Pip’s Mummy: Breastfeeding Goddess!

First Bottle of Formula

First Bottle of Formula

This is Pip’s first-ever bottle of formula. Which I fed him when he was nine months and one week old. For more than nine months the only thing he drank, aside from water with his solids, was breast milk. His mummy is a breastfeeding goddess!

One learns a lot of new terms when you have a baby turn up in your life. “Let down” describes how well milk comes from a mother’s breasts, as does “flow”. Pip’s mummy has an epic letdown and a flow like a garden hose. When Pip was two days old we popped back into the hospital to get some instructions on breast feeding. While there, Mummy expressed about 30 milliliters of colostrum. This we’re told is a lot of colostrum, it was certainly the envy of every other mother we told about it.

In his first few weeks, Pip had quite a lot of gas, partly because he was being inundated with breast milk. The poor fellow was swallowing as best he could, but getting lots of air at the same time. There was lots of burping and barfing. But he thrived – in nine months he’s more than tripled his birth weight.

Early on D started expressing with the Vuvuzela, as we call our breast pump. We fed Pip this milk when he was out with people or later at child care. And… well, look what happened:

Cataloging The Milk

Cataloging The Milk

This is about half the breast milk we had in the freezer. Ten minutes on the breast pump, and D produced 120 mls of milk. Her body was just very very ready to be a mummy, very ready to supply our hungry little fellow.

And now, much to our sadness, we have to start weening him, for reasons I’d rather not go into. The taps are going to have to be slowly turned off on D’s chest. Currently he has one bottle of formula a day, soon it’ll be two, and so on till that’s the only milk that he gets. D is quite sad. Breast feeding is such an intimate thing, such a bond between a mother and child. Still, we’re doing way better than average. In this country most babies are not breastfed beyond six months. I can understand why – it can be hard work, not all mothers have an amazing supply like D, and things like work interferes with it. Which is a pity, it’s clearly very good for the baby. So D has done a marvelous job of providing for our fat little imp.

And sadly sometimes it seems that Pip prefers the formula to the breast. One night recently he pushed away and fussed until we gave him a bottle. D was non-plussed, despite my protestations that she is in fact a very good mummy.

One day soon, hopefully a couple of months from now, Pip will have his last breast feed. There may well be tears, but D has done a fantastic job. So three cheers for Pip’s mummy, Breastfeeding Goddess!

Fat baby is fat

Pip is one fat baby. He looks like a series of rolls of fat, with some hands and feet sticking out the ends. He’s been gaining about 600 grams a month. Breast milk must be pure fat – and D makes a lot of it. She also has what they call fast let down, which just means there’s a veritable gush of milk from her right from the start of a feed.

And yet the little man, who is five months old now, is apparently average. Babies must be big these days…!

Lactation Is An Excellent way to Lose Weight

I’ve just found another reason why it’d be great if men could lactate. D is losing body fat all over while she breast feeds Pip. She’s eating like a horse, but Pip just drains it out of her and adds it to his already plump body.

Now if only I could get my otherwise superfluous nipples to make some milk, I might be able to loose some of my excess body fat, and still eat way too much ice cream. Although having to milk myself every day would be inconvenient, perhaps I could get some other part of my body to lactate constantly, then catch it in a bag. Wait, no, that just sounds disgusting. Ah well, I’ll just have to learn some impulse control!

Pip’s First Bottle

Pip is a lucky baby – his mother produces lots of milk, so he has been exclusively breastfed since he was born. In fact, D produces so much milk she frequently expresses. 100 mil in 10 minutes is not unusual.

We decided, as part of our ongoing efforts to preserve D’s sleep, that I should feed him breast milk from a bottle, say, late at night. First, we thought we’d do a test run. Which went fine, I got the milk to a good temperature, Pip took to it heartily… And D stood over us both with an expression on her face that said “what are you doing with my baby!”

