28 December 2010

A Week Later

Our first Christmas with Lyla was better than I hoped. I didn't have high expectations, what with the lack of sleep and how young she still is. She handled two days of being passed around, poked and prodded pretty well. She did better with one family than another; I'm not telling which one. She gave me her own Christmas gift by sleeping 5 1/2 hours in a row on Christmas morning. I woke up in between there but was able to go right back to sleep- it was amazing. I had some engorgement pain as well as the nipple pain but it was manageable.

It's been a week since the frenotomy and though we still have some kinks to iron out, I have to admit we are doing much better than we were before. Nursing on Christmas Day was much better than it had been the two days before. I've had two appointments with a really great lactation consultant in the past week. These really helped give me a better sense of a good latch and we're improving (slowly but surely). We watched Lyla discover her tongue this week, she's sticking it out and using it to nurse in ways she couldn't before. I think it's a combo of #1- practice, #2- Lyla getting older and better at it, and #3- dedication. (And less pain soon please, that would help).
Plus, I've been to my ob/gyn and turns out I have a yeast infection in my left nipple, which is probably causing more pain than a shallow latch now. Yeast or thrush is pretty common in young babies and nursing moms can pass it back and forth between themselves and baby. Usually the baby gives it to the mother, but I'm the one that has it. Lyla has no symptoms but we're both being treated so it doesn't become an endless cycle. I have a week of antibiotics and she has two; the hardest part is giving hers four times a day. She loves her vitamin D drops, but of course she hates these!
The big news is that Lyla has really started smiling.
On Christmas Day my Mom had her smiling and cooing for quite a while.
Watching that was the very best part of my day. She has continued smiling too, I can coax half and full smiles out of her pretty easily.

Her routine is becoming more defined, this is roughly what our day looks like:

3:00 AM- 1st or 2nd diaper change/feeding, depending on how good of a night it is

6:30 or 7:00AM- another diaper change/feeding. At this point she won't go back to sleep so we are up for the day
7:30-7:45ish- play time on her mat in the living room while I make my breakfast
7:45-9:30AM- breakfast sometimes involves holding Lyla who doesn't want to be put down, a little tummy time and bouncing on the exercise ball. Another diaper change/feeding somewhere in there

9:00-10:00AM- sometime in here she usually takes a little cat nap that gives me just enough time to shower and dress. I heavily encourage this.

10:00-11:30AM- errands or doctor's appointments have been filling this time so far. Two errands in a row is about her limit. We've been to Target, Trader Joe's, and the mall, and the only meltdown occurred in the mall.

between 11:00AM and 12:00PM- diaper change/feeding; a little cuddle time and then a swaddle and into the swing. She'll look around for a little while and then fall asleep
12:00PM-2:30PM- on a smooth day she sleeps and I get to have lunch and work on a few things. Not every day is smooth but she's been doing this more often than not

2:30 or 3:00PM- Lyla wakes up, diaper change/feeding

3:00PM-5:30PM- This is probably her most volatile time, the dreaded evening when an infant is most fussy. Some days she's lovely all the way through, other days she is more inconsolable. She lays on the play mat, sits in the swing, I rock her or bounce on the ball and sing songs

5:00PM-5:30PM- diaper change/feeding

5:30PM-6:00PM- Ray comes home from work and takes Lyla for a bit while I make dinner. Sometimes we are able to eat together and watch some TV, other times she is fussy and one must rock her while the other eats. As she grows we have more of the former than the latter.

Some days she falls asleep in the evening around 6:30PM or 7:00PM and does not wake again to eat until 3:00AM! Others she will eat again around 8:00PM and I go to bed after. Others she will wake up in the 11:00PM-12:00AM range to eat.

Around 3:00AM, we start all over again!

22 December 2010

Tongue Tied

Nursing is one of the hardest things a woman can do- with or without obstacles. We've had our share of those around here lately.


