Today marks four months of breastfeeding! And I’m happy to say that nursing doesn’t hurt anymore!
In our previous post I mentioned that just before the holidays I sent Isabel’s one-week follow-up photos. Which means no one got back to us until after the new year… to tell us that they couldn’t open the photos. (I should have known we’d encounter trouble when the email they gave me was a Yahoo address.) After a couple of attempts to transmit photos through email I finally uploaded them to a web page. Upon seeing it (eventually) the doctor said he was worried about the lip tie and that he’d like more updated photos. So I took some right away and put them on the web page the same day. I emailed them to let them know that the photos were up. Apparently they do not check their email every day. After a couple of days I called and they checked the email while on the phone with me. They said they’d show the doc and call back. They did. And I learned that the doctor thought he told me to do stretching exercises for four weeks. (He had said two. And for the record, the powerpoint on his website says to do it for just one week.) Even though we quit the stretches after two weeks (like he had told me to) he said it looked like everything was healing okay. Thank goodness for that. But the anxiety we experienced while waiting to see if everything looked right was awful. And because I kept talking back and forth through secretaries rather than the doctor I didn’t feel like I could ask many clarifying questions. I should have just scheduled to drive the four hours for an in-person follow-up. Lesson learned. A little too late, because I’m pretty sure her lip tie has tightened up a good bit. Now I’m totally paranoid that her ties didn’t heal properly. Maybe the next time I’m in the Dallas area I’ll visit him again.
I’ve been taking a goat’s rue tincture to help stimulate milk production. I try pumping when I can, but that’s not often because I haven’t figured out a way to hold the baby and pump at the same time. In theory I could put her down and let her cry. However, it stresses me out so much that it inhibits let-down and then I’m pumping for nothing. My output seems to be slightly increased, however, which is somewhat reassuring. I ordered a pumping bra so when that arrives I’ll try that out.
Nursing is easier in that it is no longer painful. Releasing Isabel’s tongue really helped a lot. And she’s nursing better. During some of her “feedings” I can actually hear her swallowing, but only for the first minute or two. And when I do hear her swallows, they occur at a 1:1 suck:swallow ratio, which was never the case before her procedure. However, I’m still nursing almost 24/7 at home. Lately we’ve only given Isabel bottles when I am in dire need of sleep or when my nipples are feeling very, very sore. She seems to be doing okay with that. She doesn’t scream and beg for bottles anymore and seems content to just nurse all day. Still, I don’t think my production is where it needs to be. Otherwise, she’d be satisfied from time to time to not be at my breast. Every now and then I can take her off and get something done but she’s usually crying again within 20 minutes.
Isabel doesn’t sleep much, maybe for three hours at night. Otherwise she’ll nap here and there but only while she’s nursing. This could be a nursing/supply issue or it could be related to her teething.
Since we’ve been almost exclusively breastfeeding, Isabel’s bowel movements have decreased drastically. That worries me a little. It took me two weeks to save up four ounces of milk. We fed it to her in a bottle one night and she drank it very, very slowly. She didn’t even drink all of it. But the next day we got the first breastmilk-looking poop we’ve seen in months. So I’m a little worried about that being the only time we’ve gotten a nice poop out of her. It seems like we’re only getting poops after bottle feeds. We plan on scheduling another consult with the out-of-town lactation consultant soon to see what she thinks about what’s going on.
So things are still tough but I keep reminding myself that they’re much better than they were. I can’t believe it’s only been four months!