Growing Pains


When did this:


turn into this?


I am both so happy and very sad. I can’t believe he was so little not so very long ago.




It is very hard to be an attentive and attached parent of an infant, an infant who must be held and chatted to and paid attention to every living second, and maintain a blog. In fact, it is very difficult to parent this little personality and do much of anything. Like housework or laundry. Or even showering.

I think I shower once a week. Confession number one.

I am not sure how others do it. Perhaps they have ‘sitcom babies’ that sit quietly in swings while their mothers vacuum, and nap alone, without their bodies mashed tightly up against their mothers’, faces pressed into a boob.

Confession number two: I don’t actually mind parenting this way. I planned to, so I suppose that helps matter. I like all of this contact and closeness that we share.

My third confession is that I let my fiercely teething boy gnaw upon an empty, frozen beer bottle. Yes, yes, I did. And he loved it.

One problem we have encountered with teething and the SNS, is that Linus has discovered he enjoys the feeling of the cool milk on his gums. Even when he is not hungry. This leads to a lot of overeating and throwing the entire meal back up, only for him to beg to be put back to the breast WITH the SNS, thankyouverymuch. He screeches at me and gives me his best evil eye until I slip the little tube back in the corner of his mouth. Okay, boychild. You win this round. Sometimes the screaming is just too much, and the puking becomes the lesser of the evils.

And then there’s the beer bottle.

It is actually painful to watch him throw up donor milk. Hard-earned donor milk. Hard-earned by the  pumping mamas, and hard-earned through hours of searching and emailing and organizing on my behalf.


Milk, milk everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

We have milk coming from all over these days. A shipment just came from Regina. It actually travelled again with Rob’s dad, who is here in Montreal for a conference this week. There may be a shipment coming soon from Toronto. And yet another from Pennsylvania. For the time being, we are well-outfitted in milk. But it is a constant search and struggle to keep the freezer stocked. I worry all the time that we will run out, no matter how full the freezer is.

I suppose it is the one thing I have some small measure of control over in all of this. I cannot control how much my breasts produce, which is very painful. No matter how much pumping I do, how much domperidone, Goat’s Rue, fenugreek, blessed thistle, dill, brewer’s yeast, and flaxseed I take, nor how much oatmeal I eat, I will never exceed the maximum that my breasts are capable of producing. That has been hard to come to terms with. I’ve never met an end that I couldn’t improve through hard work. In fact, the supply that I -do- have has only come through such very hard work. But I can control how much milk is in our freezer. I can keep that stocked. And so I work endlessly to do so. Organizing each bag meticulously; labelling the age of the baby when it was pumped, the mother’s medications (if any), where in the world it came from. All markers of my grasping at what little control I have in this whole situation.

New Year

I rung in my first new year as a mother cleaning up projectile vomit. Actually, that’s not entirely true. We were well in bed by midnight. It’s the last thing I did in 2011, though. Seems apt.

The in-laws were here and gone in the blink of an eye.  Although I did not appreciate their sharing with the entire extended family our use of donor milk (who I share our struggles with is my business – it’s not something to be gossiped about), we had a nice visit overall.

We got moved into our Plateau apartment, and when Rob arrived to greet the arriving IKEA furniture, he found our mouse problem frozen in a starfish position in the middle of the floor times two. Better than the ménage à trois that was happening in the same spot the last time he was there, I suppose, but mouse number 3 is still unaccounted for.  We bought poison and traps per the landlord’s request, but so far, no dice (or rather, no mice, as it were).

Linus is happy and very long. My 10-week-old is over 26″ long. That’s just nuts. He’s lean, too, at just under 11 pounds. My sweet string bean.  The doctor is thrilled with his growth and weight gain, so we are in the clear to play around with his feedings a bit. It is looking like we will be supplementing long-term, due to undiagnosed PCOS and possibly IGT (insufficient glandular tissue). It is likely that, for whatever reason, I am unable to produce enough milk to sustain him on my own.

This has been devastating. However, he is on human milk and has only been on human milk so far. My (lofty) goal is to make it to 1 year on only human milk (and food, obviously, but no other kinds of milk). We’ll see how we make out. The Herzl Clinic believes I may be able to stop supplementing with other human milk when he starts solids. I am not holding out any hopes, having been disappointed so many times, but we’ll see!



My amazing husband, who has supported me through the hardest few weeks of my life to date.
My sweet, smiling baby boy who lights up when he sees me.
My mama and brothers.
All of Li’s milky mamas. These women, many of whom I have never met, have helped me nourish and grow my sweet, beautiful boy and blessed our family greatly with their generosity.

We are so, so lucky.

Moving to Montreal

The last couple of weeks in Regina were terribly, terribly busy. We were packing, selling off all of our possessions, and visiting with friends before we had to bid our farewells.

The night before we left, I went to the last “Living with your Newborn” series (put on by the fabulous Leslie of Groovy Mama (www.groovymama.com) and 3 other lovely women), we shipped our tubs (via Greyhound for about $350 total…7 tubs and my precious, beloved sewing machine), visited with two friends and their families, picked up milk, and had an impromptu LC consult with Linda Cheston until midnight. We were wiped, but she helped Linus stay latched on the longest he ever has; not to mention, he started doing the long, effective sucks for the first time. Totally worth it! Amazing lady.

