Friday, November 19, 2010

discovering on my own

So much for me was self discovery.
From my hospital stay to the first few weeks at home....

Everyone had a different theory, and theirs being the best one!
At the hospital,  every nurse had a very different approach to breastfeeding.
Nurse one I'll  call  "General"  (not to use any other nice words that come to mind)
Her technique was placing the baby on his side, something about aligning the ear, elbow and i don't know what else.  This was THE " proper" way to get the baby to latch on.   All i kept thinking of was my great grandmother and how she fed, don't think there were any rules then... pop out a booby and go! Probably while milking a cow or cleaning string beans...Well silly me i thought,  she's a nurse she knows best!  I was eager to learn, new mom and all, i was gonna try anything !  She had me breastfeed for almost 2  hours non stop.... her theory was the baby, in order to sleep has to be full and have that drunken look. Yes i agreed, but little did i know that the day after delivery most women's milk has yet to come in .  
Brain-less and placenta-less me, i listened and did the 2 hour marathon to  try to satisfy my baby.   He did  finally fall asleep, not  from satisfaction  but by pure exhaustion!   He wasn't the only one exhausted my poor nipples were red and super sore. So much so that the following day they were two giant scabs, and then who felt like feeding the baby..... nice job!!! so a little formula, and lots of agony and the baby slept for a while... not for long though, soon it was feeding time again so more formula, i cringed and cried, i wanted so much to feed him, nutritionally and because Lewis was a c-section  baby i felt i let him down,  he missed the whole bonding,  the instant feeling that mommy is there . I wanted him to feel secure, instead i  heard him cry, wail,  as they yanked him out ( OK we'll save the c-section talk for another post cuz i have lots to say on that topic as well)  so i had to decide, do i try it and have my baby taste blood, or do i give him formula???
I got up ( which wasn't so easy ) and i walked to see the night nurses,  introducing nurse number two, "Ice queen"! They were so cold.  I realize they become immune to us, patients, and that what for us seems like the end of the world for them is a splinter, but really just a little help , i didn't need compassion, i had my son to drive this force,  just patience pls. and yet they looked at me as though i had lost it, like i was crazy, really... i  guess me going there to ask them how do i feed my baby was a strange question for them.
I finally convinced one to come back to my room and help me with the latch...  get this she puts the baby down on his back tilts his head to face me and boom he was latched on. Oh what pain!!!! tears streamed down my face that would not stop, and lewis looked right up into my eyes the whole time with a stare as if he knew he was the cause of this pain, and at that very moment the ice sculpture next to me began to melt, the nurse was crying too. 
Well  out went the theories -  do anything  she said , as long as he eats.
Ah finally words of wisdom. where had she been the day before crust city!?
I saw the light, there was hope! 
THERE ARE NO RIGHT OR WRONGS!!!! It's really what works for you .
Try it all upside down , football, baseball, cradle, bed , she-wolf  anything

 The day after the pediatrician came to visit the baby, he then turned to me and ask how I was, so I opened my robe to show him the chapped nipples ( btw your shyness, and dignity go out the window after having a baby,  nude-ness  becomes  a normal thing, you really don't care.  At least i didn't. I  had so many people viewing my privates i felt like the mona lisa)  back to the pediatrician, he asked me if i was using shields to feed. 
"Shields whats that????" Shield as in Spartans??? whats he talking about ?
"yes there are shields to protect your nipples as you feed,  ask the nurse she'll bring you some."
As he says this in comes nurse three,  Dumbo , that will be  her name. 
First off she was 19,  OK I'm  exaggerating 21 , anyhow doesn't matter, she comes in as the doctor finishes explaining the shields and i ask her do you have these "tetrelles" (he called them tetrelles in french)
These were her exact words, 
"well yes but those are for people who's nipples are really cracked and the baby is having a hard time latching on....." 
LIKE MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I  say as i flash yet another person my crusty boobs!!!  
"uh uh uh yeah, but they are 5$ each ."
IS THIS ONE FOR REAL ???? bring me a dozen if it'll help !!!!!  

10$ later i had in my hands the 2 things that saved breastfeeding for me...
Two thin, transparent shields that fit oh so softly over my crusted nipples ... my plastic saviors!
My nipples had time to heal and slowly but gradually at a month old i finally fed Lewis
 au naturel!!! 

Here are a few tips that really helped me stick to it.... 

-lots of rest, they all say to sleep when the baby sleeps well i did! ( dust balls everywhere )

-eat well, i have more of an appetite now then pregnant, i figure it took 9 months to put    weight on i'll give myself 10-12 to take it off  ; )
btw for those of you whose partners don't cook prepare meals ahead of time and freeze,( i got these cool containers sort of take out kind, at the $ store , perfect size for a meal for two) and i froze everything lasagnas, rizotto's ,  pasta, couscous, involtinis, stuffed peppers, stuffed eggplant,  you name it i cook and froze it! and if you don't cook ask whoever comes to visit to bring food!

-limit visitors the first month if you can. less pressure on you . 

-designate a place for feeding and have everything you need there, especially water to rehydrate you!

-I set a schedule, well somewhat , Lewis woke up almost every three hours to nurse so i would set a light alarm to wake me every three hours so i would be ready and less stressed when he woke up , i never waited for him to cry, the minute he started squirming and tossing his head side to side i would pick him up and put him to my breast to feed him. He wasn't frantically wailing, and  i wasn't as nervous as i would be if he was, and it worked. 

-write down the times and sides you feed, helps you know what's going on and when more or less your next feed is.

- get the "milkmaid" tissane found at almost any health food store, helps with milk production, as does beer , you can opt for non-alchoholised, although got to admit 5% does take the edge off a little!

- but most of all relax , sit back and watch how amazing nature really is!!!!!!!

Happy feedings!



  1. This is a great idea Laura, it will probably help a lot of new moms when their time comes. Can't wait to see the little guy when I come back to Montreal. All the best, Love you guys!

  2. Laura,
    Your blog was insanely funny and profoundly accurate..
    Don't knock yourself over having a C-Section baby.... that so-called bond that happens when they place a new born into your arms - CRAP!!!
    I was more like "great... what have I done... she isn't even cute.. look at her.. she looks like a wrinkled prune.. what now????"
    Life sucks when we have meaningless expectations!
    Bonding for me happened a couple weeks into Simona's birth...the way she would suckle at my breast, the touch of her little fingers along the side of my torso, the smell of her skin, the look she gave me once she was fully nurished.... NOT many people can ever understand what that feels like... so DON'T give up. Nursing Lewis will be the easiest thing and the most rewarding for you both...
    I can almost put my hand on fire... the nurse I had was also named DUMBO.. or was it BIMBO.. or maybe COSMO?

  3. LAURA!!! LOL!!! Funny and informative!!! AMAZING!!! Keep writing!!!xoxoxooxox

  4. I will never take my nipples for granted again!!!

  5. It's great to see you here, Laura! Thanks for all your helpful advice!