we won't lose the bond
but I have lost my control
over the last thing
I am not calling it weaning. I will not wean him. I am not weaning him. We are not weaning.
The more I say it, the more panicky I feel, because we are on the road to weaning and it is not the road I want to be on. Not at all. With everything that has been happening with Ike-a-saurus, my struggle to get him to breastfeed again was the one thing I felt like I could control. I am taking domperidone and my milk supply is increasing everyday. Of course, having a baby that nurses pretty much 23 out of 24 hours a day helps with my supply, too.
So, the milk is pretty much back, the baby is nursing, things seems OK, right?
Not so much.
In the past 8 days, he has only gained 1 ounce. Before the hospital, he was nursing exclusively and gaining about an ounce a DAY. This has our doctor worried, and our doctor is not the kind of guy who worries – or lets on when he's worried. So for him to be bothered by this, I know it's a big deal. He's also bothered that I am not getting much sleep, and told me, half-way jokingly, that me not going insane is just as high a priority as Ike gaining weight.
And Ike is not gaining weight. We don't know why. He's pooping and eating constantly, but he's not emptying the newly full boobs. The theory is that he's trying, he's trying really hard, but it's making him too tired and causing him to burn more calories than he's receiving. This was a common point of discussion when Ike-a-saurus was tiny in the NICU, but lately we thought this was an ancient history thing – nothing to worry about anymore.
Obviously, the number one goal right now is to fatten him up. He needs to get big and get big fast, regardless of how it happens. The bigger he gets the sooner he gets the trach out. At least this is
what we all hope. We'll know more when he has the next bronchoscopy.
So what do we do? Mainline Karo syrup? Slather his fingers with Nutella? Coat his pacifier with Cheez Whiz? Maybe just fortify his milk to 24 calories by adding formula to it. Maybe just give him the Neosure outright. No supplemental nursing system because we're worried the nursing is too much for him. We'll revisit that idea in a few weeks, though good grief the SNS is messy and ridiculous.
The crux of the thing – the blow to my sanity, my comfort, my ego is that I've been asked to do no more direct breastfeeding. Well, not like we're used to. It's OK to nurse a little for comfort, and even a little for sustenance, but all of his feedings need to be bottles, with the boob as a supplement. I can keep pumping, and fortify the pumped milk. We can give him the super stinky Neosure. Hopefully he will pack on the pounds.
I know this is not an end of the world thing. But of all my babies, this little guy needs the antibodies and mysterious goodness of my milk the most. And he's the one it's not working for. I can't help but feel there's something I could do better or differently, even though I know it's not me. It's not him. It's our fucked up situation.
He'll keep getting my milk, fresh from the tap, as long as I can do it. Into bottles it will go, into the freezer, into the fridge. Then we'll mix it with enough formula to create the right brew of antibodies and calories, and hopefully, as he grows, we can nurse more and more. I have to be prepared, though, for that to not happen. I have to be OK if he weans completely. I don't know if I can be OK with that, but at least I can try to prepare for it.
But I need to not worry about that. Must focus on making him fat using any means possible. Must remove all guilt and sadness and silly regret from the equation.
Must teach him to eat chicken fried steak and sour cream mashed potatoes.
Must get on that.