Breastfeeding...What They Don't Tell You :)

Hello again! So sorry for the delay in writing in the blog again. So much has happened, and it's hard to believe that Noah is already a month old. He continues to just grow and grow, becoming more alert every day. At his pediatrician appointment last week, he weighed 8 lbs., 9 oz., which is nearly 2 lbs. more than he weighed when we left the hospital. I imagine that he weighs around 9 lbs. today. It's wild when you are breastfeeding to think that all of Noah's weight gain and growth is because he is getting all of his nourishment from my body...crazy! God sure did design out bodies perfectly, huh?

Speaking of breastfeeding, all I can say is WOW! Actually, I have so much to say about breastfeeding because even though I read a lot about it prior to Noah's arrival, I have been completely amazed by just how difficult it can be! When I would see notices for breastfeeding support groups, I just didn't get what kind of support those women were needing. Now after having a baby, I COMPLETELY understand!

After Noah was born, and we were still in the hospital, he had a really hard time latching on to eat. I worked with two different lactation consultants (who were wonderful!), and they felt as though Noah wasn't sticking out his tongue far enough to get a good strong latch. They gave me a 20 mm. contact nipple shield (http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/breastfeeding-devices) in order to help Noah latch on. This shield is the only reason we were able to get started with feeding, and it was wonderful...for awhile. Quickly, I became really frustrated with having to use the shield. It would fall off me at times while getting Noah situated to eat. Then, he would sometimes rip it off of me while it was full of milk, spraying milk all over both of us. This was especially frustrating when nursing him in front of other people because I had to cover up with a blanket. Trying to juggle Noah, the shield, the blanket...while trying to help him latch on...it was just frustrating! I started attending this breastfeeding support group at Community South Hospital to try to get more help with weaning him off the shield. They gave me a 24 mm nipple shield to help Noah learn to open his mouth wider in order to work on his latch since his tongue placement had improved. We continued to use the nipple shield up until probably the one month mark, June 15th. HOORAY!!! My son has overcome his first big challenge!!!

Now, that part of breastfeeding was a little frustrating. What I wasn't prepared for with breastfeeding is how TAXING it is...physically, emotionally, and mentally. When I would read in books that he would need to eat 8-10 times a day, I thought, "Ok, no problem." What I didn't know was that Noah would require 40 solid minutes of eating per feeding! If you take into account changing his diaper, feeding him, burping him, etc., it can be an hour long process. This means that anywhere from 8 to 10 hours per day I am feeding Noah! Yeah and I thought I was on maternity leave. Breastfeeding alone is a full time job right now. For some reason, I just assumed it would take half the time that it currently does, but boy was I wrong! I hear he will get faster at it, and I'm definitely looking forward to those days.

Physically, breastfeeding can definitely take its toll, too. No matter how well your baby latches, those initial several seconds when he/she first latches on just plain ol' HURT! It feels like pinching...youch! Starting last Wednesday, I started getting these body aches that just got worse and worse Thursday and Friday. My right breast started hurting really bad, too, leading me to think that I probably had Mastitis (
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mastitis/DS00678). Not only did I have a lot of pain, but I also had a fever of 102.3. So, one call to my doula (hooray for postpartum support!) and another to my OBGYN, and I had a prescription for penicillin. Fortunately, my step-mom was in town Wed-Fri, so she was a HUGE help with Noah! Ryan took a half day off work on Friday, too, so all I had to do was feed Noah, and then I would fall back to sleep.

At 3 weeks old, Noah went through this growth spurt that about took the life out of me...haha! Everyone told me, "Now he will go through a growth spurt and will want to eat all of the time." Well, it's not that I didn't believe them...I just had no clue what it meant to have a child wanting to eat all of the time. It was CRAZY! Let me preface this story with saying that Wednesday, June 4th Noah got the worst gas pains of his (short) life. He was SCREAMING...and when I say screaming...I mean he was ballistic! There was no consoling that little guy. He would finally get comfortable, and then he would start crying hysterically again. We felt so bad for him! Ryan's sister was staying overnight with us, so she helped with him, too. We tried the Milacon drops, but they seemed to only make things worse. Noah finally got somewhat comfortable around 2 a.m. and fell asleep on my chest for the night. I was afraid to move him because he had been in such pain, so I slept sitting up with my eyes half open all night! In other words, mommy didn't get much sleep before heading into Thursday...which is when the all around the clock feeding began. He started eating every hour and a half, which meant that if he ate at 10 a.m., he began his next feeding at 11:30 a.m. Since he takes 40 minutes to eat, Noah would eat from 10-10:40 a.m. Unfortunately, he cried most of the time between 10:40 and 11:30 when it was time to start eating again. This went on for two days, and by the time Ryan got home from work on Friday afternoon, I was in tears. I was just beaten down, exhausted, and overwhelmed. This was probably the lowest I have felt since Noah's birth, and I'm glad that is behind me! Needless to say, when Noah began eating every two hours this past Monday and Tuesday, I was much more prepared. I just said to myself..."Ok, we're going to just sit on the couch and eat all day long." It was much easier that time around!

So anyway, that's about all I have to say about breastfeeding right now. I know that it's the best thing I can do for Noah right now, and that motivates me to keep doing it! Plus, I'm sure you would all agree that I'm one stubborn and determined person, so by gosh, we are going to do this! :) Now I understand why people say to give breastfeeding six weeks before you throw in the towel...and I understand why so many people use formula instead of breastmilk. Sure it's really expensive, but it also is less demanding on your body. They say that you shouldn't quit anything on your worst day. I try to remember that when times are tough with breastfeeding!

Noah has smiled at me a couple times now, which totally melts my heart! Hope you enjoy the new pictures. :)


michi.yamano said...

..haha! Sounds very familiar! It gets better and faster, stick with it! Always here if you need to vent! xoxo

Erin said...

Those pics are adorable... thanks for sharing. I am thinking of you and I know you can do it! Love you:)

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