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The baby is lovely and I am in love with him (except between the hours of 3-7am when my feelings can be significantly more colourful and interwoven with things like anger/irritation/resentment) because you know, the fact that he doesn't sleep on command is clearly a sign of a malign intelligence working to persecute me.

Breastfeeding Pros and Cons

The Good Stuff

* The baby is developing beautifully and is becoming ever more chubby.

* It's nice knowing I am giving him tailor-made nutriotion and my immunity.

* The weight loss is nothing short of remarkable. Each day when I wake up I can practically see where a section of my thigh has been transplanted onto his.

* Jiggled right breastfeeding still allows me to do other things - like read a novel (my top parenting tip: baby's body makes a useful bookrest)

*Z who famously used to think that eating three meals a day is a sign of spiritual weakness and female caprice can now be heard saying things like: "Here! Have another slice of cheese pie!" or "Would you like more clotted cream with your scones my dear?"

The Bad Stuff

*My Breasts Before were a lovely, manageable C-Cup. I liked it that way. Now since their indenturement to a greedy infant they have shot up to an F cup. F! I have industrial-strength breasts.

* Which are much heavier and more painful that I am used to and require industrial strength scaffolding and bras to be tamed and restrained. Pretty lacy underthings how I miss you!

*Sleeping on my front is impossible. Sleeping on my side is fairly tricky too.

* Engorgement bloody hurts. Sometimes it hurts so much that I like to reverse roles and wake up the baby to feed.

*You know what else hurts? Blocked milk ducts and sore, cracked nipples.

* Being called upon way too many times a day (often in the middle of particularly delicious REM sleep) to offer up sustenance. Listening to the ear-piercing screaming when sustenance not immediately available. Worse, being the only one who can provide this service. In fact counting down (25!) like a condemened woman the number of nights until people who are not me can start taking on some of the feeding responsibilities and plugging up the child with bottles.

* Being the slave of someone the size of a breadbin. This is not edifying. Particularly in the early hours of the night. TO illustrate, here is a sample of things I could be heard saying in the past week somewhere in the region of 5am:

"You can't be hungry AGAIN."
"Oww, easy you little piranha."
"Why do you hate me, why?"
"No! No more food for you! Enough with the tallness and the rapid development! Someone will love you even if you stay small."
"How much immunity do you really need?"
"Why, why, why?"
"I am almost certain you will be my only child."

Thanks to a heady emotional cocktail of grief and sleep deprivation most days melancholy is not far behind. Occasionally even when the baby is sleeping I feel too emotionally and physically worn down to sleep myself (it feels pointless if the baby is only going to wake me up half an hour later; of course this is nearly always the time when baby chooses to sleep for a several-hour stretch).

The wanting of the feeds an hour apart was completely killing me, and so after three nights of that malarkey Z and I took the advice of paediatricians (favourite quote: "Breasts are not toys for children!") and have stopped giving in to the baby's demands in order to push feeding times at least two hours apart. Predictably there was a lot of screaming from the milk junky, but it worked, and that nervous breakdown I was having has been postponed.

It is gruelling stuff and I spend most of my days feeling like a gang of hostile individuals has given me a kicking. But I hold on to the thought that it will get better. And that we are unimaginably lucky to have this healthy, thriving child whose inheritance of my appetite is probably some sort of karmic payback. Or a black magic spell cast by my mother, incidentally whose chortling over the phone I did not feel contained the right notes of sympathy.

On that note Matei's father is an easygoing, cheerful, amiable sort of person. The person most likely to say: "Whatever you want to do is fine!" and "What do you think?" and "Sure, let's do that!" On the other hand Matei's mother is an intense and wilfull woman often motivated by irrational pride and defiance. Now, let us make an educated guess which of them it looks like their child takes after more, in the soul?

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
casaubon
Jan. 16th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
There is the option of using a breast pump. This might allow Z the joy of providing sustenance to his child at 3am.

Though my wife hated using a pump and could never get much milk out.
Daniel weaned himself at about 8 or 9 months, Thomas kept going for 2.5 years...
rainsinger
Jan. 17th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
This might allow Z the joy of providing sustenance to his child at 3am.


And his wife's joy would indeed be great. This is what I'm counting down the nights towards - baby reaching 6 weeks of age whent he midwives have given us the all clear for bottle feeding because breastfeeding (like my nervous breakdown) would be well enough established by then.

In the meantime as a consolation prize he is shopping for bras for me in his lunch hour.
guihong
Jan. 16th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
I used to hate it when Holly would fall asleep before finishing off both breasts. I'd end up feeling all lopsided until I could get that booger up and feeding again. And yes, I too would wake her up, saying "come on, time to eat".

My doctor told me that every two hours was plenty, as long as he was feeding well and gaining weight (and it looks as if he doesn't miss a beat with food). Any more than that, and he's using your body as a giant pacifier. Check it out with your doctor, but you might try a "dummy" (as they're called there) and see if that calms him down.

gui, suddenly the expert on babies :P
rainsinger
Jan. 17th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, the dummy. By day 3 of the baby's life we had like 5 of them and we get a moderate success with their use - it will calm the baby down when he is cranky and help him nod off. On the other hand if he is hungry of properly angry he will simply spit them out in disguist.
dubaiyan
Jan. 16th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
Nipple guards an option?
rainsinger
Jan. 17th, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
Heee, I had to google that.

I think I shall try them next if my current two midwife-reccomended remedies (alternating between cabbage leaves in the bra and walking around topless) do not yield results.
land_girl
Jan. 16th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
Mine are hurting just thinking about it!

The engorgement and soreness will pass. It took about 3 weeks with Flo (I think) but certainly by a couple of months you will be feeling better, I promise! And they do shrink, too ...

My policy was not to feed between the hours of 12:00 and 6:00, just to try to pacify without a drink or with water, and this worked beautifully (Flo was 9lb 9oz when she was born so plenty big enough to go that long without a feed). A gentler way is to encourage good feeding during the day, but to try and discourage lengthy feeds at night. If you do this by stealth they hardly notice, and the huge benefit is that by 6 weeks or so they are sleeping through the night ....

xxxx
rainsinger
Jan. 17th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
A gentler way is to encourage good feeding during the day, but to try and discourage lengthy feeds at night.

It sounds like a good idea, although I'm so greedy for sleep in the day that I sleep whenever the baby sleeps and don't have the presence of mind to monitor feedings.

But everytime someone says things will get better I cheer up a little, in the soul.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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