Monday, January 24, 2011

The Joys and Challenges of Breastfeeding

The nurses at the hospital kept telling me that I was textbook at breastfeeding.She latches on perfectly they said. You have no troubles here.They were right. I was SO first.

I soon found out that I was dealing with an oversupply of milk and a monster let down. To my friends who were supplementing with formula and could not seem to get their milk supply up, my problem seemed like a blessing.

It really is true that you can have too much a good thing though.  My breasts constantly leaked milk and a slight squeeze would send milk spraying in all directions.  Charlotte could not keep up. She began gagging, choking, pulling on and off the breast and spitting up all the time.

A few weeks later, I found myself alone for the first night while my husband was away. She was doing her regular screaming at the boob, pulling off and on to get the flow adjusted when suddenly her eyes glassed over and she vomited what seemed like a pint of milk across the room. I was trembling. Sure she was constantly spitting up but this was something I had never experienced. The projectile vomit. I tried to calmly wipe her face, change her clothes, clean the floor, clean myself and then in between sobs called my mother in law to ask if she was sick. She assured me that babies sometimes just vomit.

I remember crying so much that night. The baby books certainly didn't help. One glance at projectile vomiting and the words  Pyloric Stenosis appear-a disorder in which the muscle in the lower part of the stomach, called the pylorus, builds up and blocks the flow of food into the small intestine requiring surgery.

I would soon find out that Charlotte was a puker. Not a happy spit up baby but full on projectile vomiting every 2-3 days. I started block feeding which is when you feed only from one breast per feed in order to slow down my milk production. I also started feeding her lying down so she had to work against gravity.

She eventually slowed down (to be exact her last puke was 2 weeks ago. Just watch I am jinxing myself and she will vomit tomorrow!). There really is no climax to this story but just to say that it is so easy to become overwhelmed and worried as a first time mom. I never regret a single time I do become overly concerned though. It is a mother's job to worry!

Breastfeeding has been incredibly rewarding for me but very demanding too. Charlotte refuses to take a bottle of expressed milk. The books and nurses will have you worried silly about the dreaded nipple confusion. They warned me that if I gave my baby a bottle she will not know how to suck from my breast again ! The challenge with waiting too long is that you end up in my situation with a baby who flat out refuses anything but boob.

I often feel conflicted about this problem. People tell me constantly that I need to get her on a bottle otherwise I will resent her for never having any freedom. Part of me understand this. I would love to have a night out with my husband or even go out with the girls and have someone else give her a bottle of milk.

On the other hand, there are moments where I just accept that it is what it is. It is my own fault for not getting her to accustomed to a bottle early on. More importantly, she is only going to be this little for such a short period in my life.

 In 20 years from now will I look back and think to myself that these 6 months were hell? That I wish  I could have had time out with my friends?

Or will I look back with fondness on those quiet winter nights where my little munchkin was snuggled against me in bed?

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see that you're still writing on your blog! Breastfeeding is something I think about often these days. I am going to buy a good pump and plan on pumping after breastfeeding (assuming all goes well of course). I think with twins there is no way we cannot introduce a bottle early on but I definitely could see how it would be hard to hearing all that conflicting information! You're right though, looking back at this you aren't going to regret spending this time with your daughter so why sweat it.