Norah has a few new tricks this week!
She can sit in her Bumbo seat! We tried it a few weeks ago and she wasn’t ready for it yet, but now she can sit up fairly well in it and seems to like it! This photo is the first time she sat in it successfully.
She sleeps in her crib! We started putting her in there for some of her naps, and she seemed to like it. She looks at the mural on the wall and sometimes smiles at it! I’ve also seen her staring at blue things a lot, so I think it’s her favorite color – glad we picked it for her walls! Anyway, we started putting her in there for her first stretch of sleep at night, because I have a hard time sleeping when I’m so honed in on her that every move she makes wakes me up. And I’m finally at the point where I’m less paranoid (I don’t feel like I have to check on her every five minutes). I also think it’s good to get her used to going to sleep in her own room, so eventually when she sleeps through the night she’ll just be in there all night.
She also can go to sleep on her own sometimes, which is wonderful. In the middle of the night after I feed her, I put her in the playpen next to our bed (which is really more like a bassinet, with the platform up high) and she always goes back to sleep unless she’s still hungry.
This next one amazes me.
I started working with her on opening her mouth wider when she latches on to nurse, and I would say, “Ah,” and let her latch on when her mouth was open wide enough. A couple of days into it, she started saying, “Ah,” after me, and now she usually does it without me even reminding her! Today she even did it to let me know she wanted more!!! I would almost consider that a first word – verbal communication! She also cries less while waiting for me to let her latch on because she knows what I want her to do. It is so amazing.
So, nursing. Let’s talk about that.
Breastfeeding has been such a roller coaster ride for me. I keep thinking things are getting better, only to realize that I’ve been injured all over again and it still hurts more than I can stand. At the moment, things are no better, except that I’ve gotten into a routine now. I pump during the day and only let her nurse on the left since it hurts way less, and during the night I nurse on both sides. I do nighttime nursing because it’s really annoying to pump when I really want to be asleep, and the pain isn’t that bad if I give it a break during the day so I’m not constantly getting bruises on top of bruises.
Oh, AND I finally bought a new pump (the Medela “Swing”). I hate that I had to go and buy an expensive electric pump, when under normal circumstances I would have done fine with my five-dollar like-new manual one. It just got to be such a pain when I’m doing it all day long. I felt like I was going to end up with carpel tunnel. I do like it, though, if you can attribute the word “like” to something that accomplishes something so un-exciting. It’s much easier, and I don’t dread it so much. (Ooh! I just discovered that I can type and pump simultaneously with this thing if I prop it up with the Boppy pillow!)
I say things are no better “at the moment,” because I’ve come up with an idea that I have high hopes for. First, I’ll tell you that I called Leslie again to see if she had any more ideas for me. (I am so grateful to her. She has taken on my problems almost as if they were her own, and diligently sought answers for me.) She got in touch with a retired lactation consultant named Elsie, who had a few pieces of advice. First, she gave us a better way of doing the suck training (use daddy’s thumb, since it’s bigger, and pull down on her chin). She also said that we really need to get her off of bottles, because “she’s learning to be a good bottle drinker instead of a good nurser.”
I had already been aware of this since I know that nursing and bottle feeding require different types of sucking, but I didn’t know what to do about it because she has to get her food somehow.
Elsie’s idea was to feed her with a cup. She said to use a small cup, like a medicine cup, touch it to her lips, and make her “lap it up like a kitten.” The idea is to teach her that she has to stick out her tongue to get food. This sounded a little ridiculous to me, but I would try anything.
It was a total disaster. It would take three people (or a strait jacket) to keep her still and hold the cup at the right angle without spilling, plus I think it would have taken literally all day to finish one feeding that way. It was pointless.
So, I came up with an idea of my own (after also trying and failing with a syringe).
Supplemental nursing system. It’s a container of milk with a very thin tube that goes into the baby’s mouth while nursing. It’s usually used when the mother wants to breastfeed but has a low milk supply, sometimes temporarily and sometimes long term.
I just ordered a Lact-Aid brand one new from Ebay, and can’t wait to get it! It gets better reviews than the Medela version. It’s another gadget I really wish I didn’t have to spend money on, but it will be worth it if it can get Norah to nurse better by avoiding bottles. Even if we had to use it long term I’d feel better about that. I feel a little bit heartbroken every time she gets a bottle, because I feel like it’s taking away our precious bonding time.
I’ll just do a better version of what I’m doing now: pump from the right, and nurse on the left with the pumped milk coming through the tube. Another positive is that it might help increase my supply on the left, which is the low-producing side.
Another encouraging thing Elsie said is that most babies eventually grow out of tongue thrusting on their own. However, I have no idea how long it usually takes. So we’ll keep working with her on it, and my hope is that I will only have to use the tube thing for a few weeks.
We took Norah on her first camping trip! We neglected to bring the camera, but she seemed to really like it. We only went for one night in order to avoid the heat, which worked out pretty well.
I guess I’ll leave it at that for now so I can get this posted! As usual, here are some more photos!