Thursday, January 28, 2010

It will not go to waste after all!

Yesterday I received a call from the milk bank in Indianapolis. I am so excited to report that I will be donating my milk to them! They are building up a stock to send to Haiti and I will be able to help feed some of the little hungry babies there. After an initial phone screening, they emailed me all the forms to fill out and mail back. I have to go to my doctor and to the munchkin's doc to have them sign off on some health papers. They are also sending me a blood kit that I have to take to my doctor to have him draw blood and send back to the milk bank. Then they will send me some UPS freezer boxes to ship the milk to them. They pay for and take care of everything. I have an appointment set up with my doctor on Monday to have them sign my papers and draw my blood. I am going by the pediatrician's office today to have them sign off on her. If all goes well, I should be sending my first batch of milk off next week! I will probably have enough more to send another batch by the time I am completely done pumping. It's going to take a while to get these puppies to stop producing milk!

I can not describe the relief I feel not having to just throw away all of my milk, and instead being able to use it towards a very good cause.

In other news... the munchkin has discovered her love for eating! I can't believe how much she loves this new formula! She is eating a 4 oz bottle almost every two hours. Every now and then she will stop at 2 oz, but she usually finishes most of the bottle every time. And she will yell for it and let me know she is hungry and as soon as I stick that bottle in her mouth, she is just as happy as can be. I guess she is making up for lost time. She is going through diapers like crazy! I have never seen her like this... it is so amazing to see her enjoying eating instead of being miserable from it.

She has also been in such a good mood. Don't get me wrong, she has still been a crabby baby here and there, but it's a different kind of crabby. It's normal baby crabby... not "I am in pain, somebody help me!".... I will take the new crabby any day. She is smiling way more, laughing and playing more and just all around being more content.

I am crossing my fingers and hoping this is what she needs and things continue to get better. I have thought things were better each time we switched to a new medicine only to find out a couple of weeks later that it wasn't. But this is the best she has ever been. And she has never eaten so much! A big appetite always seems like a really good sign to me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Donating Breast Milk

The idea of wasting all of my breastmilk has been weighing on me very heavily. I have been looking into donating my milk to a milk bank. With the crisis in Haiti, they are asking for donations for the little babies there. I found this online today:


The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International Lactation Consultant
Association/United States Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA/USLCA), and La Leche League International (LLLI) are jointly issuing an urgent call for human milk donations for premature infants in Haiti, as well as sick and premature infants in the United States.

This week the first shipment of human milk from mothers in the United States will be shipped to the U.S. Navy Ship *Comfort* stationed outside Haiti. *Comfort* is currently set up with a neonatal intensive care unit and medical personnel to provide urgent care to victims of the earthquake. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant stationed at the U.S. Navy base in Bethesda, MD is assisting with providing breast pump equipment and supplies to the *Comfort.* Dr. Erika Beard-Irvine, pediatric neonatologist, is on board the *Comfort* to coordinate distribution of the milk to infants in need.
HMBANA, USBC, ILCA/USLCA, and LLL are responding to requests to provide
milk for both premature infants and at-risk mothers who have recently delivered babies on board the U.S.N.S. Comfort, but an urgent need exists
for additional donations.

At the current time, the infrastructure to deliver human milk on land to Haiti infants has not yet been established. As soon as that infrastructure is in place, additional donations will be provided to older infants.

Mothers who are willing to donate human milk should contact their regional Mothers* Milk Bank of HMBANA. A list of regional milk banks is available at the HMBANA website at
Currently milk banks are already low on donor milk. New milk donations will be used for both Haiti victims as well as to replenish donor supplies to continue to serve sick and premature infants in the U.S. Donor milk provides unique protection for fragile preterm infants. Financial donations are also strongly encouraged to allow HMBANA, a nonprofit organization, to continue serving infants in need.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Emergency Nutrition Network, and medical professionals all recommend that breastfeeding and human milk be used for infants in disasters or emergencies. Human milk is life-saving due to its disease prevention properties. It is safe, clean, and does not depend on water which is often unavailable or contaminated in an emergency. Relief workers, health care providers, and other volunteers are urged to
provide support for breastfeeding mothers to enable them to continue breastfeeding, and to assist pregnant and postpartum women in initiating and sustaining breastfeeding.

