In our birth class, we learned about the Five S’s for soothing a newborn: side-lying, shushing, sucking, swaddling, and swinging. Now that Oliver’s been here for nearly 7 weeks, it feels like life is settling into a whole new series of S’s.
Sitting to pump:
And most adorably, smiling:
These past 7 weeks have been a whirlwind and I can’t believe how fast the little guy is growing. We still haven’t managed to breastfeed and I’m starting to accept that pumping milk for him is the only way he’ll get any milk from me. However, I also have an undersupply (can only produce 10-12 oz per day) so that has been frustrating. The only way to increase supply (besides some herbal supplements) is to sit and pump more frequently. I manage 6-8 times a day for 20-30 minutes a session… which means 3-4 hours a day hooked up to that machine. You’d think this would lead to a lot of knitting time but most of that time is spent doing breast compressions to produce more milk. I’m not sure how long I can keep up this effort, especially since the Fiasco will be returning to work soon. I’ll be solely responsible for the kiddo at that time and I doubt his naps will coincide with my pumping schedule.
That said, I’m also beginning to accept that whatever I can do is good enough. I’ve read about women with an oversupply who can pump 60 oz in a day in just 4 sittings, or women who manage to get their infants to accept the breast after several months of bottle feeding. Hearing that, it’s difficult for me to be ok with only providing 1/3 of Oliver’s needs with breastmilk, since my brain weasels immediately chime in with “if they can do it, you should be able to do it, too” and boy, are they persistent. But if I’ve learned anything from my pregnancy and labor and very beginning of motherhood, it’s that I am not actually in charge here. I don’t get to choose how all of this goes. I can try my hardest for what I think is best, but it may or may not work out that way, and as long as we’re all happy and thriving in the end, that’s ok.
In other news, I have managed a wee bit of knitting here and there. I’m re-knitting the feet of some awesome socks my Verdant Gryphon friends made for Oliver, since he’s already outgrown them! These socks match an adorable hat and cardi set, so they obviously must live on. And I’ve finally sorted out my Sky Blanket dilemmas. I had debated several ways of knitting this project, including everything from an individual stripe to represent the sky for each day of the first year of Oliver’s life, to a patchwork of month-long stripey squares. In the end, I realized the stripey squares were going to be a pain in the butt (too much untangling of multiple yarn balls to contend with) and I went with tiny mitered squares instead (as many of you suggested). These squares are a mere two inches wide so about 360 of them (15 across, 24 tall) should make a decently sized baby blanket. There will be a trillion ends to weave in, but I’m not planning to leave it all for the end. After much debate, I’ve decided on the following color combinations for different weather:
- yellow with light blue edge = sunny, cloudless sky
- dark grey solid = overcast sky
- dark blue with light grey edge = thunderstorm
- dark blue and light grey stripes = drizzle
- white and light blue stripes = blue skies with white clouds
- white solid = snow (not yet knit)
- light grey solid = fog (not yet knit)
That should cover the majority of a year’s weather in New England, we’ll see if anything else pops up. I’m knitting individual diamonds as pictured above for the first row, then will join them together by picking up stitches between two of the diamonds to knit a third, following the Sock Yarn Blanket method. Just 5 more to go before I can begin joining them together! I’m hoping I can catch up on all the days I’ve missed sooner than later and get into a rhythm of kitting one square per day as this project grows.
So cute!!!!! And you are knitting??? Wow.
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I know that brain weasels are brain weasels and sometimes there’s no stopping them, more of a learning to live with them. HOWEVER, I would be remiss in not posting if it happens to help at all. Despite what you read just about everywhere on the internet, there is no actual scientific data that says that bottle feeding is worse for your baby than breastfeeding when in a first world country. The differences between the two are statistically insignificant. Brain weasels are brain weasels, but don’t let anyone “sanctimommy” you into thinking you aren’t doing the absolute best for Oliver no matter how you choose to feed him.
Beautiful baby! And that family shot is lovely :-). Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with breastfeeding too; having a (not-so anymore!) newborn is tough enough, without having to worry about feeding and pumping too. You sound like you’ve looked into lots already, but if you’d like a website recommendation, I find this one great: http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/nb-challenges/back-to-breast/ It tends to be pretty good at checking facts, not just the usual internet stuff. Those brain weasels can be dreadful, but tell them that every feed will pass on the benefits of breastfeeding and that even if you can only manage one feed a day, your amazing boobs will concentrate so much goodness into that feed! And if you stop, you have still given him an amazing start to life and you’ve done and are doing the best you possibly can for him. Good luck all the way from the UK from a knitting, crocheting, breastfeeding peersupporter (bfn) mum.
You are doing your best and that is the main thing (as has already been said above). You can only do what your body will do, and that makes you the best mom. It is a good thing that supplementary feeding is available – imagine if you had a screaming baby because he was so hungry all the time! I don’t know if it is any help, but I found (to my great surprise) that if I drank a glass of water immediately prior to feeding, my output would be so much greater. I’m sure you have tried it, but if not – give it a go!
I would like to send some encouragement your way. You are doing amazing and your kiddo is thriving… so much so that he has outgrown his socks!
I also want to thank you for the words on your blog today. I’m finishing up month six of my body not cooperating with what I think it ought to do. (Still don’t know why I am sick, but haven’t run out of doctors yet.) I think one of the hardest things in life is reconciling expectations (or hopes) against what is actually possible. That feeling of, “If only I tried harder” is a difficult one to shed. I still think you are doing fantastic even if things aren’t turning out quite as you had hoped.
Oh my gosh, I don’t think I knew you had a baby! Or I forgot. (We met at a Knitting Guild thing ages ago.) I had a baby boy in March and the Verdant Gryphon folks knitted my guy a hat, cardi and legwarmers set. So sweet!
I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time with breastfeeding, but to put a spin on the whole “breast is best” thing, the truth is FED is best. I’m struggling to keep up my supply while working full-time. Pumping 3 times a day is difficult in the office.
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