Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Weirdest Thing I Have Ever Done

LO has been home for about three days now, and it's been a little rough.  He sleeps beautifully during the day, but night time seems to be the perfect time for an all-night scream-fest, in LO's humble opinion.  I never thought I'd find myself singing Twisted Sister's "Rock and Roll All Night" as a lullaby to a screaming baby, but whatever helps keep sanity/sense of humor intact at 2 am is all right by me.

There have also been some interruptions in food delivery.  Unfortunately, there is no one to whom I can complain.  The manager, cook and waitress at Chez Breast are all too tired to hear any complaints about the services, let alone attempt to rectify the situation.  (And to be honest--even though the customer is always right, LO does have his share of the responsibility in the food delivery issues.  Fortunately, this is a classy establishment and there will be no sneezers served here, although there may be some gossip bandied about regarding the customer.  It's a damn good thing he's so cute).

To make a long story short (and as non-cringe-worthy as possible for any male-type readers), LO was having some trouble getting latched on.  The latch was a bit too shallow.  This caused some discomfort.  Unfortunately, they hospital kept asking me to rate my discomfort on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain I'd ever felt in my life.  Well, since I have VERY recently experienced the worst pain I have ever felt in my life, this is kind of an unfair question.  It's like asking how poorly I've been treated in terms of customer service after watching a movie length documentary about Rosa Parks.  So we all had a mistaken view of how bad this whole breastfeeding thing was supposed to hurt.  This means that after LO's first 24 hours at home, I was rubbed raw in a place where G-d had no intention of anyone being that sore.

LO's pediatrician sent me to a lactation consultant.  She was an old friend--the motherly nurse with the boob puppet/loofah from the breastfeeding class.  Just seeing her reaction let me know that no, it was not supposed to feel like this to nurse my kid.  We spent an hour and half learning boob puppet approved methods of dealing with the food delivery issues.  It was also suggested that I might want to use my brand new industrial sized breast pump (thanks, great-aunt B!) to help get things from the kitchen to the table a little faster--to continue a tired restaurant metaphor.

So when we got home, I plugged Bessie-the-pump in, attached the tubing and shields, applied the proper parts to the proper parts, and we were off!  This brings me to the Weirdest Thing I Have Ever Done.  That would be pumping.  The shields are clear, which I suppose is necessary for mom to make sure Bessie is doing her job correctly.  However, that gives mom a front-row view to a portion of her body-- which has never acted in a non-pre-approved method--doing the can-can.  I had images of Bugs Bunny dancing along beside the pump in time to my, um, "kicks."

Thankfully, things are getting MUCH easier.  After 7 or so (non-consecutive) hours of sleep last night, I feel like myself again, and everything feels doable.  I'm still eying Bessie a little askance, but I know she can help.  And LO seems to be thriving on his food, so G-d is in his heaven and all is right with the world.


  1. Despite what the crunchier-than-thous say, it is super normal for it to hurt for the first 6 weeks or so. A bad latch makes things soooo much worse, though. It's awesome you're getting support, but it's really sucky they didn't catch it at the hospital.

    Are you using Lanisoh? Make sure you slather that stuff on after every single time you feed. And if you're not using it, send J out to the drug store RIGHT NOW to buy some.

    And be gentler than you think you need to be with the pump: it seems so much easier to just notch that baby up and get the milk as quickly as possible, but you'll ache for days afterwards. Slow and steady wins the race.

    For sleeping, have I suggested "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" yet? Awesome, wonderful, sanity-saving resource, at least about newborn sleeps. You only have to read the newborn chapters, so don't be daunted by the long book.

    I'm so glad things are working out well! I can't wait to see more pictures :)

  2. Hey! Thanks for all the good advice. I've been using Lansinoh and Bacitracin together, and it's made a world of difference. I was almost completely healed and then I had a super-sleepy night where I wasn't alert enough to even know which end of the baby was up, and we backslid a little in terms of healing. But, I'm feeling much better about it all, and the kid's gained 5 ounces.

    You had mentioned the Healthy Sleep Habits book, and silly me, I had assumed that it would not pertain to newborns so I was waiting to get it. I'm sending J out to pick it up this afternoon! (Last night, LO was calm, quiet, perfectly happy, and AWAKE from 3 am onward. He also felt strongly that Mom should be awake with him. I'm much more entertaining than the mobile or the ceiling fan, or so he informed me every time I put him down in the bassinet.)

  3. No problem! Really there are only three things you need to take from the book, and I can tell you what they are right now. It's still worth it to read the newborn chapters to find out a bit more.

    1) Sleep begets sleep. The more sleep the baby gets, the more he'll need to sleep. You know that overtired feeling when you're exhausted and your head hits the pillow but your eyes are stapled open and your mind is racing and you're grumpy and the shadows are doing weird things on the walls and all you want to do is sleep but you can't? That's overtired. Babies get overtired really easy, so they need to get plenty of naps so that they are rested enough to get a good night's sleep. Also, daytime sleep is different from nighttime sleep. The purpose of daytime sleep is to get the baby rested enough that he can sleep a long stretch at night. The purpose of nighttime sleep is to give the baby a long stretch in which he can grow, develop, and mylenate. Babies do all that while they're sleeping, so it's in their best interests to sleep as long as possible.

    2) Your baby has unique sleep signals. It might be an eyerub, or an ear tug, or a specific noise. Once you figure out what it is, put the baby down for a nap right away. Even if he's only been awake 10 minutes. Trust me. My mother thought I was crazy for doing that ('no no, you have to tire the baby out!') but after a few days of watching me do it, she was convinced.

    3) The two hour rule. If the baby hasn't shown a sleep signal already after being awake for 2 hours, put him down for a nap anyway.

    Also, something else the book will reassure you about: it's waaaaay too early for a schedule. They fall into a nap schedule naturally at about 4 months, when they take 3 naps a day. Anyone telling you to get that baby on a schedule is wrong. The only "schedule" that's needed right now is the two hour rule.

    (Good sleep habits is, like, my parenting "thing." I am the proselytizing sleep-maniac Mama. I can go on for hours and hours about it. Most kids do not get enough sleep, and it's a HUGE public health issue. For real. The AAP is trying to figure out what to do about it, since no one listens to them about anything anyway.)

  4. Despite what everyone says, it really does hurt at the beginning even if you are doing it right. You are using your breasts for the first time for their intended purpose and you're totally going to be sore! Throw any complications into the mix and it's going to be agony (I had flat nipples, it sucked!!) It takes a couple weeks until you suddenly realize that it actually feels good when you breastfeed! Love those endorphins. They are addictive.

    Anyhow, glad you are feeling better. Lansinoh is such a godsend.