When we were in the hospital Ruby wanted to breastfeed continuously. I know they say frequent feedings are normal. But frequent implies that there are breaks. And my nipples just couldn’t handle it.
Every time a new nurse came on shift she would ask how breastfeeding was going. I would sigh and say something like, “Oh…it’s a work in progress.” This would inevitably lead to a more in depth discussion and another review of THE LATCH. Because “it isn’t supposed to hurt.” (Oh, by the way, to the unconditioned boobie – IT DOES. I don’t care how perfect the latch.)
Finally the nurses manager came in to check on things, and I explained the situation again. She was the first person to offer a different solution. “She’s pacifying!” She recommended we try a pacifier, despite the controversy, in order to salvage my nipples. And I accepted.
Now I’m sure every baby is different. But nipple confusion turned out to be real in our case. Within a couple days Ruby completely refused the breast. Getting her to eat was pure torture. Often we would have to wake her, which was a process in and of itself. Once she came to she was inevitably upset. And only then did the battle of the breast begin.
I felt like I was shoving a boob down her throat during our only “bonding” time. I was convinced that she would grow up with some kind of breast complex and probably hated me already.
We ended up supplementing with formula, buying a really expensive breast pump and making two trips back to the hospital to see two different lactation consultants. She lost weight between the two visits, and I ended up crying in front of this lady. With my top off. Wonderful.
That was week one.
So we ditched the pacifier, and began tricking Ruby into breastfeeding. We would give her a little bottle or a little nipple shield and then slip in the boob. It was difficult, but it worked. Too well…
Ruby is now back to wanting to nurse continuously. Pretty much all day long. Some of this is probably pacifying, but I don’t know the difference. And I’m still concerned about her getting enough to eat. So we’re doing it.
I’m hoping this is a growth spurt or something and she’ll eventually ease up. Because right now I’m pretty much chained to the couch. Either nursing her or holding her while she sleeps. (Because she wakes up if you try to lay her down.) I do love my baby, and I do love the couch. But a girl needs a break every once in awhile. Sometimes, quite frankly, I’d rather be running.