Grayson Elliot: 1 Month

by Lauren on October 23, 2014

It’s been an entire month since the day we welcomed our beautiful little boy into this world.  There are moments where I think, where have the past 30 days gone?  And then there are moments- usually when I’m in the moment – where I think it’s taken its sweet time.  I know I always say this, but watching Grayson grow up so fast is a wonderful and heartbreaking thing.  I absolutely love to see him develop and grow into such a strong and determined little boy, but at the same time, I wish I could keep him little and so dependent on me forever.  One thing is for sure, he is changing every single day and sad or not, it’s been a joy to witness this little man become who he was created to be.

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Where do I begin…

I guess I’ll start with his physical growth.

We knew early on that G would be a little squirt.  In the womb, he always measured small and always in the 20-25 percentile.  When he was born, he weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces and measured 18 inches long.  At his one month, he was 7 pounds 8 ounces and 20.5 inches long.  It’s taken a little longer than expected to get his weight up because he had a little catching up to do, but now we are growing like a weed.

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We have finally outgrown our premie clothes and are now even bypassing the newborn clothes.  Actually, we are in this weird transition where some of our newborn clothes are getting tight (length wise) but the 0-3 months are way too big.  Lately, we’ve just been hanging out in our diaper because it’s much easier.

Grayson is full of personality!  One minute he is totally chill and just likes to sit back and stare and the next minute, he is climbing all over his mommy and daddy.  I knew this little guy was going to be an active one just by the way he moved in my stomach all those months, but Grayson seriously surprises us by how advanced and determined he is.  I mean, the kid was rolling from tummy to back at 10 days old.  Well, that is old news now and he is desperately trying to roll from back to tummy.  He’s not quite there but I swear any day now.  Geesh, I am going to have my work cut out for me.

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Nursing is going well!  He had the latch down right away and there are times we still struggle with staying focused for the entire 15 minutes so I am still pumping after each session and feeding him any excess milk he didn’t get.  We do still supplement formula from time to time but it’s down to about an ounce at a time.  We really leave it up to him if he wants it or not.  Sometimes, he’s still hungry after we nurse and he will take the formula and other times, he wants nothing to do with it.  I’m hoping we will eventually ween off completely in a few weeks.  As long as he continues to gain and at a good pace, but like I said, he had some catching up to do.

Speaking of formula, that has been a bit of a challenge to figure out what he will take.  I was giving him Enfamil Gentlease but we noticed that he spit up a lot immediately after we fed him. I talked to his doctor and he said it could be a milk allergy or intolerance so we changed to a soy based formula the other day.  He had absolutely no spit up or vomit so I was thinking it was the winner.  Well, unfortunately, G didn’t poop for 2 days on the soy formula.  I put him back on the milk based and he pooped right away.  He also vomited right away too.  Ugh, so now we are back to square one.

What else can I tell you about this little guy?

He loves his bath time now!  It took a few baths, but Grayson would sit and hang out in the warm water for hours if I let him.  He is also okay with water, even if a little gets on his face. Grayson also loves his wubba nub, his Rock n’ Play and his Boppy lounger.  We are looking to invest in some kind of swing or bouncer because this kid is in need of more activity in his life.  He still is not the biggest fan of being swaddled even though we keep trying.  I found that when I do swaddle him and he actually stays in it, he sleeps much better.  The problem is getting him to keep his arms in.  We’ve already discovered his hatred for the sleep sacks, but maybe we should give them another try.

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Grayson also loves to be outside!  We try and get out for a walk at least once a day and I’ve found that if there is a day when we can’t get out, he goes a little stir crazy, just like his mama.  We are currently working on getting a routine down with feeding, playtime and naps.  I’ve heard good things about the Mom’s On Call program so I downloaded to app and we’ve been trying our best to stick with it.  Somedays are better than others and we often skip naps or need to adjust the feeding times, but I think the more we stick with it, the easier it will get.

