Growing Babies

Lactation consultants should be knighted, granted sainthood, or at least get the Nobel Peace Prize (hey, if the President can get one for doing nothing…). Carson and I just returned from our appointment with our consultant, and suddenly life is awesome again. Not that it wasn’t before, but I had so many questions that mommy sites, books, and magazines just weren’t answering. For instance: apparently bowel movements for infants are not only a theatrical performance, they’re a seemingly painful one. All of Carson’s grunts, cries, and purple-faced screaming tirades are perfectly normal for a newborn infants trying to produce a couple of squirts of mustard-yellow curdled milk. And it’s absolutely fine that he sleeps with his head tilted at what looks like a ninety degree angle when he’s in his inclined sleeper. Never have I ever had to ask medical personnel so many questions. With my pregnancy, I was able to do the research and know what was normal versus what I should ask my practitioner about. With a newborn infant, there is no plethora of available research materials. Someday, when I have the initiative and the time, I am going to write the Dummies’ Guide to Pregnancy and Newborns: What You Really Need to Know That No One Tells You. I’m sure it would have to have a really, really big disclaimer on the front, but it would still be a good read for brand new mommies at their wits’ end!

But I digress…as usual.

By the way, it’s taking me hours to write a short simple blog. Carson keeps me on the go with diaper changes and feedings!

WARNING: The following story is about breastfeeding. If you do not have the ability to lactate, you probably don’t want to read any further.

Breastfeeding is kind of like owning a horse. It sounds like a lot of fun before you get into it, but there’s a lot of work involved to get to the good stuff. However, the rewards are well worth the effort. I bet you were wondering how in the world I could relate breastfeeding to owning a horse… Anyway, when women who have breastfed talk about their experience, the only thing they ever mention is that it can be painful at first. This is true, but a few days of nipple discomfort aren’t as bad as you’d think. No, the real trouble is the latching process. Did you know there is an art to latching a baby onto your breast? First, you have to tickle the upper lip to get his mouth to open wide. Then, in a fluid, swift motion, you have to roll the mouth bottom lip first up onto the areola while keeping his spine in line. This is one task that you don’t say, “oh, it’s easier than it sounds” about. Granted, once you get the hang of things, it does become effortless, but it takes awhile to get the hang of things. And then, if you are unfortunate enough to have an inverted nipple, well, sister, kiss your sanity goodbye for a couple of weeks at least. At two o’clock in the morning, when the baby is starving, your breasts are painfully engorged, and you’re running on 4 hours of sleep in 24 hours, I can almost guarantee you’ll both be crying. So, you go shopping one day and find this ingenious little piece of silicon called a nipple shield. And late one night, you slip it on, and magic. Baby’s happy. You’re happy. Life is good. But, then, your lactation consultant calls and breaks your happy bubble.  Apparently, these wonderful lifesavers can decrease milk production and restrict the amount of milk your growing baby receives. So, you go back to the latching process. The good news is your happy sucker has a more powerful jaw and can latch right on. The bad news is it feels like he’s ripping the nipple right off your breast. So, you call your consultant back and tell her it’s a no go. And that’s when she invites you to her office for a consult. Which, is where Carson and I went today. Turns out you can use the shield as a set of training wheels for breastfeeding. You start him on the shield, then give him the ol’ switcheroo. Again, not the easiest trick in the book, but well worth the effort. Baby’s happy. Mama’s happy. And you know what they say, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Tell this to my husband when he’s snoring in bed while I’m fighting a fussy eater…


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