Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 2 of Mary's Physical Therapy

It is clear to me that Mary's sucking action is getting stronger. I have been faithfully stretching her cheek muscles and doing my best to stimulate all the nerves in her jaw, cheeks, and tongue each time she eats.

What I haven't been quite so faithful at is putting her to the breast to nurse a few times a day. It is hard to do that knowing it probably won't work anyway. She has been able to latch on a few times since we first started, but never for more than 1-2 minutes. It seems to me that she just gets worn out from the extra work that nursing requires and gives up.

The last 2 days were really hard for me. I've been pumping every 2-3 hours for 2 weeks now and don't really see any light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know when this will end. It isn't the bottles that bother me so much because I know they are giving Mary's tummy liquid gold. It is the lack of sleep and the amount of effort it takes to accomplish all of this pumping.

Yesterday morning, I sent the following message to my local La Leche League friends in hopes of getting some moral support:
I am hitting a wall. I am moody, short-tempered with my husband and 2-year old, and am eating everything in the house (and not because I am hungry!). My daughter has this book called The Way I Feel and every time she gets to the sad page recently, she points and says, "mommy." That is so not what I want my daughter to think of me. I feel as if I all I do is pump and feed and wonder if any of this is fair to my 2-year old.
They wonderfully replied with support and encouragement to keep on keeping on. Some of them shared their own stories of having to pump or adjusting to life with 2 children. It really helped to be virtually surrounded by other women who are supportive of my goal for Mary to exclusively nurse.

One of the leaders, who is also a therapist, responded that it is okay for me to be sad. She said it was even okay for Charlotte to see me sad. But she closed with the thought that it isn't okay for me to stay sad. So, I am going to end by focusing on the blessings in my life right now, in regards to Mary and breastfeeding.

  1. Charlotte loves Mary and doesn't seem to be jealous.
  2. Breastmilk diapers are WAY better to change than formula diapers.
  3. Bruce is very supportive of what I am trying to accomplish and let me sleep an extra 30-45 minutes each morning by waking up with Charlotte before he goes to work.
  4. Mary's suck is getting stronger and she rarely chokes or dribbles milk.
  5. I figured out how to pump hands free by cutting holes in a sports bra.
  6. I learned how to paint my toe nails while pumping (see #6).
  7. I am pumping 4-8 ounces per day more than Mary needs. This means I already have more than 24-hours worth of milk in the freezer.
  8. Sleep has not become my god. I am managing without caffeine by taking naps while the girls nap on most days.
  9. Mary is getting breastmilk. And this is the reason for all of the pumping... to give her the best start in life and provide immunity from illnesses (especially this year!)


  1. Hey - congrats on sticking with it! Praying things get better quickly!

  2. Hang in there Jennifer! If anyone can get over a "wall", it's you! You are a wonderful mother to Charlotte and Mary. They are two, lucky, little girls.

  3. Oh Jennifer, I am so sorry this has been such a struggle! While I never had quite as many issues I did have 3 babies where I constantly struggled with nursing and frequently entertained the thought of giving up. But for everyday longer you are able to make it - you will look back and be even more thankful...
    And remember... 'you can do all things through christ who gives you strength'... even feed Mary when it seems challening.
    A friend of mine once told me when Anna was born... "never let your night dictate your day." You may only get 2 hours of sleep (and that happened with Anna sometimes), but that STILL doesn't give you the right to be a grouch. That really helped me have the best attitude I can. I would sit on the floor to nurse and pump and let Elizabeth play with me and fall asleep at the same time! haha
    These days will pass and you can do this - but only with HIS help!

  4. You should teach Charlotte this song. She will be so cute singing it, it is sure to make you smile. Call me if you want the melody.
    "If you chance to meet a frown,
    Do not let it stay.
    Quickly turn it upside down,
    and smile that frown away."

    Yeah - there are times that you'll wish you hadn't taught her that song, but there are more times that it will really cheer you up. AND, it will work for her too.

  5. Hang in there..Charlotte seems happy in the pictures you posted. Plus, if it helps, she won't remember any of this by next summer ;)!!

  6. You are strong.....and I know that with prayer this can all work out. I will be praying that she begins to get stronger with her little mouth so Mommy won't have to pump so much!


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