|First things first|
She's a good nurser. She gobbles down milk like no babe I've ever seen. She chugalugs mightily. You can hear her little glug glug glugging from across the room. It's incredibly adorable.
Her latch? Horrific.
|Nursing in the hospital|
She has a few problems when it comes to latching. For one, she holds her tongue to the back of her mouth when she opens up her mouth. Even when she screams. No, she has no tongue tie.
That means that, once she latches, she does one of two things.
A) She pushes the nipple out between her gums while she sucks it back and forth. This is excruciating. She also sometimes manages to catch a bit of areola in between her gums and lip while she's doing this.
B) She scrapes the front of the nipple incredibly hard with her tongue while she sucks.
Sometimes she does both.
This results in purple and blue, scraped and bleeding, achy nipples of constant misery. Sometimes with blistered areolas. Yes, that it every bit as painful as it sounds.
Of course, once she's had a few gulps and starts to get sleepy, I can disengage her and re-latch. A couple of tries in and she's latched fine- happily chugging away and not causing anybody any pain. At that point, nursing becomes positively lovely.
Before that can happen though, there is the first part. The part where I am terrified of putting my nipple into her mouth, lest she mutilate me some more. The part where I scream and cry and thrash, trying not to cause any more damage before I can get her the hell off of me.
Four nurses in the hospital evaluated our feedings.
My doulas watched this procedure.
RH's pediatrician has chimed in.
They all agree.
There's basically nothing I can do.
|The girls know that this is how babies eat|
There is nothing I can do to fix this, but to wait. To try to be patient and keep correcting her latch. While my nipples swell and ache and bleed and maintain a vivid purple color.
The thing is, this isn't exactly unusual.
This is the third baby I've nursed, and the second who seemed determined to inflict pain in the early days.
SI? She was vicious. Entirely different, though. She would get her latch, she would nurse perfectly for a few moments, and then she would clamp her jaw shut like a vice. There was no opening it. And I would scream and cry and beg and plead, and do my best to pry her tiny jaw open, all to no avail.
DD was a perfect nurser, almost from the word go. She never did anything to cause me pain until the day she weaned.
So I know how this goes. I went through six weeks of agony with SI before she just nursed like you always assume a baby is "supposed to."
And now here I am with RH. Who keeps fixing one problem, only to invent a new method of torture.
Only this time, DD and SI are around to watch.
DD is terrified whenever I start to nurse the baby. She wants to know if RH is going to hurt me, if she's biting me, if I'm going to cry, if I'm okay.
|She's making cute little noises!|
And Grandma and M... they don't like it either. I wouldn't if I were them. But frankly, their repeated suggestions that I pump and let somebody else take a turn feeding her for a day just make me mad. I don't WANT to take a break. I worry that taking a break is just going to set her back instead of moving her forward. But it's tempting. Because my nipples? They're usually in agony.
Yes, I want to pump. That's because I have such ridiculous over supply. Because frequently, RH will torment my nipples and then have nothing to eat. But I *like* nursing. You know, once the ungodly awful part has passed.
I'll snap at M about it. But I won't snap at my MIL. I'm too grateful that she's here, taking care of my home and my toddlers while I'm recovering. (The three of them baked delicious sweet potato muffins today. Who could complain?) But I'm just going to keep up putting my nipples directly in harm's way and trying to stifle the screams. And trying anything I can think of to make them hurt a little less.
Gel nursing pads keep them raw, but help with the bruising. They make my nipples ache each time I take them off.
Cloth nursing pads stick tot the drying blood and then peel away the scabs when I try to take them off.
No nipple shields mean that I'm constantly leaking milk on myself.
Every time a cool breeze goes by, my nipples scream. Every time I step into the shower, each drop of water makes me wince. When DD or SI or even M try to give me a hug, a flinch away from the pressure against my chest.
Nursing? Not so glamorous.
I know it's going to get better. I know it is.
I know how to get us a good latch.
|Me and my girls- you'll be seeing a lot more of this picture|
But I am a sore and tired cow this time around.
One week down. One week of improved nursing, one week of improved attacks.
Hopefully this time next week things will be better.
And if not, I suppose at least I have one recourse when it comes to bolstering my spirits that was denied to me for most of the last year.
At least now I can pour myself a drink.
FYI- My MIL is awesome. As I type this, I am eating pigs in blanket (with fake pigs) and a spinach/strawberry/raisin/almond salad with black currant vinegar, she has put my children down for a nap, and she is snuggling my infant. She is awesome, and I mean no disrespect whatsoever.
...also, I have spoken with a lactation consultant, who is perplexed enough that she's making a house call this week. Here's hoping I'm doing something wrong and she can fix it.