The Dark Days
Posted By: Nancy Horn
After struggling with breastfeeding my first two children, I'm extremely optimistic about a more successful experience with my third and hope to make it to at least six months.
After Skylar's Bris and my c-section incision started healing, things started calming down at home. My husband went back to work and Ben hadn't started kindergarten yet. So I had over a week of all three kids being home with me. My in-laws and mom tried to come over as much as they could to take the kids out. I wasn't healed enough to take all three kids to the park and Sklyar and I just didn't have our rhythm down yet. I was still sore and really just wanted to concentrate on finding that rhythm.
Since exclusive breastfeeding is my goal, I really tried to focus on getting there.
- I tried to nurse as much as possible.
- I drank my favorite nursing tea.
- I avoided caffeine and underwire bras, which I was told could hinder supply.
- I pumped as much as possible.
But it was still tough. Now that Eric was back at work, I had to take on my usual duties, and still take care of my newborn and nurse on demand. I still had blog posts to write, needed to shower and get things done. I felt torn in 65 ways. While I was recovering, I was able to just sit on the couch and nurse. Now it seemed like every time I sat down to nurse Skylar, I had to fix a meal or snacks for Ben and Allegra, change Allegra's diaper or follow Ben to the bathroom to help him. And I was still trying to toilet train Allegra too. It was difficult and I was tired. After Eric came home one night to utter chaos, I decided to make things easier for myself and either ask him to pick up dinner or make it really early in the day. While I did have a little help, it was for maybe 2-3 hours and I didn't get much done while I had the help.
Another problem, every time I nursed, it seemed that Skylar was still hungry. He'd nurse and nurse and then still be crying. I wasn't even sure if he was getting anything. I was doubting myself and wondering if we were going to get this right. I wasn't even trying to get out of the house, we were failing miserably at home and I was stressing. It became really bad between dinner and bedtime when all Skylar wanted to do was nurse and nurse - and still seemed to be hungry. I didn't get to eat dinner (or would eat it while nursing on the couch) and I couldn't help with bedtime. My husband would want me to keep feeding him and frankly, I needed a break. I had given it my all, but at that point of the day, I was tired. That's when I would supplement a little or break out milk I had pumped earlier in the day.
Nighttime was a little better, Skylar would wake up at 1 a.m. and then 4:30 a.m. Since we were co-sleeping, I could nurse him in bed. Frankly, that was my favorite time of the day, nursing him in bed in the early hours. No one demanded my time and I was all Skylar's.
Did we turn a corner? Stay tuned for my next post.1:46pm on Friday October 29
I am pregnant with my second and I struggled with breastfeeding the first time around. I'm hoping to get it right this time. Thank you for sharing your struggles. It makes other struggling women realixe they are not alone.
Nancy, I can so relate to your struggles. I too am trying hard to exclusively nurse as well. Because my nursing relationship with my first baby ended so prematurely, I've been that much more determined to go for longer this time around. My goal is a year.
However, I too struggle with being able to nurse on demand, and producing enough to satisfy him. I am fortunate in that we decided to keep our toddler in daycare, so I can give the baby my 100% during the day. But evenings are hard, as ar weekends (esp. when DH has to run out on errands). I commend you for being able to balance your attention between 3 kids, because I can only imagine how overwhelming that must feel at times.
Right now my "current" worry is that once I return to work and can only pump a couple times during the day my supply will dip significantly. I wonder if I will have enough on the weekends to nurse him solely once I return to work.
I think that it's awesome that we are both so committed to nursing and our babies are fortunate to have had this great start. Moving forward, all we can do now is continue to try the best we can, and know that whatever happens in the future they have had a really awesome and healthy first 3 months.