For more information, contact HMBANA at 408-998-4550 or Additional information can be provided from the United States Breastfeeding Committee at 202-367-1132 (, ILCA/USLCA at 1-800-452-2478 ( or, or La Leche League at 847-519-7730 (

This morning I sent an email to the closest milk bank I could find to my home.

I have recently found out that I will no longer be able to breastfeed my baby. She has extremely bad acid reflux and possibly some other issues and we have had to put her on special formula to help her. She is almost 5 mos old and I have been having a difficult time giving up breastfeeding. I am still pumping to slowly stop my breasts from producing milk, as I have always had an oversupply and discontinuing to breastfeed is probably going to be a long process for me. While nursing her however, I have been able to freeze and store over 400oz of breastmilk. It could be alot more, but it is atleast that much. I have about 100 bags saved that range from 4 - 8 oz each (most of them are around 4). I am a very healthy, nonsmoking, 30 year old woman. I have had a couple of glasses of wine since my baby was born, but other then that I haven't consumed any alcohol, and as far as any drugs or medication, I have taken a tylenol hear and there for a headache. We bought a deep freezer just so that we could more safely store the milk for a longer period of time. Most of the bags are all within a month old, the oldest being under two months. I researched and followed all proper guidelines for safely storing them. The idea of throwing away all my breastmilk is heartwrenching to me, with all of the hungry babies out there, and most recently all of the little babies in Haiti.

After researching online, it seems that your bank is the closest location to my home in Missouri. I live about 45 minutes west of St. Louis. I was wondering if there was anything I could do as far as donating my milk. My sister and brother in law will be traveling to Indianapolis in the beginning of March and have offered to bring it to your bank if you would take it. Please let me know.

My friend Toni has offered to take a road trip with me to Indianapolis where the bank is located. Most likely it will require me to take the milk myself as they will probably want to do blood tests to make sure that I am clean and healthy. The idea of being able to share my milk with a baby in need, makes me feel so much better then just wasting it all.

Things are looking up...

We are on our second day of formula now and things are going pretty good. She's been really tired and a little cranky, but I think that is just from her body adjusting to this completely new diet. She has been a little more gassy then usual. And her poop.... wow.... formula poop is definitely ALOT stinkier! I can actually smell the formula in her poop. It is so nasty. But she hasn't been stiffening up and screaming in pain at all since we started her on it, and for that I am starting to become very hopeful. I find it sadly ironic that the food I was working so hard to provide for her, is what may have been causing her reflux to become so painful.

Last night she slept better then she has in a very long time. She had a 4 oz bottle at 10:45 and then went straight to bed. She woke up at 3:30 and had almost another 4 oz bottle, then fell right back to sleep. Then she woke up at 7:30 and had another 2 oz. Then I laid her back down to sleep while I went to pump and get ready. I came back in to wake her around 8 and she was in such a good mood! She was talking up a storm and laughing and smiling with me. I am hoping that today is a good day for her.

On a side note: Has anyone had problems with their baby getting hungry and if you take too long to feed them (like 10-15 minutes after they want it), they will get really upset and worked up and then it is hard to feed them at all? We have always had this issue since the beginning. Her reflux medicine has to be given on an empty stomach atleast 15-20 minutes before she eats. Last night she decided she was hungry a few minutes after I gave her her medicine, so I had to make her wait. She got so pissed off, that by the time I could give her a bottle, she had worked herself up so much that she wouldn't eat. I had to take her into her bedroom, turn off the lights, rock her, make a sushing noise in her ear (this has always helped to calm her down), and then give her her bottle. Then she would finally eat. It took me a while to try this though, because I haven't had to do it since she was really little. But back then it only took a few minutes of her waiting to get that worked up. I would always have to take her into a dark room and rock her, making the sushing noise in her ear so that she would calm down enough to eat. Just curious if anyone else has ever had similar issues....

