Friday, September 24, 2010

Breast feeding

For me, the most shocking thing about having a baby was how hard breast feeding was. I just assumed it would be very natural and intuitive. Put baby to breast. How hard could it be?

As it turns out, breast feeding can be exceptionally difficult. Will and I struggled with it for weeks. He would get terribly frustrated, and I was in a lot of pain. As it turns out, we couldn't seem to get a good latch. Even after multiple meetings with a lactation consultant and two La Leche League leaders, we just couldn't make it work.

Three weeks ago we stopped nursing and started bottle feeding. I felt terribly guilty about this, but then I realized it was breast milk, not breast feeding, that was important to me. I'm still a little disappointed that we can't nurse, but at least he gets my milk every time he eats.

I pump 6-7 times a day to maintain my milk supply. My goal is to give Will breast milk for at least 6 months. But pumping exclusively is a lot of work. I get a lot of plugged ducts since the pump isn't as effective as Will in draining my breasts. And yesterday I came down with a nasty case of mastitis, a breast infection. I'm on antibiotics now, but I feel terribly achy and sore all over.

Will's colic doesn't seem to be easing any, and we're starting to consider whether he's reacting to something in my breast milk. I'm off caffeine and chocolate as a test, but I'm also considering whether he could be sensitive to dairy. Some mothers report a drastic change in their child's mood when they remove certain foods from their diet. But the lactation specialist I spoke with said it's likely coincidental. Though you eliminate "trouble" foods and the baby starts to improve, it could also be that he's just grown out of it.

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