Monday, January 29, 2007

Four and a Half Months

There is so much going on that it's hard to know where to start, what to include, and what I've already written. No time to reread previous posts! Guess I'll just blast ahead.

I tried a lot of different topical remedies to assuage Limelet's forehead eczema, and I even tried cutting out wheat products for a couple weeks. So far the only thing that has worked is--get this--Noxzema. I was reluctant to try it at first, because I thought it might be a bit strong, but I use it to soothe sunburns so it can't be that stingy. I vaguely remembered some apocryphal story about how the name came about, which was that a friend of the inventor said it "knocked out his eczema," hence Noxzema. And it did work, practically overnight. He does still itch and scratch somewhat, but it's way, way better. It's reduced the inflammation and the bumps are gone. It doesn't seem to make things worse right after I put it on, as some other things I tried did. I just have to keep his sharp little nails cut really close, since he still habitually scratches when he's sleepy/sleeping.

Pumping is a lot easier than it initially was, now that I don't need to do it (of course.) My body got used to the pump and I can now get a letdown from using the pump, although it's definitely not as efficient as Limelet himself.

These past couple of days, he's gotten suddenly better at staying asleep when I put him down in bed for his nap after nursing him into a coma (as they say). This is huge! He'll also tolerate sitting in his little swing in the bathroom, playing with his toys, while I take a shower (with open curtain so we can see each other and I can get water all over the bathroom. He even lies on his little play mat/gym and plays with his toys for a short period, and sometimes sits on the couch "reading" his little cloth book. I broke down and got him a BebePod seat, too. He sits in it and plays with the toys hanging from the struts of his gym, but he gets a little frustrated. His "core" isn't very developed yet, so grabbing things is harder as he's also working to sit up. It's coming along, though.

The teething thing seems to come and go, but he's definitely become very interested in our food. It's like carrying a little dog around: he watches each mouthful or stares at the glass I'm holding. He gets really upset that he can't have them.

He's not supposed to have any other food than his milk until six months, in order to help avoid food allergies. Apparently the latest research shows that the old "four to six months" recommendations don't take into account the development of their little guts, which simply can't digest things until six months.

I have to confess, the other day I allowed him to suck on a peeled apple. He was so frantic to get it while I was eating. He was totally in heaven when he tasted it. He sucked on that thing for, like, twenty minutes. It was the drooliest apple ever. I've been watching him for signs of allergic reaction, but so far he seems fine. Nevertheless, I'll try to hold off further experimentation until six months.

At his recent well-baby visit, his height was in the 90th percentile (26") and his weight in the 60th (15lbs 1 oz). So he's a long, lean kid already. That pretty much runs in my family. He still has a head circumference in the 25th percentile, though. At least it's keeping pace with the other measurements. My poor microcephalic baby! Well, models have small heads relative to their bodies, so it's not all bad. (Try photoshopping a pic of yourself to have a very slightly smaller head--instant model! I've done it.)

Limelet also seems to be developing separation anxiety already--specificially about me. He's not waiting until the six-month mark for this one. He still likes playing with his Daddy, but sometimes freaks out if I go away, like to the bathroom, and leave them together. (Of course leaving him alone is usually worse.) However, he's still allowing the pre-bed bathtime ritual in which TheLimey takes him upstairs to get undressed for his bathie, (then brings him downstairs wrapped up in a blanket like a baby burrito). He's just starting to prefer me, especially when he's feeling fussy or uncomfortable.

Therefore I predict we need to start planning how we're going to deal with the potential trauma switching primary caregivers when I go back to work full-time this summer and TheLimey stays home with him. I'm glad I don't have any hangups about nursing, because this will be a nice way to keep him feeling connected when I come home, and at night.

What's the big problem with it? Why are people in such a hurry to stop it? Once he starts eating solid food regularly, it's not even like I'll have to worry about someone being dependent for his life on my breasts, as he is now. It'll be even more convenient than now. A beverage and vitamin supplement that I don't have to buy or mix or heat up or wash up after (unless I want to pump to leave some at home. Which maybe I will.)

I guess if I wasn't one of those people who can sleep through nursing, maybe I'd have more of a problem with it, but I think it's great that he can get a lot of his eating done while we're both sleeping.

He's starting to stretch some of his "6-month" clothing items now. Convenient for me the second-hand store is only blocks away!

We're trying to figure out how to enable me to actually work on my dissertation now that interviews are finally over. I know I know--I'm sitting here writing this post right now while he naps. But it's only been the past couple days he's started this staying-asleep thing, so I don't know whether it's a fluke or I can start counting on it.

Besides, his naps really aren't that long (in dissertation work terms), and they're certainly not predictable. It's a heck of a lot harder to try to work on my dissertation in little fits and spurts, than something light and "fun" like this. I end up spending all my diss work time picking up and putting down rather than actually working, as I have to re-learn it each dang time. We might end up hiring someone to come over and watch him for an afternoon each week, in addition to having TheLimey take over on weekend afternoons. We'll see.

