Adventures in Breastfeeding

Perhaps the greatest challenge in my 11 day old life as a father has been breastfeeding… and no people… I am not the one doing the breastfeeding.  However, that does not mean I don’t have a big role to play. 

It’s pretty amazing that each day it seems we’re facing a new challenge.  I’m writing this post on Tuesday morning, so by the time it posts in 24 hours we’ll probably have faced a whole new challenge.

The amazing thing about breastfeeding is that you would think it is the most natural thing in the world.  I mean, we’ve all been doing it for thousands and thousands of years.  People didn’t have bottle a few hundred years ago and that meant there’s only one option… the boob.  However, as someone going through the boob feeding, it’s definitely not as instinctual as one would think.

First of all, in the hospital the breastfeeding was extremely painful for my wife.  When he latched, it nearly brought tears to her eyes…and a few times it did.

Speaking of latching, it’s been a constant struggle.  For those without a background, a latch is when the baby make a good suction on the nip and the latch itself should stay constant for quite some time.  When Junior is doing good, the latch will last 20 minutes.  Sometimes it lasts 10 seconds.

Junior had a bout of jaundice and we were under orders from the doctor to increase the amount he was eating.  The doctor told us to feed him every three hours and then have Stunning pump 1.5 hours after and then feed him the pumped milk at his next feeding.  Therefore, Stunning would feed him at the nip and this would take 30 – 40 minutes.  Then she’d pump an hour later for 15 – 30 minutes.  Then an hour later she’d feed him for 30 minutes and give him the bottle and then have to pump an hour later.  We did this for 24 hours, went back to the doctor and they told us to do it for another 24 hours.  That’s when we had a mental breakdown (and really, we had a boob breakdown as well… that’s a lot of work for boobs!!).

To combat the jaundice, we then started supplementing with formula.  Then Junior no longer wanted to latch, because he had discovered the joys of a bottle, which supplies the same amount of milk as a boob but in 5 minutes instead of 40.

Stunning and I prayed and prayed and prayed that he would latch again and we could begin breasfeeding him again.  This was on Sunday.

On Monday, Junior latched!!!  We were so thrilled.  He got a good latch at noon and wouldn’t let go.  He let go at 12:40pm and then wanted more at 1pm!  We were so excited… then the dude never wanted to let go.  He was basically attached for 12 hours straight at the boob.  It was out of control.  God answered our prayers with something like, “Oh you want him to latch? I’ll show you latching!”  By 9pm on Monday, Stunning and I were praying that he would stop latching and be satisfied.

We’re thinking he wasn’t getting enough food from the nip, so it required a lot of feeding.  Needless to say, this was quite taxing…  Last night, we went back to a bottle of collected milk and ended up going with a bottle of formula as well.  

It’s Tuesday and who knows what will happen today.  On Wednesday, we have an appointment with a lactation expert… and hopefully we’ll get some more information.


Eric said...

Yeah breastfeeding is a lot of work. It takes a lot out of my wife right now with our nearly 3 month old.

it can get frustrating for me at times because she needs to feed the baby and i have a living room of unruly children destroying the place while she watches Grey's Anatomy.

March 17, 2010 at 5:04 AM  

My oldest boy had a problem latching on when he was born. As a result we went through the whole Jaundice thing too. In fact, your story sounds just like ours. Similarly we had a happy ending and he ended up latching on well, and it was smooth sailing from there.

March 17, 2010 at 9:24 PM  
susan said...

I intend no pun when I say that breastfeeding sucks. It does get better, though, but for a while, it hurts, it takes forever, and they want to do it ALL THE TIME. So your schedule (especially at night) is feed baby, put baby back to sleep, try to fall asleep, barely fall asleep, repeat. But then one day, suddenly, baby starts to sleep a little bit more, and figures out how to eat much more quickly.

And, simultaneously, Mom realizes that she can eat whatever she wants and still lose weight because now, for real, she is actually eating for two.

And life is good.

Unless she gets clogs or mastitis. But there is no need to worry her about that. It will all be fine. Honest. For now, lanolin ointment, ice packs, and hot packs are wonders. And the website is the raddest source ever for breastfeeding info. Almost as rad as me.

March 18, 2010 at 12:25 PM