Monday, December 27, 2010

School = Leisure?

Did you know the word school originally meant leisure?

Latin scola "school," borrowed from Greek skhole,
originally meaning "leisure," then later, "discussion" and "school."
(Education was originally affordable only to the leisure classes.) The Latin word is found in almost all European languages.”

When I read that I found it amusing.  Leisure?  Hah!
 Not so much.
 School, or homeschool, is anything but leisure for me.  But it is a privilege for me, and for my kids.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that not everyone receives an education. 
I happen to live in America, in this country “we” think it is our RIGHT to have an education.  Never mind the fact that in Africa over 40% of kids never have any sort of book education and out of the 60% that do, only 1/3 are able to finish primary school.

So, though I may not consider it leisure, school is still for the privileged of this world. I, for one, am extra blessed because I get to teach my own kids.   

It is startling how ungrateful I really am, and how blind I am to my own ungratefulness.

In the midst of all the drama and the craziness of this thing called homeschooling, I want to stop and say thank you to God.

1) For my kids
2) For my education
3) For the freedom to educate my kids
4) For a great husband who supports me/us making it possible for me to homeschool
5) For wonderful resources, and inspirational books that help me to be a better teacher/mother

Right now, I am in the midst of planning our next term, hopefully coming up with a new plan that will work with baby girl on board. 

 Honestly, I feel less than enthusiastic.  Overwhelmed might be a better term.  I know when we get past this emergent and beginning reader stage things will get easier. 

I’ll take a deep breath, and I’ll thank God.

1)      For paper, even if it is all over the floor

2)      For all the pencils and books that litter the room

3)      For the happy faces of my boys, hard at play outside in the frosty air

4)      Itty bitty, snuggled up against my chest, sleeping

5)      For My man, hard at work in the office.

Life is good, and I am privileged!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Worth it All

A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.
-- Anonymous

Friday, December 17, 2010

Real Life Friday

It is so easy to forget to document everyday events. Of course, we take pictures of birthdays and parties and special projects. But the little things, the things that make our life what it is, these are so often forgotten. I think reading about a dear family who lost their little boy last week in a sudden freak accident has worked on me subconsciously and made me think about these little moments.  I take so much for granted, I really do.

This morning baby hung out in the office with her daddy so that I could get a few pictures of the boys while they did their morning farm chores. I think Lexie thoroughly side tracked her daddy and I know she just ate up all the attention.  He loves her to death.

K. feeding the meat birds

and the pigs
 Nick checking the nesting box for our one set of layers.

Ad and K filling the pigs water trough

Then we came back in doors and gave baby girl a bath....
which she hates....
and then snuggled her up in a towel which she loves. 

Isn't she just too cute for words?

 This afternoon we baked some sugar cookies and Duane popped out to shoot a couple pictures of us.

Ginger Studded Sugar Cookies

Mix thoroughly:
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp tangerine zest
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger 
 ( I am ginger fanatic and love eating crystallized ginger and using it in various baked items.  I make it so that I don't have to be stingy with it) :-)

Blend in:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Cover and chill for 2-3 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide dough in half and roll out each half to 3/16"
Cut into desired shapes and bake for 7-8 minutes or just until edges begin to brown slightly.

Now off to do laundry, and dishes, after all it is Real Life Friday.  Isn't it? LOL!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Induced Lactation - Adoptive Breastfeeding - Adoptive Nursing - Part 3

Okay, I am finally back again! 
I need to finish blogging about breast feeding so that I can move on to other more festive subjects. J  Right?

Picking up where I left off on the last blog with

Week 3
This week was similar to week 2. I spent a good deal of time online reading everything that I could find on the subject of induced lactation
All my reading, lead me to believe that I really MUST use domperidone if I wanted any notable success.  I broke down and ordered one box of the stuff from a source in Canada.  I still can’t believe that I did this, but I was pretty discouraged.   I was feeling really impatient with my slow progress.
I dreaded the questions from my wonderful, well meaning friends.  I really tried to stay positive for my own sake, but I felt like crying, “A lot of no progress, and I am so discouraged.” 
The hard part was that I knew, they would all assure me that it would be okay to bottle feed and I shouldn’t stress about it.  I just wasn’t ready to hear that or to allow myself to consider stopping even though I was really discouraged.  I gave myself lots of little pep talks. All the info said that 12 weeks was how long it took to really stabilize anything and I was only ¼ there .  I told myself daily that it would come, sooner or later and probably later. L

It was during this week that we ran out of our donated breastmilk stash and I started giving her formula – some of the stuff that was sent home from the hospital with us.  Ugghh!
It was not a happy time.  She went from being a very contended baby to a miserable colicky baby overnight.  In the hospital they had already figured out that she was lactose intolerant and had released her on Similac Sensitive. Now I understood why the nurses told me that she was a high demand baby.  Suddenly she was, and her diapers were a nasty green and she got horribly constipated. Poor baby!