If formula ends up being our solution (and it looks like it is), I am looking forward to not having to pump anymore. Freeing up the time it takes me to keep all of the pump parts and bottles clean alone will be pretty wonderful. And to not have to pump in the yucky bathroom at work... I have been pumping during the day and bottle feeding her, while nursing at night for a while now. (We had another issue with her only eating a little bit at a time all day, which caused her to only get formilk, which caused her to have green foamy poop, which caused her to have a horrible diaper rash. By pumping and giving her bottles this corrected the problem, because she wasn't getting a milk inbalance every time she ate). I have really built up my supply while doing this. I have over 100 bags stored in the deep freeze, ranging from 4-8 oz each. It will be really sad when I have to throw them all away. Yesterday I decided to only pump when I became uncomfortably full and even then I didn't empty my breasts all the way. I ended up pumping 4 times and I still ended up with 35 oz at then end of the day. It feels like such a horrible waste.

It's not going to be easy to stop my breasts from making milk. My plan is to keep waiting till they get uncomfortably full and pumping out enough to make them soft again, but not empty. I hope that, eventually, they will slow down their production until I can only pump a couple of times a day, then once.... then stop. This morning I woke up and pumped 10 oz, then I stopped even though they still felt really full. Its only been 2 hours and I am already starting to feel uncomfortable again. Did I mention I have had an oversupply from the beginning?

Monday, January 25, 2010

“I'm trying as hard as I can, and sometimes things don't go your way, and that's the way things go." ~Tiger Woods

I think the munchkin and I have come to the end of our breastfeeding journey. Just when I thought her most recent acid reflux medication was helping, it started to flare up again last week and by the weekend she was barely eating and either crying or sleeping most of the time.

By Sunday I had to do something drastic. I woke her up and tried to nurse her. She didn't want to eat. Throughout the morning, I was able to get her to drink about 2 oz before I had to leave at 11:30 to get my hair done. When she gets this bad, the only time she will eat is right after she wakes up, when she is the most relaxed and her bowels and everything are all relaxed as well. But even trying to feed her immediately after her naps wasn't working either. After I left the house to head to my appointment, my husband called me even before I got there. He said she had been screaming and crying ever since I left. I wanted to cancel my appointment and come right back home, I even offered too, but then decided against it. I told him to pack her up and take her to his moms where they could hang out with his mom and sister (who had ALOT of experience with an acid reflux baby). With everything going on, I hadn't been able to get my hair done since right after the munchkin was born. My 4.5 mos hooker roots were causing me to not even want to leave the house. I had to get them fixed!

My hair dresser, who also happens to be my friend, and who also had a baby with very similar issues, told me how switching him to formula was their saving grace. And that he had actually had a protein issue and needed special formula with already digested proteins. They too, thought it was reflux and kept trying meds that would work for a while, only to fall back into the same issues in a couple of weeks.

I haven't been blogging much with everything going on, but if I had you would know how hard this has all been on our little family. I have tried taking probiotics (which actually seemed to help for about a week), we have had her on 3 different medications now) all of which seemed to fix it for 2-3 weeks), I have tried cutting out anything spicy or anything tomato based (the things that made my reflux unbearable while I was pregnant) and nothing seemed to help her or fix the problem. I had been considering taking out dairy from my diet and this was going to be my next step.

But I wanted something sooner, and more for her sake then mine. It killed me to see her rejecting food and once she would get hungry enough, and after eating only a little bit, she would stiffen up in pain after only a small amount. Her legs would straighten out and her face would turn all red, the big tears would roll down her face and she would look at me with a plea in her eyes that would beg me to make the pain go away. I just couldn't bare it any longer.

