Saturday, May 30, 2009

Working out the Kinks

Look! An adorable picture of Henry and his Papa!
Henry sleeps REALLY WELL when he is laying on top of us. He actually sleeps really well all the time, but we love it when he crashes while laying with us. How cute is he?!? Clearly the little guy knows how to relax.

Okay, cuteness aside, the rest of this post is all about breast feeding. If you find that topic disturbing or totally boring, then there are no hard feelings if you stop reading now. This is basically just a run down of the most frustrating aspect of the last two weeks and how things are finally getting better.

Still here? Don't say I didn't warn you. So I feel the need to discuss in detail the breast feeding issue. I am not sure why, but if is nagging at me to TALK about it, so here we go. Breast feeding is hard. It is really hard. It was so hard in the beginning that I am not sure how we got through it. Everyone told me it was really hard. Like the hardest part of having a new baby, but for some reason it didn't sink in until I saw for myself how hard it gets.

Henry did not take to breast feeding well. The lactation nurse at the hospital said that he had "organization issues" due to being a little early. He wanted to keep his tongue on the roof of his mouth. He didn't want to latch on. He loves to get distracted. He also loves to fall asleep. All of these things make breast feeding pretty dag on difficult. The nurses at the hospital seemed stumped. They kept apologizing to me about how poorly this was going, working with him by putting their finger in his mouth, trying to get his lower lip out, trying to keep him interested. I didn't feel like things were going that bad, but they seemed to think they were. I was a little concerned, but figured it couldn't be THAT BAD.

Then we came home. I had a nipple shield that they gave me to help keep his tongue down. I had glucose water to put on the tip of the nipple shield to get him to latch on. I figured I was set. Oh lord. Every single feeding became a two man job. Nick would sit there with me and try to help. He would hold Henry's hands down and try to keep the glucose water going so he would keep latched on. Henry would fight us every step of the way. He would cry some, but mostly he would just get so frustrated. Shaking his head back and forth basically screaming, " I DON'T GET IT!!" We had no idea how to help him, and it was killing all three of us.

Then my milk came in. I thought things would get better, but they went down hill. I was SERIOUSLY engorged. It was so painful. Painful to even hold him, much less to try to NURSE him. I tried to express milk before we started, but there was still no way for him to latch on well. I called the lactation nurse and she said the answer was to nurse nurse nurse. So that is what we did. Slowly we got away from the glucose water and away from needing Nick to constantly help. We are working on getting away from the nipple shield, but I am okay with using it for now. Henry has started gaining weight and he seems to finally get nursing. He is no longer constantly frustrated, but is now jumping on to eat. I can now leave my shirt on and nurse him, which is a big step for me! There are few things more frustrating that sitting there topless at four in the morning with a pissed off baby and an exhausted husband while your engorged breasts ache and make you want to cry.

We are getting there. We are seventeen days in and the nurse said if you can make it 21 you are good. Things usually click by three weeks. I can tell things are clicking now. I don't have the fear of leaving the house because I can't feed him away from home. I know I can do it. I want him to breast feed, and I am fighting to make it happen. Things are getting so much better I am starting to only feel tired from the late night feedings, and no longer completely emotionally drained. We are going to make this work because it is best for him and it is best for me. As hard as it has been, I actually love doing it. I love being there for him in this way, and I love the time it gives us together. I will gladly give up sleep for those things. Especially since it is working. He is taking to it and he is growing, and he is the most important part. Still, when people say it is hard, listen. It is hard, really really really hard, but I am starting to see that for us, it is totally worth it.


  1. It IS really hard the first time around! I remember telling Jenn it was a good thing they gave you maternity leave because I was nursing about 8 hours a day with Wilson. He took an hour to eat every time for a while. It gets easier, I promise! I'm so proud of you for sticking with it! I think so many people give up too soon, before it gets easier. I have had success with nursing and pumping. Please call me any time with questions! I used a nipple shield with Wilson as well. Now feeding Tyler takes about 15 minutes! I also remember pumping and giving Wilson a bottle of expressed milk because that was faster. Good luck!

  2. lots of things about being a parent are harder with the first baby. couple that with the facts that it HURTS at first, it's frustrating that all isn't going perfectly, and that Henry was so little and 3 weeks early, and no wonder you've been having a hard time! now that his capacity is increasing, his mouth is getting bigger and he's catching on that there's a big return for the effort he puts in with nursing, things are going to get better from now on...will probably still hurt some when he first latches on but that gets better too.
    just remember, you are both learning...babies need to learn about how to eat as much as new mom's need to learn about how to feed them. even people who bottle feed have a learning curve to get through.
    hang in there, Henry is growing and gaining weight and you are both doing really well. the most important thing is to keep him knowing you love him and you and Nick are such good parents there's never going to be a problem there.
    Sometimes nursing really is hard at first, but all this effort you are putting into getting feeding going well is paying off. it won't be long before "Little Henry" isn't so little any more!
    hugs to all annie

  3. I had the same problems with my little one while nursing and she was born late. She was doing the same thing with her tongue. So I was given a shield and that worked out just fine. It will all be okay. I know it is hard but do not give up. You can do it.

  4. Like the others said, it WILL get better. The engorged breasts (hard as rocks, aren't they??), the nipple shield, the hour-long feedings - they will all be gone and things will get much easier. You will be really glad you stuck with it.

  5. Honey, You and Henry are both doing great!!
    I'm so very proud of you.


  6. You are such a great mother! You are helping to ensure Henry's lifelong health and strong immunity. Every study you read supports the better brain, stronger healthier baby philosophy through breast feeding. All four of us were breast fed and our very healthy adult lives are a testament to how well it works. I know it's hard, but hang in there. You are SO doing the right thing for both of you.

  7. Okay I know you're hearing this from tons of people, but yes it will get easier! You show great tenacity by working at it as hard as you do! Just keep telling yourself--if it stayed this difficult, no one would do it for a year...or longer! It won't be like this forever.

  8. My little girl is three weeks today - It does get a lot easier!! I almost gave up on breastfeeding, but now it is like second nature to both of us!

  9. OMG you don't realize that when your milk comes in you suddenly have melons the size and firmness of well...melons and it makes it hard to nurse for a bit! That caught me off guard. Also, as the baby grows and changes so does nursing. At 14 weeks out I can say that not only is it much easier overall, its much easier to adjust to the changes.

  10. It will all work out, just hang in there! I am going to need your advice in a few weeks :) I know you are doing great, I mean look at that little face. Too precious!

  11. You are doing a fabulous job, I am so proud of you! Henry is adorable!