Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Deja Vu All Over Again

When Grace was two months old, she went on a hard-core nursing strike. (well. saying it was hard-core is rather unnecessary, since EVERYTHING Gracie has ever done has been hard-core, a pattern which continues to this day, but I digress.) We eventually recovered, but it took a LOT of blood, sweat and tears to do so. (Two out of the three of those cliched terms are entirely literal here, by the way.) I never could figure out the cause, there were so many possible choices. She was getting lots of pumped milk, because she screamed all the time and never slept, and I had to occasionally sleep. Since she happily took bottles during her strike, and part of getting her back on the breast involved using bottle nipples like nipple shields and tricking her, I thought maybe that played a role. I started the mini pill days before she went on strike, and I thought I noticed a drop in my supply, maybe that was why? Also, Gracie was just an intense, pissed-off mess, so maybe THAT was why. In the end, even my kick-ass lactation consultant could only guess what was going on and offer emotional support. There's not much to do with a striking baby besides offer the breast without forcing it and pump to maintain your supply (and, apparently, trick them with bottle nipples.)

*****
A few weeks ago, I was really not feeling breastfeeding. If you've breastfed before, you know this happens a lot. I say all the time, breastfeeding is the most counterevolutionary process on earth. That particular day, I was feeling exhausted and stressed about never being able to be away from Katie, about not having enough pumped milk ready for me to go back to work. I cannot lose weight when I am breastfeeding- with Grace, that meant I fluctuated somewhere around 5-8 pounds above my goal. This time, it means 15 pounds. That's a LOT. Enough to need new clothes. And on this particular day I'm referring to, I discovered that after a week of eating absolutely perfectly, hoping to at least drop five pounds before returning to work so I won't need new work clothes, I'd gained three pounds. I was DONE. Totally fed up. I met a friend for lunch and tried not to think about it. Noticed a pair of women at a table behind us talking about healthcare-related issues. Thought I overheard them refer to the lactation consultant's agency that I'd used with Grace. After lunch, I picked up Katie, nursed her, and popped her on my shoulder to burp her. The women commented on how cute she was, and told me they were lactation consultants. It opened the floodgates, so to speak. I tend to get really serious verbal diarrhea under the best of circumstances, but I was feeling so stressed and frustrated, I just felt the need to tell them all about how a lactation consultant was the reason I'd nursed my first child for a year, how my kids were so different, etc etc blah blah blah. About 2/3 of the way through this explosion, I felt utterly mortified and tried to back my way out gracefully. Like all good lactation consultants, they smiled warmly and let me ramble on. Women who look at other women's boobs for a living need to be maternal and non-judgemental. Anyway, I took it as a sign from the universe. I needed to stop being so vain about my stupid weight, stop stressing so much, and just enjoy nursing my baby.

*****

Last night, Katie slept in the cradle for two hours. When she woke up, I promised myself I would attempt to get her back in the cradle after I'd nursed her. I HAVE to break this habit. I HAVE to get her sleeping on her own.

I woke up an hour later with her jammed in the crook of my arm, with the most smug little smile on her face, and my boob hanging out in the breeze.

Best laid plans and all.

*****

I noticed today that Katie was very, very fussy nursing on the left. She's always been noisier on that side, just like her sister, and also like her sister, strongly prefers to nurse on the right. It was frustrating, but not shocking. I was out at the mall with a friend and her new baby, and by the end of our shopping trip, I noticed she was also fussing a little about nursing on the right. She was fussy overall, so I didn't think much of it.

When we got home, she refused the left side entirely. A few hours later, she was completely refusing to nurse and screaming with rage at the mere suggestion. I pumped while Grace was in the tub and Stephen gave her a bottle, which she chugged in minutes, grateful she didn't have to debase herself by, gross, nursing. GOD, Mom, WTF do you think I am, some kind of dirty HIPPIE?!??!

An hour and a half later, I was able to get her to nurse on the right, with a LOT of support and focus. She kept leaning her head back, but she did it.

*****
Of the many friends I have that live inside my computer, one has mentioned a relative in Chicago who is an IBCLC. Today, while checking out the website for my beloved IBCLC from Gracie's newborn days, I realized her relative works for the same agency as my lactation consultant. Suddenly, things started to come together. I was so sure I had heard the two women at the restaurant allude to the agency I'd used when Grace was born. There were only four IBCLCs with that agency. Neither of those women was my IBCLC, so it was likely that one of those women was my friend's relative.

Yep. It was.

I feel like that is a huge, flashing sign from the universe, that I put all of that together today. Hell if I know what the universe is telling me, though, since, as I learned with Grace, there's just not that much to do with a striking baby. But it's pretty amazing nonetheless.

*****
That story about falling asleep with Katie in the bed doesn't really tie into anything else here. I just thought it was funny.

1 comment:

Donna said...

I love you for posting this! Can I say with Liam I seriously charted EVERY TIME I fed him and had a huge legal pad filled with of on/ off / which side. I mean I only did it for a while but it (I) was insane. By Aidan I am so not insane and am much more lackadaisical and it's awesome. Aidan hasn't been as much of a gung ho nurser as Liam, but he also hasn't had the nursing strikes and nursing every three seconds to build up supply trials and tribulations either. Or maybe I just don't notice, staggering around in the sleep deprived haze that is my reality. Keep up the good work, gf!