Elizabeth (greyautumnrain) wrote,

Not Confused

I read too many infertility-turned-mommy blogs before I had Margaret. It seems that many people have some issues with breastfeeding. I was therefore on alert about all the potential pitfalls that could keep a baby from being a good breast-feeder and I was bound and determined to avoid and/or overcome them. It seems that I was a bit too focused in that one direction.

Margaret is a champion breast-feeder and has been from the very start. She latches, she sucks, and the milk gets where it's supposed to go. Sometimes it comes back up, but generally not in any troublesome quantity. As of last check she was gaining weight well, and I think she still is given that her 0-3 month clothing is getting snug. Getting it from the breast has not been an issue. The problem seems to be that I have raised a little connoisseur.

One of the common problems that women attempting to breast-feed in our society run into is "nipple confusion". Actually, I doubt this is confusion at all, but as one woman stated, a preference. Namely a preference for the bottle which requires much less effort to suck milk out of than the more natural source. Young babies who are given bottles may not want to go through all that effort when they can get milk from a bottle instead, and thus wail when presented with the nipple that nature intended. You avoid this by not giving the baby a bottle until nursing is well established.

Given all the hype about nipple confusion I rather underrated the difficulty I might face when presenting a breastfed baby with a bottle. I have given Margaret a bottle before. At five weeks she had a bit of a cold and one morning was congested enough that she was having trouble nursing, so at that point I finally got around to unpacking the breast pump. I expressed a little and gave it to her, thinking the bottle would be easier with her cold. She sucked it down, went to sleep happy, and I figured I'd just successfully introduced her to the bottle. Then I didn't pump again for three weeks.

In my defense I will say that finding time to pump is hard. Margaret is a frequent nurser during the day. Once we're both out of bed she usually nurses every two hours, if not more frequently. This is fine by me since it means I get some four hour stretches at night, but it does make finding time to pump difficult. By the time there's enough milk in there to be worth the effort she wants to nurse again. (<lj user=outerjenise" suggested pumping from the other breast while nursing, and that sounds great, but her children must wiggle much less than mine.) Then I realized that my maternity leave was running out, and oops, I had no supply, no idea how much I needed, and I asked for advice. I was advised to make sure the baby got used to the bottle. That brings us to today. We tried giving Margaret a bottle. Clearly the experience of three weeks ago didn't stick because she was not happy with the bottle. She gave us her best suspicious look and barely took anything from it. When we tried to press the issue she screamed until I relented and gave her the source. So, in addition to her deep dislike of pacifiers, she is now dubious at best about bottles. It is clear that she is not at all confused about nipples. She knows exactly where her milk is supposed to come from. Clearly we are going to need to do some prep work so that she won't starve in a few weeks when she will be in Somerville and my nipples will be in Quincy during the day.

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