Unteathered

Last Friday I did something that I’ve dreamed about doing for the last 5 months.

I pulled out Tiny’s nasal tube.

Just like that. I untaped, took a deep breath, and pulled. She cried, and then I kissed her sweet, rosy, unteathered cheek.  Since her G tube placement (tube inserted directly into her tummy), she hasn’t tolerated tummy feeds very well at all–and with good reason; her poor little tummy hasn’t been used since she was six week old (her nasal tube went directly into the intestines). The surgeon who place her tummy tube (g tube) said that her stomach was severely shrunken and shriveled which made his surgery much more difficult than he thought. So it’s been a slow and not-so-fun transition. Until it wasn’t! It was like all of a sudden, she adjusted and tolerated it just fine. So in a week we went from nothing to full continuous feeds, and pulled that nasal sucker out. It felt great. And so do her lovely dimpled cheeks, which I can’t stay away from. Now we’re just working on upping her feeds until she gets a normal amount of milk in a normal amount of time like 20-30 minutes every 3  hours. It will be SO UNBELIEVABLY NICE to not have to take that cuss IV pole every-stinkin’-where we go.

Speaking of milk, I deserve a medal or plaque or something. Made of gold. I’m STILL exclusively pumping for her. And lately I’ve been fighting to get even a few ounces. I started pumping every two hours to increase my supply, but that was two months ago, and my supply has only decreased. DO YOU KNOW how hard it is to pump every two hours??? I’m supplementing with milk I pumped in the first three months (I was a real jersey then), but will probably run out of that in the next week or so and will then have to supplement with formula. Any tips? This is my third baby, and I have never touched the stuff. I thought our doctor would have some recommendations, but he just said whatev. Anybody passionate about formula out there?

mad mim family_unteathered_1

And look at that smile. She could make Maria Vontrap’s hills burst into song with that smile. I call it her sparkly smile because when her chin and cheek dimples appear, and her eyelashes curl around her twinkly blue eyes, it’s positively dazzling.mad mim family_unteathered with mama

27 Comments

Angela Lanier

I LOVE that smile! I also love the fact that little Harper doesn’t have to have the feeding tube in her nose anymore! I could only imagine how uncomfortable that has been for her for the past few months. Sorry to hear about your dwindling milk supply. I’m sure that’s frustrating for you since you’ve been such a trooper all this time with the pump! I don’t have any suggestions as far as formula goes, but I’m sure you’ll find one that works for you and Harper. Thanks for the update!

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maren

Oh Mim!! Yay!! I’m so glad things are improving for little Harper. And yes, you definitely deserve some kind of trophy for all of the pumping. Harper is so blessed to have such a wonderful Mommy and vice versa. I’ve been so impressed by your strength and faith throughout. Love the pictures. She is an angel!

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Holli

We had to use formula and I found after months of buying enfamil that my baby had no qualms with the target brand and it saved me 15$ each week. I know some people are die hard about their formula choices, but I kinda think they are all the same.

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Miriam

Really?! Well THAT’S definitely good to know, isn’t it! I’m all about saving a buck. Especially now when I only have like three.

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Emily

Hi beautiful Harper! Yeah for that tug! Yeah for her little stomach recovering! Yeah for a smile that matches the moon beam club, called your children.

I’m sorry to hear about your milk supply…I couldn’t fat believe what incredible supply you had. I’ve NEVER with 10 capital N’s had a supply like that. When I pump its nothing to even spit at. WHILE I was nursing you’d think the baby was starving. Well, I hope someone gives you a good formula rec.

You do deserve many medals btw for giving that Harper breast milk and I am SURE its kept her from getting sick amongst all else going on who needed that. She’ll thank you one day. 🙂

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jen

Oh darling sweet harper! My what a cutey. That SMILE!! I am so unbelievably happy for you and for her, what a relief that the tides are finally turning for the better :o) So is she not able to breastfeed because of her cleft or because she just isnt used to it?? I cant believe you have been pumping all this time, you wonderful woman. I have always found pumping really stressful and exhausting so yes you deserve a girt big jewel encrusted medal girl! And look if your supply goes, dont stress girl, you got her through the months that she needed it, if she needs formula now then enjoy some freedom from the pump!!!
Big kiss xx

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Miranda @ One Little Minute

Congratulations mama! It’s so fun to see her little face!

