We Pumped!

Here is a little video that we took to document the little wheezing sounds that Jasper makes when he sleeps and nurses sometimes. When he was first born, the wheezes were like an octave higher. It’s amazing how fast they grow up!

So at our visit to the pediatrician Friday to get the zantac Rx, I asked him when I should be introducing a bottle given that I plan on going back to work after 3 months. He said “Now!” almost like it might already be too late. I know don’t why but I had in my mind something about 6 weeks, but apartantly if BF is going well, the sooner the better or risk bottle rejection.

So one of my projects for the weekend was to figure out how the hell to use my Medela PISA and our Dr. Brown bottles and our Microwave sterilizer.

I hooked up the PISA and – wow! That thing can pump. Luckily with my milk supply and OALD (overactive let down) I’m a fast pumper. I got 2 oz off of one side in about 4 minutes. I couldn’t have kept going to do a full bottle (4-5oz at his age?) but didn’t want to empty my breast in case he rejected the bottle so I could feed him off it.

I needn’t have worried, Jasper attacked the bottle with the same ferocity that he attacks my boobs – barracuda style. Interestingly though, he arched, fussed and pulled off in exactly the same manner that he does while at the breast. So there goes my OALD oversupply theory – I mean I know a bottle is a bit faster than the average breast, but the behavior was so similar that it MUST be something in the milk that’s bothering him.. or maybe it’s the way he’s sucking or eating?

UGH, the mystery continues!

I am trying to arrange an appointment with a Lactation consultant who comes highly recommended. She even takes Aetna! But in order for ins. to cover it, we need a referral from Jasper’s pedi as well as my primary, so I’m waiting for those to come in. I’m hoping her knowledge and experience can shed some light on our issues.

In the meantime, Jasper actually fed and went down really easy last night all three times.. the problem was he grunted and arched all night in his sleep, making it difficult for me to get any sleep (Jeff is jet-lagged from his trip to China and had no problem sleeping through it!)

Poor little guy seems so unhappy. Unfortunately it seems to be carrying through to this morning, he’s an unhappy camper,  but maybe because he hasn’t had his zantac yet. Not for lack of trying, I gave it to him 10 minutes ago, but then he prompty spit up a minute later. I would give it again but now he has hiccups.

I think it’s going to be a long day!

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Rachel says:

Some other ideas– you can pump a little of your breastmilk off and then put him on the breast (won’t be as fast that way), also try feeding him upright– you sort of hold him diagonal, like a cradle hold with him on one breast but his body going diagonal down your body on the opposite side. Then he stays vertical for a feed and that helps with gas… You can also place him in his bassinet on an incline (if he’s sleeping in one), putting phone books under the legs.. I’ve also heard you can divide the Zantac up into four doses, given at the same time each day– that supposedly works better for some. Keep us updated!

Jamie says:

I think Zantac does work, there are also 2 other kinds of medication, Prevacid and Prilosec that are a bit stronger. Chloe wouldn’t take the Prilosec, so just stuck with the Zantac. I went through the same exact thing you are going through between trying to figure out if Chloe had an allergy, reflux, colic, or a stomach virus. For the first month of her life even the doctor thought she had a virus because she was spitting up, vomiting, and gurgling/snorting like her nose was stuffed up. Chloe was a terrible breastfeeder, would latch on and off and scream through the whole thing, that was a result of the overactive let down. I tried a bunch of things to deal with it and eventually just completely went to exclusive pumping when she was 2 months old. Having that single dribble of milk from the bottle seemed to make her a lot happier. Once I got the Zantac right, stopped taking DHA (a friend told me about that), and started giving her bottles only (with pumped milk) things went a little smoother. But it wasn’t the cure all, she still had discomfort which was so hard for me to watch. The idea that my little baby was in pain killed me. Chloe would not let me put her down at all for the first 3 months of her life, I was a walking zombie, I got no sleep. I finally figured out that she would sleep for long periods bundled up in her car seat. I think it was the feeling of being enclosed (like in your womb). Maybe you could give that a try. The first 3 months is like the 4th trimester. The baby is trying to adjust to this world that they don’t know. 3 months was like a switch for me, things got so much easier at that time and I started getting sleep! And I also found that holding her at a slanted position, not flat seemed to make her more comfortable. Take care, and wishing you sleep!

