Posts tagged breastfeeding

The other side of hell

After three of the worst nights we’ve endured since Hugo arrived, his nursing strike seems to be over.

It started because his mouth hurt after his fall, but even once he’d returned to eating normal food and drinking water happily from the Foogo, he did not want to breastfeed. Actually, that’s a gross understatement. He developed an aversion to breastfeeding so intense that I really thought he would wean suddenly and permanently.

He refused passionately on Thursday afternoon and evening. He refused flatly on Friday morning, when I had rather hoped he might give in as that morning feed is the one he is most eager for. He showed utter disdain for the very notion throughout the day on Friday and didn’t even consider it on Friday evening before bed.

Each attempt was met with tears and frustration, generally from both of us. He took a vast amount of effort to settle and getting him to sleep was a nightmare.

On Friday night, about 36 hours after his last breastfeed, I knew we were reaching a critical point. At 16 months (nearly) I figured he might decide not to bother going back to the breast, but I wasn’t ready to give up. I know he would never have weaned at that point had it not been for the fall.

So on Friday night I slept on a mattress next to his cot. I knew the best chance of getting him to nurse was to catch him when he was just stirring. At the first whimper, I brought him into bed with me. No go. He wouldn’t even face me.

Same thing the second time around – he turned over, snuggled in, and went back to sleep (previously unheard of).

The next few times he still adamantly opposed nursing but couldn’t settle himself either.

By 4am we were wandering around the house, both exhausted and out of ideas, while he cried and cried and cried.

Eventually we went back to his room and I sat on the floor in the dark with him cradled in my lap. He let me – and that was the first time he’d even agreed to be held in that position. About 15 minutes later I was able to latch him, but he did not suckle at all. Eventually he went back to sleep.

The next morning I was hopeful of trying him again as soon as he woke, but Hunter came barrelling in and he woke with a start and the opportunity was missed. He refused to nurse that morning, and before his sleep.

But that afternoon he latched again. And that evening he comfort nursed for a few seconds. And yesterday morning he took about half a normal feed.

By lunch time the boob monster was back. Yesterday afternoon he even came running across the playground, ignoring all sorts of exciting play equipment and children and fun to NIP for the first time in a long while.

Before all this happened, I thought I didn’t mind when he weaned, as long as it happened some time in the next year or 18 months. Now I realise that I don’t want it to happen any time in the next three to six months at least.

Meanwhile, he’s learned nothing at all from the fall. He’s taken two big tumbles since – the first one got him a badly grazed nose and the second busted his lip.

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Stop biting me already!

Hugo has become an unrepentant biter. I am running out of ideas and undamaged body parts.

He started out giving me the occasional nip when he was breastfeeding. It usually happened when he was very sleepy and I am pretty sure it was unintentional. I’d give him a calm, stern, “no biting”, and it seemed to work for a while.

Lately, he’s biting all the time. He’s broken the skin twice while feeding (OUCH!). He’s left bruises on my arms and shoulders. And we have a row of little toothy holes in our leather couch. Those fangs are sharp.

Last night he bit while feeding. I was pulling him away and telling him no biting – and as I was doing it, he started laughing and leaned in and bit me again. He clamped on, it hurt like hell and I had a tough time dislodging him.

I’ve been pretty consistent with him. I try to divert him if I sense a bite coming. I remind him to be gentle. When he does bite I try to respond calmly (success at this depends on the depth and location of the bite). I tell him we don’t bite, tell him it hurts, and I put him down and walk away.

When Hunter went through her biting phase, this approach worked very rapidly. It doesn’t seem to be having much impact on Hugo. He’s gone to bed twice this week only half-fed because I have refused to let him back at the boob after he’s sunk the teeth in, and still he persists.

I’ve already had to put him in a kind of modified football hold when he feeds on the left side because he’s broken the skin and it hurts too much to feed him in a cradle hold.

I’m not about to wean him over this but sheesh, I wish he’d cut it out already.

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Payback

I knew it would happen, I just didn’t know when. It was always going to be a matter of time before Hugo decided sleeping through was silly and waking and screaming all night was much more fun.

 The boy’s smart. He figured it out after just two nights.

Last night he woke three times, which doesn’t sound that bad except that they weren’t the wake, settle, back to sleep kind. They were the scream, scream, scream for 30 minutes kind.

I think he was so wakeful because his morning sleep was screwed up yesterday (see post about the three hour visit to the doctor…) and also because my boobs are very confused. When he slept through those nights they continued making the usual amount of milk, which turned out to be Far Too Much for those nights.

Yesterday things went way in the other direction and I really don’t feel like he had enough milk at any feed all day, so I am sure he went to bed hungry. I was hoping things might have evened out by this morning but it took me five minutes to express enough for his weetbix this morning (standing at the sink, hoping the neighbours weren’t watching).

Hopefully my supply will sort itself out by tonight or it could be a repeat of last night.

Hunter also woke last night, distraught and screaming. She clearly didn’t even know why she was awake, though, because when I rushed in and asked what was wrong she looked puzzled and said, “Um. I want…um. A drink”. She drank half a mouthful then I put her back to bed.

To top it off, she cried when I left her at preschool today. She was putting it on and just seeing how far she could push her luck so I wasn’t upset by it but I was a little annoyed. I could see her as I was leaving and she’d got on with playing in the sandpit before I was 10 metres away. I suspect she will do this most days from now on, as she often did at Family Daycare.

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Big news!

HUGO SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!

Yes, he woke a billion times before we went to bed, but once we went to bed, he stayed put. He grizzled for about 30 seconds around 4am but other than that, he did it. He slept all night!

Now, someone just needs to explain the new way of the world to my boobs. Holy engorgement, batman!

The night before last I only got up to him once. When I got up in the morning I had a dinner-plate sized wet patch on my front.

This morning, after 12 hours of no feeding (remember that just a few days ago night time was one long feeding session) I woke with the Boobs of Doom. Giant, hard, lumpy and ooouch. I know how those poor dairy cattle felt when they didn’t get milked for a few days after the floods in Newcastle last year.

I ended up expressing some (and showering hunter in milk. oops.) and then fed hugo the second he woke.

Poor boy was starving when he got up. He had a big breastfeed when he woke, then ate 3/4 of a weetbix, then had another breastfeed an hour later and again before he went back to bed at 9.30.

Boob craziness aside, it was a very, very good night. I did get up three times to check on him but I know my paranoia level will subside as his sleeping becomes more regulated.

I also know we’ll probably have several crappy nights now that we’ve been treated to a good one, but that’s okay.

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