metro mama

Friday, August 07, 2009

Labour of Love

Update: Thanks so much for your supportive comments; they really helped a lot. I'm so thankful I've kept up this blog now that I need it the most.

We're doing much better again since I posted this. He's back to eating every 2-3 hours, and the engorgment is better. I've learned that I really need to be rested and relaxed, and sit in the right chair. Cakes is away again until tomorrow night, and it's quieter around here. My iTouch is saving my sanity--now that some of the nursing sessions are marathon, I'm getting good at scrolling through tweets and blogs. Once I can nurse and hold a book at the same time, we'll be all set!

My initial jubilation is wearing a little thin. Though we’re doing infinitely better than last time, I’m amazed at just how fucking hard breastfeeding is. Day 1 was heartbreaking, waiting for milk to come in. Day 2 and 3 were horrible, with ridiculous engorgement (the poor boy was terrified at the sight of two torpedoes staring him in the face. Day 4 and 5 (when I posted below) were euphoric, with the two of us finally hitting our stride. Then, day 6 the little dude ATE ALL DAY. Seriously, out of 24 hours, I think he nursed about 20. I was trembling with exhaustion.

The last couple days have been really frustrating. After his gorge fest, he spent most of the next day sleeping, just rising for short little snacks, leaving me engorged again (I had to get out the breast pump). While he was latching on right away, now he’s fighting and squirming at each feed before he finally settles down. He grabs handfuls of my breast with his little claws, and kicks and screams. A 4 AM feeding took an hour and a half, with him only nursing for about 20 minutes of that time. It seriously makes me want to stab myself in the eye. I’ve tried pumping a few minutes before the feed, to make sure the milk is flowing. I’ve tried pumping for 10 minutes before the feed in case the flow is coming too fast. I’m really getting tired.

So, my friends, I need your comforting words. Tell me it was hard for you too, and it gets easier (when?) Remind me how rewarding breastfeeding can be. Any advice?



Blogger Haley-O said...

It was HARD! For both kids, it was HARD. With my daughter, I actually pumped BLOOD to get it started (AWFUL), and for my son, I was so engorged that I had a fever, and the pharmacist told me I must have had mastitis, because engorgement apparently SHOULDN'T HURT - huh? Anyway, it was ALL WORTH IT. After those first several weeks, breastfeeding becomes SO EASY and convenient. Well, except with my son, who was a squirmer and a biter.... Hang in there...! It WILL get better! It's ALWAYS hard (awful) in the beginning! Hope that helps...!

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Sarah from Toronto Gardens said...

Sounds pretty normal. I remember taking a super hot shower at the hospital to calm down those rock hard breasts! Ack!
That big sleep after that big feed makes sense too. They are growing while they're sleeping, so it's a big balancing act between nursing and sleeping.

My only advice is get comfortable. Find your most ergonomic chair, that supports your baby holding arm, and you and your babe will get into a routine as soon as the growing pains are over.

Unless you are really suffering I would let the baby control the flow, rather than doing the extra pumping, and it will even out.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous mrsgryphon said...

It's definitely tough in the beginning - our 2nd was born in May, and it took a while for us to get into a rhythm. She was starving for the first 3 days until my milk came in, and then she couldn't keep up!!

We've settled into it now, and it's a pleasure to feed her and share those moments with her. With the older one always underfoot, breastfeeding is one of the few times I get to really sit quietly with the baby! Worth the struggles in the beginning for sure.

P.S. I second the idea of avoiding pumping if you can - the few times I did pump, it was worse the next day. Your body will figure it out faster than you think.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

It was REALLY hard. With each kid! Just try and hang in there until the 2 week mark - that was the magic point each time with me.

I got THRUSH with my Baby and everytime she latched on, it felt like someone was dripping battery acid into my spine. It was AGONY. I got through it, we nursed for 15 months.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous kate said...

Ugh. I think I've blocked out those early days. It gets easier. Just hang in there.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Mouse said...

I remember that the first few weeks were really difficult and that it took 6 weeks before we worked together like a team. Then it was easy and great. But I had some serious doubts about how long I could manage at the beginning.

(You can remind me of these words in 6 months!)

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:53 AM  
OpenID ourlittlefunnybunny said...

I won't tell you my horror stories, but after 3 or so weeks, there was no more pain. It does get easier. I did cave though after one week and did both breast and bottle, but after the 3 week mark or so, when I was breastfeeding it was pain free and easy.

Hang in there, you'll get through it as hard as it may seem to believe right now.


