Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Breastfeeding Wasn't Painful

Over and over again when I was reading about breastfeeding when I was pregnant, one message was repeated: it shouldn't hurt. If you have sore nipples, you're doing something wrong.

So when breastfeeding didn't hurt, I figured all was well. Baby seemed as happy as any newborn could be expected to be. DH once worried aloud, ironically about half an hour before my mature milk came in and I started leaking all over the place, that she wasn't eating enough. I confidently said she's fine.

I'm still not sure about that now, in retrospect.

The next day, at four days old, we had to take her in to see our pediatrician, because the hospital ped had been worried about her potential exposure to GBS during labour. He wouldn't release her from the hospital unless I promised to bring her to see our ped when she was four days old. Her birth weight was 9 lb 4 oz and at four days, she'd dropped to 7 lb 13 oz.

As Whozat sagely points out, having IV fluids during labour can artificially inflate your baby's birth weight. So I'm not sure if Em really wasn't eating enough and I should be glad that we had to see the doctor so early, or...

If she was fine, just lost a bit more quickly that extra fluid weight, and the subsequent cascade of pumping and feeding her other ways might have caused her to forget how to latch on properly and exacerbate her posterior tongue tie. I'll probably never know.

We fed Em with a bottle, with a spoon, with a cup, with a tube beside our gloved finger. I feed her with a tube beside my nipple, with a tube under the nipple shield. For seven weeks, we kept this up and I kept thinking maybe we were making progress. But feeding her in ways involving my breasts was so cumbersome and time consuming that I was about ready to give up and just pump full time, when we finally went to an ENT and got her tongue tie clipped.

Then, for a couple of days, as she learned to latch onto my breast as a seven week old, I had sore nipples for a few days. Stinging, ouch, this is what they're talking about, dreading nursing a little bit. And then it got better. And now I worry that she'll be one of these babies who wean really early.

Note: Not until months after my baby was born did Annie at PhD in Parenting publish this great post on pain in breastfeeding. Go read it! In case you don't have time, the short story is that some discomfort is normal.

Another note: I was in some pain during the first few days of pumping because I had a really crappy, cheap breast pump. Chapped, cracked, milk blisters, the works. As soon as I rented a good hospital grade pump, all was well.


Annie @ PhD in Parenting said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm always amazed at the diversity of breastfeeding experiences. It really is an art.

The Fearless Formula Feeder said...

Great post!

You know, I never thought about the fact that IV fluids could increase a baby's weight. I honestly wonder if that happened to my son.

Anyway - kind of a side note, but regardless - it's great to hear a success story and you give me hope for the future! :)