Boob Saga, Part 1: The Cowening

Yes I’m talking about my boobs now.  You will likely hear about this a few times this week because I have a bunch to say about the topic and I don’t want to write it all down tonight.  Breastfeeding was one of the biggest rollercoaster experiences of being a mom for me, second only to sleep (which I will so talk about some other time).  I had moments of sheer joy during this process and I also experienced one of the most profound disappointments I have ever had.

I decided while I was pregnant that I really wanted to try to breastfeed my son for as long as I possibly could.  In my head I at least wanted to get to 6 month without any sort of supplemental business going on.  I read a slew of books on the topic and had myself pretty well prepared.  I called the hospital as well as my pediatrician to make sure I would have the consultation of a lactation consultant while I was in the hospital.  I bought a breast pump and related accessories and prepared myself for the exhaustion of essentially being a milking cow for a few months.

My labor with my son was long and difficult and at the end of the whole affair I had a wonderful baby boy that I had to be whisked away from to have surgery to clean up some of the mess after the birth.  Once I was finally with the baby I tried feeding him under the guidance of the lactation consultant and he was actually a champ right from the beginning.  We didn’t have any trouble getting latched on in the hospital and he ate what he could and was having pretty regular wet and soiled diapers while we were there.  We went home and my milk came in right on time and he continued eating like he was a professional at it.  He was a pretty frequent nurser both day and night for the first two weeks and I was exhausted but I was also on a maternal high.  I felt like we had gotten through the hardest part!  We got the whole thing down right away and I was feeling great about this.

Then Nathan hit about 2 weeks and the reflux reared it’s ugly head.  He was fussy and wanted to latch constantly.  This was partially because he was a super hungry baby and partially because breast milk acts like an antacid for babies with reflux.  Drinking little bits frequently not only helps control the reflux but when their tummy is bothering them for other reasons it helps to settle things down.  This is when the exhaustion of the whole business hit the first high.  I was spent.  I felt like I was nursing every hour all day because well I was.  He started sleeping for a few longer stretches at night but the days were wearing me down.  Add to this my anxiety and the fact that I just wasn’t eating enough and you had one tired mama.

In the beginning we had the reflux under control by a mild amount of Zantac and frequent nursing.  He was fussy but not the fussiest baby and he never refused to eat.  This later was not the case but for the time being he was ok just being a little crank on and off and constantly spitting up on the 4 shirts I had that actually fit me after giving birth.  I seemed to have enough milk for him in those early weeks.  Starting around 3 weeks against the lactation consultants wishes I started pumping so that Don could give the baby one bottle a few nights a week.  I was so tired and just need a little bit of help.  This ended up working out really well.  I would go to bed when the baby did.  Don would give him a bottle at the first wakeup and then I would nurse him the rest of the night.   I was able to sleep 5 hours and the baby didn’t seem to care when he was tired what container the milk came in as long as it was there.

This whole scenario worked really well for us until Nathan was about 6 weeks old.  He hit a growth spurt of epic proportions and that’s when things started to get interesting (and even more difficult).  I want to talk about that but we are in the throes of rough nights because of teething and developmental spurts so I’m going to have to save the business of shit going south for tomorrow.  Did any of you other mom’s have a rough start breastfeeding?  If you did how did you get through it?  If you didn’t breastfeed at all  did you have any troubles with feeding in the beginning?

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About Elaine

Mom, engineer, writer, gamer, gym rat. Ain't nobody got time for excuses.
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One Response to Boob Saga, Part 1: The Cowening

  1. barbex says:

    Here’s my experience:
    After having no problems breastfeeding my first son (apart from that my nipples hurt like hell and I had to sleep sitting upright the first week cause my breasts felt like they would explode!) I was quite relaxed when it came to my second son. My first son was a calm and steady drinker and was filled (not hungry) for about three hours after every meal.
    So with my second son I was all “I got this!”. Yeah, not so much. My second son was fidgeting, easily to distract, took the bare minimum of milk cause there was so much to look at! Oh the pain when he whipped his head around with my nipple still firmly in his mouth! So at four months I was basically nursing him almost every hour and still my doctor told me that he didn’t gain enough weight. That’s when I started with solids, rice based pulp that I made with Formula instead of milk. Now that stuff was great! The Formula (I don’t know what you call that, it’s made as a breast milk substitute) filled him for up to six hours! My poor breasts were finally getting a break. I still nursed him but that one meal in the morning and later a second meal at night (six hours sleep!!!) with the formula saved us!

    Moral of the story: every child is different and you just have to find the “works for me” way that makes everybody happy.

    The funny thing is that in those first weeks my kids already showed their basic personality traits! My first son is still very methodical, quiet, concentrates on a task and finishes it, while my second son is chaotic, easy to distract, starts lots of things and has a hard time finishing anything. Goes to show how little influence we actually have on our kids.

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