Nursing CCB was an uphill battle from day one. Since he was "tongue tied" his ability to nurse wasn't top notch and he had a very limited range of motion with his tongue. I was given a lot of different tips and tricks in the hospital of how to handle the situation. Informed of the pain it would cause me, and the excessive importance of getting a more-than-proper latch. His nursing wasn't perfect, but I was all hopped up on post-birth hormones and melting into a heavenly puddle as I snuggled Christian all the live-long day, so I didn't mind. We had an appointment scheduled in a week to get his frenulum clipped, and I wasn't too worried about it.
After a week, his frenulum was successfully clipped. I was still recovering from the damage done from earlier nursing so I nursed on one side only and bottled fed when necessary. I continued pumping since my milk supply had yet to back off. I pumped multiple times a day and once I recovered I nursed every feeding. I felt really uncomfortable if I didn't pump, and I didn't mind building up a frozen milk supply.
|Right after his frenulum was clipped. A little bit of blood and a whole lot of saliva created and Edward Cullen-esque look.|
Nursing tiny babies is always an undertaking. You have to position the baby right, get the latch right, keep them awake, and make sure they are eating enough. I always found the "keeping the baby awake," to be the hardest part. Whenever we had to go out, I always defrosted milk for a bottle just for ease.
I don't remember a lot of the specific events but after Christian was a few weeks old to him being 4 months, nursing went downhill pretty fast. I would nurse him and he'd eat great for 2-3 minutes then promptly pull back and scream. His body would writhe and then he'd try to nurse again. I'd burp him for a few minutes and attempt to nurse him again, he'd scream, and repeat for 15-20 minutes or however long I could get him to "nurse." It was awful. When he woke up and wanted to eat I'd feel a little bit of dread, "I have to do this process all over again." During his late night feedings he was peaceful and ate well. I relished in those moments. It was a wonderful bond and connection, and at the end of it he drifted dreamily back to sleep. It was so different than during the day where I would literally bounce on the couch for 20 minutes straight, sweat beading on my forehead as I coaxed my unhappy hungry child to eat. I often wondered to myself, "Do people really have positive nursing experiences? Is it ever a wonderful and beautiful thing?"
I called the lactation group in the hospital where Christian was born. Over the phone I described what was going on. I laid it all out there with nothing but pure desperation in my voice. After my lengthy description of the situation, the consultant said, "It sounds like you're over-producing, and that you have a hard let down." I was baffled. I was always so concerned about losing my milk supply that I wasn't even aware I had too much of it. We talked some more and I thanked her profusely. I got back on my computer and researched my little heart out. Sure enough, just as the lactation consultant pointed out, all of the signs and symptoms babies experience from over producing mothers were the same signs and symptoms Christian was having. He was basically drowning in milk every time I tried to feed him, and with gasps for breath his stomach was getting full too fast and full of air. I read the tips and tricks to help alleviate the situation. 1.) Nurse on one side only (I had always been doing this) 2.) Cut the milk supply back, stop pumping (The pumping was telling my body to make twice as much as Christian needed) 3.) Position the baby upright to nurse to avoid the additional gravitational pull.
I put the 3 points into practice. The first feeding went shockingly well, although I refused to get my hopes up. Then the next feeding went well, and the feeding after that, and the one after that. Then I got my hopes up, this was working, and it was working well.
Nursing suddenly became doable. It was not flawless, but it started to fall into the "beautiful bonding experience" category. This was happening. I no longer cringed before feedings, I no longer cried in defeat daily, and Christian didn't have to scream anymore.