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More Than Just A Cranky Baby

My last 2 weeks have been crazy. I've been a lot quieter over the internet these past few days and I've had a couple people check up on me. Firstly, Thank you! Secondly, all is well.
Or, it is now anyway. Or, it's getting better. And that's all I can ask for!

So here's what been going on.

Audrey had never had problems breastfeeding. Ever. She's been a champ since birth! Sure a little clumsy latching on at first but there were actually no problems. It was nice.

So then imagine my shock and surprise when Audrey suddenly starting screaming and crying inconsolably when I tried to nurse her. At 3 months she had started a nursing strike.

I was frantic with worry, analyzing every diaper to make sure she wasn't getting dehydrated. The only way I could feed her was when she was sleeping. The MOMENT her eyes fluttered open I had to get her to the breast before she could wake up too much and figure out what was going on. It worked for a little while. As long as I could get her to eat before she fully woke up. If she did wake up then she would scream and we had to wait until next nap time.

She was fussy. She wasn't herself. She rarely smiled and coo'ed and talked like she normally did. She screamed. She cried for ages. She never slept. So I never slept.

Guys. It was awful. And we couldn't fix it.

We were constantly on the phone with the Plunket hotline. We took her to the doctors to determine if she had an ear ache or some sneaky infection that was causing this behavior. Nothing. Clean bill of health. "Sometimes babies just do this." "She'll be fine." "She'll come right in a couple days." "Just keep doing what you're doing." "You're doing fine." "You're doing everything right."

I was hard. It didn't feel like I was doing things right. With Audrey's sporadic feeding my milk supply started to go down. When I pumped there was hardly any milk. I could feel the magic of breastfeeding slipping away from my body. Breastfeeding is so special to me. I couldn't bear the thought of losing that this early in the game. The stress turned me into an emotional mess.

Then... just like the nurses and the doctors said, within a few days she started to nurse again. But she still wouldn't sleep. She definitely wouldn't nap. She would get over tired and feeding would start to be difficult again. She woke every 1 1/2 - 2 hours at night. I was at the end of my tether, ya'll.

So we got some help. We went to the Waikato Family Center yesterday. I was really apprehensive about going. I needed help. I wanted help. But I was nervous. What if our parenting philosophies were so different that their advice wouldn't be really applicable?

We got there first thing in the morning before her morning feed. The plan was to weigh her before and after her feed to see how much she was getting to eat, then to put her down for a nap to monitor her.

The ladies there were wonderful. Baby whisperers. I swear! These ladies were magical! They calmed all my fears and I could feel the stress that was built up slipping away. I asked them questions and I could see that we were on the same page. And they were there to help. Relief. There were other mums there with babies with similar problems. It was so wonderful knowing that I was not the only one. We hung out while our babies fed and slept. We hung out while we were working on our problems together. We talked. We laughed. We moaned collectively about the problems we've been having. It was good. It was really good. I felt normal. I felt free from the reign of hopelessness and stress.

The nurses discovered that Audrey was not getting enough to eat with each feed. Poor thing! She couldn't sleep well because she wasn't eating enough to hold her over. I nursed her then we finished her off with some pumped breast milk. She napped for 4 hours. Then we did the same thing again. Last night she only woke up once during the night. Almost overnight things are incredibly better!

So, we made it. Or we're almost through it! But I can't tell you how much better I feel! Or how stressed I was. My trying to re-tell the nightmare doesn't really do it justice. When your baby is screaming and you've tried everything and can't console her. When you and your husband are holding your baby and sitting together on the bed. All three in tears. Feeling hopeless. Feeling like it will never end. It's tough. But it got better!

So now little Audrey is napping beside me. Her tummy full. I even got to tidy the house up a bit!


So while my life isn't always roses, I am incredibly blessed to have so much support and love in my life.

Thank you to Mum van der Wel who held my hand and cried with me during this tough time. And also for coming over and letting me take a nap. And for helping with the laundry. And the dishes. And vacuuming. And everything. She is wonderful. I love her.

Talia Christine

P.S. - You wouldn't know it, but it was my birthday last week! I'm 25 now! What the what! Where does time go?? (Okay. I know where it went. I'm looking at you, Audrey.) More on my birthday soon! Even with all the baby drama Phil managed to spoil me rotten! That man is incredible I tell you. INCREDIBLE!


