The End of Maternity Leave | Final Round

Sweet Porter boy is eleven weeks old today! I know, I'm not sure where the time has gone either. I have now been away from work for over twelve weeks, using my first week of maternity leave being very very pregnant and impatient. Monday will be my first day back in the workforce after 12.5 weeks off. Glorious, glorious maternity leave is over. Insert sad face emoticon here.

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So many feelings about this, but I'll keep it short: I'm nervous, tired just thinking about it, but also ready to get the show on the road already. It will be the next chapter in life with three and I *know* we can all handle this big transition. I will just assume it will probably suck for awhile and I'll likely feel like I've been hit by a bus. But SOMEDAY we will slide into a new routine and I might even feel like I'm doing more than simply treading water. We shall see. As long as I don't drown we'll call it a win.



Porter is the exact opposite of his sister in one way: Cecelia refused the bottle and was in love with nursing, and I'm afraid that Porter is refusing to nurse and will make out with his daycare bottles. It's quite ironic to me that in my 'end of maternity leave' post with Cecelia, I was stressed out over the transition because she would NOT latch on to a bottle. And Porter? I'm stressed because he seems to only want a bottle. Kids. It's always something. (Except for Mister Perfect Truman who was a dream boat baby with nursing....all 14 pounds of himself at this age).

The backstory: for the past 2-3 weeks I've had this nagging feeling that Porter wasn't nursing well anymore. It was better for awhile and not so great again. He will nurse for literally 5 minutes and usually only on my right (big producer) side. Sometimes he is happy and just done and other times he is angry and just done after that. There are times I can convince him to keep going but many times he just doesn't wanna. Milk is literally still dripping out from my body but he isn't having it. I thought maybe he was just efficient? My official diagnosis is that he gets mad after the first let down and wants the milk to keep spraying out at him, annoyed if it slows to a trickle. But whatever, he has been nursing about every 2-3 hours, isn't fussy, seems mostly satisfied, etc. I figured if something was really wrong with breastfeeding we would know. Wouldn't he be totally inconsolable and obviously angry at life? Because he is usually so happy. Like, disgustingly happy.

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(smiling, unknowingly, before his two month shots)
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Warning: poop talk ahead. I'm such a mom right now, discussing my baby's diapers on the internet. But his poops have also been greenish for as long as I can remember. I brought this up to the Ped at Porter's one month appointment but the doc thought as long as P was growing, was happy, and was having enough wet/poopy diapers it was fine. Don't change anything because we could just have more problems to deal with, and odd colored poops are not uncommon at one month. Apparently now at two months, it's more of a concern. Could be that he's not getting enough of the fatty hind milk since he prefers to 'snack' most of the day and that's what is making his poop green. Who knows.



But combining the short nursing sessions, the green poops, and now a drop in the weight percentiles? It still could be nothing, or it could be a sign that something isn't working. Mister man is 'only' 11lbs 12oz right now which puts him in the 19th percentile for his weight. I know those charts are sort of wonky and the doctor isn't too concerned. I know he has still gained over 3 pounds and 3 inches in his two months of life. But still! He was in the 80th percentile at birth so it's a pretty big drop. It makes me feel like my son must be starving himself in the name of wanting an immediate, constant flow of milk when he nurses. He is growing but it's really slow, and now my biggest baby at birth is my lightest at two months. Numbers play with my head, can you tell? It makes me question a lot of things. Really hate that growth chart right now.



Maybe he really isn't getting enough milk from me? I truly don't think it's a supply issue and must be more of a 'Porter issue' since I do have the milk when I pump. And I see it coming out of my boob!! But I'm totally doubting myself as a breastfeeding mama right now. Maybe I should totally cut things out of my diet? Maybe I should stop working out? Maybe I should stop stressing about this? ;) Porter is proving to be a challenging eater and I'm lucky enough that I haven't had one of those before. It's really no joke, as many of you probably already know.

So the doctor suggested that we just see how the next few weeks go with Porter getting bottles three days per week while I'm at work. Maybe that will be the key to getting more milk into the boy. Maybe his green poops will turn yellow, since the fatty milk will be in those bottles and he doesn't even have to be patient for it. OMG, so much pumping in my future!!



If nothing really changes with bottles and he still gains weight slowly that might just be 'him' and doesn't mean he is unhealthy. As long as he isn't actually losing weight, isn't super pissed all of the time, and doesn't seem to have anything else going on it's fine. The doc said he is 'incredibly low risk' for this being anything wrong with Porter, like if he can't process my milk correctly or something. Maybe he's destined to be my little peanut after all? He certainly doesn't LOOK malnourished or skinny to me.

(lololz at the privacy patch of his towel here. But needed to show you his rolls---all 19th percentile of them.)