This is why people have extended families! Well, this and being sick or getting old. This nuclear family crap is really useless for certain parts of life.

Oh, he's waking. Bye!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Post-Interviews Post

I can't express how glad I am that I finished with interviews. Given that the whole process took up all my time for four or five months, each time, for three years running, I have now devoted about a year of my life just to applying/interviewing for internships. (I think that should already count as my internship year, darnit!) I shudder to think of how much money I've/we've spent on hotels, travel, food, and even clothes, over three years.

It's pretty funny: last year I wore a beautiful suit that TheLimey gave me for Christmas, I got up early before each interview and showered, put on makeup, curled my hair, shined my shoes, and so forth--and this was after days of hours of preparation for each interview.

This year, I wore my old black linty maternity pants with the suit jacket, forgot to even bring a necklace, had four weeks' worth of eyebrow growth, and was happy to get my teetth brushed. Preparation mostly consisted of printing out things from last year and reading the sites' websites. There were some things I had to do new, and time to do them was dearly won and planned for on weekends. Instead of cramming the site's info the hour before the interview, I was changing diapers and/or nursing up to the point where I had to leave (or shut the office door and answer the phone, in the case of phone interviews.) Priorities were, shall we say, somewhat different than last time.

I can imagine what next year will be like when I'm leaving for work and leaving my boys at home, but it'll probably be completely different from whatever I imagine. I plan to still nurse at some times (like maybe bedtime, for example), and I'll probably be expressing milk during the day for him to have the next day at lunch or whatever. I hope he's not terribly sad when I leave, but I think that Daddy being home with him will help a lot. We're not leaving him with someone unfamiliar, at an unfamiliar location.

Well, there went the nap--must go now!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Four Month Birthday

Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
Not quite ready for solid food yet, but the chair is fun. With some propping-up.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Breastfeeding-Friendly Icon

Breastfeeding-Friendly Icon
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
Can't post it to Blogger, so I'll blog it on Flick'r...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Nearly Done

And not a day too soon.

I did get my milk supply back, thank goodness. There was a LLL meeting the day before we went, and I was very glad to be able to go (though it's kind of far and is a pain to get to) and process how upsetting it all was with other nursing mothers, some of whom had similar kinds of experiences.

The group leader reassured me that it's unlikely that 6 hours without nursing would seriously damage my supply, which was helpful. But she also suggested that my milk supply might not have actually gone down, since Limelet could have just been nursing more out of anxiety after the trip, leaving my breasts feeling more "empty."

I know this probably does happen a lot, but I've had so many people second-guessing my understanding of my own body throughout this whole pregnancy and nursing thing that I mentally rolled my eyes and felt resentful. I wasn't going by whether they "felt full" (they rarely feel fuller or emptier anyway, unless they've become very engorged) nor by how often he was nursing. I was going by a lot of other cues that I mentioned in my previous post. I still believe my supply diminished, as those cues did come back after a couple of days, including the milk pooling in the corners of Limelet's mouth.

The day we were leaving, he was fussy all day, and spent a lot of time leaning away off to my left, so now I have a wry neck on top of everything else. I am really glad that I only have one on-site interview left, and it's relatively close (an hour away).

This last interview wasn't nearly as hard on all of us as the previous one, since it was so much shorter (two hours) and closer (less than four hours' drive instead of eight). Also, bringing along expressed milk to feed him in the car when we couldn't stop to feed him helped a whole lot. And thankfully, it was a shorter trip and also wasn't raining. A lot of things were easier.

When we were stuck in rush-hour traffic around Detroit on the way back, I also realized that I could pump right there in the car (providing I wasn't the driver, of course) to relieve some of the pressure and then pop the bottle-nipple on and feed him the fresh milk right then and there. That was very helpful, since his need to eat and my need to nurse him are pretty much synced up at this point.

Thank goodness for that Playtex drop-ins system (free plug here, Playtex!) and their adapter that works with the breastmilk pump (a Medela Harmony), since I didn't have to bring along a bunch of clean bottles, just some cylindrical "liners" (they look a lot like condoms).

Next week's interview is only an hour away, but it's another four-hour deal. We were planning to drive there all together. Especially after experiencing the six-hour non-nursing milk-backup ordeal of the weekend before last.

However, it seems I now am able to pump somewhat without actually having Limelet nursing on the opposite side. Since the trips are so hard on him, I've decided to just go to the interview alone, leaving expressed milk for TheLimey to feed him. I'll bring the breastmilk pump, and I'll just make sure to get there 20 minutes early so I can go to the Student Services building bathroom and pump before going up to the counseling center, and then do it again before I leave. If I get a break at some point in between, I'll do it then, too.

