From my Myspace Blog, dated September 22, 2007:
Over the past few days, The Boy had not been keeping his food down. And we're not just talking standard baby spit-up. At the risk of being graphic, if it comes up looking like milk, then it's still within the realm of spit-up even if it's coming out in larger volumes. If it looks like it's been in there for a little while...then we have problems.
After the third time in the span of 18 hours of this happening--because it did happen a few times in isolation last week--I called the doctor's office and they wanted to see him. Supposedly, he was down two ounces from last week, where he was a pound over birth weight at 2 weeks old. He was screaming his little head off and squirming, because he was hungry, and I ended up feeding him while the doctor examined him because nothing else would calm him down. That was pretty exciting.
The other doctor came in and talked with me, saying that he might have a condition called pyloric stenosis (or however it is spelled). If you haven't heard of it, you have now. I'll explain it as well as I understood it. There's a muscle in there, in the esophagus, that lets the food go down and helps it on its way. If it doesn't let food in, the food comes back up. He thought that it was this condition because he had lost a bit of weight, and the throwing up...this condition is most often seen in firstborn white males. So he sent us to the emergency room for an ultrasound of The Boy's abdomen and some bloodwork.
I called my mother and she told me that my cousin--a firstborn white male--had it. It requires surgery.
Hours later, we learned that The Boy did not have this condition and wouldn't require this surgery. He was so good at the hospital and only got upset at having blood drawn and making a little robo-hand to hold an IV port in place, and the ultrasound...then later on when we were waiting for results and he was hungry but I couldn't feed him until the results came back.
I spoke with the doctor yesterday morning (this morning according to the Tuesday rule, because I haven't had a full night's sleep yet) and he said that everything came back normal, the weight was still a concern but it was possible that the scale was wrong at the 2 week check. Frakking wonderful...since I'm nursing exclusively there's not really a good way to tell how much The Boy is getting at a feeding, so the doctor said he wanted me to pump and feed him bottles every 3 hours. He first asked about formula supplementation and I told him I'd rather not, and that I didn't think I had a milk supply problem. So he initially recommended 2 ounces per feeding, saying I could go up to 3 if he would take 3 ounces. I was a little nervous that he wouldn't take a bottle from me when I've got the real thing but that worked out fine.
I think I discovered the problem. I fed The Boy a 2 ounce serving of previously frozen breastmilk. Then, while he slept, I pumped for about 10-12 minutes. I have a fancy electric dual breast pump, because I'll be back at work soon and will continue to give The Boy only breastmilk. Anyhow, after 10 minutes I had about 8 ounces of milk. As I said, I don't have a supply problem. Thing is, milk production is largely guided by what the baby wants to eat. I'm very good at producing milk apparently, and he just kept drinking it because it was there, not realizing that he was eating way too much to handle. For subsequent pumpings, I stayed hooked up for 5-7 minutes and got 4 ounces.
It's been a pretty difficult process, to tell the truth. The great thing about nursing is that the food is always there for the baby. There's not any need to heat up the bottles or measure the milk/formula, nor wash anything in the sink, and bottles create more burps than breastmilk. No way would I ever feed The Boy formula, just because the bottle feeding is such a pain.
The Boy has been happy probably 2/3 of the time today. He's happy because he's eating and it's actually staying in him because it isn't too much. However, he seems to be hungry even after having 3 ounces of milk. I know that 4 ounces would be an acceptable feeding for a kid his age, but I'd like to just stick to what the doctor said. And, I'd like to get him a little more accustomed to this feeding size. Breastmilk does digest quickly though, much more so than formula, so he's hungry faster.
He had a bottle at 11AM, 2PM, 5PM and 8PM. At 10 or so, I took The Boy into my room to hang out and snuggle because he was fussy. We fell asleep and didn't wake up for the 11PM feeding. It was almost midnight. I pumped out the feeding for next time and got a bottle. I tried waking him, and he ate a little, but he really wasn't interested. The doctor had said to wake The Boy to eat every 3 hours...he normally doesn't eat that way. He will often sleep longer before a feeding, usually 4 hours or a little more. Thankfully, that happens a lot at night, giving us one later evening feeding, one 2AM or so, and one early in the morning. We're not at all accustomed to waking him up to eat. My grandfather said that he had a mutual non-aggression pact with the children--they don't bother him and he doesn't bother them. That's the way it has gone with feedings for The Boy--he eats when he wants to. He's on a pretty good schedule.
But I hate this bottle thing! I guess on the plus side, I can give my poor boobies a break for 2 days. And I guess it's good to know that he's taking bottles because he'll have to take 2 or 3 from Musical Daddy every day. I'm just hoping that when he goes back to feeding normally, there won't be any problems. And it's hard as anything to pump the feeding AND feed The Boy the bottle. Normally, if I'm actually there, I'm feeding him, and if I'm pumping, it's because I'm away from him.
Fortunately, we only have to do this nonsense through Monday morning.
Being a nursing mom is exhausting! It was so nice before this started happening...now we've got a little snag but we're fine...and someone might want to eat again.