Update on the Milk front

Elliott is a rock star. I know, I know, enough gushing and running on and on about my wonderful kid. But, alas I am his Momma and I cant help but ogle over him (and truth be told–most of my readers are here for him).

A couple of weeks ago, I selfishly decided that I was done pumping milk at work. So, after much agony and mental debate–we switched him over to plain organic soy milk. He loves it. After the first week on soy, we also stopped offering him a bottle, which he didn’t seem to miss at all (except when the little girl at daycare is drinking hers–then he tries to steal it from her).

I am still nursing him at least 3 times on days I work, and more on days I stay home with him. I think it is currently the best of both worlds and he doesn’t seem fazed one bit.

I cant imagine a time when I wont be nursing him…but I can now at least forecast it.

Advertisements

The wrong reasons

I went to visit a girlfriend and her new baby boy today at the Naval Hospital. When I arrived, she was heading into a breastfeeding class, and asked that I stay and join her. I thought, what the heck…I might learn something!

There were 4 new mommies in the room. They were all memorable in their own unique ways, but there was one who stuck out for the wrong reasons. She was an attractive, young woman and from the look of her and her boyfriend/hubby/baby daddy she was about 20. The class was clearly optional and run by the lactation consultant on staff.

This gals baby started to cry during the class. The young Mom tried to soothe the baby in his bassinet, but was unsuccessful. The lactation consultant allowed the babe to cry for a while, she clearly didn’t want to rush the mom or make her more nervous, before she stepped over to the gal and asked her if she would like to feed her baby, since it was rooting and giving all of the signals that he was hungry. The girl quietly said she would rather go back to her room. The LC (strongly) encouraged her to feed him, but if she was more comfortable, to go to the back of the room.

This poor little crying newborn baby was being put on hold due to this young woman’s shyness, or modesty. Here we are in a breastfeeding class, in the maternity ward, surrounded by new Moms and their babies, and this gal didn’t feel comfortable feeding her baby in front of anyone… In the rear of the class, after several minutes (which for the new Mom, likely felt like 10 years…), the gal was able to get her baby latched on while under the careful drape of her blanket and rejoin the class.

I couldn’t help but feel bad for this gal, and moreover for her newborn son. I wondered why this woman was so uncomfortable with her body? Was it youthfulness? Was it insecurity? Was it embarrassment about exposing her breast for her baby to suckle? Was it at her partners insistence that she be modest? Who knows. All I know is that it ‘seemed’ like her baby was going to be fed only after his mom’s modesty issues were addressed…a fact which seems pretty sad to me.

To me…there is nothing sweeter than seeing a baby suckle on its mother breast. There is nothing more satisfying to me than the act of nursing my baby. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that my baby is growing and thriving with each drop of milk my breasts provide. I only wish I could express to this girl the love, the bond, and the satisfaction that comes from nursing your baby. It supersedes all modesty, and is worth every sore nipple, sleepless night, and extra pound gained.

But, alas…I left the class with my girlfriend, walked her back to her room, said my goodbyes to Mom and beautiful baby boy, and went home to give my baby the breast.

All smiles

I have had this saved in my drafts for a while, because I didn’t want to forget to document the event and my feelings.

So, here it goes–Elliott was nursing about 2 weeks ago, and we were gazing at each other. And all of a sudden, with my nipple still securely in his mouth–he busts out an ear to ear grin, and a little chuckle of joy.
All at once my heart melted, a big tear formed in the corner of my eye, and my chest swelled with love and pride.
I don’t think I will ever forget that moment.

BF Follow up

Motherhood makes me feel stupid. At least that is often how I feel lately. There are so many new things to learn. So many times where you have to be vulnerable, and ask for help or advice. So many times you have to throw your hands up in the air, and say you just dont know the answer or what to do. So many times where more than your maternal instinct is required.

My experience at the Midwife yesterday was no exception. The first not so pleasant experience was making the appointment. The admin when I told her my reason for wanting to come in, said, something to the affect, Oh, did you see Eve? I said that I had, and she proceeded to say that Eve had referred several people to the Clinic with the same diagnosis, which she (the admin) was surprised about since the condition was so rare. I shrugged it off. But, it really bothered me. What business does an admin have telling me about other peoples diagnosis, planting a seed of doubt about the lactation consultant’s abilities, as well as my own diagnosis. Plus, she is an ADMIN, she is not a midwife, a LC, or a doctor… She isnt even a nurse.

