Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Very Special Post. Boobs Mentioned.

So, this breastfeeding thing. Let's start from the beginning.

When burrito was born, I'd say he was on the boob in the first 2 hours. Luckily, there were lactation consultants as far as the eye could see, so I got offered help at least a million times. I said yes to all of them, cause from what I'd heard, I'd need it.

The first one went pretty well, she helped get him latched and sucking away with his little newborn mouth. She basically grabbed my boob and shoved it in his mouth. She used the method of brushing the nipple down his nose to get his mouth open wide. I didn't feel a whole bunch at first, but it did get a wee bit sore so I lathered on the Lansinoh - in small amounts, because I am cheap.

The tops I brought to the Hosp were basically pajama tops and one Gap nursing shirt, and I had a Medela sleep bra, which, love. Oh the comfort at night. Not that I slept that first night. I was pretty much just up watching him, and figuring out how to lie/sit so my ass didn't kill.

So, we continued on, my burrito, boobs and me. It looked as If he was able to suck and get stuff, it was just colostrum at first so I didn't really see anything come out, but he wasn't opening his mouth wide enough, and it was starting to get painful. The lac cons and I tried a couple different positions for nursing, with the boppy and with pillows, and my left side started to be the one he didn't like. I was doing one side at a time at first.

After we got home, he continued to get enough, and I'd say within the 1st week, my milk came in. And then my boobs came in. Waaaay in. Like, good morning Dolly Parton (for me) in. I had cleavage I never thought I would, and found out what it's like to have actual boobs, like other women. Of course, eventually the side-effects kicked in: stretch marks, giant areolas, and a fun one - leaking. I blamed burrito's wet outfit on two faulty brands of diapers until I realized I *may* be leaking through my bra while he's nursing. Thank you, let-down.

The 1st week, I thought, was a bit hard. It was nothing compared to the 2nd week. The nips were sore all the time, and the cream helped, but it was just torturous at times. And then there was the favoring one side. He wasn't latching very well starting a couple days after we got home, and I remember being up one morning at 2am just crying, tears falling on the baby who was crying also, because it was so frustrating. There were times when he wanted to eat All.The.Time. and I didn't know if he was getting anything, or if he was getting nothing, or what the problem was.

And then of course, there was the moment when my mom was like, you're only feeding on one side? hmm. yeah. It's ok to feed them on both sides. And here I was sitting there for a half hour while burrito munched away on one boob. Lo and Behold, it only takes him like 10-15 minutes on one side to get his fill. It was only a couple days of that though, so we figured it out and got into a new routine pretty quick.

I wish I would've known about the growth spurts where they eat CONSTANTLY, and that there are days when they just wanna eat and that's that, when I started. Sometime around the start of the third week, he switched to the other boob being the favorite, and just wasn't having the shunned boob. His latch really didn't improve, and I called the lac cons about two times after I was home from the hosp. They gave me some good suggestions and advice, and I am so thankful I had that option. When it came down to it:
- his latch wasn't the best, but he was getting food
- sometimes he just wanted to eat
- sometimes he just wanted to suck
- my nips were PAINFUL
- it was ok to cry, moan and bitch about it.

Sometime after that, I'd say around 4+ weeks, it got better. I can't pinpoint anything specifically, but really helped, and just sticking with it made me feel...not better, but stronger. Not to say if it had been bad enough that switching to formula would've been weak, however, I think now that I didn't even consider that as an option, so my only choice was to succeed at breastfeeding. Possibly. Kind of like with labor - I was so scared of the needles, it didn't occur to me to ask for drugs; it wasn't even an option. And of course, there's always my pain mantra: it's probably going to get worse, so suck it up.

At around 5 weeks, we started being able to nurse laying down in bed, which was fantastic. He was beginning to be able to suck the nip into his mouth without having me pry his chin down and shove it in. And now? It's like a little mini-vac that sucks it in no matter where it is. Seriously. He could be across the room and his sucking power will just draw him to the boob. Pshaw. But I digress. I'm glad I was able to stick with it, and it wasn't as painful as it could've been, because it's really good for him and his immune system especially now that we're in cold&flu season; it's cheap; and I feel wanted and needed and useful, especially now that he's in daycare. And those moments when he's nursing and he looks up and catches my eye? Priceless.

products used:
Lansinoh lanolin
Lansinoh disposable pads - not to sound like the quote on the main page...but yeah, these do work well overnight!
I did try nipple shells and shields (Medela) but I think that I got the wrong size shield so it just hurt that much more. The shells, however? LOVE. It's like a protective little cup for the nips. Course, if you're leak-prone, remember to put a pad around them, lol.
Gap nursing tops - because I don't shop anywhere else.
Ok, I lied, Target has some nice nursing tanks for bedtime too.
I also brought one of Medela's sleep bras to the hosp with me, which was nice.

Advice to myself for possible next baby:
expect it to hurt like hell for the first 3 weeks. wake up at 2am, bitch, moan, throw things at husband. but it will get better. they will stop hurting. and maybe next time, try to plan for a summer baby so your nips don't freeze off.

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