So on my way home, I stopped at the store and picked up a small can of formula. I felt heavy as I walked up to the isle, but if this could possibly make her feel better sooner, then it was worth a shot. I chose the Enfamil Lipil Gentlease, which claimed to "Help reduce your baby's digestive troubles with the formula that's closer to breast milk than any soy-based formula." It has "Easy-to-digest proteins that have been partially broken down". Ofcourse it was also one of the most expensive ones, but again if it would help... then it was worth every penny.

After Joe got home with the munchkin, we mixed up a bottle of it. I stuck it in her mouth and she was immediately turned off by it. She wanted nothing to do with it. So I tried mixing it 1/2 and 1/2 with breastmilk... still nothing. I tried 1/4 formula, 3/4 breastmilk. She still wanted nothing to do with it. All the while she screamed and cried. I got her to take a nap, and tried feeding her right when she woke up. She would take a little in her mouth and spit it right back out. So I opened up the lid and took a whif. No wonder! I immediately gagged. I could only imagine what it must taste like! If they claimed to make it similar to breastmilk, why did it smell like old spoiled milk?

Finally around 7:00 and just after another nap, I tried another bottle of straight formula. Apparantly she was hungry enough, because she started to drink it. Then after she realized that it wasn't hurting her belly, she chugged down the entire 4 oz and would have probably eaten more. I decided to leave it at that for now. She had only eaten breastmilk up until this point, and I didn't want to shock her system too much. After she was done though, she seemed happy and.... well really comfortable. She played for a while and even sat contently in her Bumbo chair and played with some toys while Joe and I hung a picture and I did a few things around the house. I kept waiting for her to freak out, but she didn't. She fell asleep in her little travel swing and woke up around 10pm to down another 4 oz of formula. I couldn't believe it! I took her up to bed and laid her in her crib to sleep. She fell asleep pretty quickly (only had to go in a couple of times to re-insert her binky), and we didn't hear a peep from her till about 12:30 when she drank another 3 oz. Around 2:30 am she woke up and I went in to check on her. I didn't think she could really be hungry again so I moved her to her swing (we haven't fully gotten her into the crib yet) and she fell back asleep. She slept soundly till around 6:30. I made her another bottle, but she wasn't hungry so I just changed her diaper and gave her her binky back. She fell right back asleep. Then around 8am this morning I woke her. She was still sleeping soundly but I had to get her up and ready so the hubs could take her to the sitter. She was still in such a good mood this morning, I could barely believe it. She wasn't ready to eat anything yet, but she seemed totally content and happy.

I know it's been less then 24 hours, but so far.... things seem so much better already. She has been waking to nurse every 2-3 hours during the night for months because it's so much easier for her to eat without as much discomfort during the night vs. the day. By the time the morning came my boobs were so full, I pumped 13 oz. I could have pumped even more, but I stopped there. I am going to continue pumping as if she was still breastfeeding for now until I figure out for sure if this is really what we are going to do.... but so far it looks like we may be switching her to formula for now.

I had every intention of breastfeeding her for atleast the first year, but I guess even the best of intentions don't work out if it really isn't what is best for the baby. But it has been one issue after another since the beginning. I tried hard and I really gave it alot of effort... I believe most people would have given up long ago. We made it almost 5 mos, and I keep telling myself that is still a very good start. I have to admit, if this ends up working out better for her, I am not going to mind all the freedom I am going to suddenly have from not breastfeeding. But I will miss the closeness I feel when she is nursing. I know you can feel a bond from bottle feeding too, but it isn't the same. I wish I had known the other morning it might be the last time she was going to nurse, but then again I may have cried the whole time and it would have ended up just being really sad instead.

So her sitter has informed me that she has been in a pretty good mood so far today. She hasn't been eating alot, but just snacking here and there. I am crossing my fingers that things continue to go well. Above everything else, I don't want to see my baby in pain anymore!

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Year... New Life

I have been missing my blog... and my bloggy friends! Do you guys even remember me? Things have been so crazy busy lately... I barely have time for anything. My list of things to do is always filling up faster then I can mark things off. So many things have changed in our lives recently and I have been feeling so displaced and overwhelmed. Where to start...