Of course, maybe he will simply stop nursing all together once he gets used to the faster flow of the bottles. Yes, we use slow newborn nipples but it's not the same as mother nature's faster/slower flow. After a few sub-par nursing sessions today, I offered a breast milk bottle and both times he sucked them down. I'm starting to think that our nursing days are severely limited and I better get used to seeing his sweet face drinking from a bottle.

(but I love this view so much!)
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It's not the end of the world. Lots of things could still happen. The doctor isn't concerned and Porter is a happy, seemingly healthy dude. But I just don't like the weight (no pun intended) of this whole thing. It's too early, WAY too early for my last baby to stop breastfeeding. And if he was my first baby, I'm sure I'd be totally freaking out even more. So at least I can hang onto a little bit of 'big picture' perspective with Porter as my third?

(also, GoGo flew back to Colorado yesterday so my mental state is SUPERB tonight!!!)


Nursing issues and worries aside....maternity leave has been amazing. Life at home with three kids is more chaotic than I could have ever imagined, but it's more awesome than I could have imagined, too. This maternity leave has been nothing like the peaceful days of Truman's, and even the semi-peaceful days of Cecelia's, but I've enjoyed my time home with Porter. I wish I had 12 more weeks home with him but alas, I do not. And so we will figure out our new normal and focus on the positive. Because there are so many wonderful things about our new normal of me working part time!



Sweet Porter, I love you more than words. I'm sorry our house is so incredibly loud and obnoxious, and that it's difficult to give you 100% of my attention with your big siblings competing for my time. But you still have it pretty good, buddy, because you have two siblings who love you to pieces. You have a mommy and daddy that think you are absolutely perfect and we regularly discuss how adorable you are. Don't let it go to your head just yet. We just want to eat you up while you are still so little and innocent, and before you turn into a toddler or a preschooler with your own set of....challenges;)



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We are going to rock this 'working mom' thing, buddy. Lori is going to love having you at her house a few days per week. I hope you don't love those bottles more than my boob but I know we will figure out that whole mess, too. We can do it. We will settle into our new routine, and perhaps we will even surprise ourselves.



I've loved every single day of my maternity leave with you, bud. You are the perfect puzzle piece that completes our family. You have brought us even more joy into this already awesome life since the day you were born. These eleven weeks with you in my arms, instead of you being in my body, have been amazing. Hard, of course, but amazing. I'm so excited to see you grow into the Porter you will be someday. So much fun awaits!!

You really are the best little baby I could have asked for. Thank you for being you, Port.

(Fist pound. Let's do this thing).

xoxo
Mommy

23 comments:

  1. The first thing that popped in my head when you said green poop was a foremilk/hindmilk issue. I had that with Isaac because I had such a severe oversupply. He was happy, gaining weight, but had green poop. Add the snacking thing in with P and I definitely think that's what it sounds like. Can you try block feeding? Only nurse him one side per session. Or take 3-4 hour intervals and every time he nurses during that time frame, only nurse from one side. It shouldn't affect your supply, each breast should just produce more for their interval.

    I know it's impossible, but I wouldn't stress over it. Big hugs and I hope Monday goes well!!

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    1. Yeah, it's just that now he doesn't even want to take the left side at all---so I've been block feeding unintentionally on that side for a few days now! We will figure it out. Hopefully just a phase!

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  2. I'm sorry you're dealing with this stress. My son was born 8lbs, 2oz and super chubby. Within days he lost 10% of his birth weight and looked skinny. We tried everything and he still wouldn't gain weight. I just wasn't producing enough and he had terrible reflux. I'm glad your situation doesn't seem quite as dire, but I understand how much we worry. I hope everything works out and your nursing relationship continues as long as you both want it to.

    admeyerlife.com

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    1. I totally feel for you! If Porter was fussy and had reflux on top of the nursing issues, it would be SO much harder!!

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  3. Best to you on Monday as you head back to work! It's such a mix of emotions, but you'll handle it all extremely well, I'm sure. Sending good vibes to everyone for the changes next week. :)

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  4. I just have to say boo on maternity leave being over. What a bummer! You seem to have a good attitude about it (as always). I'm hoping for your sake that Mr. Porter does not decide the bottle is way better, but I know you'll handle it if that does happen. I was thinking that going to daycare a few days would be GOOD if you're worried about the green poop stuff too! Pumping actually helps with that since the fatty milk will be there so I hope it's a blessing in disguise!

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    1. And I think Lori will make it her mission to fatten Porter up, which is a good thing!! Thanks, Tiffany.

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  5. Good luck with your first day back! Hope everything works out with the nursing, bottles, etc. I remember from your old posts that you are a pumping champion! :)

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    1. LOL, champion of the pump. I wish! I do hate it but usually feel very dedicated to sticking with it for a long few months. Hope this time it's kind to me again!