Before Lyla I didn't understand why many women give up on nursing. Sure it's demanding but it's better nutrition for a baby than formula (as well as cheaper, more convenient, etc). Shame on me for feeling this scorn; there are elements to nursing that can easily be too much for a woman. Even I, who have passionately committed myself to nursing my kids, have contemplated giving it up in the last few days. Let me explain~

Every nurse and doctor who has seen Lyla has commented on her tongue. She was born with a congenital anomaly known as ankyloglossia or tongue tie. Basically the membrane connecting the tongue to the bottom of her mouth (called the frenulum) was unusually short and thick- her tongue pretty much tethered down. 2 in every 100 children are born with this. It can stretch itself out in time but also affect speech, oral hygiene, and breastfeeding. Nursing seemed to be going well in the hospital and after, so it seemed reasonable to leave it alone.

Last week I realized something was really wrong. They tell you nursing can hurt at the beginning before your nipples toughen up, so I thought that any pain I was feeling was normal and would go away. But that pain should only occur at the beginning during letdown; I was having pain all the way through, especially on my left side. It was increasing every day to the point where I was wincing, bracing, even crying. Not normal. Last Friday morning I was in so much pain (and no end in sight- I have to feed her) that I was seriously considering quitting and switching to formula.

I scoured books and the internet for information and I was brought back to the tongue tie, the short frenulum. When Lyla opened her mouth you could see how short it was, and she couldn't stick out her tongue at all. The tongue is very important in the nursing process and she couldn't use it. Basically she was biting down, gumming my nipple in order to eat. She was getting food and gaining weight, but was hurting me a lot in the process.

The solution: a frenotomy, an in-office procedure performed by a pediatric ENT to clip the frenulum and allow her tongue proper movement. It's a pretty common procedure; the nurse practitioner who assisted told us they do at least one per week in that office alone. Lyla was given a bit of sugar water and some numbing medicine before the clip and was able to nurse immediately after. Successful procedure, excellent. And I thought things would immediately be perfect- no more pain and she'd know exactly what to do right away. I'll blame this silly notion on sleep deprivation. I have enough nipple damage that it couldn't be pain-free immediately. And my infant has a new muscle in her mouth that she needs to learn to use! We saw a wonderful lactation consultant yesterday to help both of us- some tongue exercises for Lyla to learn how to use it, and help for me to properly position her and also to relax myself.

Today things are a little better. I can tell when she is positioned correctly and sucking as opposed to gumming, and she's becoming more familiar with her tongue and its role in helping her eat. If she doesn't latch properly, I take her off and try again. I'm trying to relax more, and while my left side is still sore its not getting worse each time and its more bareable now that she's not biting me all the time. Hopefully it's healing and will continue to do so.

I've heard there are women with tongue-tied babies who elect not to have a frenotomy and nurse through the pain. I have to say from my perspective that it was totally worth it, for both of us.

18 December 2010

One Month Old!

Lyla is 4 weeks old today. It's hard to imagine it's been a month since she was born. It seems like yesterday- and also a thousand years ago.

She has already changed so much in four short weeks- she's getting plump and a little less of a baby blob. A little less waking time is spent crying, and a little more being quietly alert. Every morning after a diaper change and nursing, she spends a little time on her play mat while I make some breakfast.

Mostly she watches the lights and listens to the music, but she did reach for the rattle one time!

She loves to fall asleep on our chests, especially after eating.

2 weeks ago Lyla HATED having her diaper changed. She hated having her clothes changed even more. Now she doesn't mind; she loves to stare at the black and white photograph hanging over the changing table.

She can even bit a bit of a ham first thing in the morning before her first diaper change.

In the 'morning' (relative term= last wake-up before daytime begins for us):
This face says "Oh hi, you're up too!"

She can even sit in her Bumbo seat! She holds up her head for a few moments before slumping over, but it supports her pretty well.

And just recently we discovered my nursing pillow makes a nice seat for her too.


09 December 2010


The Mad Hatter

They don't tell you how rocky the first month is with an infant. Plenty is said and written about labor and delivery, but info on surviving the first few weeks is painfully slim. I argue strongly that it's much much harder than giving birth, an extremely short period of time in comparison.

