Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oy, my ta-tas!

Breastfeeding. Did I ever mention how I anticipated breastfeeding when I was pregnant? I used to imagine placing my child lovingly to my breast while they gently suckled to feed. There may have even been fake wind in this fantasy, I know there were blue birds chirping and possibly even landing on my shoulders. I mean, how could it be hard? It's so NATURAL, DUH. It's the best thing for your baby AND you bond with them.

Surprisingly only one person open mouth laughed at me when I described this vision (without the wind and birds). During those late, painful hours, I actually heard her laugh echoing in my head. God, I can only imagine how many more people made fun of me behind my back.

Dude, breastfeeding is HARD. Baby Bear is 4 months and some change and only recently have I found it rewarding. Now, we have had some obstacles. First, Baby Bear was tongue tied. Now, while that may not affect some babies, it sure prevented Baby Bear from sticking out her tongue, so she was biting down when latching. Hence the nickname The Barracuda. I remember it hurting so bad that I sobbed during an entire feeding. My toes used to curl and I swear once I thought I was going to pee from the pain. I was very lucky I never cracked or bled.

Then I got thrush. And that took awhile to clear up despite Jack Newman's magic nipple cream or whatever the hell that was that I was using. It didn't matter, all I kept thinking was, " EWWWW! You have a yeast infection on your boobies!"

It took 3 weeks for us to see an ENT who promptly clipped it after making strange remarks about how if we didn't have The Barracuda's phrenulum clipped she would have a hard time eating peanut butter when she was older and have difficulty with "Sexual things, you know like kissing." Ummmm, I don't really want to think about that with my 3 WEEK OLD DAUGHTER WEIRDO! She tolerated the procedure quite well. Two snips with a tiny scissors and lots o' money later (half of which insurance covered) and she was good to go. She didn't even whimper. That's how sleepy of a new born I had. But the damage had been done...3 weeks of an incorrect latch and the little stinker still liked to bite even though she could stick her tongue out halfway down her chin.

After a phone call to the lactation consultant, I was instructed to try to get her to mimic me sticking out my tongue when she was alert. This was supposed to help her stick out her tongue before she latched on. She occasionally does this. The reality is that while she's trying to latch on, I yell, "Open wide! Stick out your tongue!" and I get my nipples pinched. 20 weeks later, it only pinches for a second, or in the morning when I'm engorged.

I'll never forget the day I finally figured out how to breastfeed laying down. It was amazing. Perhaps that's when I really felt the bonding. Snuggling with The Barracuda while she nursed and I rubbed her furry little head. It was amazing. Whoever thought you could fall asleep with pain shooting towards your armpits while someone took a cheese grater to your nipples? I guess I was really that tired.

Despite all of the pain and hard work, I find it so amazing (and still a little weird) that our bodies can do this. I mean, obviously we're MAMMALS but I guess you don't really realize that until you put those mammary glands to good use. It's crazy to think that I make food for my daughter without warming or prepping or baking anything.

I've made it to 4 months, now I'd like to make it to 5. I find that setting small goals is the best for me right now. I would probably find it much more amazing/wonderful if I had a roley-poley piglet. Alas, I have a long, lean supermodel. Our pediatrician isn't worried, she just gently reminded me that we should watch it because she is slipping down a growth curve each visit. Which is strange because this child is attached to my boobies all day long. And she is shitting up a storm. You know how you hear that breastfed babies don't poop as often? Not our girl, every morning it's like clockwork and now that I've started a little rice cereal, it's during the afternoon too.

So, yes, breastfeeding was/is difficult. But it is SO SO SO rewarding right now and I am so so so happy that I've stuck it out thus far. I still want to bitch slap anyone who says that you might experience "some discomfort" for a week or two, though. Me and my sore nipples say screw you.