
I know what my issue is with solids, though, and I know why I'm dragging my feet. I'll probably write more about it when I get it figured out. I'm working it out in my head first, and I need a little time... and I want to get this production thing back to where it used to be. One issue at a time!

A note about it's an awesome website put together by a lactation consultant. It has answered all my questions (and I have many). I think I visit the site daily. I feel so good about this site that today I ordered a t-shirt to support it.

If you are or you know a breastfeeding mom who doesn't already know about kellymom, please check it out. There is so much good information there, and it's a wonderful resource. Especially during those 3 a.m. feedings when you wonder if you're doing something wrong.

Song of the Day: Hello Hooray by Alice Cooper

I've been on an Alice Cooper kick for the last couple of weeks. I don't know how this happened but up until recently I never paid him much attention. Then one day I listened to "I'm 18" and I don't know, finally figured out that's such a great song, I'm sort of ashamed to just now be noticing it. 

On Patrick's advice, I downloaded a couple of albums (School's Out and Billion Dollar Babies). I haven't paid much attention yet to School's Out because I was kind of instantly sucked into Billion Dollar Babies (which is funny because I know "Billion Dollar Babies" was written about the success of "School's Out"). My favorite song right now is "Hello Hooray."

I mean, I'm not sure if this song was written ironically to go with the whole theme of the album, because you can listen to it that way, or you can just listen to it as a great song. I do love his sense of humor, and this song in particular is just so fun. "I feel so strong!"

And, the guy can sing, which I also never really thought about. He's doing his fair share of screaming, but there are moments when he sounds like a totally different person (I've been trying to confirm if that's even him singing on the song "Mary Ann" - when I first heard it I thought some Paul McCartney had somehow gotten on my iPod. I was all, HEY. HOW DID THIS PAUL MC CARTNEY GET ON MY IPOD?).

Anyway, there you go. "Hello Hooray" is the song of the day. Give it a listen.

Note: somebody told me that Alice was a conservative (and frankly, I don't really care) but according to Wikipedia, he doesn't believe in mixing rock and roll with his personal beliefs. This story (from Wikipedia) makes me so happy:
Although he originally tended to shy away from speaking publicly about his religious beliefs, Cooper has in recent years been quite vocal about his faith as a born-again Christian. He has avoided so called "celebrity Christianity" because, as Cooper states himself: "It's really easy to focus on Alice Cooper and not on Christ. I'm a rock singer. I'm nothing more than that. I'm not a philosopher. I consider myself low on the totem pole of knowledgeable Christians. So, don't look for answers from me."

When asked by the British Sunday Times newspaper in 2001 how a shock-rocker could be a Christian, Cooper responded "Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that's a tough call. That's real rebellion!"

Throughout his career, Cooper's philosophy regarding politics is that politics should not be mixed with rock music. He has usually kept his political views to himself, and in 2010 said "I am extremely non-political. I go out of my way to be non-political. I'm probably the biggest moderate you know. When John Lennon and Harry Nilsson used to argue politics, I was sitting right in the middle of them, and I was the guy who was going 'I don't care.' When my parents would start talking politics, I would go in my room and put on The Rolling Stones or The Who on as long as I could to avoid politics. And I still feel that way." On occasion he has spoken out against musicians who promote or opine on politics, for example in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, he told the Canadian Press that the then crop of rock stars campaigning for and touring on behalf of Democratic candidate John Kerry were committing "treason against rock n' roll." He also added that upon seeing the list of musicians who supported Kerry, "if I wasn't already a Bush supporter, I would have immediately switched. Linda Ronstadt? Don Henley? Geez, that's a good reason right there to vote for Bush."
Having recently invoked Don Henley myself, I'm so glad to see that Alice and I are on the same page. For some reason this makes me very happy.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spider-iffic. Yay.

This morning, after I got out of the shower, I sat down on the edge of the bathtub to put some lotion on my legs (this lotion: this stuff is genius good, I'm addicted to it), and I felt something on my leg. I wasn't wearing my glasses yet: I can find my legs just fine without them. I thought it was one of my own stupid errant hairs (postpartum alopecia sucks) that was tickling my leg, so I didn't think anything about it (I should've known better: this has happened to me before). But I kept feeling it, so finally I brushed it... and saw something black go flying across the bathroom.

It landed on the white shelf and I grabbed my glasses, and I saw that, of course, it was a spider.

A spider. A spider was on me. A spider was ON ME. I screeched (yeah, yeah, I screeched) something unintelligible, and I heard Patrick rushing over to the bathroom. He knocked on the door (he's so polite, but dude: I SCREECHED. You can COME IN), and then he came in. He saw the spider, then left to get something to capture it with. He came back with a little glass bowl and a piece of paper.  While he was gone the little bugger moved but he found it and took it outside, declaring, "That's just a garden spider."

