So we have had the baby home for exactly a week today. It was a really tough week for me but in the end, I think I am in a much better place because of the events. When I came home from the hospital my nipple were incredibly cracked and very sore. I felt like watching my daughter latch on, I was trying too hard and in the end I think I was passing on my stress. It hurt - EVERY time. I was told it shouldn't hurt, but it did. So I just let it hurt and figured that this too shall pass.
By Tuesday, I could tell my nipples were in worse shape. I had tried to call a LC, but their return calls were while I was at the pediatrician. I went to do an afternoon feeding and my nipple started bleeding into my daughters mouth. Watching my daughter have blood coming out of her mouth caused me to break down incredibly. I had to feed her so I switched her to the other side, but I was a mess. I tried to return the LC's phone calls in whatever way I could. I was finally instructed to pump for the night and come in to the office in the morning to figure out what my next steps were.
I was told I had the Grand Canyon of cracked and bleeding nipples. I was put on a hospital grade pump, told to feed my daughter using a paced feeding method using bottles and apply Jack Newman's nipple ointment after every pumping. I was also told to let my boob get some air drying and sun whenever possible.
Here I sit, Sunday evening and my nipples are as good as new. I am producing anywhere from 2-3 oz. at each pumping. My daughter is sleeping great and gaining weight. My husband seems to enjoy the fact that he can bond with her. I have 4 bottles stored in the freezer and three in the fridge and I am able to leave her at home and go run errands. Overall, things are going REALLY well! I certainly had the baby blues for a few days this week, but if anything this has been very helpful to that recovery. I think when I go back to nursing - hopefully gradually tomorrow - I will be more calm and relaxed, knowing I have alternatives.
I would love to be an exclusively breast feeding mommy, but if I have to be a pumping mommy that is OK too. I just want what is best for her and I know that the milk she receives from me is exactly what she needs. I can't wait to go back to that mommy, baby bonding time that comes with nursing, but then again, I get lots of that at night and during the day - like right now :)
... A funny side note story from this week, on Wednesday night, I pumped 2 full oz. and was incredibly proud. We read we could leave the bottle out for 4 hours and after around 3 I got nervous so I had my husband put it in the bag of ice next to me. In both of our extreme exhaustion, the bottle tipped over, losing over an ounce of milk. Once J noticed this he went into panic mode, thinking how am I going to tell her about this. He thought of a way to separate the milk from the water - to no avail. So he told me...instead of breaking down, I just said, OK...I gotta pump! While pumping he realized that the bottle was leaking and so I didn't have to make up for the 1 ounce that was lost but the entire 2 ounces since she really got only about a 1/4 of an ounce. I was glad I held it together and this probably was the turning point.
I am proud that I can type about the challenges of this week and not cry. That's a first. I guess I really just realized that as my parents always say - God only gives you what you can handle - obviously he believes in me quite a bit, because I think he gave me a lot this week. Most of all - he gave me someone I love so much and I treasure every second with her. I can't wait to watch her everyday as she continues to grow and change!