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.