Monday, July 14, 2008

Photos & Power-Pumping

Yesterday was exhausting. We had our photo session in the morning - yes! it actually happened! no one went into labour! - which took nearly three hours. Gwen was SOOOO good, I was amazed; there were no major meltdowns, though there were a lot of insecure and unhappy requests for comfort, which was absolutely fine. In all, I'm pretty sure we spent an hour of the three nursing.

We shot five rolls of film. Sixty pictures of the divine Miss Gwen. It's going to break my bank account to buy the prints.

Anyway, when we got home I started the major portion of my day's plan: a power-pumping day. This is recommended for increasing supply. I pumped every hour for 15 minutes, from 1pm to 10pm. (I missed one session at 6pm when Gwen nursed instead; other than that, Chris gave her a bottle.) I hadn't really predicted how tiring and somehow stressful this work would be, but it was. I tried to convince myself that I was doing this not to produce a lot of milk right now, but to scare my body into producing more in the future, but it was hard not to get hung up on the numbers. There were some sessions when I didn't get a single drop in 15 minutes. And my nipples were just killing me by the end of the day, too.

But if it works, and my supply becomes adequate ... well, isn't that the whole point?

To be honest, we are not supplementing Gwen all that much. For the most part, she isn't interested in the bottle. She maybe takes one or two a day; if she's been nursing for more than 15 or 20 minutes per side and seems fussy and frustrated, pulling off often, I judge that I'm empty and I give her a bottle. But this is the exception, not the rule, and she's acting much more pleasant in between feedings, so I'm optimistic that we don't have a serious problem. At last weigh-in she was 10 pounds 12 ounces - that's up 2 pounds since birth, which is still low, but she's gaining more rapidly now for sure. I'm going to keep weighing her twice a week when I go to Healthy Beginnings.

And when I get really frustrated and depressed about this myself, I remember that it's only three more months until she's on solids and the bulk of her nutrients will be coming from something outside my body, so the pressure will really be off and nursing will become less of a survival thing and more of a comfort and bonding thing.

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