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Sleep has been what you’d expect, or rather, what I expected it would be.  His current bedtime schedule goes like this: bath time is at 8 pm, we play and do tummy time at 8:30 pm, we eat (we call it our gluttony eating) at 9:00 pm where he gets nursed and a bottle.  It’s a big feeding but he usually takes it all and then passes out shortly after.  He is usually up every 2-3 hours so between 11:30 and midnight and then again at 3:00 am.  He wakes for the day between 5:30 am – 6:00 am.  I would love to eventually eliminate that 3 am feeding (it’s the worst!) but right now, he seems to still need it, so we are sticking with what the little guy wants.  After all, he is the boss!

Mommy Updates

Overall, I’m feeling great!  Aside from being a little sleep deprived, my body healed quite well in the last four weeks. My hormones have also seemed to settle down a bit, as I’m no longer experiencing those crazy night sweats anymore.  My wrists/hands still bother me but definitely not as bad as they were.  I’ve been pumping and giving G bottles at night in an effort to give my hands a break.  Nighttime was the absolute worst for the pain, and I would wake up almost in tears after some of those late night feedings. By giving him pumped bottles at night, it cuts the feeding process in half meaning we both get more sleep and my hands are so much better in the morning.

As far as exercise, I’ve started to slowly incorporate more but nothing is routine yet.  We do try and walk every single day and on the days when we can’t, I will do a quick 20 minute at-home workout while G naps.  It’s nothing crazy, just some sit-ups, push-ups, squats and planks but I’m trying to regain some of my core muscles.  They are definitely weak.  I tried to hold a plank for the first time last week and could barely make it to 30 seconds.  I did get the chance to go to the gym last week when John was home and ran/walked 3 miles, which felt pretty good.  I think all of the hill walking we’ve been doing with the stroller will really come to my benefit when I actually start running again.

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As much as I love exercise and it’s an important aspect in my every day life, it’s also not as vital to me at this point.  I knew I wanted to get back into a routine as soon as I could, but motherhood is teaching me that my idea of a routine is not at all for my own gain.  This time is all about Grayson and even though I do try and take a little time for myself, he consumes so much of my time and energy. I will wake up one morning and think, “I’m going to do a 30 minute workout today,” and then Grayson won’t nap or he needs a little extra attention and my plan goes out the window.  Before, I didn’t do well when sometime screwed up my routine but now, I can easily let it go.  Just holding my precious baby is much more healthy for the both of us at this point than me getting in a 30 minute workout.  So we value our walks together and the times when we can get out and move, but I would much rather be spending time with him.  And in those few times he does sleep during the day for a long period of time, I take those opportunities to get things done around the house or catch up on work.  After all, I am working from home and also need to focus on my job.  I know that once John’s job calms down a bit, he will be home more and able to take over baby duty, allowing me a little more time for myself.  Until then, it’s G’s world and I’m just living in it! :)

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Well, that is where we are at after a month with our little love child.  Grayson has truly brought more joy into our lives than we ever imagined.  It’s so true what they say, a child fills a hole in your heart you never even knew you had.  He was beautifully and wonderfully created and I honestly feel so lucky to be his mom.

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Out of every book, article, or friend’s account I read about breastfeeding, the most undeniable thing I gathered from it was that nursing your newborn baby is HARD WORK!  And boy were they right.

I thought I mentally prepared myself for the fact that it wouldn’t be as easy as it seemed, but like many other new and naive moms, I so did not.  In fact, I bought four different books on breastfeeding and only managed to get through half of one before thinking to myself, “okay, I got this.”  Well silly me.  Now in my defense, I do feel I could have read every book in the world and it still wouldn’t have prepared me or my baby for the task ahead of us.  It wasn’t until Grayson and I spent hours and hours practicing and failing many times before we both got the hang of it.

