October 11, 2009 – Me and my 3week old nursling.

I have a child who grinded on what little nipple he could get in his little bird mouth for the first 5 days of his life.  As a result, I was blistered and bleeding. After his first ped appt the doctor referred an ENT for a suspected ‘short tongue’.  The ENT diagnosed he had a Posterior Tongue Tie, and we had his frenulum clipped johnny-on-the-spot.  I took my new baby home with great hopes our next feeding would be smooth like buttah to my wounded tatas.  Not only was it not like buttah, it was a complete failure – he couldn’t latch AT ALL.  That night I spent on the phone in tears with a Lactation Consultant who talked me through what I needed to do as my breasts morphed into yoga balls and my baby was missing feedings.  I didn’t even have a breast pump or know what to do with one.

She walked me through how to hand express and we attempted to feed Oban with a shot glass.  He thought we were smoking crack.  Zack ran to the store and bought me all the pumping accouterments and I spent that whole night pumping and bottle feeding.  I cried all night long – Oban on the other hand was blissfully unaware of my feelings of failure and inadequacy, and could care less that my little 2 hour window of feeding ritual had just become shortened by having to pump and sterilize.  I was not happy about this.

The next morning I called the LC and told her I would happily sell all our stocks if she’d kindly (and quickly) come over and get my baby latched on to ME.  2 days prior I had bellyached over the $200+ home consultation fee.  So she came.  A 70’ish year old woman came into my home, did her thing, and left me with a pair of ‘bionic nipples’ from which my baby was happily sucking ON ME from.  She told us that Oban has a really high palate and that it was contributing to our difficulties getting a proper latch.  I cried with relief.  That $200 had just bought me some ‘hope’.  And it was worth every penny.

2 weeks later and I have spent nearly every day (obsessively) trying to wean Oban from these fuckers.  I hate them.  I loved them for that one day, but by the next I was ready to ditch them.  While they were getting my baby on the breast, they were a HUGE pain in the ass.  You have to sterilize them after every feeding – they pop off easily – they make the prospect of having to breastfeed in public a ‘discreet’ impossibility.  Plus I just don’t have enough hands to support a 7lb wiggle worm who is insistent on swatting the shields OFF at every feeding.

I’ve watched every video – I’ve been to kellymom – I’ve done the ice on the nipples, the nipple sandwich, the hand expressing beforehand, I’ve tried “Latch Assist”, I’ve attempted every position in the book and this is where it has gotten me today:

(I’ve attempted all the ‘games’, Im holding him the correct way behind the shoulders/neck and NOT the head…) – and it takes us 10 minutes of me pinching the hell out of my nip to get it more elongated and attempts of shoving my breast through the gauntlet that is his frantic lobster claw hands that insist on being in front of his face – to get a quasi suitable latch.  That is, one that allows him to swallow something.  Which I am happy to take the pain for. This of course is all bad bad form.  We are not paving the way for a healthy breastfeeding future here.

Let me set up a little visual for you.  It goes a little something like this ‘hey you little shit!  MOVE YOUR FRIGGIN HANDS!!’.  This is not the image of tender loving mother-gives-nutrition-and-life to her ‘dear son’ – act of blissful feeding I see in my breastfeeding books.  What the hell.

So at 3 weeks Oban has learned to suck for all his life until he gets a little shred of a milk duct that can squirt him a shot or two of milk.  He has learned that he can’t count on anything to be consistent for more than a day or two.  He never knows what the hell will be shoved into his mouth next (firm, soft, wet, dry, nibbly, smooth etc etc).  We both scream at eachother at every feeding.  He is miserable, I am miserable – my nipples are miserable…and I absolutely DREAD every feeding.  And forget about it if I am engorged or my milk has not yet let-down.  Then even WITH the nipple shield we are struggling.

Insert copious amounts of guilt.  Are we having fun yet?

On a positive note – Oban has wet shitty mustard-seed diapers all the time.  He is gaining weight.  He is thriving.  This is most important.

Sometimes, you just have to do what works and to hell with the rest.  This is my first moment of overcoming my own interest for what is best for my child.  I’m just here to say, this isn’t easy.  It sucks.  And while I should find more compassionate words to implore my child than FUCKER, LITTLE SHIT, and YOU SUCK – I can give myself a pass that he will not remember any of this 10 years from now.  Thank god.  It also needs to be said that while, as my mother-in-law says, I could ‘bite a plug out of him’ 99% of time (okay maybe more like 75%) – the other 1% I am wondering how any infant makes it to its first birthday.

I’m just saying.

And if I read one more comment about ‘air your nipples out to dry’ – i am going to scream.  this assumes that you aren’t constantly dripping milk – how is this possible!!!???  there are milk droplets all over this friggin house.  the new bed zack built us, the hardwoods, the couch, the pillows…the dogs.  Fortunately, I have no supply issues.