When I was pregnant for Pickle I knew I was going to breastfeed. I had thoughts of nursing her exclusively without a bottle in sight for at least six months. Maybe even nine. I just knew that was how things would be. Things were that way until about four weeks when I started to supplement. Waking up for that midnight feeding was excruciating so Brian stepped in and took that feeding with a bottle of formula. Everyone in the house was happy. We continued that happy medium until about twelve weeks when I stopped nursing completely. Whew! I was ready to have my body back – and I don’t mean my figure. I just wanted to have only one life to sustain – my own.
I made the same assumption when pregnant for the Prince that I would nurse him, too. My expectations we not as high – I figured if I nursed him for 8-10 weeks that would be terrific. I should have known something was up when he didn’t so much as latch on for the first 24 hours of his life. “Are you sure this is okay?” I asked every medical professional in sight. My last experience with a brand new baby was nursing non-stop for 48 hours straight. If you read this blog you remember how I admitted the deep desire I had to put Pickle in the bassinet and roll her right into the bathroom and shut the door.
I’m not one to force things and I certainly am not a crazed lactation extremist so I was fine with his initial lack of interest. By the second day he seemed to have it all figured out. He was nursing like a champ. This lasted for about a week until I could feel the wheels start to fall off the wagon. One evening he seemed to nurse from four in the evening until after ten. Even with all of that nursing he didn’t seem happy. Neither was I. Can I please get a break? At one point while latched on he began to cry, that lip quivering, sad and desperate cry. I felt awful! Fast thinking, I ran into the kitchen and grabbed a 2 ounce nurser, dumped it int a bottle and had Brian feed him. He literally inhaled it, fell asleep and slept soundly until three in the morning. Bless his hear my baby boy was hungry!
Again, I’m not an extremist and I will do whatever is best for my baby so I started supplementing right away. The truth of the matter is that within a day or so I was supplementing with nursing – the majority of his nutrition came from a bottle. He liked it, it satisfied him and we were all happy.
I noticed, though that even with the bottles he still liked to nurse. He wouldn’t nurse for long, maybe 5-10 minutes but he was happy when he was there. It was like his eyes lit up! It was a nice quite time for us together.
At one of our well baby visits his doctor and I discussed the feeding situation and she suggested I try some things to increase my milk supply. The obvious issue was that I was not producing enough milk which is why he was preferring the bottle. I was perfectly fine switching to formula full-time quite frankly but I’m willing to give anything a try.
The doctor’s suggestion? Have a beer at night. Crazy, I know but it works. So I had a beer that evening – it’s not the best idea to give a sleep deprived mother of two alcohol! Needless to say, it worked. I woke up the next morning feeling like Pamela Anderson. My baby boy woke up very hungry so I was ready to offer him my newly increased milk supply. He latched right on and….nothing. He did, however look up at me and almost smile with his delighted eyes. Really? I know you are hungry and I practically spilled milk on your face! I switched sides. Nothing except more of the delighted look.
I decide maybe he’s still not awake enough and real hunger hasn’t set in so I put him back in his bed and get up to brush my teeth. The time it takes me to do that will get him just angry enough that surely he will be ready. Two minutes with the Sonicare and he is fussing up a storm. He is kicking his legs, grunting, swiping his hands across his face, basically making every attempt to tell me how hungry he is. He latches on, and….nothing. Seriously? I held him tight and looked down at him and it was like I could see him smile at me with his eyes. His little body relaxed and he even sighed. He was there, at the breast latched on but was not nursing. He was happy just to be there, just knowing it’s there and that he could be so close to it – wait just one minute.
In that quite moment gazing into the very happy eyes of my newborn son I realized it. He was happy just knowing it was there. He was happy being close to it. He didn’t want any nutrients from it, no, he just wanted to lay his little face on it. In that quite moment with my newborn son I realized it. He’s a boob man.