Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Self-indulgent whining and gratuitous cute baby photos

Self-indulgent whining:

I have to realize that there are some days I will not get out of the house. Yesterday, it was due to the baby's imminent need to eat, and the fact that my husband had the car keys with him at work. There we were, all car-seated up and ready to go on a super-exciting outing to Whole Foods, when I car keys. We put down the grocery list, took off our eleventeen layers of clothing, fed Helene, and watched a movie instead.

I hate the blurry-soft, serene woman in this breastfeeding how-to video. I sincerely hope that she has sore nipples.

I am absolutely committed to breastfeeding, but damn, it's tough. I knew it could be/would be hard; I knew that lots of women I know had a very difficult time with it at first. I haven't really even had that hard of a time, based on stories that I have heard. But I don't think anyone really tells you how painful/challenging/frustrating/overwhelming it can be, even when you ARE doing everything right. The first few days were fine, and bearable, but even though Helene was getting more than adequate nutrition, and was sucking like a champion little Hoover, we weren't getting a premium latch, and my nipples were a little, well, chewed (you'd be awfully surprised at how pointy little newborn gums are). I definitely did the right thing by going to a lactation consultant when Helene was five days old. She helped us with the latch-on, and did confirm that it would probably still feel kind of uncomfortable or painful some of the time, but that it should feel better at other times, and should get better. It has gradually gotten better, due to another check-in with the consultant, and a precious little container of miraculous all-purpose nipple cream. But I'm still not on board with the La Leche folks and others who blithely proclaim "breastfeeding should feel good!" Horseshit. I've downgraded it from "excruciating" to "uncomfortable/unpleasant" after a couple of weeks, and I think I'm about at "uncomfortable/not awful/sometimes neutral" right now. And we're doing things well. The baby has stellar diaper output (which is the only good way to measure input) and was gaining right on schedule at her last pediatric appointment. But my nipples are still awfully sensitive; the baby is sometimes fussy at feedings due to a fast letdown from one boob (she wants a drinking fountain and gets a fire hose, basically) and pops on and off, not latching on properly, which leads back to the sensitive, chapped nipple thing. She also wants to comfort suck sometimes, and is indignant that my boobs have the audacity to release milk, for god's sake, which leads to screeching, rejection of many pacifiers, and the sucking of my little finger for what seems like a long time, especially when all of this happens at 3:00 am, while I try to let my poor husband sleep in peace, because someone in this house has to actually get up and go to work. I may have to try the Soothie-on-boob effing genius solution that Amalah came up with, after having similar issues.

So, for all of you about to have babies. Breastfeeding: it can feel painful and icky decidedly not good even when you ARE doing things right, and may be tremendously frustrating and it will make you cry. Get thee to a lactation consultant ASAP and find some other breastfeeding women to whine to who will completely understand your pain and frustration.

Enough of that. Have some lovely cute squishy delicious baby photos instead.

1 comment:

emily said...

Yup. nursing, well, sucks. Especially at first. La Leche League isn't so much all about how it doesn't hurt, but more about how there are usually reasonable solutions to minimize the pain. Sometimes you just get pain, though, and I wish the powers that be would spend more time setting women up with realistic expectations for nursing and less focusing on the happy gushy nursingisamazinglywonderful crap.

So, support being sent your way in a tight little internet package. It does get better, I promise. (and I'm still nursing the peanut at 15 months, nursed the lentil until he was 21 months)