Buggy is playing her favourite game again today - fusspot feeding. An apathetic snack here, a lazy sip there, a few half-hearted gulps sandwiched in between touching her fingertips together, tugging the zipper on my jacket and staring in awe at the shadows on the wall.
Trying to get the baby to attach on days like this is akin to trying to wrestle a pterodactyl into a ball gown. Wriggle, stretch, scratch, chat, raspberry, kick, arch, stretch, stiffen, hit, giggle, thwack.
During these intensely loveable but frustrating feeding 'experiences' I close my eyes, hold my breath and remember just how far Buggy and I have actually progressed with this up-and-down milk caper.
Five and a half months ago I found myself in hospital with a brand new squishy faced baby, two sore mama breasts and an expectation that somehow the baby and the breasts would have a chat with one another and get things sorted.
Things started with a false positive. As per the pregnancy books and the educational video with appalling music that we had suffered through during our childbirth education classes, the baby latched on immediately after birth and contentedly drank away until she fell asleep. Aww, lovely.
Very. False. Positive. Jump forward eighteen hours or so to the maternity ward. Middle of the night, wilting mummy, flummoxed midwives, hysterical little baby obstinately refusing to open her mouth and latch.
The midwives came armed with suggestions and I diligently tried them all. There was walking and shhhing and swaying, combined with nipple shields and finger sucking and syringes. We tried feeding standing up and we tried feeding lying down, using the cradle hold and the football hold and even pleading with the baby: please, baby, please have a drink before mummy has a meltdown.
Zip, zilch, nada. The baby did not want to breastfeed - but the mummy certainly did. My well entrenched stubborn streak combined with my newfound mama streak to press on and keep trying to make it work.
And so it was that for the first three hazy postpartum days, I spent hour after excruciating hour propped up in my hospital bed, hand-expressing colostrum and early milk to give to the baby with a syringe. By the time I managed to fill a syringe and give it to her, she would be red-faced and thirsty again and wailing for more. The supply and demand system was entirely out of whack, and I was starting to feel much the same way.
My milk arrived in earnest. We tried different sized nipple shields. We got bigger syringes. We bought an electric breast pump. We were discharged from hospital and took the baby home. We put in a hundred and twenty seven percent effort. But the baby still wouldn't eat, and was getting smaller and sleepier: we were starting to have a real problem on our hands.
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