Thursday, March 25, 2010

Trials and Tribulations

I mentioned in one of my last posts (my long, rambling, completely unsensical last post) that Keevia used to scream at the breast.

Lets rewind and visit some of my breastfeeding trials and tribulations.

Now, to get started, I want to state that the single-most favorite thing about being a Mom (for me) is the breastfeeding. I LOVE how excited she gets now when I pull my breast out, how her little arms wave and she starts making this adorable "ah!ah!ah!" sound. I LOVE how it is her favorite thing in the whole world. I love how it can soothe her when nothing else can. I love that it's a bonding time that she and I have that no one else can have. I love breastfeeding. I dread quitting (and don't plan to until she's 2ish). That being said...

Breastfeeding is not easy. In fact, at times, it's a pain in the rear (or, boob actually). It has been the second hardest thing I have ever done (the first being giving birth, haha), but it's kind of tied with being the most rewarding thing I've ever done!.

When they placed Keevia in my arms, after a few moments of pure bliss, I tried to get her to latch. Mmm... nope, didn't work. Then, the 5 people around me started giving me advice... and she still wouldn't latch. Finally, she latched a little, sucked a few times, and unlatched. Then they wanted to take her for the whole weighing, measuring bit. So I let them.

An hour or so later, it was just me and Carl, alone in the Momma/Baby room with my baby. She had been bathed (and we experienced her first hissy fit), and I decided to try and latch her again. I gathered my trusty boppy pillow, sat up, and snuggled her too me. Finally, it was quiet and calm, and the Stadol they'd given me while in labor (it was that or Pit, and I wouldn't have survived the Pit) had worn off. She latched on the left! She latched on the left!

Then we tried the right. Much more difficult to latch her there. Apparently I have an inverted nipple, and it's at a really weird angle. I finally had to try a football hold to get her situated there.

Do you know how awesome our God is? How amazing he made our bodies? When you give birth, your boobs aren't filled with milk -- it takes a few days to "come in", but your body makes a substance called Colostrum, which is chock-full of vitamins & immunities that your baby needs. And the truly awesome part? Babies only need 1 teaspoon of it per feeding.

I was up most of the night, sitting in the chair, cuddling my wee one, and breastfeeding. In hindsight, I probably should have at least TALKED with the lactation consultant.... but Mom had been one before. They loaded me up with free lanolin cream, and said to call if I needed them.

My nipples started getting sore, but my latch was fine. Keevia nursed like a champ, and we got it down pretty well. I did the prescribed 10 minutes on one side, then I let her go as long as she wanted on the other.

My nipples hated me. HATED me. I would cry when she latched on the right. I developed a milk blister, which is the MOST UNCOMFORTABLE THING IN THE WORLD. Mom had never encountered any of this, and I relied a LOT on Dr. Google. It was either my 2 week post-partum or my 6 week visit that I had my midwife look at it and feel for a clogged duct.

She said I didn't have a clogged duct, but that I did have a milk blister, and to sterilize a needle and gently poke it, which would let the crystallized milk come out. You want me to WHAT my nipple? But, I did it. And then Keevia sucked out the crystallized part, and it slowly, slowly hurt less and less. That side randomly still gets sore, I think because Keevs doesn't latch as well on that side, but its never been truly painful since that time.

I also got these AWESOME cooling gel breast-pads. They suctioned to my boob and helped a ton. The only downside was that you had to wash your nipple before the baby nursed, and um, my baby was a little impatient.

Then, colic hit. And don't let people lie to you...colic is hell. Pure and simple. We used gripe water, we used the swing, we rocked, we jiggled, we bounced, we sang, we laid Keevia in a 'bat girl' position on our laps, we cried with her... it was miserable. What would work one night wouldn't work the next. She started going downhill around 3 pm, and would keep it up until she would fall asleep, exhausted, around 9-12pm. Thankfully, she slept well, otherwise I would have been a zombie.

She also would get EXTREMELY hungry, but not eat. She would SCREAM at the breast, and nothing you could do would get her to nurse. She'd get so worked up, and in such a temper, that she was literally inconsolable. I literally tear up thinking about it. But, we discovered if we put JUST a little Mylicon in her mouth and then immediately put her to the breast, she would nurse. It was like she would get SO hungry and SO mad that my letdown took a bit that it was a vicious cycle. It was around this time that every.single.poop. hurt her. Not just a little hurt her, but she would scream and scream until she pooped (and she only pooped once every day-two days)and then be fine.

On Christmas, we ALL got a stomach bug, and I was soooooooo concerned about a dip in my supply that I ate oatmeal every day to twice a day for about two weeks. Then, one day we saw blood in Keevie's stool. It was like 11pm on a Friday, so I googled it. It was a possible milk allergy, or could be an oversupply. After reading through the oversupply, I decided that was definitely the problem. I simply started nursing her STRICTLY on one side anytime she wanted to nurse in a two-three hour period. Then, I would switch sides. This let her get enough hind-milk (which she wasn't getting before) and kept the foremilk from building up in her intestines and causing pain and gas.

Immediate change in babe. Immediate improvement.

From there... it's been a lot smoother sailing. We're getting in our groove. Who would have thought it would have taken 3-4 months? We can now breastfeed in public, without a cover, without anyone being the wiser. And I couldn't be happier.

I LIVE for those smiles. I LIVE for her pulling back, grinning real big (with milk oozing from the side of her mouth) then her going back and eating again. I love that she nuzzles anyone with boobs, wanting her Momma. I love how she can be screaming in someones arms, and as soon as I get her, she turns and smiles at the person who was holding her. I love her to pieces, and I am so, SO glad I get to breastfeed her, and have the bond that we do.

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