Next Steps

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.

15 responses

  1. I’m so glad that you’re feeling supported and can ease into whatever you decide to do that’s best for you and Monito. As for help/resources for helping him eat, I have a friend who’s newborn does a lot of smacking/chomping. The pediatrician suggested given her a pacifier more often to give baby more practice with the sucking motions. I’m not sure if that’s already been suggested, but it wouldn’t hurt to bring it up to the doc.

    • I will definitely try this. He’s AWFUL with the pacifier–he can’t keep get it into his mouth and then he can’t keep it in there when he finally does. It’s all starting to come together. The poor boy really struggles. We definitely have some work to do. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Glad things are getting better. First things first: is he arching his back or crying during feedings? It could be that he has silent reflux and that’s what’s messing with his eating habits. But before you run to a pediatrician try this: hold him upright when you feed him, and angle the bottle so the nipple is only about 50% full. He’ll take in some air, but this position will help him control the flow more easily. Also, try stroking his jawbone from ear to chin while he eats. It’s supposed to promote the sucking reflex. Good luck! Email me if you have reflux questions. Holy crap I just gave feeding advice. Craaaazy. 🙂

  3. So glad to hear you are home! What an ordeal you’ve just been through! While I hate pumping, I think it’s good you’ll be able to do it for a little while as you transition to whatever comes next. And in the end, stopping nursing has helped you figure out a new angle to help Monito, which is good.

  4. Man, I’m glad you’re getting to realize that it’s not just BFing that was the problem – it’s his actual style/technique of eating. Poor little guy (and you!).

    Stella was HORRID with the regular medela bottles – spitting up, gassy, etc. Dr. Brown’s helped a LOT with the air/gas issues. Maybe give them a shot?

    • I just bought a Dr. Brown’s bottle and it was AMAZING! I’m going to go out and buy a set. Now what do I do with all these BornFree’s?!

      • Ya, they’re a pain b/c there are more pieces to clean, but they’re the only ones that worked for Stella, and they were amazeballs.

        Can you sell the BornFree’s on eBay or something?

  5. If he’s really having sucking and swallowing problems, he may be eligible for work with a speech therapist through Early Intervention. Might be worth checking with the ped and asking for an eval.

  6. Just be careful not to buy too many of one type of bottle until you are really sure it’s “the one.” All bottles just aren’t equally for all babies. So I would hold on to all of them for a couple of weeks to make sure and just buy a couple of any one kind until you really feel like he is doing great with one. I went through 4 bottle types with my daughter before I found the right one. She also just seemed to have trouble latching on both to me and to a bottle. For her we just kept trying until we found a bottle that worked and even then she did some kind of weird stuff that improved as she got older. The other poster is right that if he’s coughing up alot it could be reflux. I also second the idea to have an evaluation by a speech therapist if you don’t see the issue improving soon. And has he been evaluated for a tongue tie? I can’t remember if you said that the LC’s checked for that or not. My daughter had one and we had it clipped and it helped a little, but she still have trouble even after that. Other than that, it sounds like things are definitely improving. For me, I just felt so much peace after I had the decision to switch to a bottle made. And I also just pumped for a while (no where near 6 times a day!) with no pressure on myself and was happy to be able to give my baby breastmilk for just a little bit longer. I hope things continue to turn around and you and baby are both happy with your feeding situation soon.

  7. First, YAY getting better and to go home! Yay! Secondly, has someone checked for a lip tie if not also a tongue tie (I remember maybe talking about a tongue tie check once but no idea if I remember that right)? And third, yeah try lots of bottles and see what works. Little Monster really likes the Playtex Vent Air bottles that are at an angle. I think fewer pieces than Dr. Brown but try lots and see what works best. Does he really need 5 oz at a feeding now? I feel like at about 2 months, Little Monster was eating more like 3 oz of breast milk (formula would be more). Maybe smaller meals would help? Unless he’s that hungry? She will finish a bottle even if she then spits up lots because she over-ate. Don’t know if that helps but I hope so! Oh! And consider donating bonus bottles to a women’s shelter or food shelf. I know sometimes folks have to suddenly leave home and need to start all over.

  8. Yikes, I’m glad you’re okay! I didn’t realize you were hospitalized!
    I’m glad you’re at peace with your decision to bottle feed. Now you can focus on your health and mothering your son!
    I have a special bottle used for babies with cleft palates (I forget what it’s called), and can send it to you if you like.

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