Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Breastfeeding babies with special needs
My sister, new mommy to Margo, is doing the breastfeeding thing. She's in a little pain, and my boobs are practically aching in sympathy.
I couldn't wait to nurse Max. Make that, I couldn't wait to get my hands on him and just hold him when he was a prisoner of the incubator. I pumped for the two weeks he was in the NICU, and once he was breathing on his own I was able to bottle-feed that milk to him at the hospital. At home, I had a hell of a time breastfeeding. Max never latched on quite right and a feeding could take as long as an hour; sometimes I thought my nipples were going to fall off, they hurt so bad. It got to be a joke between me and Dave: He'd leave for work in the morning, and I'd be sitting on the couch nursing Max; he'd come home from work at night, and I'd be sitting in the same spot, nursing Max, as if I'd never moved. Sometimes, Dave would feed me dinner as I fed Max; breastfeeding got so consuming that I wasn't eating as well as I needed to.
I'm not one of those breastfeeding diehards; I don't believe it's the right choice for every woman. I also think there's some pretty good formula out there these days. But I was determined to do anything and everything I could for Max, and so I kept nursing.
The feedings continued to drag out. I got someone from the La Leche League to come to the house for a consultation, I developed an addiction to Soothies (those gel pads), I tried different positions using the Boppy. Breastfeeding got a little better, but it never felt easy. I thought maybe it was me, or maybe I had weird nipples or something, but in retrospect I know that Max had coordination issues with sucking and head positioning issues because of his tight muscle tone. He had a far easier time gulping milk down from a bottle, and so I became a pro pumper. Cows had nothing over me, I pumped so well.
I made it through ten months. I breastfed Sabrina for about six, and didn't have nearly as much trouble. I'm glad I did it for both my kids, and I'm glad my nipples never fell off.
Did you guys breastfeed?
Photo by Linda G.