Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Breastfeeding...Alternate Title "Things I'm Terrible At"

OK after a rough night and breaking down (I mean literally breaking down and feeling like I should report myself to CPS because, you know, formula) and giving Matt some supplemental formula, I called and made an appointment with a lactation consultant.  And just like that, Matt was cured of his 6 week stretch of evening cluster feeds and screeching.  Seriously the next day...he was fine.  Happy, slept (some) at night, and altogether what I thought an almost at the time 8 week old baby should do. What did I do differently...NOTHING...

So yesterday, I was contemplating cancelling this appointment.  He's doing great, hasn't needed to be supplemented and I've got more milk overnight than I can handle. It still hurts when I feed, but I just figured I am terrible at it.  I have sensitive skin, and I'm a wuss. BUT it has not killed me, and Matt is growing like a weed, so it must be going like it should.

Anyway I decided to go just because I had questions on how to get ready to go back to work, pumping, overnight shifts, Matt's latch, and yadda-yadda...

So she analyzes Matt's mouth.  His frenulum is still stiff and has grown back some.  His upper lip is tied, too, so he has learned to suck super hard, but he gets tired and "pops" off.  (Pop is the word used to describe how far Matt can stretch my nipple and turn his head to the side before it comes out of his mouth while Mommy pretends to enjoy breastfeeding because that's what the books say I'm supposed to do.) She asked me if he did that often, and I was like, "What? Babies don't do that?" His 2 month appointment is Friday, so we will ask our pediatrician about the upper lip and if we need to visit an oral surgeon...boo. In the meantime we have some fun stretching exercises (NOT FUN) to do.

Back at the dairy farm, I have a yeast infection in both my breasts.  I've had it for over a month, but when you go from chapped, cracked nipples straight to yeast-infected nipples it's kinda subtle.  I just thought I was still healing and getting used to it. And then I thought I was just one of those sensitive types that feels every cell of her body do something. I didn't get too worked up that my boobs feel like they are on fire in-between breastfeeding sessions.  I just thought I'm making more milk, and if I was anybody else, I wouldn't complain to myself in my head that my boobs hurt.  It was the pain I had after pumping that made me think, 'I guess I don't need nipple shields anymore because it hurts just as bad without them'.  I just thought this is what breastfeeding feels like and for some reason my pea-brain registers it as pain.  I thought it was normal to not be able to turn and face the shower while you were breastfeeding.  And the real kicker was if Matt didn't have thrush, how could I? I genuinely thought I was being whiny, even if it was just to myself.

So now I have a new nipple ointment, Diflucan and probiotics.  Hopefully this will improve my situation.  As for Matt, we shall see what the pediatrician says later this week.  I hate to cut on him any more than he's already been cut on.  I mean I obviously don't care if it improves things for me or not at this point.  I've made it 2 months, 4 more and he should start eating a little less frequently... possibly.

Matt's actually pretty terrible at breastfeeding, too. His mouth issues notwithstanding, he has not gone into a milk coma in quite some time.  He gets milk-drunk,  and lulls around for a bit, but over all it's rare that I can feed him to sleep...even at night.  The lactation consultant said her daughter had a very similar temperament.  So I asked when she started sleeping through the night.  She told me if you count 12-7am,  2 1/2 years. Chalk that up to things you just shouldn't ask.  We've had some sleep regression.  Matt made it 5 hours, a couple of weeks ago, but now we're not even getting 4 in anymore.  My mother told me some babies sleep through the night at Matt's age.  My mother can be really unhelpful...

Why don't you quit, you ask? Well, for one, I'm super stubborn.  And lesbihonest...if I wasn't as stubborn as I am, I wouldn't have Matt.  Plus, I really thought I was lucky compared to some of my friends. At least in the sense that my nipples aren't hanging off by scabs, I'm not pumping blood-flavored milk, I haven't had a clogged duct, nor have I really gotten engorged. I'm also an absolute miser and refuse to pay 25 dollars for 5 Matt-days worth of food.  Not to mention he's growing gangbusters. He's already 11 lbs 4 oz.  So he's a pound short of doubling his weight at just under 2 months.  So despite my easy-bake oven boobs, he's doing great.  And that makes Mama proud.  That is until he ends up on my 600 lb life.  Then I won't be as proud...

So I don't LOVE breastfeeding.  I'm not sure I even like it.  I'd pump, but it takes twice the work in my opinion, because you have to pump, put the milk up, clean up all the parts, feed Matt, clean the bottles repeat.  So I breastfeed.

 Do I feel bonded to Matt? Sure...I mean we've been through the biggest deal of our lives together.  He's my little miracle.  But I can't say that I find breastfeeding totally bonding in the sense that most people don't go frolicking in holly bushes or rolling in poison ivy together on a date.  We just survive it.  I had way too easy of a pregnancy and delivery for everything else to go easy, I guess.

With all of that, I wouldn't change a thing.  Matt's my trooper, BJ's my rock, and we're just a super happy little family.  Even if I'm terrible at breastfeeding, I'm sticking to it.

Peace, Love, and High Gravity Breast Milk,

Mary Katherine Roberts


  1. I know the feeling of "I'm bad at this breastfeeding thing." We started off with a nice chunk gouged out of my nipple and I'm pretty sure I noticed my boobs every moment of the day until she was around three months old. All I can say is that it does get better and, possibly, more enjoyable. Matt will learn, the popping off will pass (not fast enough and seriously, who knew nipples could stretch so far?!), and the boobs will definitely become less sensitive over time. You are not bad at this at all, in fact, of you've stick with it through all of that, I'd say the opposite is true. You're doing great, mama!

  2. Thank you for the encouragement. That means a lot. I figure it can't get too much worse, so why not keep going, LOL! As much as I hate to see them grow up so fast, I'm excited for beyond the 4th trimester.

  3. It sucks how women are trained not to take their own pain and needs seriously. It took me a really long time to enjoy breastfeeding but I did get there, and yes it hurt a lot for 6 weeks, probably started enjoying around 6 mths. Both my boys stopped going to sleep feeding pretty early on and then went back to it months later. The only thing you can count on with kids and breastfeeding is change (really just kids in general).

    1. Also you are doing an amazing job feeding your spawn :D

    2. Thank you!! I'm encouraged that it could get easier if I can get rid of the infection. I'm starting to get a little relief with the diflucan, but I was laughing earlier of the image of an infant snuggling into his mother's chest. Matt's all like root, scream, latch, suck, pop off, repeat. Not exactly the same heartwarming picture, but he is the light of my life, nonetheless!