Monday, October 31, 2011

Nursing

Nursing didn't go so well with Olivia and me, so I worked myself into a panic in anticipation of nursing Bowen.  All I could think about was the pain, even though I know many people don't encounter the cracking and bleeding and shooting pain in their armpits and plugged ducts and whatnot.  Not to mention the loneliness of being the sole provider during the graveyard shift and the social awkwardness of anything boob-related in public.  But I was determined to give it my best, if only for the antibodies.  I read up on breastfeeding before Bowen was born, and Amalah/AlphaMom's pages like this, this, and this were really helpful.  Things like knowing that babies are born to suck but have to be taught how to latch properly, and ways to boost supply.  Good stuff.

Bowen was born on a Friday, so the lactation consultant (LC) stopped by before her weekend, while I was still hopped up on morphine and blubbering through tears when sharing my nursing fears with my nurse (Hi, Jennifer Pifer, you are awesome).  When it was time for Bowen to nurse I was all thumbs and he was this sleepy, flopsy thing who couldn't care less if he ate.  The LC helped me position him properly, although I had to wonder if I really needed three pillows every time he nursed.  But we had all weekend to practice and on Monday morning the LC came back, things looked good, and we got discharged (read: sent home to go it alone).  Steve went to the local compounding pharmacy to get APNO after getting quizzical looks when I asked for a Rx from three different doctors, and I really think the ointment was helpful.  I took Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle to boost my supply when my milk came in (and felt super crunchy taking herbals, but "Blessed Thistle!" is my new swear word so it's okay.)  And even when I am super tired in the middle of the night I make sure we have a good (as best I could tell) latch.  And at the risk of jinxing things, I'm here to tell you it's possible to nurse without scabs.  Praise God!  It's still lonely being the only one who can feed Bowen (and he's still so sleepy it takes 45 minutes each time because I have to mess with him to keep him awake), but I dislike pumping even more.  The pediatrician said a good time to introduce a bottle is around 2-3 weeks of age, so our plan is to try supplementing with formula sometime in there.   In the meantime Steve gets up during the night to hold Bowen if he cries and it hasn't been very long since the previous feeding.  Super helpul is my man! 

[Don't get me started on how great Steve has been with Olivia.  Our formerly-sweet little girl is adjusting to life outside the center of the universe, now constantly testing boundaries, refusing naps, being uncooperative, and being contrary for the sake of attention.  It is really hard for me to know whether to extend an extra measure of grace or if that's letting her walk all over me.  And Grandma & Poppy are back in New York after their weekend visit and Steve is back at work now so she's not going to have as much attention.  Feel free to send advice my way, anne2819@yahoo.com.]

I digress...  Even if I am properly covered up, I still have a hard time breastfeeding in front of people who aren't medical personnel or close friends.  Nevertheless I am working on a nursing cover using supplies I already had (the dream of every pack rat) and this tutorial, but I lined it and put the D-rings on the other strap so the tail goes down.  Why did I wait until after Bowen was born to do this?  Procrastination, mainly (I'm not a nester), plus I wanted to make sure nursing would "take" before putting the effort into sewing something.  I decided to make it from fabric that I liked instead of "boy baby" fabric.  It's the little things that help make this nursing thing more fun, and I love purple, pink, and orange together.

3 comments:

Elizabeth @ Virginia Is For Mothers said...

Hey, yea! Second time nursing was MUCH better for me too...although it did go downhill after 6 weeks for some unknown reason and I stopped at 9 weeks, but whatever. I also had less pain so I'm glad it's working better for you. 20 days and I will be right there with you!

Elizabeth @ Virginia Is For Mothers said...

Oh, and Ethan also went through a brief contrary spell after Noah was born as well. He started out curious, then digressed into out and out aggression (towards Noah) and climbing on furniture and blatantly disobeying. Thankfully, I don't remember it lasting all that long. Everything is a phase...everything is a phase.

Tammy said...

So glad nursing is going better for you this time around. I took fenugreek with both of mine and it agitated Carleigh's reflux so look out for that if you continue to use it. Hope to see you in Bible study once you are more rested and NEED that time away from all little ones.