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Nursing...Rounding out the First Week

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Halfway there!

Everyone tells me that if you can survive the first two weeks of breastfeeding that you're "gold" and you should be able to then go as long as you want.

In about three more hours, we're officially at the one week point and BOY have things progressed since my last post. So, to bring things up to speed...

Day 5 (since I posted at the start of day five last time)

Day five was kind of gross from the nipple perspective. As I mentioned I had some pretty severe cracking and chapping (is that a word?) going on. Both sides were chapped and the right side had a huge crack. Part way through day five I noticed that it looked like the left side might also be developing a crack. Oh joy.

My biggest concern at this point wasn't really the pain of nursing through a cracked nipple (though I will say that doing so hurt worse than ANY part of childbirth) but the fear that Emmitt or I would develop thrush. To that end, I started taking my acidopholous supplements three times a day and snagged some organic yogurt since it tends to have more and better cultures in it. I also limited myself to one glass of milk a day, since dairy and sugars tend to contribute to yeast growth. Finally, I started sleeping shirtless (well, with a towel under my chest since I was still engorged) so that things were airing out pretty well at night.

Throughout the day on day five I noticed that every time I nursed Emmitt, a little bit of skin would sort of fall away from the nipple. (I know, totally gross...) But what seemed to be happening was that the chapped part was simply coming off to make way for new skin.

Went to sleep that night on the back porch again so that we'd be near the futon for nursing. Emmitt gave me three full sets of two hours sleep. Basically I'd nurse him for 30 minutes, put him in the pack n play and we'd both sleep for two hours then we'd start the process over again. (Incidentally I can now tell you that 80% of channels run infomercials through the night...) I ended up with 5-6 hours sleep which is about all I need to function anyway, so YAY!

Day Six

Day Six dawned nice and early...Emmitt woke up to nurse at 6:30, so I figured I might as well stay up. I got some email checked, posted a few articles for work (I'm technically on leave, but I still do about 30 minutes of work a day) and had some breakfast. I was feeling pretty awake, so why not stay up? :)

This day went much better than the previous five. We continued to nurse using the football hold for the right side, but alternating football hold and cross-cradle on the left. In fact, by the end of the day I was feeling ZERO pain when nursing on the left and pain only during the first 10-15 seconds of latch on the right. I also noticed that my nipples on both sides had lost all of the chapped skin and were now simply a little pinker than usual, but otherwise back to normal. Still no signs of thrush. (yay!)

I also knew for certain that Emmitt was getting PLENTY of food becuase we were now seeing about 5-6 dirty diapers (ahh...remember the yellow-seedy? lol) and an additional 3-4 "just wet" diapers. At this point he was still nursing about 12-14 times in a 24 hour period. He was also starting to have at least one session of cluster feeding each day. Basically, for 4 hours (either early morning or late evening) he would nurse every hour on the hour, which sometimes meant we'd have all of a 20 minute break between nursing sessions. We'd also have one or two three hour stretches during the day where he'd sleep pretty peacefully.

I called the lactation consultant back to check in with her and give her a progress report. She said things sounded like they were going pretty well, so not to worry about coming back in this week. (Again with the yay!)

Day Seven

So here we are on day seven and can I just say how thankful and greatful I am to everyone that logged their support and offered suggestions? They're right when they say that support is the biggest motivator to pushing through the tough times. There was a day or two this week where nursing was pretty much hell, but with so much encouragement online and from my husband (who has been an absolute ANGEL through this) how could I miss?

Now that we've moved past the horrible pain point, I totally get why moms love to nurse. ;) I mean who doesn't love snuggling up with a newborn and nursing certainly gives you PLENTY of time to do that. Add in the fact that when it's time for him to eat I pretty much pick him up, settle in and lift my shirt. Last time around, I was pumping every two hours, making bottles, cleaning pump parts and STILL had to spend the time feeding him. Though actually, in the first two weeks, I fed him less than anyone because time-wise, it couldn't be done. That meant that the first two weeks of Elnora's life it was my husband or my mother that did most of the feedings. I remember feeling like I was really missing out on someting then, but it was so important to get her that breastmilk that it was ultimately worth it.

This time around, I don't think any family members even dare to suggest that they're sad that they can't feed her. ;) I'd probably end up shooting some pretty dirty looks if they did.

More updates coming, but the cautiously optimistic attitude that I had earlier this week has been replaced with a "brimming with confidence" attitude.

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  1. Blogger heidi | 8:10 AM |  

    Glad to hear things are going so well now. It took me a couple of months to start enjoying nursing. It was never painful, but we had so many little problems in the beginning and then it just took us a while to find a rhythm. Enjoy this sweet quiet- so soon he'll be squirmy and popping off every 5 seconds to look around- especially in public:) At least he will if he's like my Molly.

    I love reading your progress:)

  2. Blogger cooler*doula | 9:22 AM |  

    Fantastic! I'm so happy to hear how well you're ALL doing. But especially you and your little guy at the nursing gig.

    Right on mom!

  3. Anonymous Jax | 12:14 PM |  

    that sounds so great :)

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