Friday, October 17, 2008

Guilty as Charged

Last night was one of the first times I felt guilty as a parent.

If not for what little common sense I have, I would not hesitate to wallow in my self pity and think "Gosh, I must be the worst parent EVER."
But I am almost positive there has to be at least one parent out there who is worse at this game than I am.

For the first 3 months of my daughter's life, I've managed a happy, healthy baby, and had the good fortune to think to myself, "Yay! I don't entirely suck as a parent". Afterall, you can't entirely suck if your kid is still alive & kicking, right?

First, I want to be upfront and say how adamant I am about breastfeeding my children. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed Grace until she was at least 6 months old. Unfortunately, my supply has been dropping without any reason I can think of, and my poor baby has slowly been starving. I try to tell myself that I've always been able to feel her ribs, and not be entirely paranoid over it. I was just so determined to keep breastfeeding her exclusively and not give in to the urge to supplement with a bottle of formula.
So, you can imagine my dismay when I gave in to that urge last night.

I've been sick for a few days now, with a low grade fever, and last night I was dehydrated, and "the girls" were high and dry. The fight to get Grace to sleep at night has been gradually been growing more and more tremendous, mainly because she's so hungry I think. The last few nights she was waking up every hour, which is how I got sick in the first place (you try going two nights with minimal sleep at the start of cold & flu season and see how healthy you stay, lol).
Usually she's awesome about sleeping straight through the night, but it's gotten to the point where hunger is overriding that habit. She even started refusing naps.

So I broke down last night & gave her a bottle of formula. I felt terrible about it, but I wasn't about to let her go to bed hungry another night. Both Andy & I needed rest. Andy's been such a champ this week about taking care of two babies, but I think it's starting to get to him.

The decision to supplement, and with what, wasn't easy. I called the after hours pediatrician hotline and asked them what formula would be best to do the deed with, keeping Grace's reflux in mind. They suggested the soy based sample I had on hand at first, but weren't entirely sure. I had several sample cans from the hospital-- two cans of Enfamil with Lipil, and two cans of Similac, one of them soy based.
Eventually the nurse called us back to tell us which one specifically to get (something AR), but to stick with one formula for at least a week before switching to see how Grace would react to it.

So far she seems to be handling it well, she even slept in till 8:15 (booyah!). I was able to pump 5 ounces of breastmilk out this morning, so that was a good start. However, I only managed to get 2 ounces at the next feeding, so I made another "I'm a horrible parent" decision. I combined it with two ounces of formula for a four ounce bottle. I guess some breastmilk is better than none, right?
At feeding #3, my supply is found wanting again, so I'll be repeating the process when Grace gets up from her second nap.
Holy cow... her second nap... I can't remember the last time she slept twice in the same day!

As for a solution to the low supply problem, I've been taking fenugreek capsules and More Milk Special Blend. More Milk tastes & smells like Satan's behind... not that I personally know what that smells like, but it really reeks. I haven't been taking it this week because I've been sick, and had a hard time stomaching food for a day or so, so I am waiting until I'm better to get back on the stuff.
I guess if you're a huge fan of intense black licorice, you'd probably go for it, but I think it's as nasty as spinach, coleslaw, and other commodities I tend to gag on.