Thursday, July 21, 2011

the doubts

It stands to reason that when you're a first time parent, you're bound to have questions as to whether or not you're doing things right. Questioning your methods for feeding, changing, soothing, dressing, and burping them. I started having my doubts right away.

Recently, my doubts have mostly surrounded around breastfeeding and sleeping. I've always wanted to exclusively breastfeed my girls, but from day one there were hurdles encountered. Poppy had to spend a couple of days in the NICU, and she was fed formula while there. I was breastfeeding Amelie, but when they did some standard tests on her, they found she had low blood sugar, so they gave her some formula as well. Also, I tried to do rooming in with Amelie, because I wanted her to be with me all night, but because I was stuck in bed (more on that soon when I recap part two of my birth story. soon- I swear!) I was unable to lift her in and out of her bassinet. So, one night, in tears, I called the nurse and had her take Amelie to the nursery to sleep, where she was fed formula. With all of this happening;, right out of the gate I kind of felt like a failure. I was pumping and saving my colostrum to feed them, but it just wasn't enough with everything that was going on.

Since they have been home, I've done a combination of breastfeeding, pumping and supplementing with formula. Until the last few days, they really couldn't breastfeed for much longer than 10 minutes (usually shorter) before they fell asleep. So, the routine was: Breastfeed for 10 or fewer minutes, feed them my pumped breastmilk pumped from the previous feeding, then pump for 15-20 minutes afterwards. Sometimes this was enough, but quite often at first, (especially when my milk was still coming in) they also needed some formula.  I really never wanted to feed them formula, but it's just how it worked out. I didn't feel TOO bad, since I was still giving them all of my breastmilk, but it still wasn't how I planned it. Nowadays, they can nurse for quite a long time, and it's evident that they're getting more breast milk, because when I pump, there isn't a lot left. However, they still are hungry afterwards, so I still have to supplement. I've purchased books on increasing my milk supply and am doing all I can to help this out, but for now, supplementing is necessary. I have worries occasionally that giving them formula is "bad", and that I should be able to feed them only breast milk. But it's just not possible right now, so I hold out hope that someday soon we can cut the formula out of the picture.

And, sleeping. Well, they honestly had been doing pretty well. Actually, since they were premature, the pediatrician told us we needed to wake them every two hours to eat. And this was honestly hard sometimes; they'd be so sleepy. Once they surpassed their birth weights and were a few weeks old, we were told they could go 3 hour stretches, and 4 hours at night. They did this for probably 1 1/2 weeks (though I think they only lasted 4 hours once), but now? Not so much. Poppy is having some sleep issues now and has been waking up after less than two hours, or just not going to sleep at all. It's so confusing, because in all of the books they say that they are approaching a time (6 weeks) where they will start staying awake a little longer. BUT, it also says, if the babies are premature, it would be 6 weeks AFTER their due dates. Which wouldn't be until late August. So, not sure what the deal with Poppy is nowadays. I realize that things with babies don't always go by the book, and that there are things like growth spurts to factor in, but when you're sleep deprived and exhausted, you start to doubt things. Is it something I'm doing? Does she need to eat more? Less? Sigh. Sadly, since Poppy can't talk yet, there's no real way to know for sure. And who knows; tomorrow she could stop doing it and move on to something else.

That said, I'm trying to embrace my doubts a little more, and realize that they're just part of being a parent. I feel good about the fact that I do research, but that I don't live by what I read. I take it in and consider it, but we don't just do something becuase a certain book says so. Especially considering the next book you read will say something completely different.

I know that my doubts will grow and change as they get older. One thing I am absolutely positive of though; we love these girls more than anything, and will always be doing whatever we can to take the best care of them. Even if we doubt ourselves from time to time along the way.


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  1. We were exactly the same way -- with the formula and the rooming. We came in with certain expectations...and broke them almost immediately. I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure they'll be totally fine. :)

    Same with the sleeping. All I can say is, it gets much easier. I don't envy where you're at right now -- the absolute worst sleep I've got in my entire life was those first two months. But it'll pass...

  2. The thing about the sleep is it affects your perspective on EVERYTHING else!! You are doing such an amazing job, giving those girls every single thing they need and all they could possibly want. I'm sure there are some moms who start all confident about how everything goes from the beginning, but I don't really know if I would want to know any of them. How annoying. ;)