Thursday, May 22, 2014

18 Months And Counting!

I can't believe we're here! Audrey is 18 months old today! 6 short months ago we were in the hospital and were going through a traumatic and difficult time. We had no idea what was wrong with her and were being told by some of the doctors that our parenting and feeding choices were to blame. I'm so glad we're on the other side of things now! And I'm so glad that she is still nursing!

For awhile I thought she was going to wean and I was devastated at that thought. Although most babies in the US are not breastfed past one year, I was determined that Audrey should nurse to at least two for a number of reasons, including: health, nutrition, and bonding. The normal biological age for weaning is actually between 2.5 and 7 years! (See here and here for more information on "extended nursing," or as I prefer to call it "full-term nursing.") This was around January soon after she was discharged from the hospital. She was being tube fed formula and not tolerating it well at all-lots of vomiting. Although she had comfort nursed a lot during the hospital stay she was now gagging when I tried to nurse her and often refusing the breast. I was so worried that this would inadvertently cause her to wean before either she or I was ready. Thankfully, we switched her from formula to breast milk (both mine and donors) and she mostly stopped vomiting and started nursing more often again! It was not easy going against the medical advice, which was to try all these different hypoallergenic formulas, and say "No, she needs to be back on breast milk!"  There was concern that breast milk alone is inadequate for a baby over 12 months old and that she would be unable to grow. Granted, I agree that only breast milk is not ideal for most toddlers (although I have heard several stories about toddlers who would not eat solids until closer to 18 months old) but considering that she was not keeping formula down it was the next best choice for her. And, amazingly, she did really well on all that donor milk and even starting gaining a half a pound a week!

So now Audrey eats solids on her own and she also nurses for comfort and nutrition. Her nursing patterns are typical of a toddler her age: nursing to sleep and after she wakes up, for comfort during the day when she's upset, to reconnect with me if I've been gone, etc. I hope we are lucky enough to continue nursing for as long as she needs and wants it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Weight Issues

Yesterday Audrey had a growth check and her 18 mo check up (a few weeks early). She is growing in height but not in weight yet. BUT she hasn't lost any weight so that is great!!! She is 21 pounds, 11 oz. We have another growth check in a month and hopefully she will start gaining then! I am so relieved as I was really anxious about what the ped would say if she had lost weight. She seemed annoyed at the last appointment that Audrey was off the feeding tube so I was wary of any uncomfortable confrontation. Because there is no way we're putting her back on the tube right now with the great progress she's made in eating! But thankfully the ped didn't suggest any interventions for right now.

She is doing great developmentally, but is probably delayed in speech. She only says a few words but mostly babbles and screams/whines for things she wants. We already knew she's behind on speech but are going to wait to see if she catches up. She just started walking and was behind average on that skill so she may just need a little more time. Certainly, by age 2 if she's not talking still we will look into some early intervention speech therapy.

So not only has Audrey had weight issues, but anyone can plainly see that I am also very thin. Like almost anorexic looking. Believe me, this was not intentional! I have actually struggled with being a bit overweight in the past and lost about 20 pounds before getting pregnant. During pregnancy I gained about 35 pounds (my midwife was less concerned with my weight gain and more concerned with my diet. Contrary to popular belief, weight gain during pregnancy usually isn't that important; it's WHAT you eat that counts!) and gradually lost it postpartum. But last fall I realized that I had lost a LOT of weight so I tried to make sure I was eating enough. During Audrey's hospitalization we actually thought for awhile that my milk supply had decreased so much because I wasn't taking care of myself, but now we know that she didn't feel good and so wasn't nursing or eating enough and that's what caused my lower supply. Then I got the stomach flu. Three times. Nonstop vomiting and dehydration will really make you lose weight! After each bout of illness I looked pretty bad. So now here I am, a whopping 120 pounds, trying to gain some weight.  Eating full fat dairy products, peanut butter, adding in extra snacks, etc. So far I haven't gained any weight. I don't know, maybe this is the weight I'm supposed to be at. But I need to remember to take care of myself and not just Audrey!

About 3 years ago, at 145 pounds

Today, at 120 pounds with baggy clothes