Dispatches from the Feeding Cave
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I’m emerging from my sleep-deprived stupor to let you know we are doing fine here at Casa Lemonade despite being trapped in my bedroom with the baby doing nothing but feeding him. As you may know, I was unable to nurse Noodle because she was in the NICU for months and had feeding issues (a very weak suck among them) which was related to reflux from her birth injury. I exclusively pumped for months to provide her mama’s milk, and I can’t tell you the exhaustion doing so caused all of us.
When Ben was born, he latched right away. Hallelujah! Dream come true! By Day 2, I was browsing nursing covers on Etsy I was so confident it was working. He ate all the time, and with gusto! Day 3 rolled around, and by then nursing was so painful for me that Ben was throwing up blood– from ME, if you can make the connection. After meeting with several lactation consultants, we came up with a plan that involved nursing, supplementing with formula, and pumping.
Ummmmm, I also have a toddler at home. Who we feed 7 times a day, with food that takes 10 minutes to prepare each time, and a plan that involves a very specific ritual from the feeding clinic. Let’s add a newborn with a process that now also takes over an hour to feed. Great idea!
But I was determined, and locked myself in my room with the baby and went for it. Turns out he eats once an hour and doesn’t really sleep. I was literally up all night long feeding, washing bottles/ pump parts, nursing, mixing formula, and soothing Ben as he lay awake not sleeping. Finally on Day 6 at 4 AM I gave up the nursing. It was too much. Immediately I felt better taking this major part of the stress out of the equation. But I still needed to pump and feed, so here I am– in my room, shades drawn, feeding feeding feeding!
When I see that sweet face, it’s all worth it of course. And I’m beyond grateful that he feeds at all– even if it is voraciously. He’ll probably surpass Noodle’s weight by July at this rate. I’m also extremely lucky that my husband has been home AND we’ve had a mother or mother-in-law here so I can nap in the morning after my up-all-night antics. That will change on Wednesday, so watch out! That is going to be good for no one. The feeding cave might need to close, and I’ll need to make the tough choice about whether to continue to stress my body/mind with pumping or go for formula feeding. What I need to remember is that formula is NOT poison, but it does feel like I’ve failed.