Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nursing Strike: Day 1

When D was 10 months old, he went on a nursing strike. Despite the people who have told me, "He probably just didn't need to nurse anymore," I still consider it a nursing strike - although we were never able to recover and it spelled the end of breastfeeding. I've always wondered if I made some mistakes when that happened; that if I'd handled things differently (ie, not given him a bottle right away), he might have gone back to nursing.

Apparently I'm being given another shot.

Not that I wanted one...

G won't nurse. We've all been sick for at least 10 days now. D got it first, then G, then me and my husband. G has had it the worst. A week ago his cough turned to croup and he was utterly miserable. Over the last week he's been doing better, but he's still pretty congested and mucusy. And today, he refused to nurse.

When I got him up this morning he wouldn't nurse and I had a pang of fear; what if it's happening again. I tried not to worry about it, and assumed he was too distracted by his brother. He'd been up twice last night to nurse, and ate fine. I tried again a couple times over the course of the morning, but he wouldn't even attempt to latch. Finally, before his morning nap he did nurse and I was pretty relieved.

But that was just the beginning - and the last time he ate all day. After his nap, he again refused, this time getting upset when I tried to put him to the breast. At that point, I got panicky. I called my husband, who despite his good intentions does not understand in the least why this has me so upset. After talking with him, I made an appointment for G at our pediatrician's office; I wanted to rule out an ear infection or something similar that might be causing him pain and making him reluctant to nurse.

Meanwhile, I had to get him to take another nap, and he still wouldn't nurse. I did get him down, but he had to fuss a while before he'd fall asleep. He didn't sleep long, but we had to go to the doctor anyway. I again tried to nurse - nope.

The doctor concluded we've all probably had RSV this whole time. Lovely. No wonder we can't seem to shake it! G is full of mucus (no kidding) and she said his nursing issues are likely due to all the mucus in his nose and airways; plus he's probably just feeling crappy. Here's where I feel like the WORST mother on the planet because we let him CIO for a while last night. Go ahead, flog me. I deserve it. But the last several nights have been horrid and I was thinking he's probably well enough that he needs to get back on track with his sleeping. Now I feel like he's punishing me for letting him cry.

The doctor gave him a breathing treatment - or rather, had me give him a breathing treatment. You know how fun that is? Try holding a plastic mask over your 21lb 9oz 8 month old's face when he's screaming, thrashing and clawing at it. That was fun. Not to mention, the whole ordeal scared D so bad my husband (thank you God that he was able to be there) had to take him out of the room. He did not like seeing his brother like that.

The breathing treatment apparently helped a bit, although his breathing still sounded just as juicy (for lack of a better word) to me. But his O2 level went up a little (not that it was bad to begin with) and the doctor said he sounded better when she listened to his lungs. So we were sent home with our own nebulizer and instructions to give him 3 breathing treatments per day for the next few days and come back on Friday. As for the nursing, well, she didn't really say much except that he's probably not nursing because he's sick and he's likely to start again once we get a better handle on all the mucus.

Hmm... I guess I should be grateful she didn't tell me to "just give him a bottle". I was sort of expecting that.

Today I've been feverishly reading up on nursing strikes and what to do about them. When my husband came home I gave G his breathing treatment (great, make him associate THAT with me and he'll want to nurse even more... NOT), then took him in the bath with me. I have no idea if that will really help, but the websites all list it among "things to do in the event of a nursing strike" and at this point I'd try to nurse standing on my head if I thought it would help. No luck there, and none at bedtime either. So he's sleeping now after nursing a grand total of ONE time today, when he usually nurses 6 or 7.

I'm trying very hard not to think about how closely this parallels David's nursing strike and the end to our breastfeeding relationship. I'm trying to tell myself that I know more this time and I'm too stubborn to let it get the best of me. I'm desperately hoping that he'll nurse tonight; never before have I wanted him to wake up in the night like this! I'm dreading how the night will go if he still won't nurse, but does wake up.

All in all, I'm hoping against hope that we come out of this in better shape than D and I did when the same thing happened. And I can't frickin believe this is happening to me again. What are the chances BOTH my kids would do this? Unbelievable.

Now I have to go pump.

1 comment:

From my boobies to yours said...

You are in my thoughts a lot right now, I know how hard this was on you the first time and I'm praying very hard that you have a different outcome. Prepare yourself now, that if you do (and I think you will) the next step will be to doubt yourself even more about whether you could have had a different outcome with D.

Do I know you, or do I know you?

That said, I think you're on the right track and this time you are blessed with more confidence than last (I know, doesn't feel that way, does it?) and while the situation feels the same, this is a different baby. Look at those cheeks - he's not going to starve while you figure this out. Promise. Pinky swear.

Hang in there sweetie. Play National Geographic. Offer often, but without pressure for EITHER of you. Anything you can do to relax yourself will help...if for no other reason than to save your sanity.

Another thought - don't be afraid to call a local LC or chapter of La Leche if you need to. They love to help with this kind of stuff and are likely to know things that would never occur to me.

This is an emotional issue, mama, and I know you're upset and hurting. It's about so much more than feeding, and I get that. Add in the history and I know why you sounded so heartbroken. I'll help any way I can.