Two dear friends, Susie and Elizabeth, started donating breast milk.  It wasn’t enough on its own.

 But I discovered that if I mixed half formula with half breastmilk and added a digestive enzyme powder. She could handle it relatively well though she wasn’t as happy and content as before.  Her diapers were still occasionally green, but she was having normal bowel movements and was able to nap without waking up screaming with her little legs pulled up against her belly.
Now I had a real motivator to keep going! I knew I couldn’t rely on donated breastmilk forever and I really, really didn’t want to do soy formula.  Soy would be my only other option out there.  
Just for the record,
I also tried making the Sally Fallon formula from Nourishing Traditions and the poor little girl was in miserable agony for hours.  It was heartbreaking.  I know it had to be all the lactose that is added into the recipe.  In the spring I may try again with goat milk when our goat freshens. I think I would swap brown rice syrup for the lactose, unless I think of a better option between now and then.

Week 4
Somewhere about half way through week 4 I started to get worried because Lexie wasn’t finishing the supplement and I was so worried because she is already small to start with.  I would keep offering her more and she would scream at me in frustration.  At the end of each feeding she would be all worked up from frustration and I would be nearly in tears.  Why wouldn’t she finish nursing?  Why would she only nurse on one sided and refuse the other?  Why wouldn’t she even finish what was in the Lact-aid?
  Dh came to my rescue and reminded me that she was probably just getting more from me.  Uh………………duh, right?  Why are mommy brains so dense? Seriously, you would think that I could have figured out that much on my own.
 Lexie wasn’t feeding any more frequently, but supplement dropped from 2.5 ounces  down to anywhere between 1.5 and 2 ounces.  So when I finally realized what was going on I stopped trying so hard to make her eat and did my own little victory dance.  I figured now we are finally getting somewhere and I was thrilled.
I also did some rather extensive research during this week on formula and ended up ordering
Organic Baby’s First – Lactose Free  Formula

 No Chinese dairy products, 100% organic, no corn syrup, and no sucrose.  it is sweetened with brown rice syrup. It IS milk based, but lactose free  I felt a bit better about giving her this than the Similac Sensitive.

Week 5
Lexie nearly always refused to nurse both sides unless asleep. I really wanted to do the recommend feeding on both sides and then offer the supplemental feeding with the Lact-aid.  But she would scream in frustration when I tried this.  I guess it just didn’t come fast enough.  So I started trying to pump on the side she didn’t feed on and make sure to start her off on that side at the next feeding. It didn’t always happen, but I tried.  When I pumped I didn’t get very much, just 5-10cc,  I had to assume that she must be getting more than I could pump.  She was  having plenty of wet diapers and was alert and seemed to be doing fine
I had hoped to see her continue to drop the supplemental feeding amount but there was no decrease this week.

Week 6
Everything is the same, no notable changes besides maybe being able to pump just a tad more.  Again I am discouraged. Lexie feeds every three hours around the clock and isn’t interested at all if I offer nursing in between.

Week 7
Suddenly, overnight Lexie  started to take no more than 1.5 ounces and sometimes only 1 ounce of supplement.  If she is sleepy she will nurse without the Lact-aid for a few minutes.  Sometimes I can get her to nurse on both sides, I also have started switching her to the other side after she has taken about  ½ of the supplement.  I wish she would nurse for longer but she sucks hard and is done quickly.  I tell myself to try to pump more often or after each feeding but I am exhausted and it just isn’t happening.
Ironically, my domperodine finally arrives.  It goes on the shelf. If things are looking up. I would rather not use it.
This same week Lexie sleeps one night for 6 hours straight and it scares me when I wake up and see the time and she is still asleep.  From here away she goes a 4.5-5 hours stretch once each night.  With a time or two a bit longer than that.  I am excited because I know she must be getting more and is satisfied or she wouldn’t be sleeping this long at night.

Week 8
Supplemental amount stays the same, If she only nurses on one side I can usually pump an ounce.  I know that doesn’t sound like much but it feels great to be able to get enough to actually measure in ounces. Sometimes in the early morning I can get a good 1.5 ounces. 
Our routine has changed a bit. I now start nursing Lexie on the fullest side while I warm the supplement and will continue to nurse her as long as possible before offering the supplement.  Sometimes it is very short and other times I can nurse her and switch her to the other side before offering supplement.  It seems to depend a bit on her mood and how patient or hungry she happens to be. 
This week on two night time feedings she nursed on both sides and refused  supplement completely.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I was.