As far as milk, you are a champ. When I feel my supply slipping, I take two fenugreek supplements a day and eat more calories. That seems to help. We did formula with Milo when I weaned him at 10 months, and he seemed okay with any brand. I just bought what was on sale:)

xoxo

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Miriam

I do use Fenugreek, but I haven’t been able to notice a difference. And it’s soooo gross! UGGHGHGH. I’m so glad to hear that Formula is’t as scary as I thought..!

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marseille

yay for no nasal feeding tube!! Those pictures are soo cute! she looks just like her brother and sister! I’ve heard that costco’s formula is a good bang for your buck. Did the pediatrician give you any formula samples? or your midwife clinic? seems like drs offices have samples they can give out. And apparently there are coupons out there (maybe on ksl classifieds?) for formula, but probably just name brands. I say get on WIC, if you aren’t already, they should give you lots of formula (not sure if it will cover all her needs, but a good supplement)

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Beth @ Turn 2 the Simple

So glad to hear that Harper is doing better!!! Oh, PLEASE don’t give up and turn to “regular” formula — call a midwife, naturopathic doctor or the La Leche League for other supplement ideas to help boost your supply. If that doesn’t work or you are ready to be done with the pump (I understand); look into more natural ways to feed Harper besides commercial formulas — check out the Weston A. Price Foundation for ideas. i know there is a homemade formula that is mostly goat milk with a few things added (like molasses an flax seed) for added nutrients!
I’ve made my husband promise that if something ever happens to me that he will NOT resort to commercial formula for our kids — too much processed and “fake” stuff in there!

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Beth M. Stephenson

Beth, I was sorry to have you putting pressure on a woman who has bent over backward to do what is best for her baby, no matter what the sacrifice. The hard way isn’t always the best way. Commercial formulas have been created very carefully to be digestable to infants and to give them the nutrients they need.
I’ve had a baby who couldn’t nurse, (cleft lip and palate). I pumped and pumped but without the baby stimulating production naturally, I just dried up. I only made it 6 weeks. I tried various stimulants, but there was nothing I could do about it.
Mim, I used regular formula with my little gal, but she had some constipation problems until I started giving her some apple juice every day. She was very rarely sick, (she’d gotten all the colostrum, at least) and she LOVES apple juice to this day. I advise you to go with what’s cheap. It’s all pretty well the same.

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Linnae

With Kirsi I used the costco formula to supplement. She never had a problem switching between it and breast milk. And it was cheap. My doctors recommendation was start with what is cheap, if they dont tolerate it then try other items. No point in starting out expensive if the cheaper brands are the same thing! (Costco brand products are created to equal or exceed the national products at lower prices. That is their purpose).

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Haley

Yes I would say whatever formula she will take will work. We use Emfamil but that is because we had a bunch of free formula given to us. You are a champ, pumping every two hours would be a lot of work. I was shocked that you were able to run a half marathon and keep up with your milk. I can’t really run or work out very much while i am nursing or my milk supply goes down. I have heard that the Target brand is really good too and much cheaper.
Do you use a good pump??

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Miriam

Yeah I invested in a pump in style medela pump when I knew that Harper wouldn’t be able to nurse. It works great, and has really endured a lot. You know, I actually didn’t have a problem with my supply when I was training for the half. I was lucky. It wasn’t until things got really stressful with Harper’s situation that it started to decrease. I actually am maintaining pretty well, it’s more that I can’t increase. So as she needs more, I still only have the same amount she needed at like 4 months.
PS WeLOVED your Christmas card, you guys look so sweet and happy and cute.

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Cheri

Oh I wish I read this post three days ago! I just shipped off 200 ounces of breastmilk to the national milk bank because I can’t give it to my baby. I found out at 2 weeks that she has a dairy allergy so all the beautiful milk I pumped in the beginning was worthless…to us. So I donated it. I would have GLADLY given it to you, though you might think that is weird. Still, I’d be willing to pump extra for little Harper! I have an abundant supply this time around! And my little lady is chunking up to prove it!

Other than that, I don’t have a lick of advice about formula…

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Miriam

Cheri,
You are a SAINT to be willing to pump extra for Harper!! Oh my goodness, that is just so kind. I think she’s going to be okay with what we have. We’re trying to introduce solids to her, so we’re hoping that we won’t have to supplement very much formula (or whatever we decide to use) for her. At least that’s the plan. And I’m still holding out that I can increase my supply–I need to be more diligent in taking my fenugreek (it’s sooooo gross!)
Thanks for commenting, and for your sweet offer. That kind of gesture means a lot.

