6 Months and So Much More…


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.  IMG_5136

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.  IMG_5104

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.IMG_5128

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…




17 thoughts on “6 Months and So Much More…

  1. Oh, I’m so sorry. It sounds like you have a lot of difficult things going on right now. I struggled with milk supply for both my kids and could not nurse them as long as I wanted. It sucks and it hurts so much emotionally. I can say for me, making the decision was the hardest part. Once I stopped nursing entirely all the stress over producing enough milk and pumping was gone and I actually felt really good and I felt like I could just enjoy my baby. I hope that is your experience as well. Definitely praying for peace of mind for you and sending you good thoughts. I hope you feel better soon.

  2. Wow, you are busy! But of course you are with so many kids to care for! I am sorry to hear about all the frustrations going on right now for your kids and your family. Another setback with Mary’s adoption is simply unfair, the adoption system frustrates me beyond belief and the fact that the system doesn’t put these kids first is just cruel and unacceptable. And, Levi not qualifying because he’s not delayed enough also seems unfair. And, tube surgery for Noah sounds heartbreaking too. And, Austin’s delays also sound unfortunate, although thankful he qualifies for the support ASAP. And, the decision to stop breastfeeding sounds simply heartbreaking.
    Seriously, I do hope that things ease soon. Sending my love as always.

  3. Moly woman! That is way lot to handle. Sending prayers and love and a reminder that it won’t always be like this. You’re an awesome mama! Keep it up! Take a few timeouts when you can! XOXOXOX

  4. You are an awesome mama and did a great job. I’ve done everything possible with breastfeeding and been on every side and let me tell you, the low supply is the worst. I know it is hard and emotional but you know from experience that it will not make you unable to have that special bond. This is blip in the road, friend. Much love as you go through it.

  5. I think I’m one of the very few women that will NOT miss nursing. From our first meeting in the NICU (also our first latch), it’s been an easy ride. But I never felt like it was bonding time, just feeding time. At 15 months old, I wish I was just exclusively pumping, but it’s too hard with him awake and being all by myself. I hope the lack of stress will help the transition.

  6. I am sorry it is a rough emotional time for you friend. Many hugs to you.

    For what it is worth…the tube surgery was the best thing we did for Jace. To see him react to things now is amazing and to realize he was missing them before makes me sad.

    • I have been against this surgery the whole time UNTIL those little robotic animals were in the corners making noises and singing and my poor baby didn’t even turn his head because he could hear it on the two lowest levels. My heart broke and of course I cried but that was the moment I knew how much he needed this surgery. He can’t freaking hear and here I am worried about MY feelings and fears about it. I’m looking forward to him not hearing like he has cotton balls shoved in his ears! Thanks friend…

      • Yep that was our first clue Jace needed them. Not the number of infections but the fact when you called his name he wouldn’t look. We were afraid of hearing loss but it was something easily fixable with tubes. I will say though now he startles easy because things are SO loud to him. I spoke with the doctor about it last week and he said it will calm down the more he becomes used to it.

  7. He is such a cutie! Can’t believe that much time has passed.

    Stopping nursing sounds like such a hard thing for you. But seriously, you worked at it for 6 months, and it was HARD work – so good for you for keeping it up. Di struggled with her supply until J started solids, and it was effing hard on her in so many ways, so I kind of get what that must be like. But that kid of yours is happy and healthy and you’re doing an awesome job, not just with him but with all four kids!

  8. Tubes are a pain but hearing is worth it. Delaying therapy til matters are worse is very frustrating. A premie needing help, AND GETTING IT, is actually wonderful news. And while nursing is super good and wonderful you have done what your body allowed and your beautiful son will do well with formula as long as you hold him and look in his eyes while he eats. It is all complex. Delaying adoptions seems to be a normal event and while it is not best for the children and is totally crazy making for the to-be-parents it is also something our voting public ignores and disbelieves. So thank you for telling the truth about it.
    Really very much appreciate your posts and that you share your world and enlarge mine. When and if you are ready to share about the proposed surgery for you I will be looking and waiting.
    Hope this summer you have more time for yourself, your wife, your family …. and even also for us your eager happy audience.
    YOU ALL AS A FAMILY ARE DOING TERRIFICALLY and you are all making the world a better place. THANK YOU.

  9. You are doing awesome! I would never be able to breastfeed my kids because of the medication I am on (also wouldn’t be having them biologically, but I did consider attempting to breastfeed babies that my wife gave birth to until I research the meds more), so don’t be so hard on yourself. Can you get those systems that put the tube of formula right close to your nipple so you still get the experience of breastfeeding without having to stress about production?

    I had tubes as a baby and I promise it is worse for the mama than it is for the baby! He won’t even know that anything happened, he’ll just feel like his ears are clearer and things sound better! The surgery itself will be like a doctor’s appointment plus a nap (for Noah – you will know everything that is happening so I’m sure you will be nervous, but try to remember that he is okay!).

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