I was very excited about seeing the Midwife. I saw another Midwife I havent meet. I think I have almost seen every one (Linda, Jennifer, Rebecca, Jazmine, Beth, Rita…), except for Steve. Who I suspect might be in clinic next week when I go to my follow up appointment. When the Midwife came in, I explained my story (the let down issue, the clamping, the extreme pain during and long after a feeding, my visit to the LC and the diagnosis).

She listened attentively, and then proceeded to say that she has never heard of the condition, and even conducted some on-line research prior to my visit. She proceeded to say that she would be uncomfortable prescribing meds to me, etc. etc.

I started to cry. Through my tears, I explained how I considered myself an intelligent woman, resourceful, and up for a challenge. But, that I was at the end of my rope. I saw a LC in the hospital, I meet with my Doula for a post-partum visit to assist with BF. I have the Sears book on BF, I have conducted a ton of on-line research. I have consulted friends who have successfully BF, I attended the hospital sponsored BF support group, I have called La Leche League (they didnt call back-twice), I called the hospitals BF Program-2x’s (no call back). I saw a Midwife again (on Wednesday past) who said my nipples looked great! I finally decided to shell out the $60 and see a LC in person. I cried harder, explaining how hard BF was, and how everyone touts that the Breast is Best, but that there wasnt enough support out there…waaaaahhhhhhhhh.

When I was able to regroup, and hold back the tears…I realized that I probably startled the poor gal. She was now more sympathetic. I asked her for any other alternative solutions she had, as I was willing to try anything to ensure that my BF relationship was not jeopardized. She didnt have any solutions. But, offered to discuss it with the OB on staff.

She returned after discussing it with the OB, asked me a few more questions and then wrote me the prescription. She also said the OB had never heard of the conditions either, but they were able to find a 2004 study published in Pediatrics. So, with a heavy warning to call should I develop any side effects I left feeling very successful, if not a tad bit depressed with the suckyness of the system.

I filled the prescription, and took my first pill this morning. And ever since I have had a horrible migraine (I have taken 1200 ml of Motrin). Headache of course is the first side effect listed on the pharmacy printout. I will need to analyze the cost/benefit of the headache versus the nipple pain. Again, more to follow.

Which brings me back to feeling stupid. All of that fretting, crying, pain, etc. and now the medicine may not even be tolerable. Boy…dont I feel stupid.

Diagnosis

Ok, 2 great things to report. I got Elliott into the sling! Yesterday (after some fussing) he allowed me to put him in, and took an hour long nap, and again this morning he allowed me to put him in it again, while he napped. It is a glorious day.

I also went to see a lactation consultant. She came at the recommendation of several people, all unrelated to one another. Gratefully, I was able to get a same day appointment. Aside from the let down issue, and the clamping that is a symptom of the let down…I learned a new position to feed in that will assist with both. I am also supposed to pump a couple times each day, after feeding on the opposite breast. This will help me two fold. It will allow me to start building a supply-for when I go back to work (or for when I just need a break). And it will also take some of the pressure off, and help Elliott latch on better, and prevent him from clamping down to slow the flow. And as another pleasant side effect…less laundry due to less milk spillage and less spitting up due to gas resultant from having to guzzle to keep up. Woot!
But, most important was the diagnosis of the awful nipple and breast pain I have been having. Today I actually started to cry while I was feeding Elliott. Previously, I thought it might be Thrush, but it is apparently Raynauds Phenomenon. The unfortunate part is that to alleviate the pain, I have to take a ton of herbals pills and it may take up to 6 weeks to see results, or I can take medication. In either case, they both have their pros and cons. I am going to take a multi-pronged approach and do both.
First thing tomorrow, I am going to see my Midwife and hopefully get a confirmed diagnosis. The LC can only suggest what she thinks it is, but your doc must diagnosis you formally (for meds anyway). I will keep everyone posted on the results, but for now we are hopeful of the possibility of getting some relief.