We moved into our new villa on the 11th. We were a little nervous about moving out of our home before we had sold it, but have you ever had a house on the market with an infant? It's impossible to keep things ready to "show" every day. Each night after putting the munchkin to bed, I would have to have then entire house cleaned, and ready to go incase anyone wanted to stop in for a showing while we were at work. It kept me up very late and ofcourse, I was still getting up through the night to feed the baby. The day we moved it was about 5 degrees outside. Our helpful friends were loving us, I'm sure. Luckily we had about 8 guys and 4 girls, so things went much faster then we expected. And since we were only moving 2.5 miles away, that made things easier too.

Here we are, all bundled up getting ready to move!

So we are now in the villa, along with all of our worldly possessions. We are anything but unpacked and settled. Having an infant also stunts the progress on this as well. I try to complete atleast one project per evening, if I can accomplish anything more it's a bonus. I have to get everything done at some point this way, right? Also trying to fit an entire 3 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom villa has been a challenge as well. Still at the old house, I have a huge pile of things headed to a friends for a garage sale we are going to have in the spring and an even bigger pile of things to be dropped off at Goodwill. There are various piles of things placed throughout the villa that I have yet to determine where the heck they will end up. Luckily we have a basement, but it is about a 1/4 the size of our previous basement.

Our bedrooms our now upstairs as opposed to our ranch. This has me all mixed up. I have never lived in a 2 story home. I have never wanted to either. I like having everything on the same level. Especially with a baby... everything is just so much easier to access. And with our laundry room now in the basement, the clothes have to be taken down 2 flights, and then back up 2 flights. This is a huge adjustment! My husband has already lost 12 lbs since we moved. Seriously. His office is set up in the basement too, so he is constantly climbing stairs.

Yesterday we finally got an offer on our house!! The closing date is set for March 29th. It's farther away then we would have hoped, but we certainly aren't complaining. There's finally a light at the end of that tunnel!

So the same week we moved into our new place, the munchkin's babysitter tells us she couldn't watch her anymore. We were devastated. With everything else going on... I thought I was going to lose my mind. We had based the location of our villa and how much rent we could afford on where her babysitter lived and what our budget was with how much she was charging us. Which was less then your average daycare. We thought she would be there for a long time. For a couple of years... till she went to preschool or even till kindergarten. Definitely longer then 1.5 months anyway. When we first found out, my husband thought he was going to have to put off starting school, and probably get a 2nd job so that we could either afford to send her to a new daycare/sitter or so that I could stay home full time. That night I called my friend Laura, who had offered to watch the munchkin while I was pregnant. I told her what was going on and she (thank god) offered to watch her for the same price. We were so relieved. I was very nervous about switching her to a new place. Munchkin really seemed to like where she was and with all of her reflux issues, and all the other major changes going on.... I just wasn't sure how she would react.

So far so good. She seems to love Laura. Laura couldn't watch her on Wednesdays, so I have added an extra hour to my work schedule on the other days so that I could now have Wednesdays off. I am loving this new schedule and so far the transition seems to be going pretty smoothly. She doesn't babysit any other kids right now and recently quit watching a little boy she had for 4 years who she lost to preschool. She misses him terribly, so the little munchkin is coming just in time to cheer her up and steal her heart away :)

Here she is meeting Laura's kiddos for the first time. She has 3 kids all in junior high.

Joe just started back at school this week. He has to start with some basics and then will be starting the nursing program once he is finished with that. He has classes Mon through Wednesday so by the time Thursday got here, I was really missing him! Its another big adjustment....

So there's a quick update on our crazy lives lately. I am hoping things start to calm down soon. I am going to try really hard to write a blog in the next day or so with some more pics and an update on how the little munchkin is doing. She has changed soooo much in the last couple of months. She is getting so big so fast, I can hardly believe it sometimes. Here's a few pics till then.

Joe with the munchkin and her cousin.

Me holding the babies.

Merry Christmas!

Giving her monkey a big hug.

Okay... back to work!