A different baby

My littlest baby is eight weeks old today.

I remember when my big baby was eight weeks old. He is two and a half now, and yet, while I sit here rocking side to side with my new little boy inside the baby carrier, I could swear that if I squint my mind's eye hard enough it is blonde hair in there and not brown; my first boy and not my second. It seems just a few weeks ago, not years.
My first baby boy at eight weeks old.
When my first little bean was eight weeks old, he began refusing my breast. Vehemently. We had been giving him both the breast and the bottle for weeks, keeping track of the time spent on each boob, then giving him a bottle (while getting more and more down about its increasing volume), and then spending forty minutes pumping. I was doing that for every feed, day and night, with only twenty to thirty minutes 'break' before starting again – Just enough time to wash all the equipment, apply ointment to my still-raw nipples and get a drink of water. Sleep? Pfft.

Then came the day that he would not go anywhere near my breasts. I would open my shirt and he would scream, arching his body away from mine, tensing every muscle in his body in an attempt to get away from me. Oh the heartache of that was incomprehensible... Oh I can't really explain it.

Of course, because I am me, I kept trying. He would take it maybe once out of every three attempts, and the research told me that we could work through it, that perhaps it was a phase, that perhaps I was premenstrual and he didn't like the taste of my milk at that particular time of my cycle. But there was a chance it'd get better.

I spent my nights crying as I pumped every three hours while my husband fed him the bottle, all the time being aware of the lack of milk that was coming out, and that my stress was most certainly not helping. There is nothing worse than knowing that your stress is causing the problem.

BUT.

My midwife keeps telling me over and over again:
This is a different baby.
I am a different woman now, a different mother.
We have a different story.
Poor little boy does not want to come out of the carrier today!
8 weeks old with a grumpy face :)  

I can see why eight weeks was the time when my first boy started his breast refusal. My littlest one is looking around now. He latches on and then keeps his eyes open, pulls back while sucking away and scanning the room. The world is becoming interesting to him. He doesn't want to just close his eyes and breathe me in anymore.

Is it weird that this excites me? We have gotten to the point now where he pulls on my nipple not because he wishes there was more milk (there is enough milk coming through the feeding tubes and my nipple together), but because he wants to look over there. I have heard about mothers having to endure that! And we have made it to that point!

We keep experiencing new things, things I never experienced with my first, and I am loving that.

Leaky boob? Check.
Feeling the pinch of letdown? Check.
Being able to feed with no pain? Check.
Having my nipple contorted as my baby observes the world around us? Check.

I'm not ruling out breast refusal in the future. In fact, if the witching-hour-feed was anything to go by last night, things may begin to get more complicated from here on in. But hey, we are eight weeks in and doing a-ok.

An alert baby, SNS bottle, advent calendar chocolate,
water,  and a book entitled 'The Highly Sensitive Child'.
A pretty good summary of life right now!


2 comments

  1. I enjoy reading about your breastfeeding journeys. Thanks for having the courage to write about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooo thank you so so much for saying that. It seems there are so many people out there also struggling in silence, feeling like they are all alone... I really appreciate the comment, thanks so much.

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