Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Many thoughts

It feels like I have ideas for blog post multiple times a day, but just can't seem to find the minutes to get them written. (Yesterday's post was going to be longer, but I gave up when I hadn't gotten back to it for an hour).

So I'm going to stick with list format in order to share a few things with all of you. And maybe, just maybe, I'll have time to elaborate some of the points.

1 - I *think* Heather is moving herself to two naps a day using the 2-3-4 pattern. She's only done it for 3 days in a row (maybe longer, I didn't ask about her naps at daycare last week) and only followed 2-3-4 for the past two days. But the fact that she did it two days in a row is significant since she's never even come close to that pattern before.

2 - The other exciting aspect to these new patterns is that she went to be at 8:30 last night. Earliest bedtime ever. She woke up at 9:30 to eat, went right back to bed, and other than a few random cries/noises overnight, she wasn't up until she started rolling in her crib around 6:45. (But don't be too jealous, on Sunday night I got about 4 hours of sleep...)

3 - I'm reading "Child of Mine" by Ellyn Satter. It's about feeding babies and toddlers and was recommended by several friends with older babies. So far I'm really enjoying it and am getting ready to start solids with a little less trepidation. (We start on Saturday, BTW)

4 - Things are good at work. The firm just got a big job that should give us some financial security for a while. I was also just offered a role on a new job starting in late September. The downside is the travel that will be involved. But the upside is that because the President and VP of the firm will be the only people "above" me on the job, it will probably be the closest I've come to running a job so far. Exciting and scary at the same time.
The nicest thing is that I was given the option of saying no because of the travel involved. I will discuss the implications with R, but as long as I have a couple of days between trips for this job and another one that I'm already working on, I don't see it as being a problem. (Though it might be a bigger issue during construction - will have to think about that.)

5 - The essence of my breastfeeding post is still in my head, but I don't know that I'll ever have the time to write it as eloquently as I'd like.
There were two specific events that precipitated my thoughts. One, I was telling a coworker (2 kids, never breastfed) about my pumping schedule and the fact that I won't really be going to any lunch seminars until I stop pumping due to limited express bus runs, etc. Her response was "Better you than me. I couldn't do it." The second was a message board post where a woman was getting advice from her pediatrician to supplement with formula because her baby was suffering from reflux and medication wasn't helping. Without going into more details about the post, the gist is that all of the breastfeeding Moms were coming up with alternative strategies and encouraging this mom not to give formula if she didn't want to. The formula feeding moms responded with "If formula might help, why not try it" and "I would follow the pediatrician's advice".
I guess both of these incidents made me think about the commitment involved with breastfeeding. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to parenting, but as a parent you have to decide which decisions are critical and which ones aren't *for your family*. (The old cliché - choose your battles) For me, doing everything in my power to give Heather nothing but breast milk for 6 months is a priority. (On the other hand, it doesn't bother me that Heather doesn't have a consistent bedtime, but I'm sure that would drive some other mother batty.)
The more I think about it, I think the thing that bothers me is the implication the formula feeding is so much easier than breastfeeding. The idea that I'm making motherhood so much harder on myself by breastfeeding and pumping at work is just ridiculous. Yes, it is harder in the beginning because of the time it takes and the lack of sleep...but it is SO much easier once you get in a groove. And while I agree that formula isn't poison, it doesn't make me some kind of martyr just because I'm willing to make a few sacrifices to avoid it. I'm mostly trying to avoid it because I'm worried that if we supplement, my supply will go down and the problem will get even worse.
I don't mean for this to be a rant. I just find it interesting that there are mothers and pediatricians out there who would hear a mother say "I don't want to give my child formula yet" and then go ahead and encourage them to give formula. I guess it goes along with my wish that there were more doctors out there who were more knowledgeable about breastfeeding so that they could give new mothers better advice and not be so quick to recommend supplementing. More people should understand that there are few medical reasons why it is necessary to supplement right after birth, that sometimes it takes more than a week for a woman's milk to come in (without negative consequences) and that just because it is easier for the pediatrician to "fix" a problem with formula doesn't mean that it's the best idea.
I guess this is kind of a rant. Oh well. I probably just need to spend less time reading message boards - then I wouldn't have other peoples' problems to get agitated about. :-)

6 - I enjoyed HP5 even more on the second viewing and I had a great girls night out at the same time. A lovely Saturday evening. I think HP5 is tied with HP3 as my favorite movie. I'm very excited that David Yates is directing the next one, too.

7 - I'm sure that you are tired of hearing about my milk supply. But that's too bad since this is my blog. :-) I've noticed a pattern that makes me think that the Mother's milk tea and the oatmeal really do work. The past two Mondays I have had really crappy pumping days but the next day I've gotten almost as much as I needed. I generally haven't been having the tea or oatmeal over the weekend since it's hot and I'm nursing, but I'm pretty good about having both at work eat day. So it seems like they must really work.

I totally understand if that post was so long that you just skimmed it. :-)


Nadine said...