  1. Aw sweetie, so glad things are better now!! It must have been rough (i can only imagine, no personal experience...) but glad you made it through!! And happy 25th last week!


  2. I'm so glad things are better now! My third baby is 14 months now, and she weaned at around 10 months. I miss those special times so much!!! Sometimes it's hard to make sense of anything when you are sleep deprived, but it does get easier! x

  3. Argh! So sorry to hear this!! That's wonderful that there are such resources. I'm biased and ignorant, but i'm of the opinion that NZ does baby care really well.

    Glad to hear things are on the up. Mums and inlaws are the bomb.


  4. @Sophie: I have to fully agree! I have had nothing but the best experience here. Such wonderful resources here!


  5. Ohhh man, I hear you.

    It's such a rollercoaster eh - things can be so wonderful and glorious and then all of a sudden it's HARD again. We're in a HARD spot at the moment - Mika hasn't been sleeping well, but I can't really pump much milk and I'm very reluctant to give her formula. She also has terrible eczema so we're on like the 5th suggestion for a cure... it can be tough!!

    Your support sounds amazing and I'm so glad that things are better again :)

    x And happy birthday! We're in the quarter century club! :)

  6. Sorry you had such troubles! Glad it's better! Happy late birthday!

  7. First...Happy Birthday! Second, glad to hear that you worked it all out and Audry is back on track with Nursing. I nursed all three of my children. Each child weaned at a different time. Two of them on their own...it just kinda happened naturally and one, I had to ween. All in all, it was a very wonderful experience to Nurse. I would not trade it for the world. It is a serious commitment and not every mother is able to handle that commitment. Keep on doing what you are doing, it seems that you are doing all the right things. BTW, not sure if they have the La Leche League in New Zealand but here is the website: http://www.llli.org/
    It is a support group for mothers who breast feed...perhaps you may find it helpful.
    Much Love,

  8. Happy bbelated birthday! I am happz to hear that all is good now...

  9. Happy Belated birthday!!!! Glad to hear everything worked out alright! Sounds like a rough patch but I'm sure the wee one is doing well and momma will adjust sooner than later. ;-)

  10. Oh, how sad for little Audrey . . . and you. Breastfeeding can be a bit stressful not knowing if they are getting enough. And when they cry or fuss while feeding, you're always struck with that fear of "what if they aren't getting what they need?" So glad you guys got help and I hope she gets back on track soon.
    My breastfeeding experience has been so much different this time around. Scout only eats for about 10 minutes (Jake was at least 40 minutes. every. single. feeding.), so I was super stressed early on wondering why he wouldn't eat more. But, he is gaining weight, so that's a good sign.
    Sending hugs your way. Hang in there.

  11. Both my biological kiddos were not getting enough with each feed -- we think I just express the milk very slowly. So they wouldn't sleep during the day and would collapse at night so exhausted from staying awake all day. I started bf'ing 30 minutes and then doing a bottle for 3 ounces or so afterwards and it worked great.

  12. wow, that sounds like such a struggle. I really admire that you stuck with breast feeding though and glad you were able to get the help and support to figure things out. Glad it's going better & happy late birthday!

  13. Just found your blog recently! My baby girl is about the same age. Just when I thought we had nursing down and things were getting easier we had some bumps in the road, too! I had to figure out the hard way that every time I gave her a bottle because I was out or we went on a trip (and had to give her a bottle in the car) I was making that much less in my body. So when we came back from our last trip baby and I had a tough week. She would cry and fuss after every feeding and started waking up again in the middle of the night, sometimes twice! We were finally able to build up the supply again, but lesson learned, phew! I remember wanting to give up because it can be so hard to hear baby cry but then I would talk myself out of it over and over again. So glad to hear you got the support and answers you needed And especially glad you are sticking with it!!

  14. Good for you for sticking with it! You are such a strong person and sounds like this little one is making you all the stronger :) Jocelyn went on strike at 7 months, I didn't know what to do and ended up stopping breastfeeding all together. Wish I would have pulled through like you. You're a great mama Talia! Can't wait to hear how much you got spoiled for your birthday


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