The big things for Forest during his eighth and ninth weeks of life were his first shots and me returning to work. I remember getting some shots as a small kid but over the years I’ve forgotten just how painful and scary they could have been. I must have blocked out some of that when anticipating Forest’s first round of shots because it was much more horrible than I imagined. He had four different vaccinations, one of them being a liquid taken by mouth (rotovirus), and then three shots in the tops of both thighs. Oh the wail that came out of his mouth! It was devastating to watch and for a second there I wondered if he was going to stop breathing—the cry was so guttural that no sound came out of his mouth, his face frozen in terror with giant tears welling in his eyes.
And then we went home.
Chris had to return to work and I was still on maternity leave so I had the day to take care of him. He slept on the way home and once home, Chris attempted to put him in his crib where he woke up quickly. I nursed him and then he fell back asleep. When he woke back up from that nap it was all downhill for the rest of the afternoon and into the early evening. He started crying hysterically and wouldn’t nurse. I checked his diaper a million times. Finally I managed to distract him some by going outside but anytime I tried to nurse him the wails would continue. Knowing he needed to eat I prepared a bottle and tried to get him to drink an ounce here and an ounce there. Chris came home later to prepare for an ill-timed, previously planned guy’s poker night as part of team building event for coworkers. As I tried to talk to him about the hysterical crying I was dealing with we finally realized that the cloth diapers were hurting his legs. We switched to the disposables we have on hand and he seemed to feel a little better, less hysterical but still upset.
I tried multiple times to put him down if he fell asleep in my arms, only within seconds after I set him down the crying began again. That was the day I held him while I went to the bathroom….Momma has to pee, too…that’s a difficult thing to manuever! Slowly throughout the afternoon I managed to continue getting him an ounce down here and there and he started feeling better towards late evening. Luckily Chris was at the house starting around 4pm so he was able to help me out on occassion between poker games. I knew that nursing Forest would likely help soothe him and it was finally at around 6pm that I attempted to try again, this time changing his position where he was sitting practically upright, held in a way that I would start bottle feeding him. It worked! And that’s how I got him to start nursing again. I’d read about nursing strikes, where babies refuse to breastfeed for one reason or another, and I began to worry he was going to start on one.
I ate dinner that night with him reclined on me sleeping and me reaching around to scoop up dinner. Luckily over the next few days the only effects were some general tiredness and a catch-up on breastfeeding since he ate very little that afternoon. We kept the disposables on for the next day until we felt his legs had started feeling less tender.
I’m not looking forward to shot days coming up in the next year.
So, the other big thing during this week and the beginning of week 9 was that I went back to work. Conveniently it worked out that I really only worked 3.5 days as I took Monday off and I had a half day on Friday for the girl’s version of a team building event that Chris had with the poker night. Chris’ mom was down for the first week of daytime care of Forest. I was definitely nervous about leaving Forest, even with family. How was he going to act? How would he go to sleep without nursing on me? Would he fuss and want me? Thankfully he did very well and even though the first night or two he was a little more clingy than normal, things seemed to be ok with him. He definitely missed me and even if he had recently had a bottle before I got home, he’d nurse for a bit but then very clearly switched to comfort nursing. At first I felt bad and let him do it for awhile but then it got old and I had things to do and eat dinner so I’ve kept that to a minimum.
I’m definitely having to adjust my evenings now that I have to come home and nurse Forest and spend time with him. My time online has dwindled to just about nothing in the evenings. Between taking care of Forest, eating dinner, and then doing any chores I need to do and throwing in a workout, I’m ready for bed just about when he goes to bed. I’m trying to get him in bed between 9 and 10 and that seems to work most evenings. He likes to take as short nap in the evenings around 7-8 pm. I’ve tried getting him down before 9 and he usually wakes up again, so right now I don’t bother putting him down for the night before 9pm.
I’ve been off of dairy for nearly two weeks now. I know there have been slip ups here and there because I’m finding out that dairy is in a lot of items! I miss chocolate the most, but have found that some chocolate chips don’t have added milk and some dark chocolates don’t either. I’m currently savoring a bar of Baker’s chocolate! Yeah, I like my dark chocolate! But I miss brownies and the like. I do think going dairy free has helped Forest in some manners, particularly with his diapers–there’s less green and mucousy poo—and some days I think we’re doing better with the reflux and other days I don’t think we are. His first taste of medicine was the liquid Zantac and liquid Tylenol the day of his shot and the look on his face was priceless! He’s taking the Zantac better now but still makes the face and throws a small fit after taking it. Most of the time it all ends up swallowed but sometimes he dribbles it out of his mouth.
Some other adjustments to my return to work was figuring out how much he needed to eat during the day and pumping at work. When breastfeeding on demand he might want to have a sip here and there between real ‘meals’ because babies do get thirsty and aren’t always necessarily hungry. I wondered how that would be sated by bottle feeding. I had my mother-in-law, and continued with my mom this week, write down when he ate and how much along with his naps and their duration so I could look at patterns. So far it appears that about 16-18 ounces from 8-5 is what he takes and generally makes him happy. From my reading about what breastfed babies eat between months 1-6, they obviously vary from baby to baby, but on average babies take in 25 ounces a day with a range from 19-30 ounces. I basically told them to start with a 4 oz bottle and see what he will eat. Sometimes he only takes in 2 ounces to start and then finishes up the rest of the bottle later in the hour after he sits around or snoozes. Sometimes he gobbles up the 4 ounces and would like another ounce 30 minutes later.
As for pumping at work, thankfully I have my own office which allows me to pump in private. Even if I didn’t have my own office there are several places I could duck into and have privacy if I needed it. I had a curtain hung up on my door since it had a window. I pump three times a day with another pump in the morning after Forest feeds around 6-7 am, giving me four pumping times. So far I’ve been able to have about two daytime feedings in the fridge when I get home at the end of the day. This was because I started off with some extra milk in the fridge before I returned to work wanting to have some extra on hand until we determined how much Forest needed during the day. I will probably start freezing 4-8 oz at the end of the week for freezer stash, but that will be determined on how much I have in the fridge at the end of the week. What I pump on Friday will be saved for Monday’s daytime feeding and I will also pump at least one morning during the weekends, maybe two if I feel like it. Pumping four times a day during the week really turns me off to pumping at any other time if I don’t have to.
On the milk supply and pumping, so far it has been great. I have made two batches of lactation cookies so far, running out of the first batch on the first day I returned to work. I feel that they definitely helped with adding in a few extra ounces to my mid-day pumping sessions and could notice a difference when I wasn’t eating them. I think I’ll double the batch next time and freeze one batch so I’m not having to make them every week. I also drink the Mother’s Milk tea as iced tea at home. Some people don’t like the taste, I think it’s the fennel that gets to them, but as an iced tea it really isn’t that bad.
Well, I’m sure I’m missing something but it already took me several days to write this up in bits and pieces. If you have any questions ask away!