My Breastfeeding experience weeks 5-8 - #2 Feeding, bleeding and one handed reading - Struggling on
I'm beginning to think this breast feeding business is a bit hit and miss, with a lot of dependant factors. There are so many things to consider: firstly there are the basics - being your breast shape, nipple size and then breast size, nipple shape. After that there are tongue ties and lip ties, of which my boy has both. Then there are the implications of the bad latching, causing cracked nipples, open wounds, engorgement, mastitis, bleeding, thrush, blocked ducts, other infections plus supply issues etc.
So in these few weeks 5 - 8. Ting has had Thrush of the mouth - little white lumps on the inside of his mouth, and therefore we are both being treated with creams. Apart from the obvious visual nipple trauma and bleeding, after feeding I have severe stabbing pains in my breasts, apparently caused by the infection... it's not getting easier.
I had said from the beginning I wanted to exclusively breastfeed for 3 months, and it's horrible because I find myself wishing the weeks away, as I feel I will be less disappointed in myself if I make it. I can't help feeling cheated though. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I enjoy it; but I want it to always be a bonding experience like no other. Providing nourishment and comfort for my baby, soaking up the released oxytocin, feeling warm and fuzzy, in your special nest, with the perfect being I created and grew.
As I said in my last breastfeeding post; I have been engorged, and had significant tissue trauma and bleeding, now were fighting thrush and suffering with blocked ducts. Its painful, but mainly annoying as its like having a blocked shower head, meaning he is not getting his milk as quickly as he could. If you mess with the nipple and squeeze a bit, there are little tubes of milk that come out, but I am usually to sore to try and clear it. For him it must be like sucking a pea through a straw!
He is really suffering with wind, and I don't know why. It could be the tongue tie affecting his latch, my diet maybe, or just colic, but he gets so uncomfortable its heartbreaking. It also makes him clamp down hard on my areola. Fun!
Due to me being so sore on one side (my left side has been much better throughout) I have tried pumping, but I can't say I've been particularly successful with that either. I've gone through 2 Tommy Tippee hand pumps which were useless, and then settled on an Avent manual pump, which is great, but I only manage to extract an ounce at any one sitting, I get a little bit extra hand expressing. I need to keep my supply going, but it really is a full time job. I've also started taking a Fenugreek supplement, after doing some research. Its quite expensive at £10 for a tub of capsules from Holland and Barret's, but if it works, it will be well worth it (it does make you smell a bit like maple syrup though.)
I've realised feeding your baby really does take over your life, but that's what I signed up to; this little persons needs have to come first, forever. Yet that hasn't stopped me feeling awkward a few days in, with a house full of visitors... Lucky my closest family don't judge me for walking around topless!
Sometimes I feel like were trying so hard, yet we're just not as perfect at this as I'd like, and for his sake I should just combine feed, yet then something happens to make me stick to my guns. I am hoping to just let things flow and hopefully they will progress naturally, as having what feels like the breastfeeding enforcement SWAT team at my door or on the phone all the time... gets overwhelming to say the least. I know they are only trying to help, yet when you are hormonal, passionate and emotional, it just feels like they are criticizing and interfering, when you really are doing the best you can.
We have an appointment with a feeding specialist, and an appointment to have his tongue tie revised, in the next week or so ... so wish us luck!