Carrot Flowers

8:04 am

carrot flowers, originally uploaded by indiaeden.

The newborn fog is clearing slowly, gradually being replaced by a sleepy haze, but that I think I can live with for a while anyway.
Ernest likes to sleep for about an hour,then wake for an hour throughout the night. That wouldn't be so hard going if he'd mastered breastfeeding, but when he wakes I have to pass him to Woody (who is not used to being woken at night by a baby) to feed him, while I pump for the next feed.(If only I had an extra pair of hands)
Ernest prefers me to feed him (with the bottle.) and so after pumping, he's passed back to me to finish the feed. I'll attempt to breastfeed (ever hopeful), then there's a nappy change, possibly another feed, a cuddle, and finally sleep, if we are very lucky a dream (breast) feed.
Our days too revolve around my pumping schedule..every two hours for about five to ten minutes.
The good news is,that I am very almost caught up with the whole "supply and demand" thing, and over the past two days Ernest has only had 30ml of the evil cow stuff.*
I could probably rant on and on about how thouroughly shitty it is not breastfeeding, (and I know Ernest is getting my milk, but I don't feel like I'm breastfeeding) and I expect it's a theme I'll be returning to lots, but for now let me just say that it breaks my heart when I'm feeding him from a bottle and I get a let down reflex.
Still, as Woody reminded me (not that I really needed reminding anyway) just a few short weeks ago I wasn't even sure Ernest would be here in my arms, and if I have to pump and feed him my milk that way that's just what I have to do.
I remember this time last year bargaining with the Universe, asking for Florence "Even if I've missed the first four weeks of her life", "Even if I can't breastfeed". I'd have had her back, and I still would.
The breastfeeding thing is still shit though, really really shit.

Oh yes, and the carrot flowers? With all the chaos of the past five weeks our carrots, and our salad all bolted,the slugs ate most of my flowers and the lawn is knee high!

* I don't use this term to offend any formula feeders out there, it's just my personal opinion.

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  1. Hugs for you and Ernest. Well done on the whole pumping thing - I've never got the hang of it, even when my nipples were in shreds. Sending you both warm and milky feeding vibes.

  2. With Fran, not understanding how breastfeeding worked, I just couldn't do the pumping/supply/feeding thing. There was no chance of having enough milk and I had no option to breastfeed as her cleft was too wide. So she had some breastmilk and some formula.

    Pumping for Freddie, knowing how much feeding a bf baby does, I was stunned at the amount of time a bfer much suck for no milk and how long it took to build it. Just as I got there, he died.

    So I can only sympathise, not only having done pumping for a living child but also in the knowledge that I know the effort it takes and how destroying it is not to be bfing naturally, the easy way. It certainly makes you realise the difference in easyness.

    If it consoles you at all (it won't but I always say it!) my two half formula fed/ half breastfed children are my splendidly healthy ones while my breastfed babies (leaving out Freddie) are consumed by eczema and asthma. I never feel that is entirely fair!

    I remember being sneered at by someone for bottlefeeding Fran - I was in Boots, with a shovel/rosti bottle and EBM and she sneered. Fran still had stitches. I just cried. It was horrid.

  3. I'm sure I'd feel exactly the same way. I really hope you and Ernest find your BF groove soon.
    He is getting your milk though, and that's the main thing.
    Sending much love.

  4. Oh Merry, I think I remember you mentioning about the sneering thing a few years back, possibly on INP? In fact I was thinking about it just the other day.
    I'm sorry you had to endure that.

  5. Aah, the pain is long gone now. It was her shortcoming, not mine. But it did hurt then. I felt for you talking about hiding in the car.

    All that matters is Ernest gets fed :) The rest, in the end, however much it sucks (lol) now, is window dressing; part of the story you will one day tell over his head with a rueful smile :)

    But I remember the pain, I really do.

  6. its funny that after you have a baby that dies you feel like you need to first justify gratitude to having a living baby in order to be able to have a perfectly justifiable moan about the difficulties relating to that baby in those first few months of bringing them home, pheww did that even make any sense at all? its just another state we find ourselves in i guess. but it seems perfectly logical that we would feel guilty about complaining because at least we have a living child right? i say go ahead and confidently whinge jeanette, i think you are doing a fabulous job and holding up just splendidly, more pictures of ernest in the clothes you made pretty please ? xxx anne

  7. I know it's shit, and I know it won't make the slightest bit of difference to how you feel about it, but you are (re feeding) in such a better position that I was. I was double pumping and having to feed my baby from a cup because she couldn't even suck from a cleft palate bottle (even after the snip). She was loosing weight and in the end I had no option but to put her onto formula at 2 months because she was quite literally starving :( So yes, it is shit, but at least Ernest is getting enough calories from your milk to put on weight :) I envy you that more than you will ever know.

