Operation Fat Robin Has a Setback

After our initial huge success with weight gain of 13 ounces in two weeks I was ecstatic and I finally felt like I could go back to living a bit more normally. Apparently that was a huge mistake. Two weeks after his weight check, we had Robin’s five month appointment. He had only gained 2-3 more ounces in the two weeks since his weight check. Minimally he needed four ounces, preferably more since he is so skinny. The doctor we saw that day was one we don’t often see and she wasn’t concerned. But I was. When I spoke to the lactation consultant she was concerned as well. She recommended I try to get in to see one of the two other doctors who have been following my son’s weight situation or consider a new doctor’s office. She also recommended that I ask to bring him in for a weight check, since a month is too long to wait for check on his progress and in the meantime increase his intake of supplemental breast milk by bottle to 12-14 ounces per day. As it happens, his reflux meds also need to be adjusted, he’s had some really rough nights.

Yesterday we were able to get in to see one of the doctors who had been more closely following Robin’s case. The good news was that he had gained another 4 ounces in six days. The bad news was that it was mostly because of the extra supplementing and my frozen supply is running low. My friend who provided frozen breast milk is about to wean her daughter and now that my sister is staying home with her son she isn’t pumping  much at all, so both of my sources of extra milk are drying up, literally and figuratively. My pediatrician was sympathetic, and suggested a formula she thought would be most like breast milk. I left the office with three sample cans and a heavy heart. I’m still hoping to avoid using it, but taking those formula cans was definitely a low point for me. I don’t know how much longer I can make the frozen supply last and I’m trying to pump as much of my own as possible to increase my supply, but I don’t know if I can realistically pump 12 ounces a day in addition to nursing. We’ve also started adding tiny amounts of solid food each day to start getting him used to them. We are focusing on high calorie solids like avocado and banana. Hopefully we can still avoid needing formula. Mostly because it’s expensive , just supplementing will cost us almost $50 a month, possibly more. If I were to give up nursing entirely we’re looking at more like $100 a month. Right now it’s a matter of trying to meet in the middle. Keep supplementing until he begins nursing better and his diet consists of enough solids to replace the supplements. Once we have another few weeks of solid weight gain we’ll start experimenting to see how much of a supplement he really needs and hopefully begin to nurse exclusively again.

Short Straw Bride: A Review

straw bride

This is the second romance book I’ve reviewed, and this one is a western. I’ve only ever read one other romantic western, and while good, wasn’t a sub-genre that particularly interested me. However, Karen Witemeyer’s fourth book has me wondering if I should pick up some of her previous efforts. Dreamy but practical Meredith Hayes puts her own future at risk to warn tough as nails rancher Travis Archer and his brothers of imminent danger. I’ll admit the description was little unclear and, like many book jacket summaries, makes the story sound cliché. But, also typically, it also doesn’t do this book justice. Travis’s brothers, while minor characters, feel real and fleshed out rather than like window dressing. The action sequences are intense without being farfetched, better than I expected for a romance novel. The use of changing perspective allows the reader to see into the minds of the main characters and experience the age old struggle between man and woman as they try to read each other’s minds and motives. The innocent attraction between the characters is a welcome change from the oversexed romance genre. When was the last time you read about a man attracted to a woman’s ankles and calves, and at the same time thoughts of the cozy home she could help provide? Yet these interludes are written with all the heat of a bedroom scene and none of the smut. While the ending, may be a tad predictable Witemeyer definitely takes us on a less traveled route with some well written twists and turns.

I was not compensated for this review but I did receive a free copy of the book to review.

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Operation Fat Robin: Success!

After meeting with a lactation consultant to try and track down some of the reasons for my low milk supply, and thus my son losing weight, we moved forward with a treatment plan for the next week until his weight check. The lactation consultants noted that he had low body fat, but seemed hydrated and alert. The goal was to nurse Robin as often as possible, give him 10-12 ounces a day of milk in addition to nursing and then pump at least six times a day. It wasn’t easy pumping that many times a day while managing my toddler as well. (More TV was watched than I would ever like to admit). I also went to my own doctor for blood tests to rule out low thyroid and anemia, which can affect milk let down and supply. Those results came back normal. Then finally at his weight check Robin weighed in at 12 lbs, 10 ounces. That was a 13 ounce gain in two weeks!  He had regained everything he lost and then some. I was relieved and the doctor told me I could relax a little more. Unfortunately, since that time I’ve really struggled with pumping often enough so I hope for continued good results at his five month well baby visit coming up this month, but I’m not expecting another 13 ounce gain, while that would be nice.  While his reflux still bothers him occasionally, I have my happy, healthy baby back.

Mommy Meltdown

Yesterday I had a mommy meltdown. The stress of the last week coupled with not enough sleep and virtually no time to myself = complete emotional meltdown. I ended up sobbing at the kitchen table while my confused daughter ate her lunch and my baby screamed from his swing. The straw the broke the camels back seems silly now. I had finally gotten my baby to nap after trying all morning. I was heating up my lunch while my toddler ate hers and as soon as I hit the start button on the microwave, my baby woke up screaming. I just couldn’t take it anymore. The last week has been spent trying to keep my toddler happy while virtually never leaving the house because I’m trying to focus on getting my baby healthy right now. Especially trying to keep the baby from his unfortunate cycle of too hungry to sleep and too sleepy to eat. While we seem to be having some success improving the baby’s eating habit, my daughter’s behavior is getting worse in the meantime. I can’t blame her. She’s stuck indoors. We’ve barely left the house except for church and Sunday lunch at my parent’s house and my own doctor’s appointment on Monday. I feel like a prisoner myself. I can’t imagine how she must feel. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be rescued by a friend who came over with her son for a few hours. Our kids played (they also made a huge mess of the house, but it was worth it) and we talked. She held the baby so I could eat and do a load of laundry. It wasn’t much but it helped take the edge off. I know this difficult season will pass, but yesterday it felt like I couldn’t take one more day of the stress.

Yes, there is a lot of stress. My toddler daughter needs more attention and stimulation for her growing brain. I hate letting her watch TV because it makes her cranky and bratty, but sometimes there is no other way to keep her from trashing the house or deliberately waking her brother when he desperately needs to sleep. The baby needs to focus on gaining weight. Money is tighter than ever, but this past week alone we’ve dropped several hundred dollars on doctor’s visits, tests, medications, supplements, bottles and breast pumps. All worth it if we avoid the even larger expense of formula for the next eight months, but still a huge blow to our ever dwindling emergency fund. All the projects I have lined up are moved to the back burner, and it feels like the whole world is crashing down around me. (Did I mention that my mother-in-law is visiting this weekend?) But of course it isn’t, and things will get better. I actually felt a little better last night after the kids were in bed and my husband and I cleaned up the house. Sometimes a little meltdown can help release excess stress and nervous energy. I just wish I could find time for other activities like exercise to release that stress instead.  But for now I’m trying to focus and taking each day an hour or two at a time.