Thank you all so much for your love and support in the last 24 hours. It was a scary time and I’m so glad it’s over and I’m home. I missed my babies like crazy and couldn’t get enough of them when I got home. I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight, without an IV poking my arm and an IV pole alarm beeping every time said arm bent for too long.
Of course I can’t sleep right now, because I’m pumping.
I’m pumping because it was recommended until after I’m done with the antibiotics. Having full, engorged breasts is not a good thing when you’re trying to get rid of mastitis. So for the next two weeks I’m pumping 6-8 times a day. I have to admit, I’m not too annoyed by this. It gives me a chance to keep feeding my baby breast milk as I get used to bottle feeding him. And, if my nipples heal, and the thrush abates while I’m pumping, I might even keep it up during my maternity leave. That’s only if it I want to of course. I’m not a huge fan of pumping so I may say FUCK THIS and abandon ship as soon as my two weeks are up. We shall see. It does feel like it gives me some time to decide what I want to do, and to see how my body responds to something different.
So far I’ve given Monito two bottles and he took them easily enough. This is a huge relief; I was really worried he’d refuse to take a bottle from me when he thought he could get the boob if he made a big enough fuss. I’m so relieved he doesn’t fight me with the bottle.
No, he doesn’t fight me specifically, but he seems to fight the actual bottle. In fact, he has EXACTLY the same issues eating from a bottle as he does breastfeeding. It was so interesting to observe! He smacks and chomps, he gags and chokes, which induce these intense coughing fits. He can’t seem to find a rhythm and breaks off a ton of times. During all of this he swallows a ton of air, so he needs to be burped constantly. It takes him about 5-10 minutes to drink half an ounce, then another 2-3 to burp. The whole process takes about an hour. That is a long time right? 4-5 ounces of milk in an hour with a bottle? It’s exactly like when we breastfeed! Which makes me realize that it wasn’t me, but him all along. He just really struggles with sucking and swallowing! And watching what he did to the bottle nipple… no wonder my own nipples were so sore all the time! I have to admit, watching him struggle to bottle feed–while heartbreaking–was so validating. There was nothing I could have done to make him latch better, his issues were much more deeply rooted.
Of course now I want to know if there is anything I can do to help him bottle feed better. Obviously he’s getting milk–his weight gain has NEVER been a cause for concern–but I’d love for the whole process to be easier for him. He just seems so unhappy struggling the way he does.
I guess I’ll start looking into it tomorrow. (And if anyone has any information on helping babies with eating issues, please let me let me know).
So that is where we are right now. My breasts are still very sore but they don’t hurt like they did yesterday morning. I’m taking four crazy-big antibiotic pills a day for two weeks (and I have to take them 2-3 hours after eating and an hour before eating so I’m going to have to plan my meals meticulously to get the timing right), taking three probiotic pills (one during each meal) and finishing my Diflucan (I have ten more days). I’m pumping at least six times a day (I refuse to wake myself up to pump–I flat out refuse–but I will pump after the middle of the night feeding) and giving baby boy breast milk when I have it and formula when I don’t (today he showed that he will accept formula after a bottle of breast milk with no issues). Then in two weeks I will reassess where I am pumping wise and go from there.
Thank you again for your constant support during all of this. It has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world. Truly. Having mastitis REALLY sucked, but I appreciate the impetus it provided for me to change what I was doing. For the first time in a long time I feel some kind of hope that things will get better and that feeding my child will become a positive experience. I’m not entirely sure what it will look like, but I know it will be a choice I made for the right reasons, a choice I’m happy about. A choice that MAKES ME HAPPY.