...at least in my opinion. this will probably turn into another tmi post (you've been warned), but i want to remember what i'm going through. i've mentioned before i'm a huge believer in breastfeeding. there's nothing i want more than to be able to provide nourishment for azalea for many months to come or even up to a year. i'm glad i went into this hearing from friends that breastfeeding is not easy, so it was no surprise. but i never understood the emotional and physical toll it takes on you until it was my turn.
we started breastfeeding in the hospital shortly after she was born. if you don't know, you don't actually have breast milk at that point. you have what's called, colostrum, that is enough to nourish the baby until your breast milk comes in 2-4 days later. the nurses helped me teach her how to latch on properly. she was really sleepy every time we tried, but she did pretty well when she'd actually wake up. the first couple nights in the hospital we would set an alarm for every 2-3 hours to nurse her. it was a battle to get her to wake each time.
my milk came in when azalea was 3 days old and despite the pain, i was happy because i know of other moms who's milk never came in properly. it was a whole new (messy) world feeding her with actual milk. even with a proper latch, breastfeeding is excruciatingly painful (at least it was for me). but i just kept telling myself through my tears that it will get better.
2 days ago i started coming down with flu-like symptoms. i had horrible chills and aches and could hardly get out of bed. to add insult to injury, azalea started refusing to nurse on either side. she would flail around, arch her back, and scream. it was so. frustrating. i cried and cried and cried. i had a feeling that i had mastitis, which is a common breast infection. i called the 24 hour nurses line to see what they had to say. the on call doctor said it sounded like mastitis and i should make an appt for the morning. it ended up being a miserable night over here. with her refusing to nurse, i got out the electric pump and tried to pump some to put in a bottle for her. the non-infected breast had a decent supply, but i got almost nothing out of the infected breast. it broke my heart to give her so little food, so i dug out a formula sample i had gotten in the mail and gave that to her too. luckily she has no problems taking a bottle. i cannot tell you how many times i cried that night. it felt like the whole night. thatcher was so supportive and stayed up with me despite the fact that he had to get up for work in the morning.
yesterday i saw my ob nurse practioner and she confirmed that it was mastitis and wrote me a prescription. she said i needed to pump every couple hours and give it to azalea in a bottle, so that's what i did for the next few hours. in the afternoon, azalea had an appt. for a weight check with a different pediatrician than her first visit and we found out she has lost 3 oz. since friday (cue the crying in front of the dr.) luckily the dr. was extremely sweet and told me i was the second new mom she had cry that day. haha. it was so discouraging to find out she was losing weight when i feel like i am constantly feeding her. but the pediatrician gave me invaluable advice. she told me i have to make her nurse (especially on the infected side, because it helps clear it up). she said to try not to give her a bottle with breast milk (or formula) unless she absolutely refuses to feed and it goes on too long. she said the trouble with the bottle is they start to prefer it and will refuse to go back to the breast. she even observed azalea breastfeeding (the first time she had done it in over 12 hours) and we both agreed that the girl loves to latch on in her own way. it's so important that she does it the correct way though, so we can make sure she's getting the most milk and so it's not as painful for me.
i had yet another meltdown in the evening yesterday from the excruciating pain of nursing and her unwillingness to latch on correctly (or latch on at all). i honestly don't think i've ever cried so hard in my life. i kept having all these feelings like i could be a better mom if i just formula fed because my time with her would not be filled with crying and frustration. thatcher was so incredibly good at consoling me. but he told me i was not allowed to make a decision like that when i was so upset. i finally pulled myself together, went to sleep, and luckily her night time feedings went fairly smoothly. so have her feedings today. i've noticed that she is less likely to get angry about the latching on process if i'm more casual about it (like taking her off her changing table and having her latch on while i'm standing there). for some reason when we go through the "formal" process of getting out the boppy, sitting down, trying to position her, etc she gets all stressed out. hey, whatever works! i'm hoping we are over the hump, but i'm going to try my hardest to not freak out if we're not.
ok, so this has turned into a novel, but i just wanted to write out my feelings on day 11 of breastfeeding bootcamp :) i hope this is helpful for other new mamas out there to know that they are not alone in this crazy world of breastfeeding.