averse

My nursing aversion was particularly intense tonight. Ares woke up as I tried to put him down on the couch. Usually, I’d enlist Lucas’ help to slide a pillow under him on my lap, but seeing that he was intently planning tomorrow’s class, I decided I would do it myself. This, of course, turned out to be a terrible idea, since Ares woke up barely ten minutes after initially falling asleep and demanded to nurse, which is all well and good, except that it took him ages to fall back into a deep sleep, which meant that he was nursing repeatedly for what felt like eons. And it’s not a good thing to feel like there’s an army of bugs marching all over your nipples when you nurse, and the only sensation you feel is a clawing itch that makes you want to remove your breasts by any possible means. Every attempt I made to slide a pinkie in so as to extricate myself was met with a wailing protest, “Nursing! Nursing!” he would howl, his eyes still shut. With my frustration bubbling over as the minutes ticked by (I heard Lucas’ watch beep ten o’clock and groaned both inwardly and outwardly), I was only too relieved when he finally allowed me to drape him over my shoulder and rub his back to fall asleep. Thank goodness he was nowhere near my nipples.

——

Weeks ago, nursing was simply unbearable because of the intense pain when Ares latched on. I’d wince every time we nursed (and it wasn’t even that often) and I dreaded the latch. Lucas tried to be supportive, reminding me to breathe whenever I squeezed my eyes shut in pain. Easy for him to say! When asked about it, the midwife said by the second trimester, my hormones should stabilize and it might not hurt as much any more. Well, she was partly right — I don’t get the searing pain and it doesn’t hurt as much. Um, yay?

It was actually almost exactly a month ago when upon investigation, I confirmed my worst suspicions that my milk had dried up. When I mentioned it to Ares, he suckled for a little bit, stared at the nipple and declared nonchalantly, “No milk today.” It would be a phrase he’d repeat every so often in the days following. It was around this time (or really, the week or two before) that we noticed Ares’ appetite had dramatically increased — he’s consuming about three times as much as he did before! At some meals, he actually eats more than Raspberry does. Who knew he was getting so much from breastmilk?!

Despite his increased food consumption, he still nurses about twice a day, sometimes more. He still night nurses, and also does so at bedtime. Occasionally, he’ll ask to nurse during the day, if we’re at home, or he might nurse to nap. I’m determined not to wean him, despite the pain and the aversion, as I believe he still benefits from breastfeeding. He may not be anything like Raspberry, who seized every chance she could to nurse, but he seems quite happy to continue. I’m sure he’ll be even happier when the colostrum finally comes in, whenever that will be. I know I’ll certainly be happier, especially if it means I don’t have that itching, scratchy sensation that accompanies a toddler’s mouth latched on to my nipple (I wonder if that’s a result of dry nursing?). My goal is to tandem-nurse after the baby’s born. In the meantime, I suppose I just need to grit my teeth and bear it, pains and aversions and all.

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