At worst it'll be four hours, which I know I can recover from. And next week (the week after), I won't also be trying to pump for the following week, like last time. I can just focus on nursing and recovering my supply.

Oh, did I mention he seems to be teething, now, too? (I can't give him the lovely biscuits from his auntie yet because he's still too young.) He's been out of sorts and chewy as a result. Not, however, chewing on the nursies--just on his fingers, our knuckles, teething toys, etc. (Thank goodness.) But this doesn't make it any easier on him to take long car trips.

Anyway, what all this has taught me is that I definitely want my practice (someday) to be breastfeeding-friendly. The waiting room, the sessions, whatever. Heck, I'll contact local LLL groups and Bradley instructors and let them know that I'll do postpartum depression sessions where a mother can bring her new baby. How many places can a person go with a round-the-clock nurser? Not many. You can't go far without him or her, either, which makes attending any sort of doctor a hassle (even my postpartum exam.) And that's the time when you need the most support.

I like Mothering magazine's new international breastfeeding-friendly icon: I'll use that. I tried to post it, and will try again when Blogger allows me to post images, which is always intermittent.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


The trip to Pittsburgh was really hard on poor Limelet. He's not one of those babies who love being in the car seat. He manages pretty well for trips to the doctor or grocery store, but the actual seat time rarely exceeds half an hour.

This trip included seven hours driving time, plus whatever stops we made, and we started around 6pm--Limelet's fussy evening time anyway. We tried to stop to nurse him frequently, but you can't always stop on the Ohio Turnpike. I could see he felt abandoned when I wouldn't pick him up, and that really scared him, which made him cry worse. So much for sleeping most of the way there!

I really have had no problems with my milk supply--if anything, I've had a bit of a problem with oversupply. Until now.

I had to pump all last week to save up some milk for Limelet to have while I was in my four hours of interviews on Friday. Pumping (or nursing--any form of demand) builds up your milk supply, so by Friday I think I was pretty well-stocked. (Or should I say stacked?)

I took my milk pump to the interview site, to try to relieve some of the pressure. If you let milk back up, the byproducts of its breaking down signal your body to reduce your milk production in general, and I was worried about going without nursing for four hours.

Well, I should have worried. I had absolutely no time between interviews to even think about pumping. And on top of that, the trip to and from the site ended up taking an hour each way, so I ended up going not four hours but SIX hours without any milking.

When I got back to the hotel I grabbed the baby and took off the nursing bra, and sat there watching as milk sprayed out of me a couple of feet. I tried to nurse as much as possible that day, and also pumped all afternoon, just to try to neutralize the effect of such a long non-nursing period.

However, it seems that it drastically reduced my supply anyway.

Now Limelet is hungry and nursing (while groaning and fussy) constantly, day and night. Which I'm encouraging, of course, as nursing's the only way to get your supply up. I'm also stuck trying to pump again this week for him to eat this Friday (and on the trip itself, which helps him cope), but can barely get any milk to come out.

Normally I leak profusely while nursing, now I have no leaking at all. I can feel that the letdowns I have are fewer and weaker. Milk doesn't dribble out of his mouth as it always used to. Also, I have suddenly lost that nursing-thirst I always got just when he latched on. So much for my oversupply problem.

He's not actually starving, and I can tell that there is still milk, and he's still wetting diapers, there just isn't the wonderful bounty there was before. He has to nurse for a long time just to get by. I've been sleeping terribly, as I tensely awake at his every stirring to try to force a nursie into his mouth willy-nilly. I've been waking up with a headache from sleeping so tensely.

The interview Friday will only be a two-hour one, and the hotel is right around the corner (I went to this one last year, too) so that will be less bad. However, the one the following week is another @#^$* four-hour one.

In addition to nursing constantly (he was asleep as I wrote this), I've been using as many galactagogic herbs and foods as I can find around the house. Fennel tea, fenugreek and cumin (used to season) steamed barley and brown rice, oatmeal, beets, (only) one cup of sassafras tea, milk thistle capsules and nettle capsules, and I haven't yet been able to force down raspberry leaf tea, too, but I will.

I really hope my supply comes back as good as it was before, dammit. Stupid non-nursing society, damaging my baby's food supply. >:[

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Yesterday Limelet saw his first kitty cat.

We were looking out the back sliding glass door (I refuse to call it a "door-wall"), and a kitty ran up to the door. Limelet was keenly interested and followed its darting path back and forth before it left.

Probably wants to put it in his mouth.

He's having forehead eczema lately. He scratches and rubs when he's sleepy and nursey. I have to keep his nails trimmed really short, because he claws himself pretty mercilessly. I have to trim his nails when he's asleep, but not in the sling, which limits my options.

Oh, he's groaning in his sleep now, which means he needs to eat. Bye!

Daddy and Baby

Daddy and Baby
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
My happy boys.