So, continuing on from yesterday’s post, (and remember boys – you’ve been warned, this post contains secret lady business) I‘d left hospital with a baby drinking expressed breast milk (EBM) from a bottle. I was under strict instruction to try him at the breast as often as possible. He would catch on soon enough.
We got home and hubby was sent to Kmart at 8.45pm to buy bottles as during the day we had come to realise that two was just not gonna cut it. And so began my sleep deprivation. Not only was I waking to a baby that wanted a feed every three hours (and let it be said that hubby was a great help for the first three weeks whilst he was at home on leave…), Will had to be put to sleep in my arms – he would not go to sleep himself – and then I had to express to keep up enough supply for the little man to drink.
Three days after coming home I felt like I’d been hit by a bus. My boobs were so sore, my nipples were excruciating, my head hurt, my eyes were gritty, and I felt ill. I resented that gorgeous little thing that had done this to me and I hated the world. I was thinking, as hubby SENT me to bed, that I probably now had mastitis. The next day though, after having significant help that night with feeds (thanks hubster), I woke up refreshed, albeit still a little sore and I thought nothing more of the day from hell that had been yesterday.
So I was back on track for the three hourly cycle which went something like this…. Will would wake up (at 1am), I would feed (until 1.30am), I’d put him back to sleep (took until 2am), I’d express about 150ml (until about 2.30am), I’d then have to wash and sterilise the pump and any bottles/dummies (until about 3am), I’d go back to bed and take about 10 mins to fall asleep and then Will would be up again at 4am! BAH! I was doing it hard. I relished the weekends when hubby could take a feed but I would always regret it because after missing an expression my chest throbbed.
Now, I’d also been doing as the hospital instructed, trying Will at the breast. But it was impossible. He would get frustrated and I would get frustrated; it was excruciatingly painful because the poor kid had no idea what he was doing. After so many lactation consultations and so much advice and novels worth of reading, I had made up my mind that I would just stick with expressing as long as I could. Breastfeeding wasn’t for us.
Fast forward eight weeks. I’d had enough! I’d had enough of expressing, dealing with the stress when my supply ran low, the ridiculous lack of sleep, the damage it was doing to my nipples, sitting in the passenger seat of the car with a pump attached my boob whilst driving down the Calder freeway (yes man in the 4WD – if you’re reading I apologise for what you saw) and I’d had enough of the SOUND OF THAT BLASTED PUMP! It was time to introduce formula. I couldn’t do it any longer. I’d booked my last lactation consultation (LC) to discuss how I was going to wean Will off breast milk.
As I sat on the couch coming to this conclusion, I looked at my son as he lay on the floor looking up at me. He was making a funny action with his mouth…. ‘What’s that!?’ I asked him. Was that a rooting reflex I saw!? I wonder…. I picked up the boy and assumed the breastfeeding position, and off he went. No pain….. OH MY GOD!!!!…… NO PAIN!!!!! HE EVEN STAYED ATTACHED DURING LET DOWN!!!! Well I’ll be buggered! I was breastfeeding. After eight weeks, I was breastfeeding.
And so I continued. The next day my LC was amazed. Perfect technique she said. It was like he’d studied all night and then just knew what he was doing all of a sudden. That afternoon I even breastfed in a cafe! Can you believe it! I was so proud of my little boy and so proud of myself. I’d worked so hard and this was how it was meant to be. It was all too easy.
But as a large lump appeared in my left breast two weeks later, I soon learned that I’d only weathered half of the storm. Stay tuned for Part 3…