Thanks to everyone for your comments and e-mails about my last post. I’m eternally grateful for your support and encouragement!
For clarification purposes: I was never frustrated with Eriana! I was frustrated that I couldn’t give her what she needed, when she needed it. She was hungry, I had milk, but I couldn’t get her to wake up to eat. It was heartbreaking! And exhausting! And then when she finally got hungry enough to REALLY wake up, I had pumped because I was in pain, and she had to wait for her bottle. Oh, so disheartening for this mama who just wants to help her baby be happy and healthy! So no frustration with my sweet girl at all! Just with the situation and my inability to control any part of it.
I know some of you think I was overreacting, and I probably was. I’m okay with that! I’m hormonal, emotional, and exhausted – it’s an overreacting hotbed! But I think I’ve got things figured out that will be best for Eriana.
When she’s really really awake she’ll nurse just fine. When she’s not, it’s next to impossible for her to nurse. She will, however, take a bottle when sleepy. (I don’t feed her when she’s fast asleep, even though she’ll suckle when she is; I realize that’s dangerous and she could choke. But I will offer her a bottle when she’s on the edge of sleep, paying close attention to whether or not she’s swallowing, making sure she’s not too asleep to eat.) Since she’s underweight AND has trouble eating, I’m not willing to just let it go when she hasn’t eaten. I also have to go back to work in the middle of February, so she needed to learn how to drink from a bottle anyway, AND since I was supplementing with formula she was nursing and eating from a bottle and there was no nipple confusion. (We also give her a pacifier and she’s still fine with me and bottle nipples despite.)
Despite my frustration yesterday morning, I have still been nursing her when she’s awake enough, but pumping whatever’s leftover afterward. When she’s too tired, or if I try to nurse and she falls asleep, or if my milk hasn’t let down again yet (since I pump after she eats, sometimes she gets hungry before I’m ready to feed her), she gets a bottle of breast milk. I’m hoping this system will continue to work for us. It’s generally what will prepare us for me going back to work, so I’m hoping it will work out.
We are using the Secrets of the Baby Whisperer system of routine, and even though we started late (only just this week), Little Girl is still impressionable enough to try to get it down and she’s doing well so far. This system revolves around the word EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You-time) and there isn’t a schedule, per se, but a routine that goes in the order of the word EASY. So she eats, she has activity time (which right now consists of diaper changes, us reading to her, bath time, lying awake in the pack-n-play or bouncy seat, etc.), we lie her down and she puts herself to sleep (she’s great at this, but wakes up about an hour in and wants to be held for the rest of her nap), and then when she’s asleep we get time to do other things! We’re not on a strict schedule or trying to get her to do something odd or in random times that don’t work for a newborn, Eriana learns what to expect as the day progresses, it goes in a general manner as an older child’s day, and can be changed up as she gets older and naps less, sleeps longer at night, etc. This worked out great for us in the last couple of days, and I hope it only gets better. I really like this system, and it makes sense for our family.
Anyway, thanks again for all of your encouragement, advice, love and support. I have great friends! (Wow, this turned into a long post! :))