Sunday, January 14, 2007

Nearly Done

And not a day too soon.

I did get my milk supply back, thank goodness. There was a LLL meeting the day before we went, and I was very glad to be able to go (though it's kind of far and is a pain to get to) and process how upsetting it all was with other nursing mothers, some of whom had similar kinds of experiences.

The group leader reassured me that it's unlikely that 6 hours without nursing would seriously damage my supply, which was helpful. But she also suggested that my milk supply might not have actually gone down, since Limelet could have just been nursing more out of anxiety after the trip, leaving my breasts feeling more "empty."

I know this probably does happen a lot, but I've had so many people second-guessing my understanding of my own body throughout this whole pregnancy and nursing thing that I mentally rolled my eyes and felt resentful. I wasn't going by whether they "felt full" (they rarely feel fuller or emptier anyway, unless they've become very engorged) nor by how often he was nursing. I was going by a lot of other cues that I mentioned in my previous post. I still believe my supply diminished, as those cues did come back after a couple of days, including the milk pooling in the corners of Limelet's mouth.

The day we were leaving, he was fussy all day, and spent a lot of time leaning away off to my left, so now I have a wry neck on top of everything else. I am really glad that I only have one on-site interview left, and it's relatively close (an hour away).

This last interview wasn't nearly as hard on all of us as the previous one, since it was so much shorter (two hours) and closer (less than four hours' drive instead of eight). Also, bringing along expressed milk to feed him in the car when we couldn't stop to feed him helped a whole lot. And thankfully, it was a shorter trip and also wasn't raining. A lot of things were easier.

When we were stuck in rush-hour traffic around Detroit on the way back, I also realized that I could pump right there in the car (providing I wasn't the driver, of course) to relieve some of the pressure and then pop the bottle-nipple on and feed him the fresh milk right then and there. That was very helpful, since his need to eat and my need to nurse him are pretty much synced up at this point.

Thank goodness for that Playtex drop-ins system (free plug here, Playtex!) and their adapter that works with the breastmilk pump (a Medela Harmony), since I didn't have to bring along a bunch of clean bottles, just some cylindrical "liners" (they look a lot like condoms).

Next week's interview is only an hour away, but it's another four-hour deal. We were planning to drive there all together. Especially after experiencing the six-hour non-nursing milk-backup ordeal of the weekend before last.

However, it seems I now am able to pump somewhat without actually having Limelet nursing on the opposite side. Since the trips are so hard on him, I've decided to just go to the interview alone, leaving expressed milk for TheLimey to feed him. I'll bring the breastmilk pump, and I'll just make sure to get there 20 minutes early so I can go to the Student Services building bathroom and pump before going up to the counseling center, and then do it again before I leave. If I get a break at some point in between, I'll do it then, too.

At worst it'll be four hours, which I know I can recover from. And next week (the week after), I won't also be trying to pump for the following week, like last time. I can just focus on nursing and recovering my supply.

Oh, did I mention he seems to be teething, now, too? (I can't give him the lovely biscuits from his auntie yet because he's still too young.) He's been out of sorts and chewy as a result. Not, however, chewing on the nursies--just on his fingers, our knuckles, teething toys, etc. (Thank goodness.) But this doesn't make it any easier on him to take long car trips.

Anyway, what all this has taught me is that I definitely want my practice (someday) to be breastfeeding-friendly. The waiting room, the sessions, whatever. Heck, I'll contact local LLL groups and Bradley instructors and let them know that I'll do postpartum depression sessions where a mother can bring her new baby. How many places can a person go with a round-the-clock nurser? Not many. You can't go far without him or her, either, which makes attending any sort of doctor a hassle (even my postpartum exam.) And that's the time when you need the most support.

I like Mothering magazine's new international breastfeeding-friendly icon: I'll use that. I tried to post it, and will try again when Blogger allows me to post images, which is always intermittent.


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