Friday, February 5, 2010

What no one told me: More Milk

I am going to do another mommy friendly post. If lactation skeeves you, don’t read this.

There was a ton of pressure on me to breast feed when I had Elle. Everyone talks about the virtues of it, but no one tells you how hard it really is. I feel like as a new mom, a lot of people wanted to tell me what I should be doing or how I could mess up my kid. That is not nice. As a mom, I have to make a lot of tough choices for my daughter. Some tough choices can be made easier by supportive, not critical, people.

This topic is why I should have started writing the week she was born. It was a hard time and breast feeding was kind of hard. If I had written this then, there would be big fat tears of frustration all over my keyboard.

I was very lucky that the hospital was supportive and placed Elle on my chest within a minute of her birth. She passed the APGAR with flying colors therefore did not need a lot of medical attention. She rooted around (I call it instinct, my cousin’s sociology professor disagreed) on my chest for a second and found boobie right away. That was the touching and heart warming part.

She was a “no bottle” baby in the hospital so I offered her food every 2 hours or so. She took in a lot of colostrum (you can tell by poop color) and my milk came in like it should.

Now for the hard part, the part that no one tells you when they are telling you what a warm and loving experience nursing is. Her gums were sharp and razor thin. When she was tired, she did not latch well and pulled. Her gums were so sharp I swore I had given birth to a baby piranha. (Later she would begin to waver between nice baby panda and angry baby panda *one is cute, the other has large pointy bear teeth and ravenous appetite.)

Thank goodness for modern technology. I had to invest in nipple shields and shells and all kinds of stuff to protect my raw boobies. The package said use lanolin if it is dry and the shells if it is humid. It was both humid and dry intermittently that week, so I started to cry trying to figure that out. Oh, and Elle wouldn't latch if she tasted lanolin, so I had to wipe it off and further irritate my sore boobies.

I made a ‘deal’ with Elle that no one starves in 2009 in New York. If breast feeding didn’t work for either of us I would not let her starve. She signed on the dotted line and we proceeded without any pressure on either of us. It is working so far and I think I lot of the reason that it does work is because I don’t stress about it. I have containers of formula on the ready if it stops working. We are both able to enjoy meal times with no anxiety. My husband has been supportive; he seems to understand that while they are Elle’s lunch boxes, they are still part of my body.

It is hard to be a new mom. It is hard that everyone has a story and something they did ‘better’ than you. I try to ignore them. The only people I need to worry about are Elle and me, and dad when he is being helpful!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness I hear ya!! I felt a huge amount of pressure from EVERYONE!!! Including my family, hospital staff, lactation consultant and most of all myself. I tried my best to make it work. It just wouldn't work... My boobs were too huge - LOL too much info huh? And my milk took forever to come in so I had a starving, fussy baby.. Of course I was an emotional wreck just because that's what new moms feel like LOL and on top of that everyone is saying don't feed her a bottle because then she wont nurse.. blah, blah, blah. Of course now looking back I wish I would have listened to my instinct and just given her a darn bottle earlier.. Oh and on top of it she ended up with jaundice and I needed to feed her more often to help flush her body... Its crazy to think back on. If I ever get a second child there will be no pressure from anyone. I wont hear it or put it on myself. I will do what my instinct tells me to do because, in hindsight, all of the things I struggled through were the times I didn't listen to myself. You 'Kate' are going to be an amazing mother! :o)