In this post, I talk about breastfeeding and my own nipples. If you can't handle frank talk about breastfeeding, move on to the next blog.
I tried for a long time to get Ace to breastfeed. I was told that it would be hard, because he was used to bottles, since their flow is a lot faster and easier than the breast. I was told that it'd also be a challenge because I have flat nipples. My breastfeeding instructor gave me Therashells to correct this problem... Thing is, they're utterly useless for flat nipples. They'd make my nipples poke out for a couple of minutes after I took them out, but after a few minutes of Ace trying to latch, they'd go back to their original flatness. Plus, they pretty much made me feel like an idiot, walking around with big lumps on the ends of my boobs. No good.
When I tried to nurse Ace, at first, he'd cry and root and cry and root until he finally found my nipple, which I had contorted in such a way that he'd be able to get it into his mouth and touch his tongue, triggering his suck reflex. Of course, holding my boob that way made my hand cramp and between watching that my giant boob wouldn't overtake his nose and just trying to get him to calm down, my neck started to hurt. He'd suck 3-4 times, then either stop and look around for 10 minutes until I gave up, or start crying and rooting, starting the whole process over again.
I tried several things to get him to latch on better. First was trying to nurse a little before I figured he'd be hungry, so he wouldn't be frustrated. Didn't help. Second was priming my nipples, making them poke out a little more, with the breast pump. Didn't work. Third was feeding him a little bit so he'd not be as hungry and frustrated. That DEFINITELY didn't work. I tried soothing music, warmth, cold, singing to him, talking to him... yeah, nothing. Nothing worked but a bottle.
I got him to successfully nurse once, for 10 minutes. When he stopped, I burped him and tried to move him to the other boob. Cue the crying and rooting and fussing. So, I figured I'd write him off as one of those preemies that just couldn't handle nursing, and as long as he was still getting breastmilk it was all good, and gave up. This was after a solid 2 weeks of trying hard, by the way.
When he came home, I kinda let my production slow down. I went from being the Spiehler dairy to being the Spiehler glass of milk. I went from 12 full 4-ounce bottles a day to maybe 3, 4 if I really tried. It's just too hard to wake up every 4 hours like I was before and pump when I have to wake up with him every 4 hours, or hold him when he's being fussy... you name it. Not easy. I was even considering giving up, letting him eat what I have in the fridge (which will probably last him a month and a half or so), and then going to formula.
A couple of days ago, I discovered nipple shields. Now, imagine me yelling the following: Why didn't anyone tell me about these earlier!??!?!? I have half a mind to call my breastfeeding instructor and give her a piece of the remaining half of my mind. I am so annoyed that she gave me those ridiculous Therashields and didn't even tell me about the nipple shields. Yesterday, I went to Babies R Us and picked up a few nipple shields, and when Ace got hungry again, I popped one of those on and Ace latched on immediately, ate from one boob, burped, flipped over, and latched on and ate from the other one. Just like that. Easy as pie. Again, I yell, why didn't anyone tell me about these earlier?????!!!!! I could have saved myself a whole lot of time, energy, and quite frankly, heartache if I had known about these things.
Now it's back to increasing my production. I'm down really low - he could probably eat my efforts during the last 3 weeks of August in about a week. Back to pumping every 3-4 hours so I can get back to my pre-giving-up production.
I'm so irritated. Y'all wouldn't believe it. I could have been nursing him this entire time if I had known anything about these. Argh!!!
Spread the word, y'all. Nipple shields for flat nipples. Therashields for flat nipples - worthless. Spread the word.
2 days ago