Monthly Archives: October 2009

Breast Feeding: Not as easy as you’d think

It’s been a few days since you’ve seen any updates here. This lack of information should not be regarded as a lack of notable activity, but rather a lack of time. I anticipated a certain reduction in free time when Logan arrived. I anticipated a certain amount of sleep deprivation, which I’m accustomed to. What I was not prepared for was the stress of feeding problems and an advanced feeding schedule.

Such a good sleeper
Logan was born on 09OCT at 6lbs 11oz, making him somewhat on the small side. A certain amount of weight loss normal, but he kept losing weight through the next week. By 19OCT he was down to 5lbs 15oz, a drop of 12 ounces. That’s an 11% drop in body weight over 11 days. I weigh 188 lbs. If I lost 20.7 lbs in 11 days I’d probably be in the hospital, so this was something that was a concern for us as well as the midwife.

Finally, a picture of dad.

We consult regularly with two lactation consultants, as well our midwife, while Cameron and Logan work through what are evidently pretty common problems in the first few weeks of breast feeding. There are issues with latching, milk supply, and lack of rest for both Logan and mommy. Not to mention the stress, frustration and depression that these problems lead to.

Check out that little hand

Fortunately, on 23OCT, Logan’s two week birthday, his weight was back up to 6lbs 2oz. On the advice of the midwife we had instituted an advanced feeding schedule that had Logan eating every two hours, and supplementing with pumped breast milk. Tomorrow he gets another weighing, and with any luck the trend of weight gain has continued. My fingers are crossed, but you shouldn’t worry. This isn’t a problem that can’t be solved. As much as we’d like to avoid it, lots and lots of babies have grown up perfectly healthy on formula.

The Baby K’Tan

There are a lot of ways to haul a baby around, many of them are perfectly safe for the child, although I do not recommend a leash and collar for an infant under 20 lbs. If you are among the two to three dozen people that my research indicates can not afford a full time flying nanny who communicates largely in song, then chances are you’ll have to perform this task yourself.

Fortunately for you, there are approximately six consumer products available for every safe infant carrying method. Many of these products are comfortable, safe, and will not burst in to flame when exposed to sunlight, moonlight, water, or nitrogen in greater concentrations than 100 parts per million. I would not recommend those products that do. In a later installment I will give precise and easy to understand instruction on how to identify these dangerous products that could maim you and your baby.

For now though, I’m simply going to tell you about the Baby K’Tan. I’ll start of by saying that we received the Baby K’Tan three days ago, have used it a few times, and not once has it burst into flame. It has not even smoldered or emitted smoke. This is a good sign.

the Baby K'Tan

The Baby K’Tan is an all cotton contraption in the shape of a figure 8. It drapes around the shoulders and crosses the chest in front. The straps are really wide soft strips of cotton that can be folded and twisted to form deep pockets. While you could use these deep soft pockets to store melons, or protect your hoard of walnuts from scavengers through the winter, it works best as an easy way to tote your baby around. Once safely injected into the wrap (instructions are included) your arms are then free to wash dishes, write blog updates or fight off marauding crows looking to steal your walnuts.

Taking a nap in the Baby K'Tan

The Baby K’Tan is similar to a few other popular products that do virtually the same thing, truss up infants, but features a unique set of something or other that has allowed the manufacturer to apply for patent protection. This is likely not surprising to a patent lawyer, but would probably come as a surprise to the millions of mothers who have used nearly identical baby wraps for thousands of years. I’m not saying the Baby K’Tan has ripped off other designs, I’m just saying that there’s a lot of prior art, some of it established by the Mycenaeans.

Which isn’t to say that the Baby K’Tan doesn’t work, because it does what it claims to do rather brilliantly and easily. Toss it around your shoulders, pop in the baby, and off they tend to go to la la land, happily gurgling and snoring away. The Baby K’Tan is easy to don, easy to maintain, and vitally, wraps over both shoulders with wide straps providing even load and relieving back strain considerably. Field reports in the Hawkins family have been positive from both mother and son. I won’t be using it, so I can’t speak empirically. I have no aversion to it, It’s simply too small. The Baby K’Tan comes in 5 sizes. My wife is dainty. This thing would fit on my like a balaclava. For me we have something different, but similar, of which I will speak later.

One week down, 20 years to go.

Today marks Logan’s one week birthday. I’ve been informed that against all reason and practical understanding of chronology, we will celebrate each important anniversary in the boy’s life. In the short term I expect celebrations will be enforced on the fortnight anniversary, the two week anniversary, the moon phase anniversary, the month anniversary and the six week anniversary of his birth.

HEYOH!

I’ve yet to be told if this expectation is for the Gregorian calendar alone, or if it will be extended to the Julian calendar, the Hebrew calendar or the more doomsday oriented Mayan calendar. Regardless, I look forward to celebrating the boy’s first Tzolk’in.

Nap time is not as important as playing with ball time

For the curious, he continues to do well, and is a very good sleeper. We are all appreciative of this. You may note a small bulge on his skull. This is a cephalhematoma, a swelling of blood between the skull and periosteum. While not terribly common, it’s not unexpected, and is a result of the boy dropping into position in the pelvis so long before labor began. The swelling will reduce over time as the body reabsorbs the fluid. He has been examined by competent medical professionals and we are assured it’s nothing to be concerned about, and therefore, neither should you.