I first want to say I’m no expert on breastfeeding and even though after a month I feel more confident, we still have many days and feedings that aren’t so great.  I still get upset about it but then I remember, we are both doing the very best we can and that is all you can really ask of yourself.

Now, I want to share a few ways that I was able to increase my supply.  When I first started, I really thought we would have more trouble with the latching but to my surprise, Grayson was a pro at latching on.  What we struggled with was extracting.  G would latch on great and do really well at extracting the milk for the first five minutes, but then he would get tired or disengaged and just start to pacify.

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Since he wasn’t getting the most out of each feeding, he would fall asleep and wake up 10-15 minutes later still hungry.  And since he wasn’t emptying my breasts, I wasn’t producing anymore.  I then started to nurse him and pump immediately after to make sure they were emptied and give him the excess milk from a bottle.

This wasn’t my ideal way of nursing but I was happy to give him the most breast milk I could.  When G wasn’t gaining enough weight in the beginning, his pediatrician recommended adding a little formula to the excess milk we were feeding him.

I wasn’t crazy about this idea, but I also wanted to make sure he was getting properly nourished, so that is what we did.  In the midst of this, we made a few appointments with the lactation consultant so that we could both learn how we can make the most out of our feedings.

I honestly can not say enough good things about my LC’s.  Not only do they provide such useful information, they are a HUGE support when you need it the most.  Having that added support is so important.  They also gave me a lot of tips and methods to try to increase my supply so that Grayson would become a pro eater and would eventually ween himself off the need for any formula.

Here are a few things I have done or am doing currently in order to get my milk supply where it needs to be:

Pump with a Quality Pump

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Breastfeeding is a full time job and when you add in pumping after nursing, it becomes a never-ending cycle, BUT it’s worth it!  I was using the Ameda pump but my LC’s recommended that I rent a hospital grade pump for a month in order to get my milk supply up.  While most pumps are good for doing what they are meat to do, the hospital pump will extract the best.  It wasn’t cheap ($70 to rent for the month) but I’m happy I did it.  So I am nursing Grayson and pumping after.  Breastfeeding is a supply and demand so as long as I am continually emptying my breasts, they will keep producing more.

The SNS Tube

The Supplemental Nursing System is a tiny tube that goes into G’s mouth while he is on my breast.  I fill the small container with excess breast milk and feed the tube through the corner of his mouth when we nurse, that way when he starts to get sleepy and pacify, I give him an added boost of milk. He begins to easily get the milk from the tube, which causes him to suck and swallow again.  So essentially, he is getting double the amount from my breast and from the tube.  This wasn’t the easiest thing at first and was actually kind of an annoyance, but after a few tries, we’ve mastered it and he is MUCH better at feedings.

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Stay Hydrated

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This is probably one of the most important things when it comes to breastfeeding. If you think about it, fluids in equals fluids out so making sure you are properly hydrated at all times is key.  I always have my water bottle next to me and filled and try to get about 160 oz of water in a day (a little more than a gallon).  That’s not including any other liquids I consume such as coffee or tea. Obviously, I’m not pumping 160 oz of milk a day (I wish!) but it does make a significant difference.

Oatmeal

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I’m not really sure why, but I’ve heard from many different sources that oatmeal is a surefire food to include in your daily diet to increase milk supply.  Lucky for me, I’m digging oats again so it hasn’t been an issue.  If I don’t eat oatmeal for breakfast, I try to have a small bowl as a snack throughout the day.

Cholesterol

This was something my LC told me at our last appointment.  Apparently, cholesterol and fatty acids is said to help increase a woman’s supply.  Eggs also try to make a daily appearance in my diet, and since I have no trouble with the fatty acids, that hasn’t been a problem.