She had a seriously intense reaction. On a rational level she could see that it was working fine and Pip was feeding well, but on an intense maternal level she felt that her role was being usurped. Feeding the baby is this mummy’s job!

D calmed down eventually, but I’ve only fed Pip once since then… Which didn’t really work because he was sound asleep and couldn’t be roused. Which, you know, is a good thing in a baby…

My last few days have been consumed by air

Pip Crying

Pip Crying

Specifically, the air in Pip’s stomach. Our little baby has colic. That is, assuming there is such a think as colic – there doesn’t seem to be an actual agreed definition. Come on people, some proper research please!

So I will use it in the sense that Pip has a lot of air in his stomach and belly, which either needs to come out as burps or as farts. The former being preferable, the latter means it’s made it’s way through his entire system. Which means lots of burping, lots of crying and lots of keeping him upright for hours.

But we seem to have finally gotten on top of it. D’s very wise GP diagnosed the root cause. D produces lots of milk (see can express 100 mills in one session), and Pip drinks a lot of milk very fast. Fast eating means also ingesting lots of air.

We’ve therefore developed a protocol. During feeds, D stops every five minutes and works out any burps Pip might have. Feeds him some more, then more burps, then more feeding, repeat until he’s full. Then he needs to be kept upright for anything up to half an hour. We have a Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier we pop him into, which frees up my hands for importing things like operating the remote control! We’ve also been using colic relief, which is some kind of herbal soothing thing. Which works, up to a point, but is not designed to release wind.

And we seem to have solved it. Twice in the last 24 hours, Pip has slept for a block of five hours. This is unprecedented, the longest he’s slept since he was born. Hopefully soon he’ll stretch it out to six or seven hours and we can get some nice normal sleep. Fingers crossed, be a good baby Pip.

The Many Things I can do for our baby and the one thing I can’t

I can do man things for our baby. I can bath him, change his nappies, take him for a walk, burp him when he’s full, help him go to sleep, brush his hair with the cutest little brush. And other things less directly related, like shopping and, weirdly, the strange urge I have to make our bed – as if that is going to make any difference to him.

But there is one crucial thing I can’t do.

I can’t feed him.

Pip is exclusively breast-fed. Which means no matter how much I might be able to settle him, no matter how much I try and preserve D’s sanity by helping her get as much sleep as she can, when Pip is hungry the only person who can help him is his mother. I feel bad sometimes, when I have to wake her from her slumber because Pip is definitely hungry. And he get’s hungry a lot, he sure is growing.

I know we could express milk and I could in theory feed him in the middle of the night. This might save D from one episode of getting up. But he’s only three weeks old, so he hasn’t really got a routine yet. Sometimes he cluster feeds, which can start at midnight and go for some hours. So the blocks of sleep D gets are not very long, and feeding him expressed milk would only make a small difference.

I can support her as best I can, getting her drinks and so forth, burping Pip and the like. But in the end, he needs to be on her boob to get his dinner.

Breast feeding is the best. He’s thriving on it and D is producing enough milk to keep up with him. I does mean, however, that the one crucial thing he needs is the one thing I can’t actually do.

Two Weeks of Growing

Pip

Pip at 1 day

Pip at 2 weeks

Pip at 2 weeks


Here are some pictures of our little weed. He’s actually grown even more since that second picture was taken.

Typically, babies lose some weight in the first few days, then bounce back. Pip has sure done this! He was 2948 grams at birth (a number I seem to have filed away permanently in my brain), he dropped a bit close to 10% of his body weight in the first few days. If they lose more than ten percent, folks start to worry. But then he learned how to eat… After bottoming out at 2700 or so grams, at week one he was 2800, and then at week two he was 3310! He’d put on half a kilo in a week! I wish I could figure out some way that he could have one of my half kilos, we could arrange some kind of swap. He can have some of my belly fat…

I swear he’s still at it. He eats and eats, well, more accurately, sucks and sucks. D had been drinking water and eating like a horse, but even so her eyeballs got dry today!