12:26 PM  
Blogger No Mother Earth said...

I had the worst 4 months of my life with C, and then it all started to work out. With G, it was rough at the start, but worked out much quicker. I think the body remembers. Hang in there! It is so worth it (though you don't need me to tell you that). And this is coming from someone who wanted to give up many, many times. It's worth it. It just is.

call if you need to...xoA

1:27 PM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

The first 6 weeks or so were so hard...but then it did get better and then I loved it...hope it gets better soon for you.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

I HATED IT for a month, was annoyed by it for a while after, and still don't like it immensely but it's gotten easier and it's how I get all my reading done now. But the first few weeks were terrible. I got help with feeding from my midwife and at the hospital (Harriet was born at St. Mikes) but I found that advice at the start was pretty rudimentary, and when she was about two weeks old, I dragged my sorry ass to the clinic at St. Joe's Health Centre. I kept crying, "no one can help me, I'm so alone" and wasn't very optimistic about guidance, considering how useless they'd been at St. Mikes. (I was also insane). But the woman at St. Joes was AMAZING, and I followed up a week after that, and her help was so practical and improved my life exponentially-- we came up with a plan for when to feed, when to pump, and she really thought it was important that I got to sleep at night. So don't be afraid to get help if you need it. I also found The Breastfeeding Mother;s Companion was helpful to read. And every one is obsessed with the Jack Newman clinic, though I've not been. In the beginning, I kept hoping someone could tell me I could quit, but now I'm glad I didn't. Keep on...

4:15 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Um apparently Michael Jackson thinks it was hard - wtf?

Julie - sounds EXACTLY like it was for me and Z. I blocked out the pain of labour but I'll never block out that feeling of engorgement, exhaustion, frustration and dread over breastfeeding. It was AWFUL at first. It took us a few weeks with calls to the breast feeding clinic and friends to reach our stride. Call your midwife to come by to help. Don't be hard on yourself. You are doing great. It will get better. It will.

In time it grew easy for us and those memories nursing are my most treasured.

Hang in there mama. xoxo

4:23 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

It WAS hard. Poor KayTar didn't have the oral tone for it and we fought for months and ultimately it never worked for us. BubTar did, though, and it was STILL difficult. Hang in there.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Lisa b said...

FK this so pains me to read this. It is endless and seriously the fact that you can write a coherent post after sleeping for four hours shows you will survive.
My kid was always screaming and puking and making it all really stressful.
the four am one is the WORST
any chance you can just stay in bed for the week and nurse lying down?
when I finally just gave in and stayed in bed twelve hours a day I felt better. I didn't sleep but at least I was rested.

someone told me to latch the baby and then lean back if the milk flow was too fast for them. that helped during those times when they feast for a day, build up your milk supply and then spend the next day gagging on the firehose.

I can bring you lunch. let me know.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

With Pie I noticed a big difference in the pain level on about day 14, but we still ping-ponged for awhile after that. Not enough milk! (constant nursing) Too much milk!!! (engorgement, green poop, spontaneous letdown at the park with milk spraying everywhere) But it really did settle down after a week or so of that. The three-week mark is where it got good.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

Both times were hard getting started, but it took a few weeks (instead of a month and a half) to stop hurting the second time around. Hang in there, it does get better! And then you have happy snuggly baby time (and no pain) to look forward to.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:11 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

W/ Julia it just clicked; it wasn't like that w/ Oliver. It was harder. I felt like he was on my boob ALL THE TIME. And for the first few weeks, he was, and then he just kind of 'got it'. Once he did, I relaxed and so did he and I think that made things a lot better.

Hang in there!

8:28 PM  
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2:04 PM  
Anonymous ioana said...

Oooh it was HAARD.

No latching. Too little milk. Not enough milk. Nursing for hours on end.. I remember clearly wanting to chew my legs off. Nursing from 7pm to 10pm continuously. Nursing during the night every 45 minutes.

But then it got better.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous ioana said...

Oooh it was HAARD.

No latching. Too little milk. Not enough milk. Nursing for hours on end.. I remember clearly wanting to chew my legs off. Nursing from 7pm to 10pm continuously. Nursing during the night every 45 minutes.

But then it got better.

4:09 PM  
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7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:14 AM  
OpenID takingchargemom said...

You're doing the right thing for your baby. Way to go! I guarantee in a few months you'll look back and think, "It wasn't that bad." At least, that's how I feel about various aspects of motherhood - like not sleeping.

4:34 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

I have no advice, but I do hope it gets easier.

6:24 PM  

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