Week 9
We went to the pediatrician for her two month check this week.  I have been really worried that the pediatrician would be concerned about her weight gain and give me a hard time about breastfeeding.  He was happy with her weight gain and says she has stayed on the same curve and though she is small he doesn’t feel that it is any concern at all.  I was relieved to say the least. 
This is my first experience with pediatricians; my other boys have never ever been in a doctor’s office or an emergency room EVER.
 I couldn’t ask for a better pediatrician, and was so grateful for the great referral.  Amazingly and thankfully, this guy is okay with me not doing immunizations and all of that.  Big, big plus! Still after court finalization I won’t be doing anymore well baby visits. J

Okay, back on track now.
We have occasional feedings where we use no supplement but most feedings  we are still using the lact- aid and supplementing an average of 1 ounce.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  I feel like we are doing a see saw.   One day she won’t nurse without the Lact-aid, the next she will nurse nicely without it and we will just finish up by offering it after nursing on both sides, and occasionally refusing any supplement.  She certainly will let me know when she is full. 
She still nurses for shorter periods of time than I wish she would, but at the same time I should be grateful that she has such a strong suck.
I am still struggling to get her to nurse on both sides.  Some feedings I just give up and let her nurse one side and then try to pump on the other side. Frequently when this happens,  I can pump after nursing her and get as much as she took from the Lact-aid or almost as much. I really wish she would be happy to always nurse without the Lact-aid, and use it only for extra.

Week 10
This week Lexie has started to nurse occasionally for comfort.  Sometimes she has acted like she wanted to nurse and so I start nursing her and offer the LAct-aid and she will repeatedly spit the tube out, or pull it out and go back to nursing.  This has been fun for me to see her obvious enjoyment in nursing even when I could tell she wasn’t getting much because she was seldom swallowing.
But this isn’t always the case.  Frequently she will still pull her head back and yell at me when I offer to comfort nurse her. 
Today has been one of those strange days where she has taken very little supplement but she has also nursed for very short periods of time and gets really upset when I try to offer her more.
I try to remind myself that she will nurse when she is hungry but it bothers me because she is so little.  My boys were all little “chug a lugs”.  Lexie is still only 20. ¼  inches long and weighs in  just under 8lbs.  That feels so tiny to me and I just want to fatten her up.  J  

Here is Lexie with her cousin who is just 4 week older than she is.  "Itty Bitty and Chunky Monkey". J

So there you have it.  I probably will do another post soon after the New Year and let you know how things are going after that magical 12 week point. 
For additional information and a question and answer blog, check out my newest post

11 Months of Adoptive Nursing

Monday, December 06, 2010

Induced Lactation - Adoptive Breastfeeding - Adoptive Nursing - Part 2

 Today marks the 8wk anniversary of my breastfeeding adventure with Lexie. 
  Here I will share our story from the beginning and hopefully come back and update over the course of the next few months.

 I had planned to begin nursing Alexis immediately in the hospital, BUT…………..
…the nurses and doctor totally freaked out on me.
I tried to reason, to refer to medical data, and assure them that I did not require any assistance or time commitment from them.  But it was just too much for their textbook minds to handle.

Warning!  What follows is rather long winded nursery/doctor drama, and umm..........well, my own personal rant.  So if you like you can skip on down to the bottom where I actually start the story of breastfeeding Lexie, feel free. :-)

The head nurse, coincidentally Lexie’s assigned nurse, was horrified when I explained that I was prepared to breastfeed Alexis using a supplemental feeding system.  Her words were,  “Oh, we COULDN’T let you do THAT!  You would be putting the baby to your ACTUAL BREAST, and she isn’t yours.” Stutter.  “I mean, she is ….uh…. under the attorney right now and you don’t even have guardianship papers yet.

Truly, I nearly laughed out loud it was so absurd, “actual breast?”
Nah, I figured I would use these fake boobs until all the paperwork is through.  LOL! 

D told me later that he bit his tongue to keep from saying, “Why yes, didn’t you know this was a new form of sexual assault, putting a newborn to a naked breast.” :-)

Why couldn’t I just be normal and give her a bottle like everyone else?
  “After all formulas are so good today that it really isn’t much different than breastmilk and it is completely a matter of personal preference.”  (These are the actual words that I overheard from a nurse to a new mother who was asking about breastfeeding.)

