Sunday, September 09, 2007

How to plump up a baby.

Things are pretty good today. Evvy is sleeping in a maya-wrap* snuggled against my chest and making "meh-meh" sounds of contentment after a particularly hearty feed.

She is gaining weight steadily after having lost 10%+ of her body weight (she was down to 6 pounds 13 ounces from her 7 pounds 10 birth weight). We were getting pretty worried there. She was really lethargic due to lack of energy and would fall asleep while feeding, which meant she had yet less energy. She was fussy all night because her tummy was never quite full and my milk supply was getting lower.

The turning point was when we started supplementing with a SNS, or supplementary nursing system. Basically, the container hangs around my neck and the two tiny tubes are taped onto the breasts so that the baby sucks on them at the same time as she sucks on the nipple. At first, we had to supplement with formula, simply because I could not pump enough between feeds, but now it's mostly breast milk going in the bottle. This means she gets milk from me AND the SNS at the same time - double the output in half the time!

Feeding is still a time consuming process. It takes about 10 minutes for me to get set up, then I breastfeed her with the SNS for about 40 minutes (and daddy does a mid-feed diaper change), then I pump for about 20 minutes to get milk for the next feed, then I sterilize all the equipment for the next feed, which takes about 10 minutes. I then have about an hour and a half, depending on whether Evvy is awake or not, to get some sleep or get something accomplished.

I'm hoping, now that my milk supply has increased, that we can gradually phase out the SNS as she gains weight, strength and stamina. It's a bit of a complicated system and doesn't travel well, so I'm not really at liberty to go on any outings while using it.

Anyhow, Evvy is being weighed in on Monday and I can't wait to see if she's back to birth weight. I like my babies chubby!

* I will soon be doing a photo-blog post about the many ways to wear a baby.
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