I owe a debt of gratitude to Comedy Central for providing a needed distraction to my cracked and very painful nipples. Thank goodness Steven Colbert and Revenge of the Nerds could provide a nice laugh for me while I'm feeding my son. Yesterday, Baby P ate 13 times. That's a lot of times to feed a baby, so no wonder my poor boobs are mad. Also, I'm not surprised I feel like a barely functioning person since I only get to sleep in increments of time that are usually less than 90 minutes.
There really is more of a point to this post than me complaining about sore boobs, spending 1/2 my day feeding a baby, and sleeping in intervals of time that should only be used to torture people. I want to describe my meeting with an angel otherwise known as Kim, the lactation consultant. I've known that Baby P and I were doing something wrong in the breastfeeding department for about a week. I'm not a first-time breastfeeder, so I was not expecting to have any issues. However, that hasn't been the case this time. I've had incredible pain (like daggers) for several days and I knew that it wasn't just cracked skin. It was so painful that I would have to do meditative breathing just like when I was in labor (with no epidural) every time I fed him and I usually ended up sobbing by the end. With encouragement from my midwife and husband, I contacted a lactation consultant, Kim with www.breastfed.biz.
Lucky for me, Kim was able to see me on the same day I called. I met with her yesterday and found out that my sweet baby had too shallow a latch. My cracked nipple is the result of the poor latch. On top of that, he's a grazer (which I already knew, considering he was falling asleep after about 10 minutes), so the sheer number of feeds was also contributing to my pain. His grazing was not emptying milk completely, so my milk ducts were stretching and causing more pain. Eventually, this would have effected my supply, because my body would have assumed that I didn't need all that milk.
Kim was so helpful right from the start. She was able to show me how to get him to latch on in a different way that would help him get a better mouthful. She also showed me a more effective way to do compression or what I like to call how to "milk" myself while feeding him. It took about an hour and we had to repeatedly wake him up to keep eating, but it seemed to work. He slept for 3.5 hours afterwards. It's a lot of work to feed him like this and it takes a long time. I'm willing to put in the effort. I breastfed my daughter until she was 19 months old and I truly believe that it was one of the best things that I have done in my life. It's easy to give up while it's really tough, but in all reality, the hard part of breastfeeding doesn't last very long. If you are having trouble, ask for help. Lactation consultants are wonderful. Once you and the baby both get the hang of breastfeeding, it's pretty easy, so beneficial for you both and so rewarding.
Here's hoping that in the near future, I will sleep in 3 hour increments!