When I found out I was pregnant with Smalls, the first thing I wanted to do was to provide the best possible start for him. That includes breastfeeding. Not supplementation, not infant formula.
No One Told Me That Breastfeeding Hurts
We had a pretty rough start-Smalls had trouble learning to latch, and after a difficult labor and emergency c-section, I was completely exhausted, doped up (they cut me open, after all), and not really sure of what to do.
My wonderful Doula was there with me to help me with my first go round, and I was lucky enough to have my recovery room right next to the lactation consultant’s office. I didn’t start having issues until I got home.
First of all, I realize that those first few days and weeks of breastfeeding are uncomfortable. You’re getting used to the latch, positioning, and although there are pros (I went to quite a few LLL meetings trying to figure it all out), I honestly believe that practice makes perfect.
Careful, He Bites
Except when it doesn’t. Just about the time that my boobies stopped hurting after every feeding, Smalls bit through my nipple. Yes, you read that right. THROUGH.IT.
No one believed me until I showed them the bloody gum marks (might as well have been tooth marks for all the good it did my confidence!).
And to this day, I cannot tell you what happened to cause them. He was latching well, had good control…I will go with the “it was just a fluke” explanation. After the biting incident, breastfeeding became harder for me. I had Ish go out and buy me shields, which helped, but did not negate the pain.
The bite actually took a good three weeks to heal. Every time I fed Smalls or pumped, the bites opened up again. I am proud to say that I persevered and am still exclusively breastfeeding! But I also realize that I’m not the norm here.
Now, I’m not completely healed from that experience. In fact, I still have a small blister every time I pump, and it’s been over four months. Weird.
Why Am I Telling You All Of This?
Because I love my baby and his pattern seems to be changing. I realize that babies get far more efficient with their nursing skills, and with Smalls being such a large baby, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case. I feed Smalls on demand, and up until a week ago, the pattern was about every two hours for about twenty minutes.
Until it wasn’t. Now Smalls wants to eat for three minutes every hour. This is NOT working for me. I think that part of the issue may be a distractable baby. To combat this, I’ve been careful to feed him away from any noise (radio,iPod, etc.), in a ‘boring’ area of the house (either the rocker or in his room), but he seems to find the most inane things fascinating. Great.
I am a huge proponent of doing research and education yourself. So I’ve been reading books (hence the attention to WHERE I feed him and feeding on demand), researching online, and now I’m at a loss.
I also do not let my son ‘cry it out’ or fuss for more than a few minutes (and by fuss I mean make protesting noises if things are not going his way). I do feel that he needs to learn boundaries, and I am having a difficult time finding any solid information regarding how to deal with a distractable baby.
While this may seem like small potatoes, to me it’s huge. I’m worried about my supply, but am also afraid to pump (and yes, I know that I will never be able to completely empty the breast with a pump) for fear that I’ll get done and he’ll want to eat RIGHT THEN (this has happened quite a few times before).
One saving grace is that Smalls will be six months VERY shortly-which means an introduction to solids (all made by me-aren’t you excited to hear how that goes?!), and him gaining some independence.
But I want to continue to breastfeed until he is at least 12 months. It is so very important to me that he get the antibodies and other necessary nutrients that only I can provide him.
So…what to do? Here’s my plan (please feel free to send suggestions my way):
- continue to feed on demand,
- pump after my first morning feeding.
After introducing solids, I plan to try to move him to more of a ‘schedule’ (I use this term very loosely) so that he’s eating every 2 to 3 hours. But I’m not really sure if this is realistic for my child. Every child is different, and mine seems to take the cake (or the boobies, as the case may be.
What was your breastfeeding experience like?