Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Milk issues again

I am thinking that my milk supply is not keeping up with Daniel's growth.  He was unsatisfied for a while now, and I don't have the same approach with him as I did with Emma, thinking that my body will keep up.  I now know better.  I tried to pump a bit each morning to have enough for the evenings, when the supply issue happens, but then I ended up not having enough in the morning either, and having to supplement twice a day, which was not good.  I started by pumping 30 ml (one oz) each morning, and weighing him to see how much he ate when he woke up.  He would eat 70ml and be hungry still, so I often would give him back the pumped milk, then he was satisfied.  I then stopped pumping and he would just eat 100 ml and be happy.  This is a lot less time consuming and much more satisfying to both of us.  My body just cannot make more than 100 ml, that's the way it is.  Pumping first, waiting a bit and feeding later does not change things either, that is the way I am built. The sooner I accepted this, the better it was.

My advice for the lactation-challenged ladies is (after much, much experience with hitting my head against the wall):  recognize the problem early.  If you think you don't have enough milk, it is likely that you are right.  Daniel was gaining 20g per day and doing fine, but with supplementation he is gaining 30 g and he is a lot happier.  He only needs 1-2 oz at night extra, but that is what he needs, and I won't argue with it.  Second piece of advice:  supplement at the breast using something like the SNS or Lactation Aid devices.  Bottles are fairly deadly in this situation, because a frustrated hungry baby will always prefer the faster milk flow that comes from the bottle.  Third piece of advice:  feed often.  Allow the baby to soothe-suck at the breast whenever he wants to, it will increase the prolactin levels.

I was lucky enough to have two ladies in town donate milk for him (just as it happened for Emma) and will probably be able to avoid formula until he is a bit older, and perhaps if we are lucky indefinitely :).

Friday, July 18, 2014

biking with the bears

Yesterday morning I had a biking date.  For anybody who has missed the recent developments, I bit the triathlon bug and am trying to learn some road bike skills on my second hand bike that is extremely temperamental (hopefully the bike technician comes back to town pretty soon to fix my large gear problem).  Anyway, so yesterday morning I was supposed to go biking with a lady in town, who has to go to work at 7 am.  Hence I got up extra early, at 5:15 am, to feed Daniel and change him and put him in the swing before I have my coffee, get dressed, try to find my helmet that has a bad habit of prancing around the house all by itself, etc.  I showed up at the meeting place at 6 am, and this lady was not there.  I waited for a bit, riding around in circles (I would have dismounted the bike, but the clip pedals make me fall each time I try to dismount, so I thought I'd better save that fun for later, at the end of the ride, or at least for some "stop" sign excitement!).

Finally, after ten minutes of small boring circles around the block, I felt the need to go do my workout and left.  It was about half an hour earlier than my usual riding time, so I ran (biked) into these ladies running on the road towards me.  They yelled at me "there's a momma bear with cubs further up the road, don't go there".

The local people are (rightfully) terrified of bears.  We carry bear spray in our purses just about everywhere, and definitely on any of the paths around here.  That being said, although we encounter them often, I have not met anybody that ever got attacked, except for this guy who decided to shoot one and the shot was not deadly (I think that he told me that bear was dangerous for some reason, whatever).  In general, I have the feeling that if you don't bother them, they don't bother you.  And it is generally wise not to walk too close to them with your camera, ahem, MrH...Yes, yes, even if it looks like the bear is smiling at you.

Well, that blocked my workout path alright.  I had to decide whether I was more afraid of riding past the lady-bear with the babies, or of riding on the highway, with its bigger, longer hills, and the less welcoming truckers with their fast semi's.  I chose the bear, and rode on.  I never saw her, she must have just dashed into the bushes.

That's the problem around here with riding too early, there's a lot of wildlife.  It is also what makes me relish my early morning rides, since some of the wild life consists of momma deer and their fawns too :).

Speaking of which, I cannot wait for my new cruiser (cruising bike) to arrive.  It will have breaks that don't screech bloody murder and 18 speeds.  More for me to climb the hills with!  My quads will soon need me to pay property tax on them.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Daniel is growing. And lots of mosquitoes in town.

Little man Daniel is growing so fast!!!  I feel like he is developing a lot faster than Emma.  At first, I felt that one of the advantages of having a preemie is that you get to spend more time with him.  I got two more months of life to get to know him (ok, one of those two months was not particularly pleasant for anybody, given that it took place in the NICU, but the second one was definitely a bonus).

