Saturday, March 12, 2011

Breastfeeding Struggles

2 weeks and 2 days old.
Photo by Rebecca Peters Haas
Dear Sophie,

Last wednesday morning, your daddy woke up, kissed you on the cheek and wished you a happy one-month birthday.  Even though it has only been one month, I have marveled at how you've grown.  At one month, you are 21 inches in length and 8 pounds and 13 ounces.  You've added 2 inches and a little over a pound since your birth.  You have also grown your little personality.  Sometimes you smile back at us when we talk to you, and occassionally, as you are drifting off to sleep, you let out a laugh.

Motherhood has been absolutely wonderful, and I adore you.  But this first month has not been without its struggles.  Most of our struggles have been with breastfeeding.  In the first two to three weeks as you were learning to latch, I developed cracked nipples.  The pain was so bad that I would have to muster up courage before each feeding.  By  the end of three weeks, with the help of Lansinoh Soothies and a whole bunch of lanolin, my nipples healed and I no longer dreaded feeding you.

In the fourth week, however, just as my nipples had healed, another problem developed.  You began struggling with the fast flow of the breast milk.  After about 5 to 10 minutes of vigorous and loud swallowing, you would yank yourself off the breast, gagging or choking on a mouthful of milk.  I would sit you up immediately, and we both would cry in frustration.  To make matters worse, your gagging experience would make you hesitant to try again.  This would then result in repeated instances of you lustily latching on (because you were  hungry after all), sucking even harder, realizing the milk flow was still too fast, and then rejecting the nipple again with loud cries and milk spilling out of your mouth.

The first occurence of the problem happened when I was home alone with you one evening (we had a social obligation that I encouraged your dad to attend).  It seemed like I spent the whole night attempting  to feed you.  You and I both spent the night crying as I was afraid you might be starving.  Your dad came home around midnight when I had just resigned myself to giving you a bottle of breast milk.  I said some grouchy things to your dad as he walked in the door, and this must have clued him in that my exhaustion had peaked.  In response, he simply took over and sent me to bed.  I woke up six hours later (!) to find you both asleep in the living room.  Your dad had taken the night shift for me so that I could get some sleep.

We are still in the midst of the struggle, and your pediatrician said that you will have to "grow into it."  Fortunately, your dad tries to help me as much as he can.  After he wakes up in the morning, he changes your diaper.  As soon as he comes home from work, he takes over your care so that I can get a breather.  And perhaps best of all, when it's apparent that I'm very tired, he encourages me by telling me I'm being a good mommy to you.  This is a salve to my  soul.  What a good daddy you have!

Love you!

Activities in your first month:
  • A trip to the Fed so that your dad can show you off to your co-workers (you were just a week old!)
  • Your first professional photo shoot at 2 weeks and 2 days old
  • Lunch with your Aunt Kathy, who used lunch break from work just to come visit you
  • Sunday lunch with Grandma Jo Ann, Grandpa Bob and the Newmans
  • A trip to Topeka to visit Great Grandma Ruth and Great Aunt Velma
  • Hanging out with Uncle Chris before his big trip to work in Afghanistan
  • Phone conversations with Lola Aida, who calls you her Princess
  • An outing to the dog park with Lucy and Uncle Chris
New developments:
  • From day one, you were good at holding your head up and looking about
  • Smiling when talked to
  • Laughing at random
  • Following a voice with your eyes (especially mommy or daddy's voice)
  • Following a colorful toy with your eyes (you love watching the "flying fish" circling above your head while you swing)
  • Not crying during bath time
  • Listening intently to the baby music we play for you in your room
Funny moments:
  • You farted just as mommy put her nose down to see if you needed a diaper change
  • You peed on your daddy while he was changing you
Who you look like:
  • Almost everyone says you look like your dad
  • Uncle Chris said you look a little like your second cousins, Corrine and Kelela

Comments from your dad:
  • You poop alot.

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