Stephanie says:

If you want them to check for microscopic blood in the stool (one way to confirm milk/soy/protein allergy) you need to ask the doctor to do a fecal occult blood test. They might do it in the office or might send you home with a test kit. Basically, you use what looks like a little popsicle stick to dab a teeny amount of the baby’s poop on a little postcard – they might process it right there in the office or might have you mail it to a lab depending on the doctor’s office, but the turnaround time is very quick. A fecal occult blood test can pick up microscopic amounts of blood in the baby’s poop – in other words, blood that isn’t visible to the naked eye. It’s worth doing if you strongly suspect an allergy because by the time the blood is visible in the poop, they baby’s intestinal tract is pretty irritated.

ariana says:

So many good comments, I want to respond to all in depth but haven’t slept in two days and Jasper won’t let me put him down -ever!

Stephanie, yes, the peanut shell is how you describe it.. I’ll give it a shot, though I had a hard time with just getting him into the basic position, so not so sure how much luck I’ll have. I have definitely noticed he likes to have his little legs under his belly to relieve the pressure.. too bad babies can’t sleep on their tummies, we’d be much happier!

Amanda, I’ll post a video of Jasper’s nighttime habits -it’s crazy, you won’t believe he’s sleeping! I’ve thought of earplugs, but headphones are an even better idea. Jeff has taken to sleeping on the couch downstairs!

Kathy, I’ve considered letting down into cloth, but it’s so hard to get him off at first- he’s got a death grip on me at that point! Alot of times he pulls off himself at let down because he’s choking and then I do let down into the burp cloth. I’ve thought about collecting it, but then wouldn’t you have a bottle with all foremilk (which has more lactose and creates more gas?) That was my concern with doing that.

Jamie, I’m glad to hear the zantac worked for you, that gives me some hope! I’ve also heard what you said about the blood in the stool.. I’m going to ask pedi tomorrow at our appointment about that. I’m not taking DHA, but thanks for the head’s up. However did you figure out that was what it was? that’s the problem with gas and fussiness, it’s so hard to pinpoint what is causing it.

Jamie says:

One more thing. I found that I absolutely could not take a DHA(fish oil) supplement while breastfeeding. It was recommended in so many magazines, but it caused terrible gas for my daughter. She screamed from gas pain. Once I stopped taking it, she was better.

Jamie says:

I learned this through trial and error with my daughter. Give the recommended dosage of Zantac at the same times everyday (within an hour). After doing that consistently for about 4-5 days you will see a difference. If he spits it up, give him a bit more. Give the Zantac even while he has hiccups. Sometimes it stops the hiccups. When my daughter got hiccups it was the signal that the spitting up was over for a little while. The arching of the back and straightening of the body are all signs of reflux discomfort. My daughter did the exact same thing. I am not sure if you read this, but if it is some sort of allergy you will see blood in the stool.

Kathy says:

hi! Read you blog often, first time posting… btdt times 3 refluxy kids. No matter what, keep nursing. I was discouraged from doing so with my first (went to Alimentum which we thickened). By baby number 2 there is nothing easier than BM to tolerate.
I had a very heavy letdown as well. Let him suck, when you letdown, pull him off, expel into a cloth diaper until the stream lessens, relatch. Ok, by baby #3 I realized.. Don’t waste it.. so I expelled into an opened Avent Bottle. Duh. No pumping necessary and look how much BM I wasted not doing so!
I always had a heavy letdown but my babies would just gag my letdown was so heavy those first 2 or 3 months. Which led to colic symptoms… used Mylicon sparingly but lots of belly massage and bicycling legs. As soon as he’s finished nursing keep him upright about 45 minutes. It does take a few months. Right now he’s still small and bent up. As he grows and gets longer and straightens it DoES get better. This is the hell part that you’re in now. It does get better. By baby #3. he was a homebirth, I also was OK with supplementing very occasionally with formula (if he was overly hungry or I could not pump enough or I was just tooo darn sore to nurse or too tired to move).

