(This post is about lady things, men feel free to come back tomorrow.). The other day I posted about Ellery losing weight last month. My milk was seriously drying up, as in sometimes she would eat 1 ounce in 3 hours. A reader very politely commented and asked if I could expand on this so I private messaged her and told her what I thought was going on. Then I realized I have at least a handful of readers that have requested my nursing notes and I would be doing a dis-service to not share what happened. I also know that I have anti Babywise readers and readers considering Babywise so I just want to set the record straight.
I am pretty sure I lost my milk for a lot of reasons, Babywise was not one of them, here is what my research has shown me.
At my seven week appointment as I was getting ready for my exam I discovered that Aunt Flo decided she was tired of not visiting and she had arrived. This means had I not been following the rules I possibly could have shown up pregnant to this appointment. So when people say nursing is a good form of birth control the first 6 months know that it does not apply to everyone. I was still nursing through the night at this point. When my milk really decreased I was having the worst period of my ENTIRE LIFE. Nothing I could do about that.
My sweet baby has a condition that is caused by low estrogen, not going to expand on this because some day she will be an adult and this post might still be flying around in cyberspace. Low estrogen can cause babies to eat less. This condition resolves itself by age 6 and she’s perfectly fine, but potentially contributed to the weight loss.
My pump broke in October, I had been pumping frequently before that. Since Ellery had quit taking a bottle I decided I didn’t need one anymore and couldn’t afford to replace it so I stopped pumping, that was a bad idea. Luckily our new insurance is amazing and I got a free pump a couple weeks ago. (On that note, call your insurance before buying a pump, I got a medela $300 pump at no cost to me).
Around the time Ellery started sucking her thumb her weight started dropping. She was always a fast eater so when she put her thumb in her mouth after 5 minutes of nursing I figured she was finished. I didn’t realize 5 minutes really wasn’t enough. Now I know she needs to eat for at least 5 minutes on each side regardless of what she wants.
Besides her weight dropping there were literally NO SIGNS. She never acted hungry, she was still sleeping for all her naps and still sleeping through the night. She hadn’t become anymore fussy than her one hour witching hour so if we didn’t have a scale we probably wouldn’t have really noticed. Also her skin started getting lose.
And after playing around with increasing my supply I have found this to be the number one thing that helps. I decided I was tired of having this pooch belly so I started cutting myself off of food at 8:30 PM. BIG MISTAKE. Going to bed hungry completely zapped my supply. If I eat a small bowl of cereal before I go to bed I wake up leaking and she eats 6 to 7 ounces for the first feeding. Feeding my kiddo is obviously way more important than fitting back into my skinny jeans. So eat up nursing mamas your milk depends on it.
The reasons I don’t think Babywise played a role in this. I never let Ellery go hungry, I would stretch her 15 minutes max. Dropping the night feedings was led by her. Once she went a couple nights not eating at one of the feedings we got rid of it. By getting rid of it I mean I let her fuss in bed for a couple minutes until she went back to sleep, this lasted for a few days each time. I didn’t ever let her scream or even cry in the night, if she did I would feed her. Fussing and screaming are two very different things in my book. Still to this day I have never let her go more than 4 hours during the day without eating and most of the time she eats within 3 hours. Since she was 4 months old I haven’t needed to ever hold her off from eating for even a few minutes. I talked to my doctor and based on the way I personally do Babywise she assured me that it had nothing to do with my lack of milk.
And while we are setting records straight I want to say one thing about not co-sleeping. I read a blog post written by someone I don’t know who is an attachment parent. She was writing about how sad she is for babies who have to sleep in their own cribs and how she would hate to have to sleep alone. She talked about how when she gets scared from a dream she loves that she can reach out and touch her husband for comfort. I felt a little angry because I feel like she is really misinformed. Last night Elle woke up around 9 o’clock screaming bloody murder, I jumped up and ran to her bedroom, picked her up and rocked her until she was calm. Then I laid her down and without a peep she put herself back to sleep. Just because we don’t sleep with Ellery in our room doesn’t mean we are heartless monsters, I’m not saying anyone of you thinks that, I just had to get that off my chest because I was sad that some people might think that about mamas who don’t believe in co-sleeping.
So there you have my incredibly long list of things that hurt my milk, likely TMI, but oh we’ll. I’m happy to report we are on the upswing and it looks like I’ll be able to nurse until we are actually ready to give it up.