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Fenugreek and Brewers Yeast

These are two supplements that I had never heard of prior to breastfeeding but if you ask any nursing mom, they have probably heard of them.  Fenugreek is an herb contains phytoestrogens, which are plant chemicals similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. A key compound, diosgenin, has been shown experimentally to increase milk flow.  Brewers yeast is highly nutritious and contains iron, protein, and B vitamins, as well as chromium, selenium and other trace minerals. It is also believed to be a galactagogue, used by nursing mothers to help make more breast milk.  I bought the Fenugreek in pill form and the yeast in the form of a powder.  At first, I was unsure of how to consume it but after a few searches on the Web, I found some recipes that incorporate it including these Mama’s Milk Making Cookies.

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I love these!  They are quite tasty and a perfect snack for those late night feedings.

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Relax

The last thing, but definitely not least, is to relax and try very hard not to stress out over everything.  That is much easier said than done because back to my original point, breastfeeding is hard work!  I’ve spent many moments in tears thinking I was failing my child, but I do try and give myself credit for doing the very best that I can.  It also helps to surround yourself with people that support you.  John has been an amazing support throughout it all and encourages me every single day that I am working so hard and doing so well.  My other mom friends also lend a ton of incredible encouragement and share their own tips and struggles.

In the end, I’ve learned that nursing is a learning experience and something that we are getting better at every day.  You have to do what is right for you and your baby and you absolutely cannot compare yourself to other lactating women.  Every boob and baby is different and your focus should always be on what is working for you and your baby and not what others are doing or saying.  There have been many times that I just wanted to give up, but then I come to my senses and realize that would be silly.  So it takes a ton of time, effort and even more lack of sleep.  All I have to do is take one look at my little angel’s face and it suddenly becomes easy.

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Highs and Lows from the Weekend

October 20, 2014

Hello and happy Monday! I had every intention of posting this last night but I’m currently blogging from my old Mac (and it’s as slow as molasses), which brings me right to my first low from the weekend. Low I did a terrible thing on Saturday.  In the midst of trying to pump and attend [...]

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What We’ve Been Up To

October 17, 2014

Hey guys! I’m not sharing my usual Friday Confessions or What I’m Loving posts today because I really didn’t prepare for either of these.  Instead, I just thought I would share a few random things that we’ve been up to in the past few days…. Lately, breakfasts have been oatmeal but if I’m tiring of [...]

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These are a few of my favorite (baby) things….

October 15, 2014

When I first found out I was going to be a mom, I thought, “okay this can’t be that hard, I mean SO many women do this.”  Well, as I got closer and closer to giving birth, I became more terrified at how very little I did know.  The questions that consumed my mind were [...]

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Another Day in the Life with a Newborn

October 13, 2014

So this whole motherhood thing is definitely exhausting, but G and I are really starting to get into a nice groove and (somewhat) routine.  It’s getting easier every day. My day began with a 6am wakeup call from my little alarm clock.   I heard him stirring around 5:30 am so I knew we’d be [...]

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Weekend Highs and Lows

October 12, 2014

Apparently this was a big weekend in New England.  I know it’s a Holiday weekend for some, but we kept hearing on the news how bad the traffic was and would be all weekend for one of the busiest of the year. I still don’t really know why, other than the fact that it is [...]

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Loving Lately {10.9.14}

October 10, 2014

I swear these weeks are flying by now!  Monday felt like it was just yesterday, but now it’s Friday and I don’t really remember what else happened in-between there. There are just a few things I want to share with you as far ad what I’ve been loving this week. Disclaimer: I’m currently typing this [...]

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2 Weeks In

October 9, 2014

My baby is 2 weeks old today!   2 whole weeks!  I honestly am having a hard time with how fast these days are going.  I love the newborn stage even though it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.  But every moment with this little guy is entirely worth it! I’m [...]

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Ameda Breast Pump Giveaway Winner

October 8, 2014

As I was lying in bed last night, it suddenly dawned on me that I had completely forgotten to post the winner of my Ameda Breast Pump Giveaway from last week. Uhh, let’s just blame this on new mom brain, okay? Anyways, without further ado, the winner is….   Caitlin I am so excited for [...]

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