2 months old! Kaia was due on September 1st, 3rd or 5th considering who you asked (OB, me or Neonatology), but any which way you count it Kaia is finally considered full term!
Just to round out my completely abnormal pregnancy, birth and lactation experience, because nothing could be problem free, we are STILL finger feeding. Kaia has decided that while latching on to the boob is fun and all, the nipple should dispense milk like a pop machine, no effort required. Thus she DOES NOT SUCK for any longer than a few minutes at a time. We have had a couple of weight checks and when Brian and I were finger feeding her almost exclusively last week, she gained 135 grams in 4 days, but as we tried to cut that out more this week and let her get 'hungry for the boob', she only gained 50 grams in 6 days. Not enough, considering they want her to gain between 20-40 grams per day.
We have seen two lactation consultants, but as one would expect from those who have to only 'show' rather than 'do', their solutions are less than perfect. The first one was the one who turned us on to finger feeding on Kaia's last day in the hospital. Her rational was to do finger feeding for a little while and get Kaia home, as studies show that finger feeders transition better to the boob than bottle feeders.
The next lactation consultant we went to see said that we should 'move away' from finger feeding and that babies should feed at the breast and that babies respond to 'flow'. Therefore I likely have slow flow at the nipple and that I should be pumping more (!!!) and should set Kaia up with a lactation aid at the breast (look it up if you don't know what this is). Setting up the lactation aid is all fine and dandy when you are in a nice comfy office, well rested with multiple people to help you...but at 4 in the morning when you've had NO sleep and your kid is screaming and has just peed all over, the LAST thing you want to fiddle with is tape and small tubes and trying to get said crying child to latch on to not only your nipple but the small tube as well.
So while my father in law didn't mean to be philosophical when it said it, I have liked his recent pronouncement on child rearing: First you do what is right, and then you do what works.
Right now, a lactation aid at the breast doesn't work for Kaia or for us. It's too finicky and time consuming, although I understand the principle behind it (breast=milk). So, in ordnance with the above stated philosophy, to feed our child we are doing this: At each feed start with breastfeeding. Continue until she isn't sucking, seems overly fussy, or appears full (this last one hasn't happened yet). Then I pass her to Brian who finger feeds her while I pump. Then wash all pumping and finger feeding supplies and repeat in 3 hours. She is getting nothing but breast milk, which I'm pleased about and my supply seems to be doing okay, so we are going to stick with it. Hopefully (soonish??!) she will take more at the breast and less of the supplemental finger feeding, and will continue to gain weight.
I'm worried about the soonish part, because while this works while Brian is around to help me, in two weeks he has to go back to work and then I'm on my own for all feeds except those that fall between the hours of 5pm and 10pm. And the routine of feeding Kaia can take about an hour at this point, so it will be even longer if I have to do it on my own. I REALLY REALLY don't want to transition to bottles...but I might have to in order to get some time to sleep in there.
All of this of course brings up feelings of failure, disappointment and inadequacy in me. I realize I'm doing the best I can, but it would be so lovely for just something to go SMOOTHLY. It wasn't getting pregnant, it wasn't staying pregnant, it wasn't giving birth, it wasn't the NICU stay, it wasn't the home coming or breastfeeding.
Maybe it will be the transition to solids? Here's hoping.