Friday, May 30, 2008

Tied to two suction cups and an outlet

I completely resisted the idea of pumping for each feeding because, well, I hate pumping. Not only are there a billion parts to wash and assemble each time, it's nowhere near as enjoyable an experience as feeding your child directly.

But two more sores have started showing up where Allison's teeth rub with the new position I'm trying, so I reluctantly have resigned myself to pumping until I heal and can get some help.

This presents an entirely new set of challenges as I have no idea how much she typically gets at each feeding. I could try to pump and give her that immediately, but when she's hungry, she's used to immediate gratification -- not waiting 20 to 30 minutes so mom can set up and use a machine.

I guess I'll just have to start planning better.

This morning was a complete disaster. My breasts were fully engorged, but I forced myself to give Allison a bottle. I selected the largest one in the fridge from the night before at work, figured out how to use the warmer while she cried, then she sucked it down in a few minutes and started crying for more.

Because I didn't know how much more to give her, I just set up the pump and tried my best to block out her cries in the next room. As soon as I got enough out for another bottle, I ran in and gave it to her, but then she puked all over because she's not used to getting it all that fast. She's used to working for it.

I set her down again and took up the pump again, but by that time, I couldn't get any flow because I was too tense. So I swore. Well, part of it was because Toby was whining to go outside and I had to try to reach the door while I was attached to a machine and a plug and ended up spilling milk all over the chair I had been sitting in.

Then, instead of spending the morning eating breakfast and playing with Allison like I normally do, I spent it at the sink. Washing everything. And wanting to cry.

Then we came upstairs for a few minutes, she showed signs of needing a nap and I went down to pump again, so I could give her a little before bed like she's used to.

Now everything's dirty again and my nipples are absolutely throbbing from the pump agitation.

To top it off, I have the day off and had planned to go shopping. I'm used to being able to take her and feed her wherever and whenever, but now I'm guessing I'll just have to stay home. My electronic pump won't work in a dressing room without an outlet. Or in my car.

And my nipples feel so blindingly painful that I can't even tolerate the thought of feeding her directly. I actually have broken bloody flaps of skin that can't heal because they're pried open constantly -- including with the pump.

I wrote to my lactation consultant, but at this point, I'm feeling pretty hopeless.

If I didn't already know how wonderful and rewarding an experience breastfeeding can be, I don't think I'd believe it.


julie said...

A few tips from a new mom who's been pumping since day one...

One, you can get steamer bags for the microwave that sanitize everything in a matter of minutes. Then you just have to dry off the parts. Or, if you're like me, take the bag straight from the microwave while still hot, dump out the remaining water (there's a spout on the side of the bag), then leave the bag standing open on the counter for a little while. Most of the parts will be pretty much dry in no time, leaving you to just have to dry the bottles.

Two, you use the Medela Advanced pump, right? You can get a car adapter for it so you can use it in your car. I have one, but haven't used it yet because I have yet to get the nursing cover-up thingie so my boobs aren't hanging out for all the world (or parking lot as the case may be) to see.

Three, can you use nipple shields until your nipples heal? I'd at least try it. My nipples get sore from the pump, but they haven't cracked or bled yet so I guess I'm still doing ok.

Hope you find some relief soon!!

Kathleen said...

Ok, so maybe we were all a little hasty with our quick and easy solution to your problem. I'm so sorry you're going through this!

Gisela said...



Jessica said...

Definitely try nipple shields. They sell them at Babies R Us, the Medela styles are BPA free. That will give you a bit of relief, though its sometimes hard to get baby used to using one. I think you are doing great, definitely work with your LC... its definitely no fun exclusively pumping :(

If you haven't been here yet the ladies are WONDERFUL and will help you out, too:

Good luck!!!

Suzy said...

I do not envy you. Even as I'm sitting here typing this I'm thinking 'I need to go pump'. You've got the Lanolin cream and stuff right? I love that stuff.

Rachel said...

