Sunday, May 23, 2010


This first week has gone by so quickly. I'm not really aware of time any more, as our schedule revolves around a little girl's appetite :) (which is a pretty big one). It seems we have also centered our lives around eating and sleeping, much like a baby. Those are the two things we try to make the time for, even when we don't have time to do anything else. Feeling the warmth of Mirabel's little body against mine when I rest her head near my heart, or taking in her sweet baby smell when she's sleeping in my arms makes it all worth it, though! And I still can't believe she's mine sometimes. I lover her so much!

...Doesn't this little dress look familiar ;)?
Jose's been a huge help (I'm so thankful she came before his internship started) and I wouldn't have been able to make it through the week without him. Somehow (probably from lack of sleep ;), my asthma flared up pretty badly with a cold, then it turned into bronchitis. The hacking cough wasn't fun and unfortunately I passed my cold/virus along to Jose, but we've been able to make it through together! And I'm slowly learning how to gracefully accept the unexpected and forget about being perfect...

For instance, my desire to continue nursing Mirabel is still stronger than my tolerance for pain, but I'm beginning to feel myself wanting to bottle feed. I feel terribly guilty for that. The temptation is actually centered on health reasons (bleeding and cracking is quite painful!). When Mirabel was first born, she had to head off to the NICU--where they refused to let me nurse her for the first day because of her breathing issues. She also developed jaundice, and at the time I was not able to provide enough liquids for her so they supplemented with formula (they push liquids on jaundiced babies). Introducing a bottle to a newborn makes things a little complicated, as they get used to it and have a hard time adjusting to being breastfed. I never planned on having a baby that needed to be in the intensive care unit for the first few days of her life (does anyone, really?). I imagined that I would feed her right when she was born (and that I'd have an easy quick labor--haha! Funny what we imagine!).

My "plan" was set, or so I thought. I bought the nursing books, special nursing pillows, read all the information that I could, and met with a lactation consultant (actually, a couple). I even watched YouTube Videos--I was so determined to get it right! Honestly, I still am. But there are moments when the burning/throbbing pain is so bad that I just give her formula, and I feel so guilty afterward. In fact, I feel more guilty about that than I ever have about anything else! I'm trying to be reasonable but logic doesn't exist when the guilt sets in. My expectations for myself are unrealistic, that's what I have to accept. Right now I'm having to weigh what's best for the both of us and not let guilt be what influences my decision. I tell myself that in the end, it's what I offer her emotionally that matters the most and that I am not a failure if I have to give up breastfeeding because of the damage it's causing my body.

This really isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Even when it comes to being a mom, I can only do my best and that's it. Maybe I should even say "especially when it comes to being a mom". Isn't that one of the toughest and also one of the most amazing roles a woman can have? It's also the role no one has to try out for, so we are bound to be mistakes or get a few lines wrong!

I know I still have so much to learn as far as parenting goes. I have a feeling I'll have to give myself a few more of these self-talk/reality-checks as Mirabel grows up. :)


Amanda said...

I'm sorry about the BFing pain. I probably had it as bad as anyone has it too. The first 2 weeks were murder on me, but it really does get better if you stick with it. Try to pump if your nipples are not up to it to keep your supply doing well. The milk you make during the first several weeks will calibrate your body for future production, so it's good to keep producing even if you can't BF if you want to keep her on breast milk.

For me, I was soooo tempted to start exclusively pumping... it just seemed so much simpler and like such a good idea, and those first couple of weeks I know things would have been so much easier if I would have, but eventually you'll get to a point where it truly is so much easier and lovelier to just be able to nurse and not have to deal with a pump or bottles. You have to do what's right for you, but get all the help you can get now to try to make it through. The second LC I used was practically my own personal cheerleader. She would call me every couple of days and check up on me and just having someone to talk to about how hard things were was really helpful. Without her and that extra support I don't think I could have made it through. It's tough, darn tough. Good luck! She's precious.

Amanda said...

Also, it's ok to use some neosporin on your nipples after feedings. It will help to heal them and prevent infections. I was using neosporin mixed a little clotrimazole (generic athlete's foot cream) to heal and prevent a yeast infection. You don't really even have to clean off your nipples before feedings. These worked better for me than lanolin.

Sophie said...


Thank you for the tips and for making me realize I'm not alone! It was getting pretty discouraging. You're right about the Neosporin! One of the lactation consultants recommended that and though I was skeptical that nothing would work, it seems the scabbing/bleeding is subsiding! :) It is already getting a little more tolerable (now it just feels like bruising instead of burned!). Thanks again! :)

Tracy said...

Hi, Sophie! CONGRATULATIONS on Mirabel's arrival--she is soooo BEAUTIFUL! Do hope you & Jose will be feeling better soon... and that bf-ing will go easier. :o) We're just back from 2-week visit with family & friends in the US. Glad to stop by and catch up with you! So happy all is well with you & baby girl! ((HUGS))

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