As far as spiders go, there's no "just" in describing them. And how's he such an expert on spiders? How did he know it wasn't a baby brown widow?

Anyway, later on, the baby was taking a nap with him, and I was doing the dishes, when I found another one in the sink. What the hell is up with all these water-loving spiders? I went to tell him, but JP was sprawled out on his chest so he couldn't get up, so.. I went to deal with it myself. I got another little glass bowl and the Babies R Us coupons we just got in the mail yesterday, and I got the sucker. I put another little glass bowl on top of the other one and left him on the counter. He's a smart spider: the ad is a picture of two babies against a bright green background, and the spider only sits on the brown parts in the photos of the babies (hair, eyeballs; nice). There was a touch and go moment when, right after I caught him, he appeared to have curled up and died, but nope, he's still kicking it in there. I'm waiting for Patrick to be able to escort him out into the yard. If he's a garden spider (IF) then that's where he belongs.

Two spiders in one day! And I think I made some kind of breakthrough here. Yeah. I think I did.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

...any way the wind blows (crash!)... - Edited.

A friend on Facebook posted a video by Porkka Playboys of their cover of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, and it's pretty awesome. I love the drummer's tiny cymbals, and the soprano sax solo is note perfect. Thanks to them, I've had that song in my head a lot lately.
Exton likes us to sing to him, and I, for one, am willing to oblige. He was crying the other day while riding in his car seat in Patrick's car, and I successfully distracted him from whatever was upsetting him for about 30 minutes with every Neil Young song I could think of. Apparently he really likes the sound of my voice! "Old Man," "Southern Man," "Heart of Gold," and Patrick helped me out with the lyrics to "I Am a Child" were his favorites. Then we got started on the Creedence - we had a great time. Maybe lyrically, or thematically, these aren't appropriate songs to sing to a baby, but the style is exactly right. Neil's whiny voice (and my whiny voice, imitaing him) seems to be just what Ex's ear likes.

(Regarding the inappropriateness of these songs for an infant: I don't know. He hears mommy being loud and a little silly, and of course doesn't comprehend the words I'm saying. "I hear screaming and bullwhips cracking" means as much to him as "this little piggy went to the market" [which, by the way, he also loves]. One day we'll explain things to him. For now he hears music and words, I guess, as just sound. I mean, he's still learning English! For all he knows, I could be singing to him in Japanese.) -- I just spent about 20 minutes looking for a cover of "Heart of Gold" in Japanese. I know it's out there, I just need to do a longer search.

The other day I discovered that he also likes mommy's version of "Bohemian Rhapsody," so I've been singing that to him, a lot. The neighbors probably think I'm crazy. But I'm telling you, my 5 month old baby loves the way I sing all the falsetto notes. Those opening lyrics ("Mama! Just killed a man!") get his attention every time, and his eyes open up wide, and he smiles. That kid just loves listening to me sing!

He might be the only one, but I'll take it. One happy audience member is all I need.

I'm annoyed

But it’s a long silly story and I’ll get over it.

Punchline: I got in the elevator with a co-worker a minute ago and she goes, “I think the damn cat peed in my purse.” And what do you know, the eau de cat pee has been in the office all morning! MYSTERY SOLVED!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Snug Tuck Pillow - Success!

It's been awhile, and I realized I didn't update you on the status of my Snug-Tuck Pillow order.

It finally arrived a couple of weeks ago - about 2 weeks later than I expected, yes, but finally here. I was eventually contacted by someone at the company by email, who let me know that the fabric I had chosen was out of stock - apparently that particular fabric was very popular. Would this information have been handy to have at the time I placed my order? Well, yes. Would an email with this information have been handy after I placed my order (and not two weeks later)? Yes.

However, as that stupid guy Richard Fish used to say on that stupid show Ally McBeal: "Bygones." Why? because it's a great product.

I love the pillow. Alternative fabric that's very similar to the original fabric I wanted was chosen, it was easy to put on the bed, it works exactly like the website says it will, and the baby is safe and secure on the bed at all times. We're even getting a new king-size bed soon, and I'm positive that the Snug-Tuck pillow I ordered will fit the new bed.

As soon as the new mattress arrives, I'll take a photo. Until then, thanks Snug-Tuck Pillow! It wasn't a flawless transaction, but the product itself is perfect.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Overheard: actual conversation

Irene: Last night I had a dream about Dave Grohl.

Patrick: Really.

Irene: I was going to have his baby. He took me around and introduced me to his band and showed me his studio. You were mad but said I could stay with you but I said no, he's going to marry me, even though he's already married.

Patrick: Damn.

Irene: Then the next day I saw him with some other woman, saying all the same things.

Patrick: What a dick.

Irene: Yeah.


Irene: But don't worry, I didn't dream about the part where I actually GOT pregnant.

Patrick: Well, sure, he's like Jesus. Immaculate conception.