Anyway, I digress.  He got some oral thrush, and he is so busy chewing on everything in sight in order to relieve his itchy mouth, that I have no idea whether he needs more milk (i.e. whether I am keeping up with his requirements for breastfeeding) or whether he simply needs to chew on my nipples.  I was quite in doubt of my boob-ability the other day, when he sucked me dry and continuously asked for more, when I realized that:
1.  He is making enough urine to water a whole garden, and I keep on changing his diapers/clothes/sheets/my clothes every five seconds.
2.  He is growing at 30.6 g per day on average (that's one ounce).  Which is fantabulous.

All in all, that realization has restored my boob-confidence.
Why doubt myself in the first place?  Well, here is a bunch of reasons:  firstly, I did not have enough milk with Emma, by far and wide, and secondly, I train every day for at least one hour, which is a lot of physical activity for somebody who was formerly confined to bed just two to three months ago.  The level of training together with the time away from him can definitely contribute to decreasing milk supply, so I have to be on guard and watch it.

I am planning on completing the local Olympic distance triathlon next summer, so I have decided that I had better get the 40 km bike ride under control this year, because the triathlon is in June and we can only start riding after defrost (which happens in May or so around here).  Therefore, I had better start with the road balance and gear shifting and clip less pedals and overall road testing this year, because although I have the winter to do some stationary biking, I won't be able to practice all of those skills before the event, and I will stress out about falling off/getting run over by a semi truck/eaten alive by bear/getting a flat and not knowing how to change it, blah blah.  The swim is completely under control, and the run is totally do-able on the treadmill, but the bike is another story.

In case anybody wants to do a newbie triathlon, come along for the ride.  Before this bug itched me, I had no idea what those funky road bikes were for, i.e. I had never ridden anything that does not allow riding in a skirt and have a basket in front.  Now I am considering installing aerobars on my new-used bike.  Go figure.  I have even gotten myself cycling shorts after the lady parts started hurting.  And I just did 30 km on the bike yesterday without blinking, after which I went for a 7 km run during which I blinked a lot.  A fair bit of the blinking was due to mosquitoes and other bugs.  Some of the blinking was due to the newly installed sign at the entrance to the forest trail "BEAR IN THE AREA".  A momma bear with her cubs lives there now.  Bye bye trail running for a while.

There are numerous bugs around here in summer, but this year they are so bad that we cannot live outside without oozing DEET from every pore.  I went with the kids to a park play group, and it was ridiculous that we all huddled up in the rain when it started to drizzle instead of hiding under the tree where it was dry, because the mosquitoes run away from the drizzle under the said tree.  Rain is infinitely preferable to mosquitoes.  The bugs are another reason why I have to train in the mornings, because in the evenings bad things happen.

I took the kids in a double stroller for a jog through the forest path, and unwisely gave Emma a cookie that I had made with dates.  Within a few minutes, the hornets started circling her menacingly. I stopped just for the second that it took to retrieve the cookie and hide it, and in that second, the mosquitoes, all 150 of them, surrounded us.  Daniel had about ten on his face, Emma had thirty bites on each leg, and I did not even care to stop and count because it was freaking terrifying to see my kids covered in mosquitoes.  So we started running even faster, to get away from them, but they followed us in a thick cloud.  I stopped again to spray DEET all over everybody again and over the back of the stroller, and that helped things for about two minutes, but the mosquitoes continued to threaten us every time that I dropped my running pace below 6 mph.  That is pretty fast for trail running pushing a double stroller, and I got tired, but could not stop until we got to safety, so I had a gruelling workout.  Now, as a mother, I had to do it, but my running partner, who did not have her kids covered in mosquitoes because she had not stopped to get rid of the hornets, had no need to run so fast, and I think I unnecessarily fatigued her on a day that was supposed to be a "easy run".  It turned out into the run from hell for both of us.  When I got to the car, and quickly threw Emma and Daniel inside, folding the stroller and launching it with both hands like it was a stroller-launching Olympic event, quickly hiding in the car myself and closing all the doors and windows, we had about forty mosquitoes with us for the free all-you-can-eat ride.   You try and concentrate on driving when your right ankle is currently attacked by the bastards.

If any of my friends want to come visit, I highly recommend winter when it is -40C.  Much better to be outside in those conditions.  (Just kidding.  I love summer.  I am just in awe at how tenacious these insects are).