Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The first night...and I'm STILL in love with my daughter!

Last night I was chatting online with my best friend S and she was asking me I was nervous about the first night since it's usually the hardest.

I had thought the night before at the hospital when I had McK room in with me was the hardest night because I was on my own, no P to help out, and I was strong and didn't call the nurses for help.

Ha ha ha.

The entire first day went great. I nursed her on demand, she slept on and off, and it was great. But then she woke up at 2 am and would NOT go back to sleep or stop crying no matter what I tried. Changing diapers didn't work, she refused to nurse, walking her around the house didn't calm her down, nothing. We were freaking out. We checked her temperature to make sure she wasn't running a fever. I was tearing through my books looking for signs of colic. We could not figure out what was going on.

How many of you moms are reading this right now and thinking, "Yup, I remember those days"?

Finally after three hours around 5 am, I finally broke down and gave her an ounce of formula. It was a hard decision to make since I have been so adamant about breast feeding for so long and not supplementing, but when you are running on very VERY little sleep (two hours Monday night and about three at that point Tuesday night), you are much more loose and pliable. P is being this point, I think he's just doing whatever he can to keep his girls from crying. He was talking to my sister-in-law today on the phone when I was napping, and when I woke up he was telling me about the conversation that they had. Apparently G (sister-in-law) said something to the effect of, "Sometimes you just have to let her cry it out" to which I responded, "Let an INFANT cry it out?"

He said G was talking about me, not McKenna!

But the formula? Yeah, it was like giving an insomniac Ambien. McKenna was out cold about a minute after she drank that ounce down. AND she slept solid for three and a half hours after that. We had to call and reschedule our pediatrician appointment because we all overslept. And today has been heavenly now that we are supplementing. I was able to clean the kitchen, do some laundry, and I even got a three-hour nap this afternoon.

Our pediatrician's appointment went pretty well, although her jaundice is still's just more visible in the stark bright light of the doctor's office than it is in the dim comfortable light of my bedroom. And she's still losing weight. She's down from 8 lbs, 12 oz at her birth to 7 lbs, 15 oz. She's just hungry. So her doctor recommended that I breast-feed her on demand FIRST and then follow each feeding with an ounce or two of formula if she wants least, until her jaundice clears up, her bilireuben (whatever those are) count is normalized, and she regains some of her birth weight. My milk, while it IS coming in, is just not all the way there yet. They aren't watermelons like everyone keeps telling me they will be, but I can squirt milk, and that's kind of cool in a weird sort of mommy way.

But every time I nurse her, she's cuter and cuter and I'm falling more and more in love with this child. I love dressing her and holding her and I love how she curls her hand around my index finger when she's nursing. I love the sounds that she makes when she's having a dream. I love it (again, in a weird mommy way) when I'm changing her diaper and she's's kind of like wrestling a crocodile. I love the smell of her sweet skin and her hair. I love tickling her feet. I love holding her and looking at her eyelashes.

Does every mother just think that their child is SO perfect?

And every outfit I put on her is cuter than the last. I have so many clothes for her to wear, I actually get excited when she spits up on her onesie because it means I get to pick out something new for her to wear. Sick, isn't it?

We had our first walk today. We put her in the Chicco and took the dogs out around the neighborhood. She slept through the whole thing, so it's probably more appropriate that I enjoyed it more. It was FANTASTIC to be able to walk like a normal human being and to keep up with P for a change!!!! And the dogs were hilarious. They are so nervous in a good way around the baby. We keep encouraging them to smell her hair and stuff to get used to her, and they just get reminds me of how Katie acted at first when we brought Simon home, kind of like she's scared because she's so tiny and doesn't want to hurt her, but yet loves her to pieces and wants to be near her. It's a complicated emotion which I understand completely! When we were walking, I pushed the stroller in front of the dogs and P, and every time I'd get ahead, the dogs would pull P to catch up so they could be closer to us.

Tomorrow we have another follow-up appointment with our pediatrician, and then, if we are brave enough, we are going to venture out to go shopping at Target. Our ped said that as long as we don't let anyone touch her and keep her away from anyone that is sick, we are fine to go anywhere we want. I've just about mastered breast feeding in front of others by using a blanket to cover us up, so I think it'll be a success. Grandpa and Uncle M also have called about stopping by, so it looks like we might have some company.

Anyway, that's the scoop! Thanks again to everyone for all the wonderful comments...all your support and friendship means so much!


Blogger Erin said...