Stephanie says:

I just love that sweet little noise! My daughter used to do that too and it was so cute. I’m sort of sad that she’s outgrown it.

Secondly, on Dr. Sears’ web site, he describes something called the “colic curl” as a method for soothing a colicky baby. We had a doula come to help out a few weeks after Ginger was born and she showed me how to do roughly the same thing with my ring sling. It’s sort of a modified version of the “kangaroo hold.” I’m guessing your peanut shell is kind of like the ring sling, without the the ring. Is that right? Is it sort of the same hammock shaped pouch, but the pouch part is permanent and the only part you can adjust is the shoulder strap? Or am I thinking of a different sling?

Well, I don’t know if this will work for Jasper, but it worked really for Ginger (the screaming stopped and she was finally able to get some sleep!) She always hated laying down in the sling, which in retrospect – duh! How awful would it feel if you constantly had to throw up and you were laying down and couldn’t raise your head? She only ever seemed happy upright, facing me. It was horrible for me though because she was forever throwing up on and in (!) my shirt. Ugh.

So, to do the “colic curl” you make sort of a hammock out of your sling like you would do if the baby was going to lay down. But instead, you face the baby outward with his back against your chest. Then you put the baby’s bottom smack in the center of the hammock, so the back and front “rails” of the hammock are the same height. Criss-cross the baby’s legs at the ankles and press his knees up against his belly/chest (pretty much the same position he would have been in in the womb, but sitting upright instead of pointing head down.) Then snug up the front of the sling until the baby is secure. At his age/size, probably only his little head will be visible peeking out out or maybe his head and shoulders.

It’s a little different from the kangaroo hold because the baby is slightly reclined and can rest his head on your chest. He’s not fully upright, so he doesn’t need his neck muscles to hold up his head. It feels a little like being pregnant again, because the baby feels like it protrudes a lot more than it does when it’s facing you.

The upright position is supposed to help with the reflux and the knees pressed up against the belly/chest are supposed to help with gas. The basic position and snugness of the sling are supposed to remind the baby of the womb. (Who knows if that’s true though?!) And if the baby spits up, you don’t get soaked down to your underwire, which is a major plus!

Apparently, some little babies don’t like this hold out in public because it can be information-overload for them – too much to look at (where as facing you, they can just tune out the world.) I never had that problem with Ginger though. She was always happy to look around and when she got tired, she’d just nod off. But the doula did say that some people found it worked better to carry the baby facing them when they were out and about, and just do the colic hold at home.

Amanda says:

Hello,
Some babies are just noisy sleepers. If he is sleeping then he probably isn’t in pain. Could you sleep in noise canceling headphones? You will still be able to hear him when he wakes up.
I would read about the new research about pacifiers protecting against SIDS before ruling them out. (My baby wouldn’t take one until she was 4 months old)
Wear him as much as possible, breast feed as much as possible, sometimes he just needs to get a hold of his bio rhythms.
And yes, give him a bottle at least once a day from now on, we were kind of bad about that when Stella was little and it took weeks and weeks of trying to get her to finally take it at 3 months old. I’m going to start studying lactation after the wedding in October so feel free to ask me anything!!
Good luck.

Dawn says:

He is so beautiful! Keep the videos coming! I’m sorry he’s still so mysterious. You’re such an amazing mom, I know you’ll get in sync soon. Hope you have a great night.

Stephanie says:

Oh my gosh – what a little sweetie pie! I don’t remember my older daughter making that sound, but I do remember my one year old doing it, and I miss it! So cute!

Emily’s comment above made me think of question. Is he unhappy only right at feeding time, or is he unhappy around the clock? While I know there could also be other reasons for it, the back arching does sure sound like reflux, but if it’s only at feeding time, that’s a little more confusing. I know with my little one, until she had been on Prevacid for about a week she just screamed and screamed, night and day, unless she was being held – actually, I should say unless she was being held UPRIGHT.

