Friday, January 30, 2009

Week 5

It's been kind of an up-and-down week for me, and I hesitate to blog about things that are constantly changing. So anyway, now it's Friday and I'm looking back at last week's entry to give you guys an update. Sorry for no pictures, I just don't have my act together what with all the warm, moist compresses. (See below.)

Breastfeeding... My visit with the lactation consultant last week went okay, although I have mixed feeling about LCs. They don't always know what they're talking about; it's like they have plenty of book knowledge but can't tell me what I'm doing wrong. And they tell you that you should not feel pain when breastfeeding, although I have read and heard enough to know that is just not true. We had two different lactation consultants drop by our hospital room after the delivery to make sure feedings were going well (and they were). Both times we were given a wealth of information in a short amount of time, leaving me overwhelmed. It's like they barely took the time to watch Olivia nurse before plunging into their spiel from the beginning, leaving me wondering if I was doing it wrong or not. Plus, they gave me two different ways of doing things ("No, do it this way") which was confusing. Anyway, last Thursday the LC said I should go to my OB because she thought the source of my pain was from yeast. On Friday the OB told me to use athlete's foot spray to treat it, but wash it off before each feeding. The stuff is disgusting because it also applies powder with the antifungal spray, and washing it off every couple of hours made feeding the baby that much less fun. I googled it and didn't really think I had symptoms of a yeast infection and the pain was getting worse, so I quit using the spray and pumped for a few days to give myself a chance to heal. I think my pain is nothing but a bad latch. I googled that as well and have a few more tricks that are helping. So I'm still breastfeeding although I came very close to quitting this week. Not that I will feel like a failure if I do; I just want to do what is best for Olivia. One of my friends pointedly suggested that Mama having pain and stress while nursing *may not* be the best thing for Olivia, antibodies or not. I'm going to try and give it another couple of weeks and reassess.

The other reason I went to the OB last Friday is because I have a lump near my armpit that the LC said was probably a blocked duct but conventional treatment was proving ineffective. (Read: I massaged it to the point of bruising, and no amount of pumping or nursing helped open it up.) So I had a breast ultrasound this week and the radiologist confirmed that it's a blocked duct and not a cyst or galactocele or cancer or anything else. The milk isn't pooling in one specific area so she was unable to drain it with a needle (which I think would have been awesome). So, I'm on antibiotics and am supposed to nurse/pump regularly (thus keeping me from quitting) and keep hot/moist compresses on it. You know, in all my spare time I can either soak whatever I'm wearing with the hot washcloth, or strip down in the middle of winter. Heh.

Anyway, enough about me, let's talk about Olivia and how she sleeps! At night! As soon as we put her down! Bliss! Our old routine was to let her feed and sleep on demand, which worked out okay and she slept for like 4-5 hours at a time at night. BUT, we never knew when the stretch would begin. I would get a knot in my stomach (and cry) at dinnertime each night with the anticipation of the nighttime routine. Starting around 8 or 9pm we'd rock her to sleep, lay her in the crib, and she'd wake herself up a short while later. Rock, lay down, sleep, WAAAAHHH!!! We'd do this for hours until eventually she'd go down for a long stretch sometimes at 10, sometimes at midnight. We never knew whether to check email nearby or head to bed ourselves so we'd take shifts; I'd go to bed at 8 and take over when Steve had enough. We were exhausted.

One day my dad told me someone at church had recommended a baby care book. On one hand I was like, "Not another book," and on the other hand I was so frustrated and ready to try anything. The book is written by two pediatric nurses and covers everything from how to trim nails to when to call the doctor. But the sleeping chapter is the one that caught my attention. Their method is to feed the baby at 6pm and not again until 9pm so she eats well before bed. In the meantime she can sleep or whatever, and give her a bath before the bedtime feeding. Then when you put her down swaddle her tightly so her startle reflex doesn't wake her up, make her room dark, and loudly play white noise. (We use a radio tuned to a non-station frequency and crank it up as loud as a vacuum cleaner.) The authors said to try their method for three nights, but Olivia has gone to sleep *and stayed asleep* consistently from the first night. It's magical and wonderful and I can go to bed at 10 and know that she won't wake up again until 2am.

I have a small window of opportunity to go shoe shopping, so I'm going to sign off. Have a great weekend, enjoy the Super Bowl, and sleep a lot *because you can*.

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