Its been so long since I posted anything..Lots of things were going on..I had a lot on my mind..was going through an extremely volatile emotional phase..But now,peace seems to be restored in Aadyaland and here I am,finally writing about breastfeeding! Thanks for checking on me Asha
Hmm,So, Breast feeding..where do I start?? I had been told by well meaning friends that its not as natural or easy as it sounds.. and I wanted to do everything right..so,I went for a breastfeeding class at the local hospital.. The instructor there assured all of us that it requires a lot of patience and practice.. but there’s only so much you can do. Just look forward to it with a positive attitude.. and that’s what I did.. but things started going wrong right from the beginning!
When I first saw Aadya a couple of hours after her birth, she was starving..i was tired.. and we had this over-bearing acquaintance in the room,who took it upon herself to help me! I politely refused..she wouldn’t hear it, even when the nurse told me that we’ll try it after everyone leaves..What they were doing in my hospital room,so soon after my delivery..well that is a memory i just want to block out.. may be I will write about it some day!
Aadya got scared/upset and just wouldn’t latch on..she actually pushed my breasts away. and this lady all but grabbed my crying babe and tried to force her to latch on to the other side!! Baby was crying..I was crying.. And stupid me couldn’t tell her to get out of my room! Anyway, I asked the nurse to give me a bottle so I could feed her.
Day two- she was still not latching on,screaming bloody murder every time I tried to get her to latch on.I still wasn’t able to sit up,and couldn’t figure out a comfortable position of both of us.The more she cried,the madder DH got!!She cried,I cried.. DH was upset-it was a mad house. Then there was the lactation consultant..I hated her!! She walked in,asked me to unbutton the snaps of my gown and told me how I would have more than enough milk for my babe.how I was doing it all wrong,how I would never learn to breast feed!!!!!Her mannerism and way of talking was so hostile.She may have had all the qualifications but lacked the basic courtesy and consideration towards others!
We got home,my baby still wasn’t latching on.
I went to see another lactation consultant-this time one recommended by Aadya’s pediatrician and she was so much nicer.She told me that I had inverted nipples and suggested using nipple shells between feeds.I kept trying to get her to latch and everytime,she would just cry and I would end up expressing..I was expressing the milk and bottle- feeding her. I kept trying,crying every time I nursed her,coz she was crying.I was sure she was scared of my big breasts.All my life..I hated being big busted.. but never more than I did just then. I hated having these big melons,which were doing nothing to pacify my crying baby.We kept trying and trying and then one fine day,nearly a month later, just like that she latched on.I nursed her with tears streaming down my face.Slowly we got rid of the bottle and she was exclusively breastfed.
Then one night,she just wouldn’t sleep and kept crying.I called up the nurse, who asked me massage her tummy and use warm cloth as a hot water bottle.It worked that day,only to get worse the next.She was miserable whole day and must have slept about 3-4 hours during the entire 24 hours..We went to the doctor..who asked me to stop breastfeeding,stop eating anything that had protein in it- eggs,milk,wheat,soy..etc and just give her formula and see in 2 days. Two days later, her tummy was better.. but still not in good shape. It turns out my baby was “Breast milk Intolerant”-There I said it!! She told me stop nursing her till she turned 3 months old,coz by then her own digestive system would have matured enough. I was devastated,but kept pumping milk to keep up my supply.
By then,Aadya was so addicted to breast milk and cozy nursing sessions,she refused to take the bottle. She lost a lot of weight and even when she started gaining it , the weight gain was very slow. This was a very emotional phase for all of us. Aadya would get upset,when we gave her the bottle.I would cry when I pumped..and when I fed her.. DH was unhappy too..All along there was this sadness in our household. To make matters worse,MIL who was around kept asking me at every feeding time, when I was going to nurse the baby!!! Finally,when she turned 9 weeks old and her tummy was fine but still gaining minimal weight.. her Ped asked me to start nursing her once a day and if it didn’t upset her tummy gradually increase. I said a little prayer and tried nursing her that day.And she refused to latch on! God!!I was going crazy..so now she wouldn’t take the bottle and she wouldn’t latch on. I tried again next feed..same thing. I tried again first thing in the morning..and she gagged!I thought she was pretending so that I would give up..I shared this with my friend AW and she explained how she couldn’t be faking it.. she could actually be gagging because of the difference in texture of the two nipples ! God!!I felt so guilty after hearing that!! Things were back to square one and so I started reteaching her to latch on,like the first time.Only this time I knew what to do,instead of fumbling around..But she knew her mind too.She wasn’t a 2 week old ..she was a 2.5 month old and knew exactly what she wanted to do!We tried the same,trying to latch one first,giving up to express routine again..and again..till she got used to being breast fed again. Cut a long story short..finally she latched on..better than the first time and I am happily nursing her. But this time I give her the bottle too,just so god forbid, if things go wrong, she wont fuss about taking the bottle.
She is gaining weight again touch wood..though its not as much as I would like it to be.. but at least we are going forward.
Whoever said Breast feeding is an emotional experience..was so right! I was emotional when I couldn’t feed Aadya,I was emotional when I was nursing her,I was emotional when I was pumping.. even now,I always have a catch in my throat when I nurse my little babe..I thought it would go away in a couple of days.. but may be not..Its just the purest most selfless thing a woman can ever do..but in my case,my need to nurse Aadya was much greater than her need to be nursed..May be it doesn’t make sense..DH tried reasoning with me how I was doing it for her well being and I totally understood it.. and I would never do anything to compromise her health.. but I just felt so incomplete,like I was failing at mothering her..DH pointed out how she would stop crying the moment I picked her up or held her..I knew that meant that I was doing something right..but still there was no explaining this helplessness and sadness that was slowly engulfing me. I just hope that after this our breastfeeding progresses smoothly.
Sending up a little prayer and keeping my fingers crossed……