Saturday, September 6, 2008

Widget's Breastfeeding Story Part 2

Sucking in her sleep.

In the first days.

Early feed in hospital.

When we got out of hospital we had to travel about 1000km to get to our new home, that I had never seen.

My left side was sore because of the nipple damage, but it was getting better. But Widget was spending a lot of time coughing and choking, some feeds were just awful. At about 3 weeks she also started screaming every night, absolutely red faced, tight tummy, sounding really in pain. At DH's insistence I gave up onion and it worked! Looking back it was a bit of a fluke that we got it first go, but the screaming stopped so I wasn't going to question it.

There was still something else going on. On advice from a nurse (we had no doctor or pharmacy in our community, it was all we had) we tried a bit of Mylanta, basically sticking our finger in and letting her suck it. That seemed to help, so the next day I got on the internet and found everything I could about reflux. It didn't seem quite right, but I tried some of the suggestions like upright feeding and they seemed to help. There was one line I can still remember reading, it said that oversupply and fast letdown could sometimes mimic reflux. That sounded much more like it.

So I seriously started looking for the ABA site. I was actually looking for Nursing Mothers, because I knew my mother had been a member. (Mum is a nurse, and we grew up with the red cook book and playing with her mei tai. For years I thought Nursing Mothers was a group for mothers who were nurses.) It was amazing finding a forum of women with the same worries I had. I read a post by someone describing the clicking sound! I wasn't imagining it! Turns out it was the oversupply and fast letdown interfering with her attachment, so I learnt to feed lying on my back with her above me to slow it down a bit and block feed. We also did some simple things like putting a pillow under her cot mattress to tilt it up, and I expressed the beginning of a feed. That was great because it not only slowed the flow down, it stopped her overloading on lactose in the foremilk and helped some of the tummy problems.

The results of oversupply! 3 1/2 months

The forum became my lifeline, Mel P suggested a sleep, feed, play, feed routine and suddenly I could get Widget to sleep. Other women had babies who woke up after 10 minutes, and I learnt about hormonal control of sleep. Around 9 or 10 months she started waking every hour and wanting to feed and after a week I couldn't cope anymore, so we decided to night wean. It took lots of crying, but DH did all the night duties and would take her out to the couch and cuddle her until she slept.

She didn't get her first tooth until 10 months, so we never had a biting problem - she bit me about 3 times and learnt very quickly that the feed was over if she did that! We really got into the swing of it and did baby-led solids, so by 12 months she was eating but still having around 10 feeds a day. At that point I started weaning because I wanted to do it very gradually until about 18 months, because that's when we wanted to TTC.

Stopping feeding to sleep was very painful, she's never been a good sleeper and it just got worse. And she definitely didn't want to give up. By 21 months she was down to one or two feeds a day and I bit the bullet. We drove up to Darwin so she missed that day, and DH got her up and kept her busy for the next few days and that was it. It took about 3 days for my breasts to stop being painful but they were never really bad.

Luckily I got pregnant that time. A few months later she wanted to suck again and I let her try, but she seemed to have forgotten how. It was really painful combined with the pregnancy, but she really wanted to do it so we kept trying. She would feed every few days, sometimes go without for a couple of weeks then every day for a while. She copied me to open her mouth really wide and take the nipple right back, and we worked out how to get her tongue forwards as well. It was still quite painful, but we went through the pregnancy like that. I had a bit of aversion, it was different to being touched out I just did NOT want to feed her. So there were days I said no, but it was also a way to get a bit of extra time in bed.

Once Midget was born and the milk was back she thought it was wonderful! I still had aversion, especially comparing her feeding to Midget. But she has been excellent about learning the new rules. She went through a stage of whinging really badly and some huge tantrums, but now she is really good and always stops when I say to. It is feeling better as well, and I am relaxing more so it gets even better. It still feels weird, but if I relax it's ok. So here we are, almost 3 and still feeding!

1 comment:

Cathy said...

love your chunky baby photo