Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nursing.. the Reality

We've all had those wonderful images of mother and child crammed into our brains. What is more natural than a mother feeding her baby? The picture is so precious, and so sweet... and yet, so unreal! It isn't the baby just latches onto to the mother, and all goes well. No no no. Not every baby is born with that innate sense of what to do when presented with the food source.

I picture it something like this...

First you train the baby to latch on properly... mouth wide open, tongue down, and build up "toughness" so your toes don't curl every time he latches on.

Okay.. so far so good. Now everything is picture perfect, right?


Now the fun really starts. You've toughened up, yay! At least the pain is gone. Now feeding time goes something like this:

Baby awakes from a rare nap crying like he hasn't eaten in a month of Sundays. Mama goes in to change his diaper. Baby cries even harder, like he's going to burst a gasket. He wants food, and he wants it NOW.

You try to hurry through the change, but you realize as you are undoing his clothes, that he is wet all up one side of his onsie. It's a complete delete and reinstall. Baby continues to protest the delay, but there's nothing you can do but move it along.

You get is outer and inner clothing off, and open up his diaper. It is not just a wet diaper. You are thankful the diaper cover held in the mustard and continue to change baby. He continues to cry. Now he is hungry, cold and totally exposed.

Diaper change is over, and hands are washed and Mama sits down with the wee babe. He latches on like he is going to turn the spicket inside out. Mama is glad the "ouchie" part of nursing is already over. Mama notices that there is milk leakage, evidenced by wet spots on her shirt. She makes a mental note to change once the feeding is over.

Now the scene is picture perfect, right?

Nope. Don't get comfortable. Baby latches on with a great latch, only to break off gagging. The milk let down was a little more than he was prepared for. He latches back on and is able to keep up with the flow. He starts getting a little restless. Mama unlatches baby and puts him up to her shoulder where he lets out a belch that would make a trucker blush. That's not all he lets out. Now Mama has another reason to change her shirt, as baby has regurgitated all over the front and inside of Mama's blouse.

Mama switches sides and just as baby is gulping milk happily he stops, stays latched on like a pro, face turns red, then there is this horrendous sound that comes from the diapered end of things. Mama ignores that for the moment as baby is happily nursing again. She just prays that the diaper is containing the explosion.

Now things are picture perfect, right?

I trow not.

Mama relaxes and looks down to gaze at the wonderful baby feeding. Then notices that the side she just got done feeding on is leaking milk again. Can anyone say "Got Milk"? Dh walks in and notices the big wet spot on the front of her blouse and moo's at her.

Baby is not nursing quietly by the way. He makes all manner of grunts and coos, and even smiles like he is laughing at her when he fills his diaper and spits up on her. Then he chokes on more milk and gets it up his nose. He tries to stay latched on while sneezing, and Mama is really really really glad that the beginning achiness of nursing is passed.

Finally baby seems done, and Mama lifts him up to her shoulder, where he again lets out a burp that shakes the rafters. She smiles and talks to him, then notices a wet spot on the diaper area. She puts him down in the crib for a second so she can reassemble her clothing, making note of a little mustard colored spot. Uhoh. She quickly picks up the baby. Yup. A nice mustard spot on the sheets.

Mama takes baby over to the changing table and strips all clothing off. The baby, that is. She does another complete delete and reinstall. She puts baby safely in the middle of the big bed, surrounded by a garrison of pillows. Baby is contentedly watching the ceiling fan twirl around. Mama strips the sheet off the crib, and puts it all in the dirty clothes hamper. She is just finishing washing her hands when she remembers her shirt needs changing. She does so and lovingly cuddles the baby.

And just think, in another half an hour she gets to start all over again!

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