Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Breastfeeding is hard

That pretty much sums it up. It's tough getting little miss Ess to latch on for long, but I think we're making some progress... we're weighing her before and after each attempt, so the nurses can subtract whatever she gets straight from me from what they give her in the feeding tube. So far the maximum we've gotten in her from the breast is 4 ccs (for the sake of comparison, she gets 40 ccs each time she eats).

The nurses are very supportive, but with varying degrees of (literally) hands-on help. The one nurse who's been the most helpful also stresses me out the most; she pinches my nipple in her hands -- oh, shoot, I should have saved this for Wednesday Whining! -- and shoves it in Ess' mouth, giving me constant and sometimes contradictory instruction. But at least she's letting me know what's working. The nurse who was on this evening was really kind and supportive, but offered no practical advice.

I know this is going to take time -- the kid is only six days old, and just 4 lbs 13 oz (she's on her way back up after the normal post-birth weight loss). But it feels so incredibly difficult at times. I spent much of this afternoon teary-eyed and feeling sorry for myself, and for Ess. Part of the problem is that the every-three-hours breastfeeding attempts make so much of the time I spend with her feel like work. So I made sure to spend some time just snuggling her while she slept. That -- and a vanilla milkshake on the way home from the hospital -- did wonders for my mood, which I'm sure wasn't helped by the crazy postpartum hormones. Tomorrow, I'm going to call a friend who was able to breastfeed her twins, who were born at 35 weeks, and pick her brain.

I know we'll get there, but the process ain't easy, that's for sure.