I pumped every hour for 2 months, and I feel your pain. I had a supply issue, so had to pump after every single nursing session. If you can manage for a week and get healed up, then hopefully everything will work out when you put her back to the breast. If not, then don't feel guilty! You've given her so much already! Do you have a double electric pump? If you do it hands-free, you can feed her a bottle at the same time, which might help keep you calm, plus save some time. Kellymom has some info on using rubber bands to double pump hands-free. Have you used neosporin on the wounds? It might help them heal, and you can always wash before a pumping session. I second the comment on steamer bags. I would do a rinse in the sink, then put them through the microwave. Good luck!

julie said...

By the way... I got your gift. You are awesome. I absolutely LOVE it. Thank you thank you thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Dont think you are a failure for using formula, if you are in so much pain then let yourself heal!! It cant be healthy for your baby to be sucking on open wounds can it? I just feel like you are trying so hard to be the "perfect" mom that you are forgetting to just relax and improvise. You may also want to get a handheld pump, my best friend likes hers better because its extremely easy to clean and she can control the suction. You can also use it anywhere. Dont get to worked up, you are a GREAT mom and not breastfeeding because of open wounds does not make anyone think otherwise

Nicola said...

I feel your pain!!! This is exactly the reason I threw the towel in and put Isabelle on formula (bad Mummy - I know), she was nursing for 24 hours, oh yes using me as a dummy (pacifier) I tried pumping and that wasn't enough for her either. She was crying, I was crying, then my supply upped and died! I bought formula and felt like a failure but I had to do it!
I would definately suggest the nipple shields so you can heal. Her teeth won't even touch your sores. You're already a hero in my eyes for doing it for so long.
Bottle feeding is a neverending washing up pile . . . bleh!

Marina said...

Jesus. That is when you switch to formula. That does not sound fun.

S said...

and this was happening to me the first 10 days.. it was horrible, but I've heard that kids can pick up that it hurts and they will stop biting. Since you've gone this far with breast feeding I say try nipple shields, pumping, whatever works... Formula is fine (my daughter was switched to that after I was screaming crying in pain from breasteeding) so it's not the end of the world if you do make the choice to switch. Good luck with whatever you try.

Traci said...

I hope your lactation consultant gets back with you soon! I can't imagine, my son is only getting his bottom two teeth and there has been nothing like this. And dear God I hope there is not.

I would get nipple shields if at all possible. And even if you do decide to supplement with formula keep pumping because you DO NOT want your breasts to get engorged. Maybe you should go to the doctor if you can, don't get infected! But I'd be prepared for them to be negative about breastfeeding, it seems like so many people (including health care professionals) aren't very encouraging to breastfeeding mamas.

Good luck! I feel so badly for you. I really hope things get better asap!

Ray said...

Just reading this makes me ache for you (I hope that doesn't sound weird. I just really feel for you and care about you). I hope things get better. And I hope I don't need to tell you this but: "YOU'RE AN AWESOME MOTHER!" Words, can't express how great you really are. Not for just being the best mother Allison could ever ask for. But for also, trying to pull through with this breastfeeding thing. When everything just feels/seems hopeless.

Sometimes when we're down and out we need to be told these things, to help us get through them. I hope you feel better soon emotionally and physcially (that you heal).


*This is the same Ray, just from a semi-new Xanga.*

Marcy said...

I know this comes late, from reading your next entry, but just to share, when I had to pump after every feeding with D b/c he wasn't getting enough from me after birth, the nurses had me just rinse the pump parts and then put them in this sanitizing solution (part bleach, I guess?) and leave them there until I needed them again. Then I'd take them out and rinse them off, and use them.

Also, since breastmilk has antibacterial properties, I've read tips that say you can just stick the pump parts in the fridge between pumpings and not need to clean them but once a day (we leave the milk in the fridge for days, right?).

jsi said...

What misery!
You're exactly right, it feels like a constant guess when you have to measure what you not measured before. 8 ounces is not too much for a little one her age, but 12 ounces may be more than she can handle.
Your experience is getting worse...I'm so sorry.
Hang in there, you have the right ideas and your intuition is not misplaced.
You can do this...and formula is not a failure.