Thursday, September 23, 2010

Breastfeeding is hard work!

There are a few things people normally don't really talk about, sorta like Fight Club. There are certain things that happen immediately after birth that aren't mentioned in any books and most girlfriends don't really fill you in on, though I was lucky enough to have a little bit of a clue because my girls had mentioned the unmentionables, but it's still a wild experience. There is also the great mystery of breastfeeding. No one really discussed how difficult the process really is.

You see people breastfeeding either in real life or TV and it all seems so pleasant and effortless, but in truth it is a partnership between you and your infant: an infant that just arrived to the world and your body that now does things that it hasn't before. Moments after Lydia was born she was placed on my chest. Nature is incredible because after a few minutes she began rooting and searching for my breast with her mouth wide open. It was an amazing site but it completely gave me the false sense of security that breastfeeding would be easy. It's not. It's worth it, in so many ways that I could list, but it's hard work.

The success, initially, of breastfeeding lies in Lydia latching on properly and my milk arriving in a timely manner. It is completely normal for it to take a couple of days for the milk to come in (though there should be  a tracking number attached to it for peace of mind) and completely normal for your baby to lose weight the first week. That being clearly stated, logic didn't matter. My baby was fussy and she had lost weight both equal a nightmare for a new mom, particular a new Cuban mom (a baby without food is simply madness, have you met my mother?)

Lydia waking up at 3am to eat.
Peacefully sleeping Lydia
Immediately, I responded in the only obsessive pseudo-type A way I could, I found a IPhone app, Total Baby, which logs your breastfeeding sessions per left and right breast, logs wet and poop diapers, also logs sleep, baths and other. It creates a spread sheet that I can email myself, so I can evaluate major trends and create graphs if needed. I diligently woke her up from a sound sleep based on what her doctor and the lactation consultant at the hospital recommended. It takes a bit to wake her fully, then we can begin the latching dance. Now, I didn't create the graphs, but it did provide a false sense of control. I had never really considered that you can't be sure how much milk your baby is getting. It would be handy to add a measuring valve to your breast or perhaps some sort of keg like tap so you can tap and pour, rather than trusting the unseen, ironically coming from a religion teacher.

Today Lydia turned one week old. We just got in a groove. She latches well. I can tell when she is hungry and I feed her about every 3 hours, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more. My milk has arrived. My nipples are sore which means she is doing her part. There are diapers that also provide reassurance. We've conquered our first mountain top. Tomorrow we return to the pediatrician to see if she has regain her weight. She did lose more than your average newborn weight loss, but I think, I hope, we will both be okay.

No comments:

Post a Comment