colic

Back home alone

We're back at home after visiting my parents, and sitting on their couch and nursing for a week. Now we're on our "own". It's been a busy week of appointments and getting laundry done and dealing with life (and brutal cold here which isn't usual).

My back and my hand have been very sore and that's lead to not as much babywearing as I'd hoped. She's also 12lbs now! Babies coping with OAM often gain fast and lots! But it means that they sometimes don't get what they need -- lots of time on mommy's chest so they can nurse often on the one side. Unilateral nursing sets you up for mastitis because you're purposefully not draining the breast, I've had it almost every time I've been really stressed, so nursing has to be often and comfortable for baby. And as K gets more irritated by the flow she needs to be comforted more, and it's so easy to just hand her off rather than keeping her on my chest. I did this more with my first, because it was frustrating that he was so sad all the time. But what he needed was to stay at the breast and nurse more often. This is especially important later when they get "colic" at a few months old and spend time with a hurting gut. They need to know that mommy is with them and stay comforted at the breast.

This week has been all about figuring out the "flow" of my day switching back and forth. If we nurse all evening on one side so she gets a good long cluster nurse, then I have to think about whether I should switch the "last" nurse of the day, and potential get her annoyed and not fall asleep, or do it earlier and not nurse as long in the evening on one side and have more milk supply over night. It's work, and when she sleeps extra long in the car, sometimes both breast get "too full" and then I have to figure out where and when to nurse next.

Luckily my left is lower supply, so it seems to drain faster even from "full". So I keep that in mind when switching at night, if I switch on to it, it's likely to be easier for her to handle. The right is still the real issue, but we're going longer on each side to see if it will settle and it hasn't become truly engorged for a few nights. When it gets bad, the breast is so heavy and full that I actually get a sore chest wall -- but I am a 38G! So there's a lot of breast tissue to get engorged. Though don't think that you need large breasts to have oversupply or overactive flow, I've seen it in women of every size!

"I broke my baby", "My baby hates me",

"I have an ugly. screaming. thing.

A couple weeks ago I had a fat contented lovely baby. Now I have this.

She's got a weird rash, and flaky things on her face. Her neck gets sore spots in between the fat rolls. She's gassy, burps a lot, and has a red bum around her rectum. And green poo.

She screams at me. During nurses, after nurses, all evening.

She hates me, and nursing is making her ill, fat, and spit uppy. I'll just stop now, and give her something that's "better" for her."

Not this time, but I have in the past thought all those things. I've also heard them on the lips of dozens of moms who have gone through this. Around 1.5 to 2.5 months the beautiful well-fed breastfed baby that you held in your arms, stops smiling and starts screaming, pooping, and looking weird. They get baby acne, or the cradle cap starts to dry up. They look like they're in pain part of the time. You wonder what you've done wrong.

So at exactly the same time that all the "regular" ugly-baby things happen to your child - baby acne is hormonal at this age, and goes away by itself when the hormones rebalance in a week or two - your child hits a developmental step, and instead of just drinking the milk like before, they learn new coping strategies and start telling you had hard this is, and has been. And the gut starts to show more and more signs of lactose imbalance if the milk is still in oversupply. And let's not even get started on the latch. The wonderful strong sucking child, has been replaced with clicking, and popping on off, and the sore nipples are back!

Imagine if you didn't know this was overabundant milk (indeed, maybe you don't have to imagine because you're learning it as you read this)... how scary is that?

K is my beautiful baby even with the rashes, and the goo, and the farts. The acne will heal, the green poo will get better, and I will use these signs to tell me that my baby is asking me for help, from the one that they love most, from the one that they can scream to the most, and the one that can help them the most, their mommy. She screams because I'm her world, and she's asking for help. And I will help her.