Friday, April 16, 2010

Our Adventures in Breastfeeding

It's day eight for little Sylvia and I have to say, she's really good at being a baby!  We got to stay two nights in the hospital, which was really nice considering I was still quite banged up after the whirlwind delivery and we had a lot of learning to do as far as breastfeeding was concerned.  I was very passionate about nursing this baby no matter what and I had lots of warnings and advice about how hard it would be and how to just stick it out until we both got the hang of it.  I was expecting a difficult and emotional time of it, but it hasn't been too bad, at least not yet. 

The sweet little girl latched on right away, which was a HUGE relief.  I know lots of moms who complained about their babies not latching or latching incorrectly and most of them went to the pump to get things started and never went back.  All I have to say is...good for them, because pumping is one of the weirdest things I've ever seen!  You have to be VERY dedicated to pump all the time if your baby doesn't latch, which I was prepared to do, but thank goodness I won't have to, at least not until I go back to work.  I did pump on days three and four, just to get the good milk flowing, but once it came in and she was able to eat, I didn't have to worry about the pump.  Sylvain says it makes me look like "RoboMom" and my mom says it reminds her of the dairy cows at her grandparents' farm! 

All weirdness aside, though, we did pull out the pump last night to see if the little nugget would take a bottle from her daddy.  She's done so well with latching and waking up to eat every three hours, that we decided it was time to see what else she can do.  I've heard other parents say they waited too long to introduce a bottle because they were afraid of "nipple confusion," but I wasn't too worried about it at this point.  I pumped for fifteen minutes and got four ounces of milk, which looks like a LOT when you think about how small she is.  I was certain she wouldn't drink it all.  Sylvain sat in the glider where I nurse her, laid her back in his arm, and tilted the bottle toward her.  She opened up and went to town on that bottle!  I couldn't believe how easy it was for her!  She sucked down those four ounces in about fifteen minutes and STILL WANTED MORE!  Thirty minutes later I nursed her again and she still ate.  She's definitely a Neltner baby - girl is not afraid to EAT!  (And tell me that picture of a daddy and his little girl isn't just the sweetest thing you've ever seen in your life!  I absolutely melted when she started to eat and he smiled.)

One huge advantage to breastfeeding that I was not anticipating - the emotional release.  I've been VERY weepy these last few days at home, especially the first couple nights.  I get panicky and anxious and scared and sad all at once.  I can feel it coming and I know it has to do with hormones and post partum depression and that it's completely normal, so I try to fight off tears and talk myself into feeling better.  But eventually I just can't stop crying and it takes Sylvain or my mom saying "What's wrong?" for me to let loose and wail about something that's bothering me.  Now, I did not realize this would happen: when I get weepy and sad, I just wait until the baby's next feeding, and when I sit down to nurse her, I can literally feel my body adjusting and going back to normal.  I can feel my muscles relax, and I can feel my brain centering itself, I can just feel all of the tension and anxiety leave my body as I rest my head on the glider and stare at that beautiful little girl just suckling away.  It's the most amazing feeling in the world.  Who knew?

I am so lucky to have the opportunity to practice this art of mothering for four whole months before I go back to work.  Knowing that my only job right now is to provide for our baby brings such a sense of calm and relief, even though it carries a lot of repsonsibility!  Our first trip to the pediatrician confirmed that we are actually doing things right - she gained 3 ounces in the two days she had been home!  Getting outside and getting around are also helping ward off the blues.  We took her to the grocery store after our doctor appointment, we took her on a walk to the library, and today I took her to Target ALL BY MYSELF!  The doctor said she can go anywhere we go, but we probably shouldn't take her to church or to our schools until she's at least six weeks old.  The doctor also said I can drink a glass of wine and it won't hurt her one bit, it actually helps with "let down" which is part of the breastfeeding process where they get the good milk after they've been feeding for a few minutes.  You can bet I was glad to hear that!

So all is well in the world of babies and boobs!  I won't tell you about how many t-shirts I've already ruined with leaky breastmilk or how many sleepers Sylvia has ruined with her gigantic breastmilk poos.  Seriously, the fluids flying around this house are unreal!  I never thought I'd be so excited about it, either.  We get really excited about poo.


krissy said...

precious update!

Meredith said...

Keep it up! I always imagined that my pump was talking to me. "holy COW holy COW holy COW" is what it seemed to be saying.