Just tripping down memory lane a bit...
Lately I've been thinking about Jayce's birth a lot. I think its because 4 ladies on my Attachment Parenting group just recently gave birth to new little ones. And although some of their early post-partum days have been less than stellar, I have to admit that I am very envious of them. Its no secret that I have baby fever and I have it bad.
Jayce and I had a horrible time learning to breastfeed. Honestly, if I didn't believe in the benefits so much, I would have given up in the first 6 weeks of nursing Jaina and wouldn't have even tried to nurse Jayce. It was just horrible. No one prepared me for the excruciating pain that comes with nursing complications. My mom didn't nurse. My stepmom didn't have any problems and weaned my sister within a couple of weeks. My MIL didn't nurse my husband past two weeks. My aunt Diane nursed all three of my cousins, but they are all in college now so it was quite a long time ago. Brian's co-workers would call me (and I had never met any of them!) to try to give me advice. "Oh, it definitely hurts in the beginning. It gets better." No one quite understood what kind of pain I was in.
It ended up being thrush, a yeast infection that not only hurts you on the outside, but also effects your milk ducts. Yeast also breaks down your skin to allow for bacterial infections to set in. It was horrible, but after 6 weeks of crying every day, I finally went to a La Leche League meeting with Jaina in tow, and listened to woman after woman tell me how bad their first weeks/months were. You would think that would have discouraged me, but no.... it felt so good to know I wasn't the only one who was going through this. And that there was a light at the end of the tunnel! All of those ladies had nursed through those rough weeks and those babies were now toddlers still nursing. It was so inspiring.
After Jaina's rough start with nursing, I was determined to not have anything like that again with Jayce. But honestly, what can you really do to prevent nursing problem? My baby boy was born happy and healthy. I put him to my breast and..... nothing. Not trying to get discouraged, I vowed to try again later. He didn't nurse until almost 4 hours after his birth and then it was only for a few minutes.
They almost didn't let us go home from the hospital. He would not latch on. We ended up having to cup feed him an ounce of formula before they would let us go because of his jaundice. When we got home, he was going 7 hours between feeding sessions. We ended up pumping and feeding him by syringe after unsuccessful nursing sessions.
My LLL leader came by, as did several of my breastfeeding friends, and no one could really figure out why he wouldn't get a good latch. His frenulum looked fine, not tight or restrictive. His tongue was a problem, but we could get him to put it down with our finger. Anyway, our poor latching those first two weeks did some trauma to my breasts like I've never felt before. And of course, yeast set in. Blisters, too. I pumped and bottle fed to give my poor breasts a break. But then, he suddenly stopped taking a bottle. He wasn't really interested in nursing, though, either. Looking back, now we realize it was his painful reflux that was to blame. He had all the symptoms of a silent reflux baby, but I was determined that it was my diet that was bothering him, not reflux. After 4 months of not sleeping and not eating, we finally got him an upper GI xray that showed him refluxing. Medicine helped after 2 weeks of letting the levels build up in his system.
I finally had to wean him from my left side because of a blister that would not heal. The right side healed up eventually, but only after a week of practicing "Asymmetrical latch". WIth Jaina, I could just pop her on and she was fine. With Jayce, it was a big production.
First, I had to position my nursing stool, sit up straight in the chair, swarm my body with the boppy pillow, then carefully latch him on in perfect text book style. I kept thinking back to nursing Jaina on the couch laying down, in the bed at night, sitting on the floor, anywhere. Jayce was such a different experience.
But, it all turned out just fine. And I know if we DO have any more children, I'll probably go through the same breastfeeding issues that I did with the other kids. (Although I'll be armed with some bactroban next time!). And breastfeeding will still be worth it to me :)