call_me_ps: What Supernatural obsession? (I can has bewbies-Inara)
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I am applying for [livejournal.com profile] adopt_a_mom and one of their requirements is a nursing story, so here is mine.

I have always known I would breastfed. I was breastfed. My sister breastfed. It's just what we do in my family. Still, before Eowyn was born I joined a few breastfeeding communities and read a few books to prepare. But of course, the birth didn't go as expected. She had meconium in her fluid, and inhaled some of it so she had to be taken to the Level II nursery immediately after birth. I wasn't allowed to nurse her until about 3 hours later. It seemed so much longer than that. Our first nursing session, I didn't really know what to do. I put her up to my breast, and it seemed she didn't know what to do, either. One of the nurses came in, and shoved my boob into her mouth, but didn't explain to me how to position or get her to latch or anything. The first nursing session was painful. She had a bad latch, which I realized from the pain, but I had no clue how to correct it. A few hours later, my midwife arrived, and she talked me through positioning and latching, showing me the football and cross-cradle holds as well as how to press my nipple flat to give Eowyn something to latch on to. We were somewhat successful, however her latch still wasn't perfect and my nipples started to crack.

That night, we had visitors and so Eowyn was being passed around and I must have waited too long to feed her. She was screaming her head off, and we couldn't figure out what was wrong. I thought she was hungry, but she just wouldn't eat. We tried for over an hour to get her to nurse while she screamed and I cried, before finally calling the nurses (it didn't occur to us to do sooner). One came in and we used a bit of sugar water to convince her to latch on. After we finally got her to nurse, we were exhausted so we let the nursery take her while we slept. They kept her for 3 hours and brought her back to nurse, and that session went fine. Then, they took her back again and this time, they kept her for 5 hours while we slept--she wasn't given formula but she was given a pacifier. When they brought her back that morning, she started screaming and was absolutely starving. But again, no matter what we did, she simply would not suck. She would latch on for a second or two, and then pop off. Rinse, lather, repeat, just as she had done the previous night. At that point, the lactation consultant came in and worked with us, but the sugar water trick wasn't working and neither was expressing some colostrum before latching her on.

The pediatrician on call was there and told me (again, I was in tears) that if we had to give her a bottle or two of formula it wouldn't be the end of the world, and we had plenty of time to work out latching. I told the LC in no uncertain terms that a) my baby would not be receiving formula and b) if we did have to feed her by some alternate method other than my breasts, it wouldn't be a bottle. We tried for quite awhile longer to get Eowyn to latch but she just wouldn't do it (the kid was/is stubborn as hell!) so finally the LC suggested pumping some colostrum and syringe feeding her to appease her hunger, then latching her on to finish her meal. Which is, ultimately, what got her back on the breast. After that episode, she didn't refuse the breast again, but we still had to work on our latch a bit as my nipples continued to crack (and occasionally bleed). Eowyn preferred my right breast over my left (still does...) and I learned the football hold which "tricked" her into thinking she was nursing on the right side, since she laid in the same direction. I was also able to learn how to nurse lying down, which made things infinitely easier until she gained more head control.

At 10 days old, she was admitted to Children's with a very high fever which we later found out was due to mastitis (due to the residual hormones from their mothers, some babies excrete milk. This is sometimes called "witch's milk". Eowyn was one of those babies but unfortunately for her, one of her ducts became blocked, so the tissue became infected). She wouldn't nurse all morning and at the ER, after they got the IV into her, they asked if I wanted to try nursing her. I said, "Yes, can I?" and they told me, "Absolutely! It's the best thing you can do for her. It may be one of the reasons that her infection isn't worse!" I nursed her right there in the ER, which was extremely difficult given the IV in her arm, but we managed it there and in the hospital for the next two days. The breastfeeding support I received at the Children's hospital was a great boost to my confidence and my determination to continue.

We've had a few hiccups here and there, such as thrush (from the antibiotics she was on for her mastitis), food allergies (hers--dairy and egg) and poor weight gain (that made me doubt my ability to provide for her, but we had wonderful, patient peds who never onced mentioned FTT or formula supplementation), but for the most part our nursing relationship flourished. She "weaned" at 1 month shy of her second birthday, when my milk dried up because of my second pregnancy. When the colostrum came back, she asked to nurse again. I tried to let her one night, because i figured she'd realize she didn't know how to latch and quit asking. Well, I was right. She had forgotten how to latch. But what I wasn't prepared for was how devastated *I* was at that realization. I cried. A lot. Turns out I wasn't ready for our nursing relationship to end, but apparently, neither was she. She kept asking, I kept saying no, no, no. She didn't understand why I was saying no and it occurred to me one day that I didn't understand why I was saying no, either. Mainly because I knew the people around me (even my Mom, who was very supportive) would think she's too old to nurse. And I didn't like that reason, and so I finally said yes, told her how to latch and she latched right on. I'll never forget her contented sigh when the colostrum started to flow for her again. It was the right decision, letting her "re-nurse" and we are still going strong at 3 years, nearly 2 months.

My nursing story with Inara is much shorter. I didn't prep, having successfully nursed one older child I felt confident going in. Like Eowyn, I did not get to nurse her directly after birth because she, too, had breathing difficulties and had to be taken to the level II nursery for some assistance until she was getting enough oxygen on her own. They brought her to me about 6 hours or so after her birth, and I remember feeling like I was brand new at it all over again. Nursing a newborn is soooo different than nursing a toddler and I had forgotten what to do! We muddled our way through the first nursing session (I remembered the cross-cradle and how to squish my nipple, but I couldn't quite get enough in her mouth during that first session. She had/has a tiny little mouth and didn't want to open it very far) until once again, the midwife arrived and reminded me that with a newborn, you bring baby to boob, not boob to baby. The next nursing sessions improved dramatically, although she still had the tiny mouth she didn't like to open so I had to be very cognizant of her latch and correct it frequently (I still have to correct her latch from time to time at 10 months because of this same small mouth issue). However, my nipples did not crack/bleed at all with her, and the only small hiccup we've had is thrush which was resistant to my tried-and-true GSE treatment regimen (white vinegar ended up being the magic bullet that knocked it out). She's going strong at 10 months.

Neither of my children have had a single drop of formula, and I credit the support I had (my sister and my Mom, two experienced breastfeeding mamas, and the women I met here on LJ) as well as my own research/education and determination with making it happen for both of them. Breastfeeding my children is one of my life's accomplishments of which I am most proud and while I haven't enjoyed every second of it (there are times when the last thing I want is a child attached to me in any way, shape or form), I am proud of every last second I have nursed the two of them. I strongly believe that I have given them a head start in life and that Eowyn's allergies would be much more severe if I had not breastfed her. Go. Freaking. Me.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-28 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] onlyariana.livejournal.com
We haven't seen an update from you in [livejournal.com profile] adopt_a_mom for the August update (http://community.livejournal.com/adopt_a_mom/452651.html).

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