Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Breastfeeding With Real Babies, Part I

Willow had absolutely no problems with latching.  She immediately opened her mouth very wide and started bobbing up and down around the nipple area like a baby fish.  It unfortunately made me crack up, which made the nipple even harder for her to pin down, but we worked it out.  Those first few nights in the hospital, the nurses brought her in for feedings.  Which was also kind of hilarious, because they obviously had been waking her up to eat, so she was exhausted.  And I was exhausted (and high on percocet).  We both kept dropping off to sleep mid-feeding.  I'd jerk awake, wake her up to keep her going, and the two of us would struggle like that for forty-five minutes.  It was like the two sleepy stooges.

One night, I couldn't get her to eat at all, and called the nurses to take her back to bed.

"She's sleeping.  She's not hungry."

They looked at her.  "Wake her up.  She needs to eat."

And I would try, but Willow was sleeping.  I would call the nurses back.  "Could we try again later?  I think she wants to sleep right now.  Seriously."

This cycle repeated itself four times before Willow finally gave up on sleep and grudgingly ate enough so the nurses would let her go back to bed.

Very thoughtful and desirous of healthy and well-fed babies, those nurses, but that was one sleepy baby.

But during daylight hours, and during those brief moments when I was awake during the nighttime feedings, I loved breastfeeding.  It didn't hurt at all, and it was just the sweetest and warmest thing to do.  I loved watching Willow's jaw working and hearing her swallow and holding her close--those first few days I couldn't really do much (I think Willow was three days old before I could bend over enough to kiss her cheek) so this was the time when we were most together.  And I felt soothed and peaceful and sleepy and she clearly felt the same.

We came home with all these grand plans of feeding every two hours (the wakeful nurses had instilled in me a very firm belief in scheduled feedings), which got completely thrown out the window our first night.  When Willow declared that every two hours wasn't good enough--she needed to be feeding all the time.  Not just on the hour, but every moment.  All night.  I thought I was going to die.  I didn't understand--what had the nurses been doing with her when this happened?  I was always presented with a calmly blinking baby face, not this raging milkmonster.  The feedings were no longer soothing, they were the eyes of clusters of storms. 

Come morning, she went three and a half hours without feeding.  And I thanked my lucky stars.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very cool to know!

I am due April 10thish so we shall see how things go for me as well!

I hate hearing those horror birthing/breastfeeding stories.
What good does it do?

Thanks for sharing

-- Vanessa