Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Great Breast Wars

It's official. My daughter hates my breasts. No, really. She hates them. The lactation consultant is even slightly baffled. She said, "Well, occasionally I see this happen..."

From the minute I tried to breastfeed last Sunday night, my sweet-natured, snuggley baby has shrieked whenever my breast comes near her. On Monday afternoon, the lactation consultant poked and prodded my breasts for two hours trying to entice my child to latch, while I exhaustedly tried to keep from falling asleep. We finally barely got her on with the help of a breast shield (which, let's face facts, is just a plastic bottle nipple placed on your boob) and a syringe of glucose water dribbled over the nipples.

We brought her home, and thus began a three day non-stop marathon (and I'm not exaggerating with "non-stop") of latching attempts, screaming, half-hearted sucking, repeated 200 more times. And Mylicon. Oh, the Mylicon! Frankly, I think that was what was sustaining her for four days.

And yet, my milk refused to come in. Finally, on Thursday night, we bowed under the pressure and gave her a bottle of formula. And I don't give a rat's ass if the entire La Leche League comes over to burn me in effigy, it worked. She ate. She slept. She smiled. She turned back into my sweet baby. (Jason breathed a huge sigh of relief, as he was starting to think we'd gotten a lemon.) I got five whole hours of sleep. Five whole freaking hours.

The next day, World War Three in the Great Breast Wars began. I am horribly engorged by this point, and my milk just refused to let down. We start trying to latch again , but now, even getting near my nipples send her into full-on panic mode. It is now taking about four people to try to get her to latch. I hold the breast, my mother tries to pour sugar water all over my nipples, my husband holds her head and my sister tries to keep her flailing arms down (she actually starts batting us away with her hands.) We call the lactation consultant, only this time, my mother, heaven forbid, gets on the phone with her (as I am crying.) First the lactation consultant reprimands my husband and mother for letting them talk me into giving her formula. Then my mom tells her a thing or two about the kind of week we just had and sort of demands that the consultant inform us when my milk was going to let down (like the consultant knows this.) Anyway, we basically got a chipper "Keep trying! Go get some cabbage leaves!"

I decided to give it one more college try. Well, that college must have been instituted in hell, because that latching attempt was so awful that I decided it was the final straw.

Therefore, an executive decision was made yesterday that I am pumping, and Anna is bottlefeeding. I have been doing it since Friday night, and she is a completely different child. I keep feeling slightly guilty, knowing that I won't have that sweet 1970's dayglow mother and child breast-bonding experience. But then I look at her happy and sleeping. Pumping, here I come.

However, here is my other problem. My milk STILL will not let down. I am doing hot compresses, cold green pea bags, cabbage leaves (Hey! A salad!), massaging and pumping every hour and a half. I manage to barely pump out enough to keep up with her feedings...but is there some trick I don't know? I'm definitely clogged up. I have little weird cloggy pockets pooching out and I am still as hard as a rock. Any advice is greatly appreciated, moms.


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