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  6. Chaotic days ahead, but you guys will settle in eventually! Also, agree with Kristal's suggestion above! (as I just emailed you basically the same thing - ha!)

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    1. Is it time for Mexico yet? Seriously? ;)

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  7. Ugh, what is it with these 3rd baby boys that like to give their mothers trouble with eating!?! I totally feel your pain here. Our story is slightly different in that W did fine with nursing, but once he started on solids, his growth plummeted (80% to 15%). Not losing weight, but not gaining at the rate he "should" be. Growth charts and I are NOT friends right now. At all! Over the past 9 months we have tried every reflux med, had every test done, and done weekly PT/OT. And yet, the pediatrician always crushes my hopes and enthusiasm when we go in for checkups. I've left the drs office in tears more times than I'd like to count this year. Maybe W just doesn't like to eat? Maybe he is just meant to be on the smaller side? But maybe there IS something actually wrong. My mind battles itself daily like this. It is so so hard when our babies can't just tell us what is going on! At least P is still super happy for you. W still spends the better part of the day being pretty pissed off, so that adds to my concerns. Annnnyway, I truly hope that you figure out what is going on with him, if anything at all. I have to agree that it sounds like a foremilk/hindmilk thing. Which, as annoying as it would be to have to pump for his feedings, at least you would have an answer and solution to his slowed growth. I'd do ANYTHING for some conclusive answers at this point!
    And best of luck on Monday. Hope everything goes well beyond your expectations!

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    1. Oh girl, big hugs to you!! So scary to have the big unknown and worries about our boys. Hate growth charts and I really hope we both get answers soon!

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  8. I agrew with the hind milk/fore milk sugggestion. You can also let down in a towel, get the fast flow out of the way and then have him nurse. I'm surprised (but without judgement) that you didn't call a lc or go to a le leche leader, but rather just listened to the ped. Kellymom has lots of infor on block nursing and Fore/hind milk.

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    1. My cousin is an LC and very avid breastfeeding activist---I've been emailing her for a few weeks now, so no worries about that! But I *do* trust my Pediatrician and am happy with how he's handled this, too---not pushing formula on me at all, okay with seeing where this goes first. And yes to Kellymom---on that site quite a bit now and since Truman's days. Love it!

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  9. Oh, the end of maternity leave. Always such an emotional time where you question everything, amiright? :)

    I'm sorry Porter seems to be troubling you with breastfeeding issues. If there's one thing I learned it's that it can all change in an instant! I bet it's just a phase. I would say try not to worry but that would be hypocritcal of me because HELLO WORRY WART! Hope your first days back go well and you get into a routine soon.

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    1. It totally can change in an instant---silly babies!! Hoping Porter changes for the breastfeeding positive now. We shall see! Thanks, girl

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  10. My first baby was a dream nurser. My youngest was born at 50% and dropped to 10%. I was DETERMINED to keep breastfeeding and after giving up dairy and spending many sleepless nights shoving my books in her mouth, she was up to 25%. When we started solids, she refused to eat them, my supply dropped, and she went to 3%. I freaked out, added formula, and she went up to 8%. I was about to lose my mind when a doctor said, "All percentiles on this chart are healthy, but babies are forcefed in the womb, and eat according to their appetite when they're out. Offer her healthy food regularly and she will listen to her body." What he also said, that I think will help you, is, "Watermelons don't fall out of apple trees. It does not surprise me that a tall skinny woman has a tall skinny baby."
    So try to fix his snacking, but don't let the growth chart make you crazy. Good luck!

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  11. Oh man, I feel your pain; the weight issues, the dang growth charts, the green poop - I've had it all! I clearly remember going to the dr just cringing at what number was going to be on that darn scale! So sorry this is happening to you especially at the end of maternity leave! Hang in there, I know u and Porter will figure it out and I hope so much that the bottles end up being a blessing and get things back on track, rather than another struggle! Thinking of you!

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  12. I had the same issue with my second daughter. My maternity health nurse suggested using a hot face cloth and doing a little hand expressing to get rid of the fore milk. It was quick and easy to do and really worked for our little one. She had green spinach like poops and after I started with a hot face cloth and hand expressing her poops changed within a couple of days.
    She also went on a nursing strike on one side...boo! What worked for us, was continuing to offer it to her and if she was upset I switched to her favourite side. I had to take a lot of deep breaths and tried not to stress, (I didn't want her picking up on it) and after a week or so she gave in and started nursing on both sides. I hope this helps!
    Good luck going back to work! You are amazing, I get a year and I still do not feel that is long enough!

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  13. Green poop can also signify a dairy intolerance. My friend's son had green poop and her pediatrician told her to cut out dairy. Once she cut out dairy, his poops became a normal texture and color. If she forgets and has cheese on something, she can immediately tell in his diapers. So, it might be worth a try to cut out dairy (even though it is amazing!).

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