Friday, August 8, 2008

The Battle of the Bottle (or perhaps more appropriately, the breast)... aka part 2

First of all, thanks to those that gave advice on my first rant. I really do appreciate it, and I know deep down I even agree. And I am very aware where my boys have inherited their stubborn streaks from. Trust me, I am.

Anyhow, I'm feeling the need to also post my other dilemma, particularly as this week it has become a much more difficult thing to endure than has potty training. Not sure I'll post my original free writing notes from 6 a.m. a fews days back, particularly as things have changed significantly since, but I'll try to catch you all up to speed on what's been happening with Braylon and the bottle... and the breast.

Well, though I know it's ideal to nurse your children for the first year of their life, I knew in advance my summer would be one in which nursing would pose a challenge simply because I have 7 weddings on top of Sunday soccer games, Wednesday yoga classes, reunions and family functions, and the other spur of the moment activities summer tends to bring. So originally I figured I'd wean Braylon mid-July, since the first 2 weddings I had were later in the day than the typical Portuguese ones here (1 pm ceremonies. Always.). And I would pump. Which I did. And all went fine. Braylon didn't take well to the bottle, but he took it nonetheless when he got hungry enough. I continued to nurse; however, I was all along trying to find a good time to begin weaning, which, now that I know differently, went very well for Isaiah... so I was expecting much the same, particularly as Braylon is such a good baby. Very content, very calm and subdued.

Until you give him the bottle, that is. Okay, so let me fill you in a little. We went away on the August long weekend to Vanessa (a place, not a person... basically as big as my "hometown" of Ballymote) and somehow during that time Braylon began to tear my nipples while nursing. So upon our return, I thought it best that this might just be the time to wean him, since I was in pain and obviously he wasn't latching well for some reason. Tuesday brought our first attempt with bottle feeding (Braylon and I, that is) and it was not in the least successful. He was hungry, but apparently not enough to drink. We tried different nipples on different bottles, and even resorted to sippy cups, but he wanted nothing to do with any of it. Knowing he would likely pose more difficult for me than someone else, simply because he can sense it is me, and smell my milk as well, we packed up and headed to grandma's (my mom's) to enlist her help. To no avail. Still he fought that bottle and refused to drink. Instead of forcing it, I caved to pain and continued nursing.

Wednesday brought such cracks in my nipples (I can't believe I'm blogging about this...) that the pain was truly unbearable. I was peeling off skin each time he tried to feed, and everything was raw and sore as ever. By this time the cracks were bleeding through the pads onto the inside of my bra, so I figured I'd best find help again. Fast. So off to Avo's (Greg's mom's) he went, where both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law tried countless times to coerce him to eat. Stacey managed to squirt 3 oz. worth in and later Greg basically took a cup (as in a normal cup) and got some liquid in, but he was refusing everything - no kind of bottle would trick him, and he was even averting breast milk expressed earlier. So Wednesday night brought a series of feeds from me again, which reopened the cracks (I'll spare you the gory details).

Thursday morning I nursed him at 9 a.m. and then sent him to his Grandma's again to see if she'd have any luck that day. I'm sure you can guess by now that he wasn't wanting anything to do with the bottle then either. By this time he must have been very hungry; although he was still eating cereal (with some formula mixed in, so at least he was getting SOME milk), he was drinking absolutely nothing. And so back to Avo's he went for the night, because as hard as it is to not be with him, it really can't be me helping him through this because all he wants to do is try to nurse. He's a boob man. But we're trying to convert him because by this point I hadn't nursed him as often as he had been eating so my supply was not meeting demand on top of it all being too painful.

Well, Thursday night brought more of the same, though with others he was at least fairly content; it really didn't seem to faze him too much that he was so hungry. Which I'm very thankful for (though we're not through this yet, and I'm not certain we've seen the worst of it either). Anyhow, my mother-in-law and I discussed our concerns to one another this morning, and quickly got to thinking what else we could do. We called our family doctor; however, since the medical clinic is in the process of moving, I was not able to connect through on the phone. So I then tried the health nurse, who basically said, after hearing this whole saga, that we were doing all that we could, really. Still wanting help, and on the advice of the nurse after I suggested I take him to emerg. to see if he was dehydrated or perhaps had an infection, we were off to the hospital this morning. However, we came home, 2+ hours and a great deal of waiting later, with absolutely no headway made there either. No one seems to have an answer as to why he won't take the bottle...

...especially when he sucks on a pacifier. That's what gets me. You can't even trick him that way, by quickly exchanging one for the other. And it would be a whole different thing if he'd never taken a bottle before, but he did... even if he didn't do it well, he drank. In fact, we have a few times convinced him to suck, but after 5 or 6 gulps he realizes what he is doing and will have no more of it. I've never seen a baby curl his tongue so quickly to the roof of his mouth in avoidance of food. It's milk, Braylon, I promise. I'm only trying to feed you!!

I'm quick to become frustrated at this point, and I know that doesn't help. But I'm going through pain of my own, as now I'm engorged and still cracked, though at least they are beginning to heal as he hasn't nursed in 30 hours. And I hate to rely on our parents so much (Braylon is still with my mother-in-law, who graciously kept him this afternoon because I am so sore in the chest that I can't even pick up my own son... which gets me to crying... which also doesn't help), but man am I ever grateful we have them close. I don't think I could do this without our family's help because I've never seen such a stubborn baby in this regard. And I'm hoping against all odds that he'll just decide, hopefully sooner than later, to drink from the bottle because I'm not going to be able to nurse him any more. I could have likely done so today, but then the headway I made in healing would have been sacrificed, and we'd likely have to go through this ordeal again at some later point, when we've already been doing this for 4 days now. But what a tough week.

So, now you see why I've not really been a frequent blogger. But thanks for hearing me out. I do count my blessings, I have beautiful healthy precious boys that I am very thankful for. They are my world. But I just wish I could know that we'll get through this - I mean, I know we will but like I said earlier, I don't think we're through the worst part of it so I can't even at present see the light at the end of the tunnel. And yet I know, don't sweat the small stuff...

P.S. Had I known I was headed for this dilemma I would never have bothered to scribble down my original rant, which had more to do with Braylon continuing to nurse through the night at 6 months than this. That was before all of this, and I'm glad I decided to not get into that now knowing that it went from bad to worse! I'd have felt silly to complain about that... though I really can't complain at all, actually, even though I have just done so at length. I've honestly had two very good experiences thus far, both my babies have been good babies.

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