I had a ring sling for her (not that you need anymore slings!) and she would scream if I tried to lay her down in it (I think they call that the newborn hold – it’s similar to what you’d have going on with the peanut shell I think – baby’s body laying lengthwise across the front of your body, head slightly raised, either facing upright or toward the breast.) Makes perfect sense to me now – think how horrible it would feel to throw up if you were laying down/couldn’t lift up your head. She always seemed content though in the position you have Jasper in in the video though – upright, facing me. It’s the only way she could get any sleep for the first month. But then we had a doula come help out for a few days because my older daughter was getting NO attention, the house was a mess and I was exhausted. She brought her own ring sling and asked if I’d tried the “colic hold.” I hadn’t. Basically, she faced the baby outward, with her back against my chest – so she was sitting pretty much upright, facing the world instead of facing me. The doula folded the baby’s legs sort of criss-cross-applesauce and then kind of pressed the baby’s knees up against her tummy/chest. I was a little skeptical, but the baby was as quiet and happy as a clam – she could even sleep like that. And the best part? No more throw up in my bra! (With the newborn hold, she was forever throwing up down the front of my shirt!)

I think they usually say this is a good hold for older babies with good neck control but Ginger was about six weeks old when we first tried it with her. The key was to have her sort of slightly reclined – so not sitting completely upright where she had to work to hold her head up, but with her bottom way down at the bottom of the sling and her knees up pretty much pressed against her rib cage (probably pretty similar to the way she was folded up in the womb towards the end of my pregnancy.) She could lay her head back and rest it on my chest (or when she got bigger – against my collarbone/shoulder.) So basically, you’d doing what Dr. Sears calls the “colic curl” but instead of using your arm to push the baby’s knees up toward the chest, you’re letting the sling do the work.

Don’t know if Jasper will like it, but figured it couldn’t hurt to try.

ariana says:

Emily, I do carry Jasper but in a Moby wrap. I do have a peanut shell, but I just can’t get the hang of using it. Plus I think Jasper likes being totally upright like in the Moby. The downside to the Moby is that it has no head support unless you tuck it in to one of the straps but J. doesn’t like that so much. I just ordered a babyhawk and I hope that makes carrying easier!

I do believe it will get better, thanks for reminding me that it does.

Heartartz, we do give him a paci, but he’s not so into it, which I am sort of relieved about :)

Kath says:

A living hell? (re: Emily’s post above) — Hahahahaha, sounds like my night last night. Thank goodness for the glorious internet.

Emily says:

Kellymom has good advice on dealing with the fast let down. I had the same thing and it was a constant struggle to understand if it was reflux, colic, overactive let down, etc. I remember our pediatrician saying, This is not colic. If you want to meet a baby with colic, I will show you a baby with colic.

I am not sure what kind of sling you have but at about 3 or 4 weeks I started to carry my son (who turns a year tomorrow) in the hot sling and this seemed to really help some of his behavior. To be brutally honest, I found the first about 7 or 8 weeks to sort of be a living hell. But they pass and it gets easier. Good luck. You’re halfway through the toughest part. I promise.

heartartz says:

Jasper is so adorable. And you Ariana are a beautiful and loving mother.
Colic can make this precious time so difficult.
I remember our sons making those little night sleepy noises.
They are made because their mouth open and they breathe thru the mouth not thru the nose. Have you thought of giving him a pacifier? I realize you might not want to but…it just might help calm and quiet him down. Of course then some nights you will hear him sucking voraciously! (which is quite humorous actually)
Enjoy this magical time with Jasper…it goes by way too quickly.

Starrynight says:

my baby does the same thing–he tugs and pulls on my breast while feeding, his face turns red and he makes all sorts of noises–he re-adjusts his latch so that he does not take in as much as the aereole. would love to hear if you find a solution!

Sara says:

Thanks for posting about your trials and progress with this. Noah displays very similar symptoms at times and I was convinced it was due to my fast fast let down and oversupply but now I’m not so sure. I’ll keep checking in to see how you two are doing!

Mom Quixote says:

I wish I had some advice to give, but what they heck do I know?

All I can say is that you sound incredibly upbeat even through all of this sorting out of Jasper’s tummy: you’re a champ! Of course, one look at Jasper and I can see why — so darn precious!

Keep us posted on the progress and hang in there. We’re thinking of you.

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