And I swear also that he was visibly bigger last night than he was yesterday morning.

As you can see from the pictures, his little cheeks are filling out. When he was born he had loose skin on his thighs. Not any more, they’re starting to beef up. I assume this can’t continue indefinitely, but then that’s what a kid is supposed to do – grow for some 21 years then stop. I’ll still call him my baby when he’s 21, that’ll thrill him.

So far everything has been incredibly…. Normal…

Pip is 17 days old today. And so far, everything has been… exactly as I expected.

I’m no stranger to babies and infants. I’m a member of not one but two enormous extended families. My mother was one of six, my father one of four. I have about thirty two cousins, many of whom are old enough to be reproducing themselves. My “little” brother (now 27 and 6 foot 6) is 14 years younger than me, so I was changing his nappies and helping raise him when I was a teenager. And I have a three year old niece. Lets just say I’ve been around a lot of babies and kids!

So little Pip has so far presented no surprises. I helped him be squeezed out early one morning after an incredibly normal 38 week and two day pregnancy. The labour was incredibly normal, requiring no intervention and no pain relief. And life since has been exactly as expected. Pip feeds every two to four hours, is asleep for most of the rest of the time, except for maybe two fifteen minute periods awake a day when he’s not actively hungry. He poos his nappy about six times a day. He drank too much and got a bit colicky, and has managed to pee in his own face about four times. The perils of owning a penis!

Like I said, all incredibly normal. They tested his hearing in the hospital – it was normal. He lost some weight after birth, also normal, then started putting it back on hand over fist, which is, you guessed it, normal.

We’re both tired, in the last couple of weeks the longest uninterrupted block of sleep D has gotten was three and half hours. I’ve been tending to stay up late just watching him so she can sleep. But again, this is more or less exactly as I expected. Even the occasional poo accident, such as today where his nappy leaked all over D’s belly, was on the agenda months ago.

We had his two week checkup yesterday. There’s a simple list of things he’s supposed to have “achieved” by now such grasping fingers, look at sources of light, all of which he’s doing. If this keeps up I’ll have nothing to blog about!

Surprise Appearances by my Partner’s Boobs!

So, as you can imagine my partner’s boobs have been getting a bit of a work out this last week. Pip has turned into a fantastic feeder, which in turn means a lot of milk is being produced.

Which doesn’t entirely explain the random appearance of boobs when perhaps they’re not actually actively engaged with Pip’s lips…!

So far they have put in an appearance in:

  • A Skype conversation I was having with my sister
  • When my mother was over and D decided to finally get dressed
  • During a conversation with another nursing mother D flipped up her shirt to show them off!

They even snuck into one corner of an otherwise uneventful shot of Pip whilst I was cuddling him. I’d posted the picture to facebook, where someone commented “Sneaky boob!”. We’ll see if Facebook every spots that nipple…

I Feel I Should Have An Opinion about this Kochie Breastfeeding Fuss

I feel like I should form an opinion about this sunrise host breastfeeding fuss as a new daddy with a breast feeding partner.

But I’m finding it incredibly hard to give a fuck about the mindless musings of some B-list celebrity TV host on a show I never ever watch on a TV station I also never watch! I don’t doubt that the twit is an insensitive numpty, but I would expect nothing less from trivial little talking head from a fluffy show on a commercial television show. I doubt they’ve ever had an insight of any kind.

And needless to say the opinions of any man on a subject like breast feeding or anything else which is unique to women (see the US Republicans for some lovely opinions on the subject) are of absolutely no consequence whatsoever. This includes mine – owning a penis and being a middle aged white man gives me no privileges at all!

OK, this got a bit ranty. I’ll leave it to the feisty breast feeding militia to hang him by the balls.

One final thing. He was quoted today saying he was the subject of a social media vendetta, or words to that effect. To which I say – social is the voice of the people these days, get used to hearing from everyone. When women are pissed, these will let you know!