Today was Penny’s 3 week checkup. The idea of hauling my 2 year old and a newborn
to a doctor’s office to the car out of the front door scared the crap out of me. ‘How in the heck am I going to be able to manage two kids?’ I asked myself. Like most things I don’t want to do, I resolve myself into thinking “‘You will just do it and you will survive it.”
So into the car went my daughters and off to the doctor’s office. Daphne was distracted by the hugely awesome fish tank in the lobby which coincidentally contained lookalikes of every major fish from Finding Nemo—the movie we had just watched a few hours prior. Eager Daphne cried “Emmo!” which is her version of “Nemo.” She just loves fish.
We checked in and waited our turn.
Thankfully, Sam was able to make it to the appointment. He even drove his ’65 Chevy which hasn’t been roadbound in over 4 years. Yay!
We were called back. Penny was measured and weighed.
I have a bad taste in my mouth for scales. Especially when it concerns my kids. I struggled immensely to breastfeed Daphne. She struggled to gain weight which resulted in weekly weight checks and stern doctor’s warnings. It was a terribly stressful time in my life–especially being a new mom. I felt like a failure. I felt defeated. Each time Daphne was weighed, I was weighed and found wanting. I cried a lot in those first few months.
I’ve struggled these past 3 weeks with breastfeeding Penny. She clicks when nursing. She chokes when I letdown. She spits up often. She seems fussy and gassy. Her diapers are often green. I couldn’t put my finger on what the issue was but I knew something was up. I began to eliminate dairy from my diet because I thought she might have a dairy intolerance. I switched nursing positions from cradle hold to football hold to help with an overactive letdown. I tried gas drops.
I tensed when my naked baby started squirming on the scale. Did she gain weight? Are my breastfeeding efforts paying off? Am I a success?
Penny was born at 8lbs 3 ounces. Her weight 9 days after birth was 8lbs 4 ounces. Today, her weight was 9 pounds even.
My heart swelled inside my chest. She gained about 12 ounces since her last appointment!
I have so much to be thankful for. I received amazing support and advice from my friends Lynnell and Elaine concerning my breastfeeding issues. Elaine suggested that I have an oversupply–the diagnosis I never thought plausible but immediately knew could be the reason for all of my issues–in fact, I cried tears of relief when oversupply was suggested to me because I finally had a possible diagnosis and a course of action. Upon taking her advice, I’ve noticed marked improvements in the frequency of her spit ups, she does not choke upon letdown, and she seems happier. I changed my nursing position to belly-to-belly, which lets gravity work against my overactive letdown. I feed from one side for about 3-4 feedings in a row and then switch.
Doctor Dino and the nurse were both very pleased with her weight gain and commented “That’s amazing for being only breastfed!”
The clicking that Penny does while nursing could be attributed to a lip tie. I mentioned it to Doctor Dino and he said that since she is gaining weight so well and that nursing is not causing me discomfort, that it’s not necessarily an issue to be managed right now.
My little family left the doctor’s office with a bounce in our step. I was so relieved and thankful.
Here’s to keeping the milk coming!