Why is motherhood so difficult sometimes, the things that should be easy are always a struggle? Well not always, but sometimes it seems that way. For the past couple of days, Jr. has been on a "nursing strike." He doesn't want the boob. It feels like he doesn't want me. Our breastfeeding relationship has been excellent from day one, so different than the beginning of bf'ing with J. My first 6 weeks nursing J were kind of hellish - cracked, bleeding nipples, mastitis, ridiculously huge breasts bigger than the whole baby (did you know there's such thing as a G cup? Trust me, it's real. And it's spectacular.) It felt like I was serving a sentence instead of doing something wonderful. And then, when we reached 6 weeks, suddenly it was easier and we were both enjoying it and it wasn't painful and the baby was growing and healthy and I could see what everyone raves about. When I went back to work at 10 weeks I had some issues pumping enough every day but somehow we made it to almost a year before weaning. It was a great year.
I *thought* it was going to be the same with Jr. Only without the hellish first month. And it was, until last week. Jr. latched on to my breast 10 minutes after being born and never looked back (yes, I have a picture, no, that picture will never show up on this blog.) No cracked nipples, no issues latching on, the boobs are still huge but at least this time I was prepared for it and still had my $60 ordered-online G cup nursing bras. It's been fairly blissful, the baby acts hungry, I pop a boob in his mouth, everyone's happy. I went back to work six weeks ago and even that didn't cause any problems. This time around I bought a better breast pump and haven't had any problems collecting enough milk for daycare bottles. I was just bragging--JINX ALERT! When will I learn--to coworkers that Jr. has never had a drop of anything but breastmilk in his young life and how proud I was of that fact.
So what happened? I'm not sure. Honestly I think he's learned that bottles are the best thing since sliced bread - the same amount of milk with 1/3 the work! I noticed last week that in the evenings he was being weird about nursing when I came home from work, and figured he just wasn't hungry. He's still waking up three times a night to nurse, and thankfully (I guess) that hasn't stopped. But yesterday we hit a wall with the daytime nursing. Suddenly, every time I offered the breast he actually turned his head away and clamped his mouth shut, even crying. No matter what position we're in, he's having none of it. I've managed to nurse him a few times...while he's sleeping. That's the only way he'll accept the breast. When he's awake he acts like I'm torturing him when I try to nurse. It's breaking my heart a little...or alot. Last night he was screaming and crying at bedtime when I tried to nurse, usually a relaxed time of day. Finally I gave in and had TH give him a bottle, which he promptly sucked down in one minute flat. I started crying. Kind of hysterically. How could he prefer a bottle to me? J NEVER wanted the bottle when I was available. Never. Why was he doing this to me? My little secret lover, betraying me for a piece of plastic.
This morning I called the lactation consultant as soon as the office was open, and her only advice was "keep trying, but don't force it." She gave me some words of hope that this is very common in 3-4 month olds, and usually (knock on wood) it only lasts a few days. Today we managed to nurse enough times (all during or right after sleep) that I haven't had to pump, but I know that's next if he keeps this up. I'm not sure if I'm keen on the idea of pumping during the day when I'm home with the boys. It seems like it totally defeats the purpose of breastfeeding, i.e. not having to deal with bottles and pumping on your days off. But I hate to introduce formula to the mix just yet, so we'll see if it comes to that. Luckily I only work every other week (part of the problem, I think, my new schedule is kind of disruptive for both kids), so I'll have several days to hole up with Jr. and push my boob in his face every hour until he "gets it" again. Until then, I'm so sad. Breastfeeding is one of those things I never expected to be so important to me, but it is. It's the ONE THING I can give my kids that the daycare lady can't. It's also my private time with them, even in the middle of the night, and I cherish it, especially on days when I work. I'm just hoping, and praying, that Jr. will leave Dr. Brown and come back to me, soon....
Practice makes perfect
7 years ago