Saturday, January 26, 2008

Stumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen

We are working on understanding how to download pictures to blogger, so bear with us, please. I am techno-challenged, as usual, and the husband is a bit under the weather, so we are not working at full capacity. Oh, and we just had a baby!

Boob alert: if you are squeamish about talk of breasts in general or me talking about nursing in particular, you may want to skip this entry. Otherwise, enter at your own risk.

So, let's get this out there: I am in favor of breastfeeding, for all the good and wholesome reasons one should be. And I am endeavoring to make it work for Jacob, but we are having numerous difficulties. Most importantly, my milk has never "let down" so when he does nurse, he never, EVER gets full. Which means, I am nursing during the day about every hour for at least a half hour and he doesn't really sleep that much in between, if at all, particularly not during the afternoons, when it can get to be nursing every 45 minutes or so. In other words, I am literally (and yes, I mean literally here) nursing ALL THE TIME.

Now, the lactation consultants and the books say the lack of let down is probably my fault. Am I nervous about breastfeeding? Embarrassed? Do I need to listen to soothing music each time beforehand? Or take a hot shower each time? Am I in pain? In short, what am I doing to stand in the way of this oh-so-natural process? Well, yes, I am a bit anxious about the fact that I feel (however irrationally) that I am starving my child, but hey, other than that, I feel really fine about the whole process. We did visit a consultant yesterday who admitted some of this is probably Jacob's fault as well, since he appears not to be latching on sufficiently largely but that part of the problem is his small mouth and my apparatus. And what can be done about that, I ask you? Not a thing, but we are working to "retrain" him to latch better. We shall see. In addition, I am taking various herbal supplements to help stimulate milk production. Then, in a week, if nothing has changed, I switch to a prescription med that does the same thing and try that for a few weeks. (And then, somewhere in there, I go insane.)

My response to all this has been to both breast and bottle feed him at night, in order to assure that he is A, getting some sleep, and B, getting some actual nutrition. The pediatrician is fine with this idea; the lactation consultants are aghast; and I am just happy we are both getting rest and Jacob is not starving.

But my overall point is this: this natural process sure takes a lot of unnatural work, like writing detailed breastfeeding logs, using a strange distribution system to trick the baby into thinking the formula at night is still coming from me, pumping in all my "spare" time, retraining an almost two-week-old on how to eat, taking pills and drinking teas all the live long day, etc. etc. etc. WHAT THE HECK EVER, people!!!! I will not be able to take this for much longer. Updates to follow, I am sure.


Anonymous said...

I just want to say -- do whatever is best for you and baby and your collective life in general and who cares what anyone else may think about your various "faults" if breastfeeding does not work in a ideal way that they pretend it should. maggie was also apparently either starving or just needing something to suck on all day long when she was first born and they said, that means you have to nurse her, don't give a bink, don't give a bottle, just nurse, even if that means all day. and many bad thngs happened to various "apparatus" of mine because of this and it was awful for all of us and when i switched to formula she ate and ate and was happy and i was relieved and nate took over all nighttime feedings from then on and this was a beautiful thing and i think saved my sanity at that time. and if you decide you want to continue to make breastfeeding work, that's great and if you decide not to, that's great too and either way, you shouldn't feel any mama guilt because in a few years, you won't even care at all.

Lilita said...

Hear freaking hear!!! I'm going to give it the old college try, but I have a finite amount of time to allot to this in my head, so when we get there and there is no change, we are done, and I will banish guilt forever!

Scott said...

breastfeeding is horrible in the begining, if you can get it to work for both of you, it does get easier beyond belief, but please don't kill yourself trying! i consider myself a happy, smart, good person and i was rasied on 100% formula!

i have to laugh that your delivery device is too big bc mine were so short my lactacion angel said most babies would have given up but calvin stretched them out so much it was much easier for oliver!

it took me a five-day hospital stay (after a c-sect) with help round the clock of people showing me how to nurse and i still had a hard time when i went home, i don't know how people learn on their own?just do whatEVER is best for you both! and i am such a better mom when i can sleep again!