*Sigh* Where to begin?
I’m sitting in the kitchen wearing an apron, the back of my hands splattered with bacon grease from the bacon I’ve been frying up for our Cobb salad. Dumplin’ and Mochi are asleep. Things have been pretty heavenly today for us. We went to the gym and had a great workout, sipped on some homemade chicken soup for lunch, and my in-laws are here to watch the babies tonight as we go see the Tragically Hip for what is quite possibly the last tour they’ll ever be on.
And perfectly crispy bacon. There’s nothing quite like it. (My apologies to the veggies and vegans out there…)
Anyways, a very nice follower left a lovely comment today which inspired me to post after a lengthy hiatus from the blog. After our Hand-Foot-Mouth-Disease nursing strike HELL, Dumplin’ and I have finally found our groove again with nursing. Here are some things that I think helped us “rekindle” things:
1. Persistence- it was heartbreaking every time he rejected me (I honestly cried and felt like giving up every single time it happened), but I’d keep offering him boob every 4-6 hours, usually before naps or bedtime.
2. Positioning- sitting down in our glider to nurse him was a bad position for us for some reason- he seemed to freak out as soon as I sat us down and never gave nursing a chance because of it, so I had to try something different. Side-lying in bed, in the dark, with a noise machine on was the only thing that worked. And it couldn’t be me bringing him into the room- that gave him too much time to get distracted. It had to be DW who brought him into the room and I had to be side lying, ready with a boob out to receive him. Setting up the perfect nursing scenario was quite an ordeal, I know, but if I managed to get him to latch and stay latched, I was literally crying happy tears (so it was worth it).
3. Tricking him with a Nipple Shield- it’s kinda ironic that for the first 8 months of his life, Dumplin’ refused to take a bottle, because now, he friggin’ loves them. He loved them so much when he had Coxsackie that he preferred them over my boob. Thanks to Hound Mamas for suggesting that we try a nipple shield to lure him back to the boob. It was what turned things around for us- from “all out nursing strike” to “I’ll consider sucking a boob, maybe”. I’d hand express some milk into a nipple shield, hold it over my nipple, lure the baby to latch, and after two sucks, I’d swiftly take it away and shove my nipple in his mouth. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t, but the times that it did were worth it (again, happy tears). We also tried peanut butter on my nipple to lure him, which is kinda weird, but also worked a couple of times until he realized that he could just lick it off and unlatch.
4. Timing- my kid is super distracted. Even in the middle of the night he’s doing weird things like sitting up to clap 4 times between changing sleeping positions. So if I took too long to set up to nurse, or if the room was too lit (so he could see all the cool things in his room), or if I spoke to him (reminding him that there were people to see or things to do), or if he was too awake, my chance at getting him to lay still was gone. So I watched the baby monitor with obsession and as soon as I saw signs of impending waking (usually he wiggles his fingers and toes before he wakes up), I’d yell to DW that she needed to grab him, and I’d go “set-up” in my side-lying on the bed position (with curtains closed and noise machine on) to receive him. Or I’d wait until he was asleep at night and try to dream feed him. Seriously. I woke my sleeping baby so that I could nurse him when he was at his least cognizant. It’s kind of sick, I know, but it was the only way I could get about 12oz of breastmilk into him.
5. Bed sharing- our nursing relationship took a bit of a hit due to sleep training, and I discovered that the reverse was true this past month at the cottage. Dumplin’ and I had to share a room because my in-laws were staying at the cottage too, and I ended up inadvertently bedsharing with him in the bunk beds a couple of nights because it was more comfortable for my back than nursing him in the middle of the night while sitting on a hard kitchen chair. This ended up being the best thing for our nursing relationship. He started to want to nurse before naps and sleep again. He started pulling on my shirt when he wanted comfort from nursing. I think that since I let him nurse as much as he wanted in bed at night, it became his norm again, and over the course of five days at the cottage, he went from nursing maybe 4-5 short sessions a day to now 7 long boob-emptying sessions a day. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but it really is. Now, I don’t sleep as well with him in bed, since I’m constantly worried that he’s going to crawl off the bed and injure himself, so now that we’re home, he’s back in his crib. I do still do dream feeds at 11pm, and 4-5am to make sure he gets his milk. I am in no hurry to get him to sleep through the night, since the boob crutch is what is keeping him nursing.
Anyways, I think that’s it. I’m over the moon that he’s nursing regularly again, and that he’s even asking for milk by tugging my shirt. I’m hoping to nurse him as long as he’ll let me. It’s been one of my favourite parts of our relationship so far, and I’m so grateful for it.