Nursing, take 2

TMI found below.

Breastfeeding this time has been completely different than nursing Alex. Edison was pro at it from the start. It took a few minutes to get him to latch on, but I was more patient because I knew how it was supposed to work.

After a few days of nursing, I noticed my nipples were starting to separate a little. I tried to make sure Edison always had an excellent latch (which he did). About four days post-partum, I would be bawling just trying to get up the courage to put him on. He would try to latch and I would shrink away from him. This would make him start screaming. It usually went on for about 15 minutes before I sucked it up and put him on. Then the rest of the time I would be flinching and crying, clenching my teeth and squeezing my eyes shut.

Luckily, Edison is a very efficient eater. For the first three-and-a-half weeks, I only had to nurse him on one side for about 10 minutes. He would fall asleep and even if we woke him up to keep eating, he wouldn't eat anymore; he was full! Since only one nipple was separating, I was able to nurse two feedings on the good side and then one on the bad side in order to give it more time to heal. After that, he started acting hungry even after 15-20 minutes on one side so I had to start switching him. This was really difficult for me because it meant the sore side would have to be nursed on each feeding.

I would sit and put my knee behind his head so he wouldn't try to come off and on or try to pull away at all. It helped a little.

He would nurse every 2-4 hours during the day for the first month. At night he would go a few hours longer. We only swaddle him at night. I want him to eat as much as he wants during the day so he will be full and not need to eat as much at night.

I spent so much time crying while nursing that my milk started to let down when I would start to cry. It started getting better at three weeks. At that point I was able to put him on without crying. It only became difficult at night as I was sore from nursing throughout the day and my milk supplies were low.

I have noticed that I don't mind leaving activities to nurse as much as I did with Alex. It used to really bother me and I always felt like I was missing out on something. It may be that Edison is a faster eater so I don't have to be gone as long. With Alex, I could have been gone for up to an hour.

When Edison was six weeks old, I noticed I was starting to heal. I didn't think it was going to heal and I was quite pleased that I was looking normal again.  I think it was the gel pads that helped the most. It probably also helped that this is when Edison started sleeping 8-10 hours each night. Love that kid.

As hard as it was physically to nurse Edison, it was a cinch mentally. Nursing Alex was so emotional and the nipple shield made me feel inadequate. I am so happy to be doing this the normal way. It is really nice to not have to worry about having the shield with me at all times. Nursing makes me happy.


Geevz said...

But why Lord why?! Why does something so natural have to be so painful? This is the discussion I plan on having in heaven. Or the letter I will mail to heaven from wherever I end up.

Rachel said...

Way to keep going through the pain. All of my babies (ok, I know I only have 2, but saying "all" makes me sound more experienced, right?) have made me sore at the beginning...gotta love the bleeding nipples. Even thinking about it is making my chest hurt. But once I get to that 6 week mark it starts to get better. After that, nursing is a breeze comparatively.

Noelle @ Mesa AZ Photography said...

I feel your pain. I never had to use a nipple shield, but I cried from nursing frequently the first month or so. I thankfully stopped bleeding after the second week though.

I'm so sorry you hurt so much.

Our problem is that after it stopped being painful (although I do still occasionally get mild plugged ducts) it started being hard to keep her eating. Frequently she will eat great for about 3 minutes, then pul off and fuss. Go on off on off for a few minutes, then she changes her mind and screams when I try to get her to latch. Switching sides used to start the process over--which at least meant she ate a bit more--but now that doesn't always work either. I get so very frustrated with her.

I'm sure that a lot of this problem stemmed from bottles. At 7 weeks we realized she was too skinny, and not gaining enough weight. So i started supplementing. Apparently I make skim milk, and not much of it.

So these days nursing usually goes well when she is tired, and that is it.

I am glad there are people who understand.

Brea said...

you poor thing!!! :( I am not looking forward to that at all.... hopefully I won't have to go through that!

Naomi Mae said...

I"m so glad you don't have to use the nipple shield with Edison! It was such an emotional thing for me to have "failed" at nursing with Mak and to dry up at 3 months was sad. My sister often reminds me that I didn't fail, because I tried and succeeded in having a healthy well fed baby!

Glad you are not hurting as much too! I used to keep m&m's by the bed as a bonus to nursing Oscar, and I could only eat them if he nursed ;-) I can't imagine bleeding for so long though! You are such an amazing giving Mother!

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