Then we went back to Rob’s parents’ place and finished packing and organizing the last of the things we wanted to take with and what we had decided to leave there until my ILs come to visit us.

We finally crashed around 2AM. The alarm went off at 4:30AM for our 6:30 flight. Needless to say, by the time we hit Montreal, we felt like complete zombies.

Linus was a dream on the planes. He nursed on the way up, nursed on the way down, and slept the whole time in-between on both flights. In fact, when we got to Toronto, he had a hard time waking up. I think he was just totally overstimulated. It was very noisy, and when he did wake up, he just wanted to nurse and sleep some more.

Boarded the plane in Toronto and zipped over to Montreal – very quick flight. We landed and found the baggage claim. We retrieved all of our bags, Li’s carseat, and then we waited. And waited. And waited. The frozen milk we brought never came. I was nearly in hysterics. Turns out our label had fallen off of the cooler, and they had it at the help desk. Oh, deep sigh of relief.

All of the taxis were Camrys at the airport. My MIL has a Camry. I am not certain why that stuck out to me, but it was something recognizable in a land of unfamiliarity.

The cabbie spoke French. And not much English. Add to that, we were going to Longueuil, which is off the island, and he had no idea where we were going. Obviously, neither did we. Eventually we found the apartment, and got inside. It’s very nice, and the people who live upstairs and rent it out are so marvellous. They are now in El Salvador for the rest of the month, but we really enjoyed the little time we got to spend with them.

We’re settled in now. Our tubs have arrived, and Linus and I even ventured to a Le Leche League meeting and to the breastfeeding cafe all on our own. We love the public transportation here. AMAZING compared with Regina, where you can wait up to 30 minutes on a bus that may or may not come.

It was a good move, and we are thankful to be here.

Battle to Breastfeed

We have had a very rough first 5 weeks of Linus’ life, primarily in part to undiagnosed tongue and maxillary ties.

(Not a great photo, but you can -kind of- see the maxillary tie).


As a result, he couldn’t feed or suck effectively.  And as a result of that ineffective feeding, I suffered from a low supply.  Linus quickly dropped weight.  By Day 10, he was already down to 7 pounds, 7 ounces.  Due to a number of factors, the biggest one likely being that 6 babies were assisted earthside by 2 midwives in 7 days, our immediate postpartum care was not as it probably should have been.  Not to mention, Linus’ birthdate was noted as being 3 days later in our chart.  So many factors caused our situation to spiral very quickly out of control, and we ended up referred to a pediatrician in the hospital on Day 11.

And we had to supplement.  Fortunately, I knew there was donor breastmilk to be had, and I knew we had other options beyond the bottle (I really did not want to add nipple confusion to our list of problems; turns out he could not latch onto a bottle nipple either and ended up throwing up the entire feed when we’d try).ImageWithin 48 hours or so, we had over 200 ounces in our freezer, and many mamas pumping fresh milk for us.  It was amazing, heartwarming, and just so beautiful to see the community pull together for our family.

On the other hand, it was a very difficult thing for me to ask for help…to prostrate myself like that. To admit to the world that I could not provide enough milk to nourish my sweet boy on my own. I was not enough for him in that regard. I felt terrible about feeling so vulnerable. However, in addition to being independent to a fault, I am also stubborn and determined. It was very important to me that Linus not have to go on formula.  His little system was already struggling, and I did not want to make his life any more challenging than it was.

His mouth ties went undiagnosed for nearly five weeks.  In that time, we had seen 5 different health professionals.  This is still so unacceptable to me, I can’t even adequately express my disappointment.  It was finally our LC, Kim, who diagnosed tge maxillary tie. She is also the one who got us in to the plastic surgeon (the only professionals who will clip infant TTs and MTs in Regina) in a timely manner.  Kim is also the one to get us into the Herzl Breastfeeding Clinic at McGill for follow-up care.

We owe Kim a lot.  She has taken care of us when no one else has or would.  Oh, and amidst all of this, she was busy with her own newborn, who is 4 days older than Linus.  Not to mention her 3 other little ones that she homeschools.  Ahem.  It is completely unacceptable to me that a woman with that much going on took better care of us than the health professionals whose jobs it was to provide good care for our family. Utterly disappointing and beyond frustrating.


It has been a very long, long battle.

Linus got his ties clipped on Monday, November 28th, 2011.  It was awful.  They do not use anethestic on babies (even though I asked for it for him), which is totally unacceptable.  He screamed and bled a lot.  My heart just broke for him, and he was in so much pain.  He is still in pain.  The guilt I carry with that is so heavy.  It needed to be done, but it did not need to be done in the manner that it was.

Now, we are relearning to nurse.  He is working on his suck as he was physically incapable of getting long, effective draws before, and we are trying very hard to up my supply to the point that we might wean off of the supplement.

There feels like there might be light at the end of this very long tunnel. We go to the Herzl Clinic on Dec. 23rd.  We have had a long, long fight, this little boy and I.