I can’t believe that this little guy is 6 months old! Well, 6 months, a week, and 2 days at this point, but nonetheless, 6 whole friggin months! I’m still in awe that my tiny little premature 3.9lbs baby is this chubby little wiggly, giggly, drooly thing. It’s also interesting to think that just under a year ago, we did this TWICE over and it’s all still so new.
Austin Ryan is approximately 16lbs, you know, the “let me hold this baby while I weigh myself” strategy. At 6 months old, adjusted age at 27 weeks or exactly 4 months and a day (which is weird how that works out!) he already weighs more than the boys did at almost a year old! This kid can eat! He drinks anywhere from 4-5 ounces every 2-3 hours. The only time he doesn’t follow that schedule is when he is sleeping, but he’s not that great of a sleeper…at all. Unlike his brothers, who by 4months were sleeping through the night, Austin is still waking up regularly every 3-4 hours. He goes down at 8pm, then gets up just before midnight and takes another bottle, then goes down again until about 3am, and then again at around 5:30-6pm. He’s still nursing, and we co-sleep after his 3am feeding, but we’ll get into that in a few. I’m starting to wean (seriously sobbing here folks) and it’s really just a lot to handle right now.
We have had a few concerns with Austin’s development, so we had him evaluated by Early Intervention. As we anticipated, our suspicions were right. Austin has a bit of a delay when it comes to his gross and fine motor skills. He just recently (within the past 2 weeks) started holding his head up and pushing up on his hands, but still isn’t really reaching for anything since he is still heavily relying on his hands to hold him up. He also started rolling from belly to back at about the same time. The good thing is, cognitively, there are no concerns. He follows objects with his eyes. He coos and laughs. He smiles socially. Everything else looks pretty good, but he’ll be starting services pretty soon. I’m scheduling a meeting with his coordinator as we speak, to try and get him started ASAP with his twice a week therapy. Otherwise, this little guy is doing everything he needs to do.
Now, breastfeeding…I’ll be honest, I don’t even know how to write about this without being in tears. So for many reasons (which I’ll explain) I have decided to stop nursing Austin and start weening. I’m super sad about it y’all, and haven’t stopped crying since last night when I finally made the decision. I’ve been going back and forth about this for the past almost 2 months, since Austin went from drinking 3oz to drinking about 5oz. So, since Austin was born, it has been quite the struggle to get my supply up. From day one, he was taking 10cc’s of breast milk. I was making just that. When they were gradually increasing him in the NICU (2-5cc’s about every other day) my body was able to keep up with his needs, and I basically exclusively pumped and he was getting about 70/30 breast milk/formula until we left the hospital. Nursing Austin those first few weeks at home were really difficult. He was having a hard time latching and he wasn’t able to get all of the milk and properly drain my breasts, so most of my first few weeks of him being home consisted of nursing, pumping, washing pump parts and bottles, and doing it all over again. For some strange reason, my left breast wouldn’t respond to a pump OR a baby well, so I always have to hand express the left breast, so if feeding and pumping wasn’t enough of a pain in the ass, I ALSO have to hand express! I’ve ALWAYS had to supplement with formula (almost always, 2 of his 8-10 bottles a day were formula, and I am absolutely OK with that!). I’ve taken every herb you can think of, drank enough water to probably hydrate every person in China TWICE, and even used Domperidone as a last resort to increase my milk supply as much as possible, and even then, after all of that, I was still only pumping about 8oz a day. Not a session but A DAY, and that was a freaking good day, because on average it was closer to about 6.
I gave it 6 god months and that’s not including all of the months that I did my best to try and nurse Noah and Levi. I LOVE nursing Austin. I adore the way he reaches for my fingers, or how he looks at me and smiles mid nurse. I will never get enough of his big, beautiful brown eyes staring up at mine. I don’t know how I’m going to handle this when he doesn’t nurse, AT ALL anymore, and even thinking about it is enough to make me tell me boss that I’m not feeling well, so that I can go home and throw myself onto my bed and heavily sob about it. Nursing and pumping is such hard work, and the amount of hard work that it takes to come home after 3 30 minute pumping sessions with hardly enough milk to make one bottle is really disheartening and saddening and upsetting. It’s frustrating that no matter what I do, I just can’t make enough milk. And the shit is, I was totally OK with that until this past month. I was absolutely fine with just nursing him when I was at home and diligently pumping throughout my work day, but it’s gotten to be too much for too little. There are also other things that played a role in this. For starters, my two big toes have pretty terrible nail fungus (all those years of playing soccer and ingrown toe nails and what have you) and the only way to correct it is to take an oral medication (which I can’t take because I’m nursing) or to pull the nails off and laser the nail bed (which they won’t do until I’m done nursing). Also, I went to see a bariatric surgeon on Friday in order to get gastric sleeve surgery (that’s for another post entirely!) but because of the caloric intake that is required for nursing as well as the water intake, not only for myself but for milk production, it would be extremely easy for me to dehydrate if I were nursing. Those 2 things combined with the small amount that I’m producing, it just seemed like, for me, it was probably time, despite not wanting to at all.
I know that solid food if coming now. I KNOW that he is getting what he needs from formula, but it breaks my damn heart to know that I won’t have all of our special cuddles, if that makes any sense. I’m really struggling here friends. This is a tough, sad day for me. I’ve gone from pumping at 9, 12, and 3 at work, to 10 and 2. Then I nurse him when I get home at 6, then I’ll nurse him again around 10, and then at 6 before we head out to daycare. I’ll do that for the next week or so. Then I’ll take it down another 2 sessions, and we’ll go from there and re-adjust again. And to makes matters all the more pleasant, I also started my period after almost 17 months! Levi didn’t get approved for speech therapy because he doesn’t have a significant ENOUGH delay (he’s at a 12 month level for speech which only puts him at a 25% delay and he needs a 33% delay to get services), so that sucks because he needs it! Noah is having tube surgery in August. My poor baby couldn’t hear at the appointment when they did his hearing test (little drum tapping mechanical stuffed animals making noise in the corners of a room that he was supposed to look at when they turn on, and half the time he had no clue they were making noise), and of course Mama was a hot, snotty, crying mess! Mary’s adoption may take longer than we originally anticipated because the caseworker that we have been working with for over 2 years got reassigned to a different district so we will have a new worker taking over who has to get all of her paperwork in order, and it’s just a true pain in the ass. So basically, the past couple of days have been…days, to say the least. Wish this mama some luck with keeping her emotions in check this week and if you don’t pray, do whatever it is that you do and send some calming, “help with this new adjustment” vibes this way. I sure could use them…
Good thing this face helps…