Can she really mean the stuff that lines the supermarket shelves?  That formula is based on Chinese powdered milk and corn syrup or sucrose (white table sugar).  Need I mention all the  recalls?  Similacs most recent contamination recall was just before Lexie was born. Comforting, isn’t it? Have you ever had your  breastmilk recalled? :-) Oh, but it is all the same.  Sure it is. (NOT)

Anyway, back to this nurse, (still need to go back and review her on Angie’s List, she was ….well, let’s just say, “Not a good experience, I could say ever so much more about her, but let's just say she needs another job badly”.)

She (the nurse, that is) proceeded to explain that I would have to have consent from the attorney before they could allow me to do THAT

This was meant as staling agent because it was the weekend and she assumed that I couldn’t possibly get a hold of the attorney until Monday.
I took it as a valid piece of legal red tape, just something to be untangled.  I dialed the para-legal and in five minutes, with the nursing standing right there, had gotten verbal consent. Oh,that wasn’t enough  SHE had to speak to them herself.   I made a move to pass the cell phone, but the nurse held up her hand, and said, “ Oh no, I can’t take consent on a cell phone, they would have to call the nurses line.” (Seriously?)   “But”, she continued, “I have to feed another baby, so I can’t take that call until after 12, and they would also have to fax in written consent. “ I dutifully relayed this info and hung up.

I am starting to get the picture. These people REALLY don’t want me to breastfeed this baby. Noon arrives, everything falls into place with consent from the attorney.

 Ah but no, the doctor would also have to give consent. So I stayed on in the nursery awaiting the advent of the all powerful doctor person.

 Now the nurses begin to suggest attractions in the area, and places to eat
Do you think they wanted me to leave?
I certainly am not about to miss THE DOCTOR?

Just before the doctor arrives,  the nurse comes to me to explain that when the doctor arrives I will have to leave the nursery because each of the babies in care need to be discussed with the nurse in charge of them and this is private information and they can’t have ME in there while they are doing this. 

I smile (hopefully sweetly, because I am now getting annoyed) and state that I will stay with Lexie until I need to leave but request to see the doctor before he finishes duty on the floor.  She says, “Yes, yes of course.”

In walk two different sets of parents to sit with their littles, and a minute later THE DOCTOR arrives.  I wait to be asked to leave because I have a suspicion.  Which is confirmed, the nurses have a problem, because all the other “NORMAL” parents can’t be asked to leave and this puts them in a a hard spot because it will look very bad to ask me this strange anomaly  adoptive parent to leave.  Forty five minutes later all the other babies on all sides, before and behind have been seen, and a whispered nurse/ doctor confab has been had at the far side of the nursery.  

Finally, it is Alexis turn to be seen and charted.  I wait and then just as doctor turns to leave I say, in my sweetest voice, “I have a couple of questions, if you have a moment.” She (lady doctor) turns around and asks, “Oh, what would you like to know about the baby?”  

“Actually, I just wanted to discuss breastfeeding with you.  The nurse stated that I would need your consent to breastfeed Alexis.

Doctor crosses her arms, and frowns and says, “We don’t do that sort of thing, here.”
I push onward.
“ I am aware this is not standard procedure, and I will not require any assistance from the nurses.  I have the supplemental feeding system that would be necessary for this and am prepared to use it.  You will be able to monitor exactly how much she is receiving; all I am requesting is your consent.”
With a toss of her head, she says, “Why would you want to do THAT? You don’t even HAVE any MILK.”

Swallowing my offence,  I refer to medical data concerning bonding, and skin to skin contact. I appeal to  her doctor knowledge saying that I am sure she has read the studies on these issues.
She grudgingly said that she is aware of these studies but she doesn’t think that it indicates breastfeeding.  Close contact is all that is necessary.  After a lot of other blah,blah, blah, about good formulas and the fact that I “might confuse the baby, which would make it take longer till they could release her , and certainly I wouldn’t want that”  She ended by saying, “I can’t control what you do when you leave here, but while you are here in this nursery you WILL NOT be doing THAT.”  (THAT being the unspeakable freak show of adoptive nursing). And then she left, stalked out really.

I was so upset, and had tried so hard the entire time to “hold it together” and be self-controlled and level headed. I walked out into the parking lot and in tears called dh to come and get me. While I waited for him I vented on my dear friend, Laura.  Thanks, girlfriend!

Later dh told me that I should have just broken down in there and cried and said, “Why is it so unreasonable to want to nurse a baby?”  Maybe it would have softened her a bit.

 But I didn’t do this because, first of all I don’t cry very easily and second of all not in public, and certainly not when I am trying to be diplomatic and reason with someone.

Let’s just say that if I didn’t like doctors before, this certainly confirmed it.

