Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Sucky Baby

George is a sucky baby.  From day one, he's been pretty fussy.  Always nursing, never satisfied.  And I've been exhausted!!  We supplemented with formula (GASP! - don't tell LLLI), which I'm sure has 1) reduced his patience for nursing and 2) reduced my milk supply.  Vicious cycle, I know.  But my baby is hungry and momma's gonna fill that belly!

Originally, I blamed myself; I didn't nurse often enough early on, I wasn't getting him latched on right, I wasn't producing an adequate supply of milk because of a surgery I had 10 years ago, I just plain suck...

So I started to research what might be causing his inefficient feeding behaviors....
 - falling asleep after only a couple minutes of nursing
 - not releasing his latch even though he's asleep
 - not emptying the breast (I HATE that word, by the way.  They may say 'breast is best,' but I say 'boob is better.')
 - rooting and fussing immediately after being taken off the....boob
In addition - VERY sore nipples.  VERY.  Cringe worthy.  That kind of pain that makes you get dizzy and vomit...or at least feel like you're going to vomit.  Where other mothers might experience a surge of feel-good hormones when nursing their babies, I was experiencing an adrenaline rush.  An honest-to-goodness fight-or-flight response.  And sweat.  It was making me sweat profusely...which I do when I'm nervous.  I do, however, refrain from sticking my hands in my armpits and smelling them, like thisssssss...
What did I find?  Low milk flow.  
Ok, why is it low, and how do I fix it.  Then I remembered:
I said it shortly after he was born, but never actually thought that it might be related, "I think George is tongue-tied."  And why wouldn't he be?  His father is.  George's tongue looks just like David's. I forgot to mention it to Dr. Loghry at his 2-week well-check.  I didn't think it was causing any problems.  Now that I've looked in to it, it's likely causing ALL of the problems!!

It's fitting this is my first post-partum post; it's the first time I'm not stuck in the recliner with a hungry baby nuzzled in my bosom!

No clippy.  The ENT said he's not tongue-tied.  Which...sucks....pun intended.  No quick fix.  I am historically better with quick fixes than long processes.  I didn't even stick with physical therapy after I broke my elbow.  I'd love to learn Spanish, but it would require long-term effort.  You see what I'm getting at.
Anyway, next up: herbal supplements to boost milk supply and a lactation consult on Friday.  A chat with the local LLL leader, of course, resulted in the suggestion that giving a bottle has made for an apathetic nurser.  But that doesn't really concern me, since 1) he started getting a bottle AFTER becoming 'apathetic' about nursing and 2) I'm going back to work in 1.5 weeks, after which he'll have to take a bottle regularly anyway.  I just want to have milk to put in it!  (And I would prefer that he can drink directly from the source when I'm home so that we don't have to plan ahead and pack and keep milk on hand when we're not at home.
I'm sure I'll return to this topic again... 


  1. Awww! Bri!! I feel for you!!! I know THAT pain! I had that pain nursing both the other two! Though, Felicity was just L.A.Z.Y. and Westley was a monster! Neither were tongue-tied, I just had REALLY sensitive nips. With Parker, things are a LOT different! I'm so sorry you had to experience THAT pain! I remember feeling nauseous while trying to breastfeed! I'm getting sweats now just thinking about it! I'm so glad you figured out what it was! It's still early enough. =) Here's to hoping things get better soon!

  2. hopefully clipping gets it better. abigail was tongue tied and got clipped at the hospital - but she never learned to suck well. joshua - super sucker. hickey nipples. yikes.

  3. Well, don't let the LLL leader guilt you into thinking you made him apathetic. Perhaps he just has low tone in his mouth. Is he losing weight? That's what Peyton did. He'd just get the nipple in, give it a suck (but didn't have a good suck, so it was uncomfortable but nothing like Kylie who had a vacuum but a bad latch), and then fall asleep. He was always rooting around for more if I took him off, but zzzz as soon as he got back on no matter how many times I would rub him, make it uncozy and cold, or bounce him to keep him awake. I tried the dropper method where you sneak a dropper in the corner of his mouth while latched on. But it didn't work so well. What worked the best for me was putting my finger in his mouth to open it up wide along with my nipple forcing him to get a big ol' mouth full of boob. Then smothering him until he got good suction and then pulling his top and bottom lip out again to cover more boob. Every now and then I would have to reintroduce my finger in the side to stuff a little more boob in there if his latch was getting loose. And I held my boob the whole time. This was all in the beginning. Once he got enough tone, he got on no problem.

    And to get the production back up, in addition to the normal things like drinking plenty of fluids (maybe even throwing a beer in there), you just got to become a dairy cow for a few days. Literally be connected to the pump day in, day out. For the first week I was nursing or pumping every two hours because of Peyton's jaundice (I'm talking around the clock. It was a good thing I had so much adrenaline that first week). This got my production up like crazy and I literally stock piled the freezer because he certainly wasn't drinking it all. So it'll come back for you, it just takes working the pump like it's your job. :(

    But don't get discouraged. If it's too hard and too stressful, you wouldn't be failing as a mom for giving him formula. Don't let the LLL people throw any guilt your way. At Martin the main lactation consultant and boob police didn't even have children. And she was convincing (despite never having done it herself). So they don't always know what they are talking about. :)

  4. Leah's right, you and George will find a way to get everything to work that is good for both of you eventually. and I agree with her on the note that it's always best to take advise from those who have done, not just read about something. love you!