Ped's advice about supplementing with formula *after* she has exhausted your current milk supply is spot on. If you want, you can also pump a little while she's "topping off" to make sure your breasts are well stimulated (2-5 minutes per side she nursed on, just don't get sore). That is the best supplementation advice I got. "Sometimes you just have to let her [you] cry it out" is also fabulous advice. First thing a friend of my mom's asked her after she got home from helping me when L was born was "is she still crying all the time?" LOL It's natural and normal, at least for a little while. So glad you are enjoying her! Savor the moments, imprint them on your brain. They're gone so fast, and she'll be running around the house before you know it.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

First of all - congratulations!

Second - I completely understand how you are feeling about the feeding thing. When Katie was first born she was just pre-term (35w6d) enough that eating did not come naturally to her. Add to that a horrible case of jaundice (unlike McKenna, Katie was hospitalized for three days to treat it) and it was a nightmare for me and my breasts! But, I can assure you, even with a full week of eating virtually only formula (or pumped breast milk) she switched to the breast with no problem once she was healthy and got home. Sometimes it just takes a bit for their bodies and our bodies to come together!

Oh - bilirubin - it's the toxin that red blood cells make when they break down. In adults (well, pretty much everyone but newborns and people with liver problems) they are removed by the liver and excreted into the large intestines as bile. But, infants, especially those born a little (or very much) early, don't necessarily have a fully functional liver when they are first born, so the toxins just build up. If her numbers are still high next time and you (and your pediatrician) are wavering about checking her in to a hospital for phototherapy, maybe you can request a Wallaby. It's a portable light blanket that provides some phototherapy from within your own home. Loud, but cool.

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Katrina said...

Congratulations, again! It sounds like you're all getting along fabulously (even with the sleepless nights).

Yes, all moms think their babies are just perfect. And, yes, pumping between feedings will definitely help to stimulate your milk supply. Make certain you're staying well-hydrated, too.

My younger two were 36 week preemies and one also suffered from jaundice. Exposure to indirect sunlight will help tremendously! Sunlight helps to break down the bilirubin in the body. Feed McKenna while facing a nice sunny window. Frequent feedings also help.

Have fun on your first shopping trip!

6:17 AM  
Blogger WhizGidget said...

There's an old saying as to why babies are born cuter than cute - it's so we don't kill them when they keep us up all hours of the night. ;)

Erin's right, your pediatrician is right - supplementing is good when your full milk supply isn't all the way in. Heck, supplementing is good period. I used to mix formula with pumped milk so that there was a bottle in the fridge for DH to use if he needed it (and I was otherwise occupied or not in the house), or for when they went to daycare (which wasn't until they were over 3 months old).

Enjoy all these moments, and keep journaling them - this is your memory book of McKenna's first days. And if you think you're moving fast now, just wait another two weeks when you've dropped some more of the pregnancy weight gain (well, hopefully you will - I dropped almost all of it within 2.5 weeks of DD#1s's birth).


6:39 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Erica I laughed about what you said about the cute outfits. I used to take photos of my daughter just because she had a new adorable outfit on!

Supplementing is totally fine. Don't let the breast-feeding Nazis differently! I had to break down even further with my son and scoop runny cereal into his mouth when he was 2 months old. This apparantly runs in the males in DH's family. SIL told me that AFTER I thought I was doing something wrong, but I was DESPERATE to fill him up. Poor kid was starving.

Bottom line is - do what works.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I am so excited to hear of your recent addition to the family. Congrats and I can't wait to see more of McKenna as she grows up.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Ellyndria said...

Ditto the sunlight and feeding often for jaundice. Strip her down to her diaper and nurse her in front of a sunny window.

Also, if you need to supplement, why not try a SNS (supplemental nursing system)? It's basically a little tube you tape to yourself, which you put either pumped milk or formula in, so when she nurses, she gets supplemented while at the same time stimulating your body to produce more milk.

Some other things you can try to boost your supply is eating oatmeal, taking fenugreek, or drinking some Mother's Milk Tea. And don't forget to drink water every time she nurses! :)

Good luck!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

I'm a couple of days late but I wanted to say congrats to you and Phil, Erica!! Your daughter is a beauty!

6:05 PM  
Blogger Taneya said...

Erica! Thanks so much for sharing everything with us -- most of all - keep posting pictures! (of course I know you will). thinking of you. :-)

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sunlight, sunlight, sunglight! Definitely one of the best things to help jaundice go away. And changing baby outfits - I remember those days - isn't it great fun when you have to because the other got dirty for one reason or another? ;) If you haven't already tried it, get the Stain Stick. Spread it out inside and out of the outfit and throw into the laundry basket until you're ready to wash the next load. It will most definitely help the outfits from staining.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Autumn said...

When your milk comes in you'll SO know!! I always called mine stripper boobs. They were huger than I could have possibly ever imagined they would be.

9:54 AM  

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