Whew, now that I have all of that off my chest, maybe I can actually tell you about adoptive breastfeeding.  :-) 


Sorry, about all the ranting.

Week 1

It was Monday evening, Oct 11, when we arrived home with Alexis .  At 5 days old she has been fed solely with the long firm hospital nipples. 

Bottles like the one in the picture above.

Our first several feedings she would struggle to “find” the nipple with her mouth wide open just waiting for something to be shoved in all the way to the back of her mouth.   We started with the Medela SNS, and not the Lact-aid.  One good thing about this was that because the SNS is gravity fed, the tubing would drip milk into her mouth and then she would latch on wonderfully after realizing that there was milk there.  I will never forget that very first feeding.  When she started to suckle, all snuggled up against my skin, a shiver like tremor went through her whole body and she heaved  a huge gasping sigh, relaxed completely and went on nursing.  Honestly, I think she knew that somehow things were going to be alright in her little world.

In less than 24 hours she had figured out the change and rarely needed any special help to latch on properly.

Throughout the next days we had our struggles with tubes slipping out, the SNS bottle leaking, and just my general clumsiness but all in all it went well. By Day 4 I was able to hand express a drop or two of milk and I was thrilled.  But by Day 7 I was discouraged because not much had changed, I still didn’t have more than a few drops.

Week 2

Somewhere in this week I was able to begin getting a fine spray of milk but things just didn’t seem to be progressing as I had hoped.  I still couldn’t hand express more than a tsp or so per side.  I read some more, and was comforted to find that things really were progressing well.   With induced lactation there is never a time when you are engorged and your milk suddenly comes in.  The common saying is that it creeps in.  Well yes, mine was creeping in, and I was not feeling very patient. 

About this time the Lact-aid came in the mail and I noticed that Lexie definitely had to suckle harder and thus it was more stimulating than when using the SNS.  Plus it was much easier to clean and all around I would choose it over the SNS any day.

My dear friend Susie had donated a great deal of colostrum and early breastmilk which she had saved in her deep freezer.  It was wonderful to be able to give Lexie straight breastmilk for those first two weeks.

More soon…..

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Induced Lactation & Adoptive Breastfeeding

Adoptive breastfeeding/ Induced lactation has begun to receive more attention in the recent years.

But if you are like me, you probably don’t know anyone personally who has induced lactation.  If you do know someone I would love to hear about it.

It really isn’t anything remotely new.  Women have done this out of necessity for hundreds and hundreds  of years. Early American history refers to the wet nurse which was simply surrogate or adoptive breastfeeding.  Sometimes this was a woman who was already lactating, but certainly not always.
 Mass produced formula has only been around since the mid-twentieth century, and in the absence of formula this was frequently the only option.  There are various stories from other countries of grandmothers breastfeeding their grandchildren in a normal community setting.

 Lactation can be induced simply through stimulation from a suckling baby or a good quality/hospital grade breast pump.  Adding drugs and/or herbs greatly increase success. Some women lactate more easily than others and will produce more milk, many mothers will need to supplement to some extent until the baby is eating solid food.

When nursing my two homemade boys, I certainly had plenty of milk.  I joked that I could have nursed triplets without any problems.  I decided for various reasons, bonding issues being the most important, to breastfeed Alexis.

Not surprisingly, I have chosen to go the herbal route. J

I have been using my own 
More Milk Tincture– taken 4-6 times daily
 Fenugreek, Fennel & Goats Rue 

Mama’s Milk Tea- 1 quart a day
Red Raspberry Leaf
Fennel Seeds
Nettle Leaf
Fenugreek Seed
Dandelion Leaf
Blessed Thistle
Marshmallow Root

Along with some alfalfa tablets and foods with lactogenic properties.

Some of the most significant food sources are oats, barley, dried beans, green drinks &  dark leafy greens, carrots, healthy oils (butter, coconut oil and olive oil) and  Brewer’s Yeast. You can read the whole list here:

I did not have any time to prepare in advance, so we started in immediately nursing with the Lact-aid system.

The fine tube is placed right next to the nipple and inserted with the nipple into the baby’s mouth. 

As the baby suckles it stimulates milk production and is fed through the tube of the nursing unit.  As your milk supply builds the baby receives  both your milk and the supplement at the same time. 

This continues until you reach a point that you have enough milk for the baby to nurse happily without the Lact-Aid, then at the end of the feeding the baby may be offered the Lact-aid to finish feeding, if needed.

In my next post I will share our story from the beginning, Monday will mark 8 weeks of breastfeeding.  J

If you have questions, I will be happy to try to answer them.