Grandma gets some quality time in

Road Trip

We took our first trip outside the house so that Mommy could go to the Mommies Milking Circle down at Well Rounded Momma, the center where our Midwife and Doula have their offices. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the milking circle, it’s advertised as a social and supportive group for breast feeding mothers, but I couldn’t shake expectant images of women baring their breasts in a circle around a fire and banging on a drum while reciting Tori Amos lyrics.

Eye Contact

I was, of course, wildly off base. I’m not sure if I was relieved or disappointed. There was a lot of breast baring going on though, something that’s relatively important with regard to breast feeding. While I wanted to be supportive of my wife, I thought it probably would make everyone uncomfortable if I just hung out while everyone else popped boobs out and latched on infants. Additionally, some of the other mommies were pretty attractive and since I’m something of an irrepressible flirt, it was best I evacuate. I’m relatively sure that a lactation consultation is second only to a funeral as Tackiest Place To Flirt.

A pose was demanded for Bean's first trip

So I went to Del Taco and the comic book store. It seemed like the right thing to do. Tacos are good emotional medicine. So are comic books.

All bundled up for first trip

It was an exciting day for Logan. He expressed his excitement by crying until he was red in the face and hiccuping. Traffic is a frustrating experience that frequently drives me to tears as well, so I feel like I’ve taught my son his first life lesson.

Puddles is an OHSA inspector
Words, words, words. I know that all you people want are the pictures.

Diapers

Waiting for the sun.

Being a parent is, I suspect, the sort of experience that continually provides lessons and perspectives on how your life works. I’ve been a father for just shy of a week, and already I’m noticing some things. I’ve yet to have a world shattering paradigm shift yet, something I was promised with varying shades of doom. Most evident so far, and surprisingly startling, is the time dilation.

Before Logan arrived, my normal schedule had me up by 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning. I would spend an hour and a half or so at the gym, before arriving at the office at 7:00. I would spend 8 to 10 hours at the office, taking my lunch at my desk most days. After all that, I would still have a few hours in the evening of leisure time before getting a full nights sleep.

Since Logan was born, I’ve not been going to the office, or to the gym. I seem to be sleeping only 4 to 6 hours a night, with a nap in the afternoon maybe. I should have nearly 14 hours a day of extra time, and yet, I don’t seem to be able to sit down for much more than an hour or so, maybe two.

Where the hell has all that time gone? Do babies generate a gravitational field so intense that reality warps around them?

Babies are like puppies, sorta

Neither one like flash photos and tend to move around too much in low light to get good focus. They’re also cute, and they poop a lot. Fortunately, babies, unlike puppies, wear diapers, and eventually grow out of irresponsible pooping. Puppies, on the other hand, never wreck your car, steal knives from the post exchange or break overhead lamp fixtures with a yo yo.

kissy face

Not a sleeper hold

Babies are like puppies and move too much to get in focus sometimes

Post burp relief

48 Hours: No Eddie Murphy

What day is it? Sunday… right? I’m starting to lose track already.

Looking back I can see that in the excitement of the birth and the posting of the first photos, I neglected to include some info on the boy. Logan was born 6lbs and 11ozs and he was 18.5 inches long. A bit on the wee side, we’ve since discovered that almost all the little snuggle sacks, pajamas and other clothes that are labeled “infant” or “0-3 months” are far too big for him. For the time being he seems perfectly satisfied to be wrapped tightly in a little blanket. In fact, he seems to prefer it.
Baby Burrito
He seems to be a good sleeper. While I have some experience with babies, I’ve no real practical experience with infants who’ve just been born, so I have little comparative data on the sleep patterns of newborns. What I can say is that he sleeps almost all day long, waking only for brief periods to roll his eyes and pump his fists before making a muted demand for attention or food. This has made the nights pretty bearable, only requiring attention two to four time a night. Since we each tend to wake up several times during the night anyway, the impact has been pretty minimal on both of us.

Napping is a family event

So far he’s not much of a crier. He’s only had a one or two real good cries and both have been during the day. The reasons were mysterious, but the tantrums were easily calmed with some attention and quiet noises.

For two days old, he has a strong grip, even if his hands are so tiny.

Since we’re breast feeding, my duties have been more supportive of mom than of Logan. I’ve spent my time trying to take care of household duties like cleaning, cooking, and assembly of contraptions. Again, fortunately, these are all duties that I normally perform. Although normally I don’t devote so much attention to them.

He seems to find the sound of my voice soothing

We’ve had a few visitors, and are expecting some more today. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to show off our son, and for our dog to bark. This is a task she enjoys and seems well suited to. Speaking of visitors, Kat and Jason just showed up with a big sack of red pork tamales.

Here’s another picture for the road. As always, click through to see more.

Momma and baby laying down for a rest.

Happy Birthday Logan

At 6:18 this morning, after an astonishingly brief labor, Logan had had enough, and popped right out.

Logan Garret Hawkins

Say hi to the internet son.

Typical overachiever

Water broke at 5:35. Two midwives and a doula are on the scene an no one thinks the birth tub will be here in time.

Off to the races

At quarter to three this morning, Cameron woke me up to let me know that it seemed like her contractions were starting and that she had called Tiffani, our Doula. We spent another two hours charting contraction duration and separation before we called Tiffani again and she arrived on the scene about 15 minutes ago.

Cameron and I remarked that it seemed like the contractions were coming quickly, but we also admitted to each other that we really didn’t have much in the way of context other than TV and movies, which are notoriously over dramatic.

So, the Doula is here, the birth tub is on the way, the dog is kinda freaked out and there’s a lot of yelling every few minutes. Sounds to me like we’re gonna have a baby.