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Beth M. Stephenson

Ice cream helped me increase supply when it waned with later babies. I really think that is a more proper approach than being a martyr with fenugreek! (Moose tracks works well, but there’s nothing much wrong with Rocky road!). . .

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Lindsey

Wow, that is so wonderful. I just want to have some awesome chats about your experience. Julie has kept me up to date somewhat on what’s going on, but I’d love to have a little pen pal type talk. Our little boy had a feeding tube too and that transition was so difficult! I have lots of info on formula. Send me an email and I would be more than happy to tell you what I have found for my little man!

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Veronica

Well, formula: certainly something that people like to debate! 🙂 Lots of formula is getting much better, but from what I read, a lot of them are a little iffy. It’s hard to do enough research to feel comfortable with one.

The only one I ever got comfortable with was Neocate — when the doctors thought my daughter had a milk protein allergy (which she didn’t), they prescribed this. It is supposedly the safest, purest stuff on the market. It is also the easiest to break down, and it used for the most “difficult cases” in feeding. It stinks and costs a fortune, but if your doctor write a letter to your insurance company stating it is the best formula for your baby in her condition (which, hey, maybe it is. Who knows, right?), they will cover it 100%. Free formula that you know is safe! I was thrilled. 🙂

Good luck with whatever you decide. I, too, was unable to get my supply back up after a certain time, and it is NEVER come back, not with medicine, extra calories, extra pumping, extra water — my body just decided a few ounces at a time is all it will ever produce anymore for this baby. Frustrating, to say the least.

I know this comment is long enough already, but congratulations on the unteathering. 🙂

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themither

Wooooo Hooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a doll you BOTH are!!!!!!!!! It is so fun to see those gettin’-chubbier-every-day-UNTAPED-cheeks!!!!!!!!!! And you ARE a champ for pumpin’ like an oil sheikh for mother’s milk gold! You got Harper through those crucial first six months, and we are blessed to live in a time with all the options there are available to us. Although homemade and natural sounds appealing, it is the trace elements of so many nutrients that are put in the formulas that I would worry about missing. Even then I remember reading research about omega three fats that the FDA hasn’t approved in the U.S. for infant formulas that they do add to European formulas. So no matter what formula you use, consider buying fish oil capsules and supplementing. There are lots of benefits, from brain development to prevention of depression issues that studies show have a great impact. You and Allan have done Fantastically with our little miracle munchkin, and I’m SO grateful how she’s been growing in so many ways in leaps and bounds lately (and that you can now sleep for longer than 2.5 hours at a time through the night)!

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Sarah S

You TOTALLY get a gold medal for pumping this long! That is absolutely amazing. As for increasing your supply, you can try Blessed Thistle in conjunction with Fenugreek. I had the most success with Motherlove More Milk Plus, but it’s not cheap. 🙁 Donor milk is also awesome. And you can try switching pumps and see if you respond to that – I agree about getting on WIC…they can lend you a hospital grade pump and they will be HUGE cheerleaders for you for pumping for Harper. They were cheerleaders for me for breastfeeding after a breast reduction and it was good to have a support team. GOOD LUCK. Breast milk is soooo good for babies and so good for immunity. Keep going and let me know if you ever need a cheerleader!!

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Sarah S

Oh, and I forgot – also google recipes for lactation cookies – cookies with ingredients that will also boost your supply. You can buy them, but making them is cheaper!

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marseille

oh, I just remembered….one of my friends checked out a book from the library about how to make your own formula. there were several different recipes, based on what your baby needed, age, etc.

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Sarah

Have you tried looking for milk donors? I don’t know if you are comfortable with that idea or not.

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Martha

she is positively dazzling! i love seeing her smile. also, i forgot to tell you tonight that noah has been chugging on formula for several months now. i got thrush a couple weeks ago and almost threw in the towel because OUCH. but i’m still b-feeding, plus plenty of formula. i became SO grateful for my good friend, formula, during that thrush because otherwise he’d have been SOL. never underestimate the goodness of formula! i’m a believer.

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Theresa

I agree with the WIC suggestion. Even cheap formula is expensive. When I was on it (10 years ago), the amount that you got (free!) was enough, even if you’re exclusively formula feeding, so it’s a great help financially. It’s also nice to have the freedom to get whatever kind you want, even if it’s not the cheapest.
By the way, Harper has the cutest dimples! She is a doll!

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