Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Poor Josie is going to think that is her actual name, because we call her squawky so much. It turns out that Josie is, um, a little bit more demanding than her brother was. I always knew that Gabe was a remarkably easy baby, and he has turned into a remarkably easy toddler. Don't get me wrong, everyone has their quirks and different challenges, and Gabe is no different, but these days I am starting to appreciate just HOW EASY I had it.

Josie knows what she wants and is not afraid to be vocal about it. She wants to be held and she does NOT want you to sit while you are doing the holding. She does NOT like to poop and she does not want you to change her diaper after she has accomplished the pooping. She also has a few moments of every day where she screams for no apparent reason, or at least no apparent reason we have been able to figure out. Sometimes the screaming sessions end in some explosive gas, so I tend to attribute a lot of the screaming to gas, but then sometimes, to be honest, she just seems pissed off. Generally. At the world.

All this screaming has caught me so unprepared, that I've been going a little crazy adjusting my diet to find a cause for gas or pooping problems or whatever. I've completely cut out dairy, chocolate, and vegetables, except for plain lettuce. I also tried eating a super bland diet of just pasta, bread, rice, bananas, and water, but the crying continued. We attributed it first to the anti-constipation medication I was taking, and then to the antibiotic I was taking, but both of those are done and she stills seems upset. She also seems incredibly gassy, but if it isn't milk or vegetables or chocolate, I can't imagine what else it could be. I'm considering cutting out wheat for a couple of days and seeing how she does, but beyond that, I'm at a loss.

I must really adore this little girl, because going without chocolate for all this time (3 weeks) is causing me all kinds of suffering. My friend made me a tray of my favorite brownies, and I had to cut them all up nicely and freeze them because my little experiment of eating just one did not end well for us. That particular night we were up until 1am with a very squawky baby.

All the squawking doesn't seem to be affecting her much, though, because she is still eating and gaining like a champ. She is the most efficient breastfeeder I have ever met. She feeds for 10 minutes and seems totally satisfied, and most shockingly, at her 1 month appointment she weighed a whopping 9 pounds 10 ounces. For those of you keeping track, her birth weight was 6 pounds 5 ounces, so she gained 3 pounds 5 ounces in a month! Amazingly, that is a faster rate of growth than her brother, and that boy ate around the clock. I felt like I never stopped breastfeeding him. I was able to read book after book after book with him while I sat on the couch nursing.

One of my breastfeeding books mentions something called hyperlactation syndrome, and I'm trying to figure out if maybe that is the problem with Josie. Hyperlactation syndrome is where too much milk is produced with a too forceful letdown, so the baby gulps down too much milk, especially too much of the foremilk (thinner milk that comes out of the breast first), and all that extra lactose turns into gas in their little stomachs and causes gas problems. I definitely have too much milk, and she definitely gags and sputters often at the start of a feed and will even pull off and cry sometimes when the milk pours out too quickly. I have some tips on how to slow down the flow and keep her from gulping too much air, so we'll see how that goes.

I should also mention that I've considered reflux, but the pediatrician and I don't think that is her problem. She spits up, but not that much and not with every feed, and sitting up or lying down doesn't seem to impact her squawking. She is very noisy when she sleeps and often fusses and grunts even in her deep sleep, but the pediatrician doesn't seem to think that is enough to call this reflux.

Besides the extra fussiness, though, both of the kids are really very cute. Josie has become much more alert all of a sudden and she will look around for long stretches of time and smile if we jump into her view or squeeze her cheeks. She is getting the chubby cheeks and thighs that her brother was famous for, and I'm glad she doesn't know how to protest yet, or she'd complain about all my munching on her cheeks.

Gabe is finally feeling better and he is back to his sweet self, although slightly more affectionate than he was before. We were told that once a second child appeared, a first child might become more affectionate all of a sudden, now that his or her "resources" were being challenged. This seems to be the case with Gabe, because we've all been receiving more hugs and kisses on a regular basis (from the dogs, to Josh and I, and especially Josie). He is funny as always, and loves to do things by himself. Yesterday we went sledding, and he insisted on going down the hill on his own. He also learned how to put on his jacket and boots by himself and wants to screw the lids of cups on and get himself snacks. Today, we went to lunch with a friend and she carried Josie over to the table for us, and when he noticed she was gone, he turned to me with a worried look on his face and said, "Mommy! Josie! Mommy! Josie!" until I showed him that she was in her car seat around the corner. It was adorable to see him concerned about his sister, when my greatest fear was that he'd want to get rid of her.

So really, life is good. I just wish I knew why Josie seems so uncomfortable. It is the one thing I worry about quite a bit, so if you have suggestions, please share them.


KLee said...

Sorry to hear about the squawkiness. Have you tried the Mylicon gas droplets? Poor baby! I hope she gets some relief soon.

Sweet Gabe, being a good big brother! You should DEFINITELY get him one of those "I'm the Big Brother" t-shirts!

Glad you are all doing so well!

Rev Dr Mom said...

It's possible that she's just squawkier than Gabe on general principle.

It is always more of a shock to the system when the first baby is "easy" and the second is a bit more demanding. I had that experience with Elder Son and Woman Warrior, and it did take some adjustment on my part!

Anonymous said...

Just catching up (I've been a lurker for awhile). Hopefully, things are better for you, but I wanted to offer some advice. It sounds like you might have oversupply, based on her rapid weight gain, fussiness, and your plugged duct/mastitis. You can reduce your supply by block nursing. That means that for one block of time (maybe 3 hours -- some need longer blocks, some shorter), you only nurse on one side, regardless of how many nursing sessions that is. Then, for the next block, you only nurse on the other side. If you feel uncomfortable during that time, you can nurse or express on the other side, but just to relieve the fullness. That will send your body the signal to make less milk, which should help with the fussiness. Google "oversupply" or "foremilk-hindmilk imbalance" for more information, or contact a La Leche League Leader if you need more help.