Sunday, February 12, 2012

Breastfeeding 101

You would think now with three kids, I would be an old pro at breastfeeding. I mean, jeez.... I nursed both Jaina and Jayce for the first 27 months of their lives. I am a faithful member of our local La Leche League. I'm surrounded by wonderful and supportive friends. I have kellymom.com and breastfeedingonline.com bookmarked on my computer.

I thought I've battled it all before: months of thrush, cracked and bleeding nipples, incorrect latch, a baby that didn't know how to latch, a lazy nurser, a baby that wanted to nurse all the time, mastitis, plugged ducts, supply issues, oversupply, overactive let-down, etc.

So I thought I had all my bases covered. None of that was going to happen this time with Jocelyn. Oh, no. I am a seasoned breastfeeding professional.

So why does it hurt so bad??

Breastfeeding, in theory, should not hurt at all. And for a lucky 20% of women, that's true. They never experience any pain or discomfort or tenderness... even in the first two weeks.

The other 80%? yeah... not so lucky. No matter how good that early latch is in those first few days, your breasts are just plain not used to having a baby's mouth on them. It takes a bit of getting used to.

The majority of problems are because of 'incorrect latch'. Its not as simple as just putting your baby, with a wide open mouth, onto your breast. Why did I forget this? I remember having to do something with Jayce called 'asymmetrical latch' where he takes in more of my bottom areaola and his upper lip rests just above my nipple. I didn't bother to do this technique with Jocelyn because I didn't think it was necessary for a good latch.

Well, evidently, it was.

She's torn me up one side and down the other in the first two weeks of her life. Despite the shallow latch (where she was visibly pinching the tip of my nipple in her mouth), she has been getting plenty of milk. Now that we've fixed our latch problem, she's getting TOO much milk at let-down.

But the damage has been done.

I went to see a lactation consultant at the local hospital on Friday. I learned some interesting things:

-Although my nipples look much better (no scabbing or blisters anymore), she is concerned about my big cracks in each nipple. She says there is definite signs of trauma still.

-She recommended Jack Newman's All Purpose nipple cream after every feeding. I told her I had slacked off on the muprocin and anti-fungal. She said to start doing it again and add hydrocortizone as well. 


-She says Jocelyn's latch is good now and my nipples should start to heal soon. 


-Her "clicking" that I'm hearing is her tongue "flipping my nipple" to try to control my over-active flow. She said this is normal and not concerning with her latch.


-I definitely am having vasospasms. She saw my nipple turn white several times and back to pink. She thinks that the vasospasms will go away once my nipples heal fully.


-Although I don't have signs of yeast on my nipple, Jocelyn has thrush in her mouth. I thought it was just breastmilk on her tongue, but its not. Its definitely yeast. 

Oh yay.  Yeast AND vasospasms. How did I get so lucky?

The yeast should be fairly easy to treat. I'm a big advocate of gentian violet. My friend has my bottle but I'll be getting it Monday to start our first treatment. Its purple and very very messy and stains like you wouldn't believe. I'll have to take pictures of Jocelyn's purple lips so I can add them to my collection of "babies with purple lips". This will make number 3. 

The Vasospasms are new for me. Maybe because my other two were born in the late Spring when it was already warm? Let me just tell you.... it HURTS! I am on 800 mg of advil around the clock. When it comes time to take another one and the dose has worn off, I cannot nurse her at all until my meds kick back in. She's already had several bottles of expressed breastmilk because of this. Luckily, she takes a bottle just fine :) 

I know we've had obstacles, but I'll look back at this time and barely remember it. Its just a small blip in our long nursing relationship. 

And just think.... now I can help other moms with their breastfeeding issues and add vasospasms to my list of knowledge.  Always look on the bright side, right?? :)

And I know this isn't a nursing pic, but I can't stand blog posts without pictures so here ya go....



On a side note....

Jocelyn smiles a lot. I know she's only a little over two weeks old and technically shouldn't be able to smile. But she does. Its usually when she is making crazy good eye contact with you and you talk to her in a sing-song voice. She smiles AT you, in response to you. Its crazy. I wouldn't believe it if she hadn't done it several times around other people, including the lactation consultant. She assured me that it was not the typical gas, she was being responsive. 

I'm just so in love :) 

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