You're Doing Great

Lochlan was six weeks old last Friday. This means many things, but the most all-consuming thing of the sixth week of life has been his six-week growth spurt which we are in the midst of. I lovingly refer to this as the “growth spurt from hell” as it seems to be the most difficult one of all thus far. In happier news, once this growth spurt has passed we move on to happier times.
 
First, though, we must get through this growth spurt. It's the one where I decided that my milk supply is vanishing, that my baby actually hates me...but not as much as baby hates anyone (Adam) who attempts to hold him without a breast for him to latch onto. 
 
Lochlan is divinely unpleasant, fussy, and does not believe at all in the idea of sleep...at least at night (he's been asleep all morning). He switches sides constantly and is pretty vocal about his annoyance when there is not enough milk or when there is too much milk. He flails his little limbs in displeasure, and pummels me with his fists while tsking at me like an angry squirrel.

I know that this is a growth spurt and I know we will pass through it and while we wait to pass through this spurt, here are things I know and will try my best to remember...
  • I know that you are getting enough.
  • I know that the contents of my milk adjust across time to meet your needs, and that your fussiness is not because you’re starving but because your body and mine are communicating and modifying my supply to meet your needs.
  • I know that the way that I make this easier for both you and for me is to listen, to go through the motions, to switch you from side to side, to talk to you, to soothe you in all the ways I can, and to soldier on through trusting both your body and mine to do what needs to be done.
  • I know from the poopy and wet diapers that you are putting out that not only are you getting enough, you’re practically drowning in milk. I know that the frequency of your nursing is making sure that you get the highest fat milk from my body.
  • I know that how you are acting is not an indicator of my supply, nor is it a judgment of my ability to provide for you. It is how breastfeeding works. It is an indication that things are perfect and as nature designed. You nurse frequently to keep me there with you. You nurse frequently to keep my breasts empty so that my body will produce more milk rather than releasing a protein that decreases lactation. You nurse frequently so that the milk you drink is all high fat, not foremilk. You nurse frequently so that your belly will fill more slowly from a less full breast, so that you will digest more slowly and use every iota of what my milk provides for you, rather than gulping it down only to poop it out as quickly as you can eat.
Knowing all of this doesn't make it any easier. Lochlan and I are deeply loved by people that care a tremendous deal about us. No one likes to hear him whimper while he nurses (most of all me). His displeasure is obvious. No one likes to see me exhausted with bags under my eyes. No one likes offering to hold Loch to give me a break only to have him cry moments later because he needs to nurse again. Out of love they ask if maybe my milk supply is low. I refer them to the stack of diapers that disappears so quickly across the day that your growth spurt means we are running through a significant amount of diapers per day. He's eating so much, pooping and peeing so much. He's getting enough. My supply is fine.

You’re doing great, beautiful mama and boy.

You’re doing great.




Comments

  1. You are doing great! I remember the 6 week growth spurt, it was rough. I remember begging my husband to let me give Kieran formula because I was sure he was starving. Thankfully my husband saw through the hard times and encouraged me to keep feeding him. It was rough, but we got through it. Now he's going through another and I have to remember that this too will end...eventually.

    Keep doing what you're doing, Mama. You're kickin' butt!

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  2. You ARE doing great! I'm impressed that in the moment you're able to identify all of that- I don't know that I was able to until we'd passed through the rough weeks. There are lots of hard transitions, but there are even more rewarding moments:) keep up the good work! Providing completely for a baby is trying work, but the very best work!

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  3. It's amazing, isn't it? The perfect science of bfing, and milk supply, and just how much attention a new baby needs. It really is bonding time, even though it may not feel like all roses all the time. Because you've been through so very much together, like battle. :) you are doing such a great job meeting his needs and showing him you're there, building a lifetime bond! I remember when I was going through the thick of it, millionbabysteps said if she thinks of it as her job, it's not rocket science, it's nursing and changing diapers and I would always remind myself of that and feel like a rockstar that I was in fact, doing a really good job at what was to be my most important job!! His smiles are so cute! He is becoming such a little person.

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  4. You are doing great. But you would be doing just as great if you felt the need to supplement, too. With one of my twins and my daughter (who weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs at birth) I would occasionally top off the tank with a few ounces of formula if they were obviously still hungry and there was nothing in the tank. In the case of my son, he would drink his breast dry (each twin had his own side) and move on to his bro's and still take a couple ozs of formula before he was done. While both of my kids were putting out wet diapers like nobody's business, hungry is still hungry, and sometimes I came up short. Supplementing doesn't affect your supply nor does it spoil a baby for the breast, and it doesn't mean the end to breastfeeding.

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  5. You are doing great mama! It is touch at that age (2-12 weeks) where it feels like they are just constantly attached to the boob and need to be to be happy (especially in the evenings!). But this too will pass and you will have powered through, it is amazing how quickly the time goes by. And then you will forget that there was ever a time you found it difficult or stressful. It is amazing how the milk supply changes to meet the needs, I spent so much time in that first year terrified I would lose my supply if she slept too long or I gave her a bottle and didn't pump....looking back I wish I wouldn't have stressed about it so much, because it always adjusts! Just make sure you are getting your food and water :). He is too damn cute. I am thrilled beyond thrilled for you and Adam.

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  6. I just wrote a post about nursing at one year. In it I linked all of my posts from right around six weeks. If you have the time (hahahahah), read and compare. But if not, I will say, the beginning is hell. Filled with pain, doubt, frustration, and a sense of being overwhelmed at being so "needed." Or it was for me. But your words are wise and correct. TRUST your body. I belonged to a mommy group where so many women would begin to doubt their supply right when they were finding a rhythm to breastfeeding. It happened to me too. But it happens for a reason. Your body is regulating to him. You are used to those over-full boobs, and so in contrast they feel deflated. Don't worry. You're just syncing up. keep weighing him and keep watching his diapers, but other than that...TRUST. And now that in six months, you will not even think about it. Good work....it's hard!

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