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Archive for March, 2010

Crying Game

I let Milo cry it out to fall asleep for a nap today.  He cried for 4 minutes, but it felt like forever.  He was clearly very tired and needed a nap.  I’ve been trying different routines to get him to nap, including swaddling, rocking, bouncing, singing, darkening the room, white noise, etc.

The easiest way to get him to sleep is to nurse him, which I have resorted to too easily, and now he knows he can get the boob if he wants it.  But the problem with nursing him to sleep is that he associates eating with sleeping and, when he wakes up every 30-45 minutes after a sleep cycle, he doesn’t know how to put himself back to sleep without the boob.  So, as long as he’s not actually hungry, I’ve been trying to get him to sleep without nursing.  There are challenges to this approach.

I’ve been reading the books and blogs about infant sleep and there’s a heated debate about whether or not to let your baby cry it out.  For the most part, we are reluctant to let Milo cry it out, but we are also learning that there are different kinds of crying.  If he’s tired and ready for a nap, he will usually stop crying after a few minutes and fall asleep.  If he’s really upset and overstimulated, he won’t be able to fall asleep by himself.  He’ll need some help and assurance he’s secure.

But there’s a fine line here—how long do you let him cry?  What constitutes a tired cry versus a screaming help-me cry?  Because to a mother, all the cries sound heartbreaking.  And you feel tremendous guilt, like you’re dooming your child to years of therapy because he felt abandoned when you didn’t pick him up because he was crying.

And yet, I recognize there’s a difference between rescuing and responding.  If Milo is crying for 4 minutes because he’s tired, he doesn’t need rescuing.  He just needs to know Mommy is there.  So I left the door to his nursery open and sat right in the next room to write my blog while I waited for him to quiet down.  And he did.

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Beer + Cookies = Milk

I know I should be blogging more!  Every few days, I think I come up with some brilliant or amusing insight and I should write it down.  And then I forget about it.  Bleah.

Mommyhood offers all sorts of opportunities for witty insight.  Today’s thought is about lactation.  I’ve had a few struggles with breastfeeding, particularly in the first few weeks after Milo’s birth.  He had some difficulty latching onto the breast and my milk supply was a little late coming in. . And to complicate things, Milo was jaundiced when he was born, which meant he needed to get calories in him and I wasn’t producing enough milk.  We had to supplement him with formula his first week of life, which made me feel horrible.  And since he wasn’t able to suckle very well, that affected my milk supply too.  Let’s just say I got very intimate with a hospital grade breast pump. As much as we think it should all be instinctive, breastfeeding is a learned skill, for both mother and baby.

Milo is fine now, thankfully, and a pretty good eater.  On his breast milk diet, he’s been gaining weight at a good clip, so my breasts have been producing enough.  Supply is delicate issue, however.  The more Milo feeds, the more my breasts will produce; it’s a delicate supply & demand balance.

About 10 days ago, I had my first girls’ night out since Milo has been born.  I drove down to Cambridge to meet up with my friends Grace and Ellen to go to a book reading for a friend visiting from San Francisco.  I was gone from Milo seven hours total.  I did bring my breast pump and managed to take a break to pump, otherwise my leaky boobs would have exploded.  Had I been with Milo, he probably would have fed three or four times during that seven hour period, which means I probably should have pumped that many times.

Since that outing, my breasts have been producing less milk when I pump.  Milo seems satisfied and is still gaining weight, however, my pumping sessions have been more scant.  So to increase my lactation, I have been eating oatmeal, drinking Guinness and eating lactation cookies (recipe here).  Evidently brewer’s yeast in the dark beers is supposed to help.  I have also been drinking Mother’s Milk tea, a tea with herbal supplements that supposedly boost milk production.  Beer, cookies, and tea.  Yum.

I should probably be getting more rest and exercising.  I’m sure that would do wonders for my milk production.  But really, Milo is doing fine, so maybe I should just relax.  That too would help my milk production.

Overachiever, even as a cow.

Milo, happy at the boob.

Milo, happy at the boob.

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