The way to survive seems to be to plow through, keep your heads above water and try to see how much has improved in that time.

On this side of two weeks, I still struggle a lot to get through the day. But we have improved on a lot of things since Lyla was born:

1. Nursing is easier. Our start was more difficult from the C-section, but her and my instincts were good and we improved quickly. We'll keep tweaking things for a little while- I've recently started flipping her on her side so she can control the flow better- but we're in a good spot.

2. Lyla's night sleep schedule fluctuates from 2-4 feedings. Last night for example we did 11:00pm, 2:30pm, 5:30pm, and 8:00am. Yesterday she went back to sleep after a 6:00am meal, today she did not. Last week she had two nights in a row of waking just twice and that was awesome. I wish it had stuck, but it should someday.

3. She fusses most first thing in the morning and around dinnertime. Bouncing around and pounding on the back helps. For some reason her immature digestive system gives her more trouble at these times.

4. She still doesn't love tummy time, but she can lift her head 45 degrees which is excellent, what we'd hope she could do by 1 month.

4. Lyla has had some big spit-up/vomit sessions, and while it's normal for babies to spit up this was a little excessive. The symptoms she shows- gulping and sputtering at the beginning of a feeding, coughin while eating, gassy burps- point to an oversupply of milk. I'm not surprised from all the pumping the nurses had me do in the hospital. Changing her position, as I mentioned above, has really helped with this issue.

5. She's starting to show glimmers of social development- holding your gaze, watching toys and her mobile, involuntary smiles, a few coos here and there. These moments are the best.

05 December 2010


Getting 4-5 hours a night right now. Last night I got 7, maybe a bit more. This required going to bed at 7:00pm, but I got it. I could handle most anything if I got that much sleep every night. I think I'll need it every few days to keep my sanity and my cool while Lyla cries inexplicably for long periods of time.

04 December 2010

12 Days Postpartum

You may not believe me but I really don't care how quickly my body goes back to normal. I promise.

However, while I was pregnant I did wonder what it would be like to not be pregnant again- what would change first and how fast, what permanent changes there might be and how I'd feel physically. Well, here I am on Thursday, almost two weeks postpartum:

I'm back in a lot of my regular clothes, although right now just jammie pants and sweats for comfort. High waisted is preferred because of my incision. I won't be wearing jeans for a few more weeks! My tummy still has a gelatinous quality to it but it's shrinking. Nursing assists a lot with that!

Physically the hardest thing is sleep deprivation. I've never been one to go with little sleep so this is tough. But I can sleep on my back again! I've gotten so used to sleeping on my sides that I've continued until last night and it felt so good! I was a tummy sleeper too but I won't try that until I heal more.

I can't resume my regular work out routine for another 4 weeks, so I'll post another picture then to see where I'm at.

02 December 2010

12 Days Old

Lyla sleeps for a good part of the day, rousing to eat every 2-4 hours. Some nights she sleeps more, sometimes less. Two nights ago not much and I was delirious yesterday; last night she slept more and I feel pretty good. With a bit of sleep I feel like I can do anything.
She doesn't love tummy time, but she does try to lift her head well. She also practices when I hold her on my shoulder. Daddy likes to practice in the evening, and I caught this teeny smile yesterday morning.
Lyla doesn't like being changed and almost always cries. Singing to her helps.
She does like her carrier since it keeps her close to my body heat and heart beat. She took a nice nap in the infant insert after I took her out of it the other day.
Lyla had the hiccups a lot when I was pregnant, and still does now. She seems used to it, doesn't mind at all.
For 24 hours, you spit up after each feeding and sometimes in between too. Emergency laundry had to be done, and I couldn't seem to catch it before it soiled her. I wish she could just spit up on me since I don't mind changing like she does. It has subsided and we are working on burping better to help avoid it. All babies spit up but I'm hoping she won't always do it so much.

I've tried nursing lying down (so we could both nap) but it only worked once, on my left side. We will keep trying. I have fed her in the football position we prefer than laid down after. That is nice.
I typed this entire post with one hand- Lyla is swaddled and sleeping in my other.