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I can’t believe it! : baby how-to on the internet

As new parents we’re all about rocky starts (as the title of our blog implies). We are now marching onto Knox’s 2nd month, and boy have we had questions. Below is a brief list of the stuff I can’t believe the internet has info on (with links):

Since I believe Mike may be horrified by public declarations of breast related situations, let’s pose a hypothetical situation — suppose that three of the above situations are related to each other, and it all started with a hypothetical mother’s observation that the left side of her breast trembled along with her heartbeat, which made her think that the left breast comforted the infant more (heartbeat sound), and her observation of the infant’s satisfaction on that breast. Suppose she may have subconsciously fed infant on that breast more. Suppose that she observed a few days later that a small white patch seemed to have developed somewhere on her right nipple. Hypothetically she also noticed that the infant was fussier on that breast, pulling back, arching body and flailing arms about whilst turning red and crying vigorously. Suppose she looked it up and determined it was a milk blister and followed instructions online to relieve the situation. Suppose the situation cleared – but another issue remained/arose. And that situation may be… the aesthetically jarring image of the left breast being larger than the right!

Somebody’s stuffing her bikini this summer!

In Taiwan, current hospital practices keep mother and child in the hospital for 3 days after natural birth. Those first days milk flow was extremely slow, and I felt a lack of confidence with myself because I thought I wasn’t able to feed him enough. On the last day of the hospital stay this hypothetical mother was suddenly imbued with engorged, large, hard-as-melon breasts that just couldn’t get enough of the little infant.

It was also difficult in the beginning because he seemed to use his very hard gums to chew and scrap at the nipple. When she called the nurses to help, they checked his latch by checking how much of the areola the infant’s mouth had taken in, the position of his head (it should be slightly arched, not turned down, so the infant could swallow effectively), and the fact that his mouth was pouted around the areola. This did not help, and the poor miserable hypothetical woman would fall asleep into nightmares because it was so painful. Several times during this restless, painful and sad sleep with the infant suckling on her (the hospital encourages feeding while sleeping) she almost pushed the infant away … but woke up sufficiently to curb herself.

This situation continued, on and off, after she left the hospital. On the second week she couldn’t stand it anymore and booked a meeting with a lactation consultant. The mother was especially upset when the infant bit down when done with feeding. She felt it extremely disrespectful of her nourishing benevolence.

By the time the appointment with the lactation consultant came around, which was the 3rd week, the infant was occasionally feeding in a manner that didn’t seem to involve gums, which was incredibly comfortable and made the experience of looking at her nursing child lovely. This was still occasional, though.

The lactation consultant, as well, checked the pouted-ness of the mouth, which had never helped the situation. She was however extremely helpful in informing the mother that there are more than 3 positions to breastfeeding, and that she could nurse in any position she felt comfortable. This was an extreme relief to the poor suffering mother, who was beginning to develop hunched-back pain.

Thankfully, the infant gradually began to feed more without gums. It was only later that the mother read that the perfect pout doesn’t matter to the correct latch (without biting).

God bless the Internet.

2 responses »

  1. Breastfeeding was one of the best things I have done with my children. I loved it and fed them from the breast alot longer then most. It was something that seemed to make me slow down in this busy world. While feeding it was just the two of us and it was serene and special. BUT it didn’t come easy by any means! The first 6plus weeks was a terribly painful experience! My nipples and breast felt like they were on fire, every time the baby latched on I would break into a cold sweat while trying to breath through the pain. It was so bad that I dreaded the next feed. Between sleep deprivation, healing from the birth , crazed hormones, my body looking nothing like it did before and now this, which was supposed to be so easy and natural. (the things no one tells you about parenthood, well, this was one of them!) Yikes! I feared I wouldn’t be able to go on doing it. Finally when I talked about it to others (without John around as he too would not feel comfortable with me speaking to people about my breasts in such detail-LOL) they too described thier situation. (of course most folks stopped after it got really bad) I learned that if I just pushed myself it would get better………and it did! For the first few months I was lopsided, had engorged breasts, pain and burning and all that fun stuff no one tells you about. I like to call these scenarios “episodes”. John would come home from work and I would tell him I was having another episode. (I think he was happy not to be the woman in all this) He was still feeling a little bad about the birth process and the pain it caused me.
    I would call the hospital, talk to nurses, go see the doctor and talk to as many mothers I knew who had been through it. Breastfeeding is wonderful (once your body gets acclimated to it) You will enjoy it more once Knox and your breasts get a more constant routine and your nipples toughen up. Each child is different, they all latched on differently as well. One thing for sure though….with each baby your nipples get tougher faster and the pain episodes are a little less frequent and shorter. It does get easier. Hang in there, you are amazing! I am loving all the posts and pictures you and Michael send out. I cannot wait to meet you in person! Love to you family Grace! xoxoxo

    • Hi Maria,

      It’s lovely to hear someone else share their experience here! I do believe I had a better time than most and by 1 month old he has started breastfeeding beautifully. I owe a lot of the great resources from the internet so my next post is about breastfeeding tips. I figure that there is less information in Chinese for Taiwanese moms than there is in English so it’d be nice to increase the articles available.

      I think that Knox’s nibbling has changed the entire texture of … um, that is, made it an entirely new Thing! So I can understand the, uh, wearing down process. Brutal, but now it’s perfect for him and I.

      I’m glad to hear that it will be easier with the later ones! John sounds like a very kind and patient, loving husband. Mike has been wonderfully supportive as well and indulged my cheerful chatter of what-new-things-I’ve-learned-that-my-boobies-can-do! In fact, I believe he is overcoming his squirmishness and becoming quite good at all the know-how! ^^


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