It's such a complicated and loaded issue, isn't it? I've approached it from both sides of the aisle now. I breastfed Lucy for 15 months and she never had formula, but to do it I had to pump 5 times a day (3 at work, 1 in the morning before work and 1 in the evening after she went to bed). I'm still breastfeeding Lainey, but we have supplemented with formula since she was about 5 months old because frankly, I don't have it in me this time to add the 2 extra sessions outside of work (and yes, it was necessary to add those sessions, it was the only thing that worked and I tried it all). I think having the toddler to deal with (and want to spend time with) just made me feel like it was too much. (Not to mention Lainey's food allergy and reflux issues, which have also been an added complication.)

I don't really have a bottom line here, except to say that it's such an individual choice. I completely agree that pediatricians aren't as educated about breastfeeding as they should be and that some moms are the same way. But I also try mightily to avoid injecting judgment and emotion into the issue (I'm not at all saying that you're doing that, BTW!!). I go back to the start of my (very long) comment--it's just such a loaded issue, and so very complicated for a lot of people. I guess I assume that every mom does the best that she can for her baby, herself, and the rest of her family, and whatever decision she makes about breastfeeding hopefully serves those ends.

So there's my long and convoluted thought process about the whole thing! LOL.

Annie and Greg said...

Hey! I enjoyed reading your post, and yes, I read all of it and didnt skim. I thought it was interesting that you brought up the point about how some people think that breast feeding is sooo much more time consuming than bottle feeding. Obviously I never breast fed since that wasnt really an option with adoption, but I can surely tell you, feeding is time consuming anyway! Sure, there was the option of Greg doing feeding, which obviously husbands can't breast feed. We felt it was very important to use feeding as a time for bonding. Every feeding of Marcus involved mixing the formula, heating the formula (he wouldnt drink it unless it was exactly the right temperature), and then getting comfortably situated holding and cuddling him while he ate. Now obviously I never had the issue with the time it takes to pump, but yes, unless you are bottle propping, it takes plenty of time to bottle feed as well!!

I really commend you for all your effort put into breast feeding. If we ever have bio children (not in the plan, but you never know what could happen) I hope I could breast feed as long as possible and are certainly an inspiration!

Amanda said...

Coming from a formula fed family, I really appreciate your insite to your BFing experiences Amy. It is nice to know that I have a friend with experience to go to when I am having my own issues later this year! YIKES!
One night this week the nightly news on ABC had a short story about NYC public hospitals switching from putting formula into bags for new moms and including BFing information and some cute baby onsie that had some saying indicating the baby was breast fed. It was interesting

Anna said...

Word, word, word.

I have to confess that until I started posting on the Nest, that I knew only one person in real life who formula fed from the beginning by choice. It's kind of surprising to me to realize I must be living in some kind of rarified bubble where most women I know breastfeed for at least 9 months, most to a year or longer.

It's interesting to read Nadine's perspective, because now that Henry is weaned, I don't know how I would put a similar committment into breastfeeding a second child while having a toddler. I guess you just do what you have to do!

And yes, I agree with Annie that bottles are a huge amount of work! But unfortunately, pumping does give you the worst of both worlds. My hat is off to you for working so hard for Heather.

Amy said...

Nadine - It's totally a loaded issue and there is no "one size fits all" answer. Maybe my point is that since I don't judge other women who choose to formula feed then I don't want them judging me. But I'm just as frustrated by situations where women want to exclusively breastfeed and don't get the support or correct advice they need to do so.
I only have one and there are nights I don't feel like pumping (and I can't imagine getting up any earlier to pump in the morning!) so my hat is off to you for all you've done for both kids!

Amanda - I'm happy to help anytime!

Annie and Anna - :-)

Think I've scared off all of my male readers yet? ;-)

Amanda said...

You have male readers? Wow!

Melissa & Jon said...

When I was having supply issues, the only advice I was given was to supplement with formula (that is, until I got in touch with my LC). I didn't want to...not because I thought formula was poison, but because I felt like it was the slippery slope that would lead to the end of breastfeeding for me, and I wasn't ready for that. In the end, I decided not to supplement, and worked with the LC to get my supply back up. It was a week and a half, but I did it. But then a couple months later, I got a terrible ear, sinus and upper respiratory infection and had to stop nursing immediately so I could start the medication I needed to use. I wish I'd had the opportunity to decide to stop breastfeeding (I wanted to BF longer) rather than feeling forced into cold-turkey. It was hard on Grant, hard on me mentally, and hard on my body. Everyone's experiences are different and I think we should just be mindful of being supportive of them!!! I hated snide comments about BF...I'm outspoken, but never felt a need to make comments like that to anyone. Good luck with what works best for you and Heather!!! I've rambled long enough...

jen said...

No skimming here! First, congrats on meeting your BF goal. I hate pumping and am fortunate enough that I've probably had to do it less than a dozen times and we're almost nine months in.

I hear you on the whole issue. I think nadine is right on how complicated it is as well. What bugs me is the women who want to BF and can't, only because they didn't have knowledgable support instead of a hand pushing formula toward them.

I recently commented on a board post about the NYC hospital thing but I couldn't even really discuss it because most of the other women were either FF defensive or just wanted free stuff. I don't know about yours, but my milk is free!