  8. Both my boys refused to breastfeed...

    I expressed for S for 5 months, hired an electric pump and in the end got it down to twice a day for about an hour. Expressing that much I was producing enough to freeze as much as he was having each day so he lived on the defrosted milk once I gave up the pumping. Maybe you could try pumping for a longer period less frequently to make it less of a constant chore for youself? I don't know if you're using a 'hospital grade' electric pump but the hire isn't all that much and you can return it after a month if E does decide to start breastfeeding.

    I took an old bra and cut holes in the cups to hold the pump pieces so that my hands were free and I could at least do other things like knitting, reading or using the computer whilst pumping, it stopped me from going quite so insane.

    Being in that grey middle ground of feeding your baby expressed milk from a bottle can be a hard place to be. The breastfeeders look down on you for using a bottle and the bottlefeeders think you're insane when you explain that it's breastmilk and not formula in the bottle. I ended up feeling very lonely and excluded as well as feeling like a dairy cow (the expressing was one of the main things that made me choose to be vegan!).

    For A I just couldn't face the pumping again and with my marriage falling to pieces and S' aspergers syndrome so I fed him soya formula instead. He's incredibly healthy, they both are, and I did the best that I could for them at the time. As long as a baby is loved and cared for in the end what or how they ate at the start of their lives doesn't matter all that much as long as they are getting good nutrition (which in my mind means not cows milk or traditional formula).

    Hang in there, it won't last forever even though it feels like it will at times!


  9. Tech, I'm sorry you had such a hard time. I can honestly say (with some shame) that I never really understood how hard it can be for some women until recently.

    Anna! Hi! I was thinking about you the other day, I remembered you pumping for all that time with S, and very nearly emailed you.
    Love the bra idea!
    Yes, I'm hiring a hospital pump, not sure my nipples could stand pumping for an hour mind you!
    Hope you and your boys are well hun.

  10. I feel that same shame too :( After very successfully breastfeeding my son for 4 years I became one of those women who looked down on and judged women who appeared to not even try :( Talk about a major dose of Karma! Blogged about it here

  11. Tech, that's a great post, one I can relate to right now, and wish I couldn't.

  12. Really do feel for you, never know whether I should say anything, but I think about you most days and hope xxxx

  13. Jeanette, how dedicated you are to carry on this expressing routeen. It's really sweet to hear Ernest likes his mum feeding him most, just like any new born. If you need a hand with your garden just ask, Mark can mow your lawn and I can take care of the flowers and any slugs I find(we'll come without children). Just let us know when is good for you

  14. Jeanette you are amazing

    I think of you often & had a quiet moment thinking of you all in the garden this afternoon watching Isaac playing with a ladybird


  15. Just wanted to say again you are amazing. I struggled for months to feed Maisy, persistant thrush, crappy latch, sore sore cracked nipples but I can remember that feeling of detirmination and can also relate to the feeding expressed milk just not being the same...
    People would ask me why I carried on when I was crying and gritting my teeth through feeds, and I never really knew how to answer, because I had to, I just did, it was how I fed my baby, it meant so much to me.
    It really is so worth it though, just think about when it does work and it just becomes like second nature to you both and how beautiful it is.
    You are so strong and you are so amazing in perservering.
    Nim x

  16. Argh the evil pump! I wanted to smash mine up in the end. I hope that Ernest gets his breast feeding hat on soon.

    I loved breast feeding but hated pumping. Ick. Even the thought of it sends a chill down my spine!

    I was lucky that I got to breast feed J once she was strong enough but I couldn't keep it up for long. She had breast milk down an NG tube for around three months and my supply just dwindled. She had to have special weight gain formula in the end anyhow as she was just too prem to catch up without it :(

    Merry - I'm horrified. How dare she sneer. I'm so cross for you and Fran.

    Tech - I'm sorry. That is a heartbreaking situation.

  17. Jeanette, I don't comment here often (but I do read, and feel your pain!) but I'll say I know how you feel. With Madison, I pumped for 12 months. We had a 2 week NICU stay when she was first born because of GERD, and they would only let me BF her once a day in NICU. That basically shot all my BFing hopes out the window - by the time we brought her home, she only wanted a bottle and her latch was horrible. I spent over two months trying to get her to latch and then pumping. FINALLY I got to the stage where I was pumping 8oz in 15 minutes, and was able to build up a 100+oz stash. We had to supplement in the beginning, but once she was about 4 months, it was a lot better.

    She's 14 months now and I've stopped pumping (which I feel guilty about everyday, but then I remind myself she's gotten a year of mama's milk.) and she lovessss cow's milk.

    Hang in there!

  18. you are doing an amazing job Jeanette! hopefully, as Earnest gets bigger he will have more and more breastfeeds and eventually you can drop the EBM ones. if he is latching and having dream feeds, its a really good sign.
    I hope you are getting lots of support from health professionals. Are you seeing a breastfeeding councillor/support worker?? big hugz, thinking of you xxx

  19. So sorry to read that breastfeeding is still difficult, you are a real trooper for carrying on
    San x

  20. Hi Jeanette,
    I just read a newspaper and for obvious reasons (David Cameron) I thought of you. Sending you hugs xxx


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