Thursday, May 7, 2015

Breastfeeding... not easy

When I had Connor, I was completely clueless on what to do to start breastfeeding. I didn't ask for help and none was offered so by 12 hours after birth, he still hasn't eaten. Later that night, the pediatrician sent him to the NICU. He was medically fine, but was given a bottle and never would latch onto the breast after that. We tried for 3 months before I gave up "breastfeeding" and instead pumped breast milk to feed him from a bottle. Eventually my supply dried up after 10 months of exclusively pumping, but Connor only got formula for maybe a week before he was 1 year old and could switch to cows milk, thanks to my stash in the freezer. So, the reason for that story is just to show how I knew the "joys" of pumping and had thoroughly hoped to avoid them this time around. (He was and is happy and healthy, so whatever I was doing, was working.)

My happy boy

I wanted so badly to have that special bond with my baby that nursing mothers have. Their babies know who mom is: she's the only one with the food. So, in the hospital, Hailey latched immediately and was an excellent breastfeeder. But before she was even 24 hrs old, my nipples were tender, cracked, and bleeding. Feeding time became not a joy, but instead, I dreaded it. At Hailey's 4 day check up, she threw up blood, which had me super worried--until I realized it wasn't her blood, but mine. My right nipple seriously looked like it was falling off. Not one of my best moments. I was distraut for 2 days. On top of my nipple woes, Hailey wasn't gaining as much weight as they'd hoped, so the doctor told me I needed to give her a bottle. I broke down right there at the doctor's. I don't usually cry in public. Like, ever. I immediately felt like breastfeeding was over and that Hailey would never possibly want to latch for breastfeeding after being exposed to a bottle.

Ultimately, Hailey's health comes first, so I pumped. For a week before I was even brave enough to try and latch her again. My nipples had healed though, so that helped me feel more confident. And my miraculous child latched with only a minute of fussing, and all was right with the world. But, that entire week of pumping, I'm not gonna lie, I seriously cried more than I can ever remember crying. I cried when family was over cuddling my baby while I sat in my room alone and pumped. I cried when tommy fed her the bottle because I selfishly wanted to have her all to myself. I cried every time that I thought for sure she'd never latch again. And I cried when I pumped and I had to dump it because it was pinkish red with blood from my broken nipples. I'm not sure how I managed to keep at it, but I did. I believe so much in the powers of breast milk and want to provide my children with the best I've got, and as long as I've got milk to provide, I can't give them formula. (I am not against formula by any means, but in my conscious, I just can't stop breastfeeding when I've got a supply of milk. And my supply was never the issue, so stopping was never on the table.)

So, after a few days of exclusively breastfeeding again, I think everything is going great. Then my sister in law notices that Hailey's tongue is white, and I never even thought of it, but it was always white. Thrush. Seriously? Could anything else go wrong? Yea, never ask yourself that question unless you want to know the answer.

A few days later, I noticed a lump in my breast. I knew it was a plugged duct, but thought it would resolve on its own. When I transitioned to breastfeeding again, I had been engorged for a few days while my supply adjusted to what Hailey was eating, which is what caused the plugged duct. After a week, it became tender to the touch. Then it turned red and really hurt. I called my doctor and they gave me an antibiotic over the phone. I started taking it and by this time, it hurt to go over bumps in my car. It burned just sitting, and every time I fed from that side, every time Hailey sucked, I felt like death. I tried to get an appt to be seen, by they didn't want to give me one and just wanted me to self treat at home with warm compresses, massage, extra feeding from that side, and pumping to make sure it was completely empty. Well, I knew something was wrong. Finally I made them give me an appt and I had an abscess. It ended up needing to be drained (by sticking a needle in my boob and sucking out the puss/infection... Kill me now). It was awful. Not something I'd recommend.

But, I hope I've finally paid my dues to the breastfeeding karma gods, because for 2 weeks now everything seems to be smooth sailing. Hailey is growing great, my abscess seems to have healed, and I'm happy to report that my nipples are not cracked and bleeding. Still treating the thrush though. :-/ one can only ask for so much. At the end of the day, a happy and healthy baby is all that matters, and I'm definitely good in that department. Hailey isn't even 3 months old and she's already wearing 6 month clothes. My little chub. <3

10 weeks
So mad about her 7 week pictures
Next up, a post all about my little Connor. He's driving me crazy at the moment, but I love him more than anything.

No comments:

Post a Comment