Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Suckling Parasite Who Loved Me

I'm a huge advocate for breastfeeding. I understand sometimes it doesn't work out and I promise I won't judge. But my own experience is that while wonderful and astronomically beneficial, breastfeeding has its ups and downs. Literally.

This is my data for my 2nd child (the graph ends there because that's how old she is right now). I used a nursing app at the beginning, then I kept leaving my phone everywhere that I wasn't, so I just wrote it down when I remembered. That's also why some weeks don't have 7 days recorded. Baby brain. Speaking of... where the heck is my phone...

As you can see, there are very obvious spikes and valleys. The valleys were the times when I felt like I had caught up and I could leave the Husband with the kids for a few hours without soaking through two sets of cotton breast pads. They were happy times.
The weeks we spiked, my nipples were sensitive (and not in the happy way like in pregnancy), scabbed and bleeding, and my boobs alternated between tumescent, soggy drippy sandbags and deflated balloon carcasses.

"I am not a pacifier! Suck on someone else! You can't possibly still be hungry!" I can't tell you how many times I've felt like this. Every 45 minutes, really?? But this time around, I knew better than to wonder: 
"Am I making enough milk??" 
Because this is my 2nd baby. Such was not the case with my 1st. The night we brought her home, she cried and cried and I just knew she was starving to death [on the three drops of colostrom I could squeeze out] and it was all my fault. So my mom - bless her heart- drove me to Walgreens at 3am to buy premixed formula (side note - this left Husband alone with the crying baby, and his only solution was to sing to her. Therefore, I'm proud to know that the first song my baby heard in this world was the Star Wars theme song). The girl took two sips and fell asleep.  Oh. Okay. So you weren't starving. You were just crying. Because babies do that. From then on, I nursed her for 11 months, pumped a good stash for grandparent overnight stays, and the occasional formula. She couldn't have cared less what was put in her mouth as long as her tummy was full. The current child - quite the opposite...

This baby nurses all. the. time. As you can see from the chart. In fact, she is nursing right now, as I'm typing this with one hand (for the 11th time in the last 13hrs!). There were periods where I was begging Husband to take one for the team and pop his in her mouth because mine were going to fall off. But blaming a combination of excess lipase making my frozen milk taste soapy, and that she acts like she's being waterboarded if we try a bottle, I just suck it up now and nurse whenever she wants. She's in the 85th% for height and the 90th% for weight.

My point here is this: Your baby sucks. And they know best when they need to. They suck when they need nourishment, comfort, and to signal your boobs to crank up production. Sometimes (like, all the freaking time) it's exhausting. Sometimes it's fear-inducing and pumping can be very misleading... But unless he/she is underweight, just keep that chaffed and bloody nipple parked in their cute little mouth. It's just what they need right now.

My view for 48% of my day today.          My 2yr old feeding her doll "Boobie milk, mama!"

1 comment:

  1. My 2 month old eats all the time too (92 percentile for weight). Every 45 minutes some days like yours. I am thankful my instincts said to just nurse him because he knows best. I've thought all those things, too:) Thanks for this post. I wish I had graphed his nursing too, how cool!