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The Challenge that is feeding Zachary Harrison

July 2, 2011

I never thought raising a baby would be easy. I expected the lack of sleep to be tough. The constant crying and pooping seemed like obvious challenges. What I did not expect to be so difficult right away is feeding him. My wife is nursing our son and it seemed obvious that at every feeding our baby would pounce on the nipple and go to town.  The reality is that it is not so easy and, if it were easy, there would not be a such thing as a lactation consultants.

  • The first challenge is getting the baby to latch on. Latch on is a phrase every nurse, doctor and lactation consultant we have spoken to uses. They use the term as if you were snapping the baby on like a button. This sounded a bit odd to me but my wife says it actually feels like Zachary snaps on.  
  • Another challenge is that when the baby is born most mothers do not have their milk in yet. Their milk comes in usually within a couple of weeks but sometimes it takes longer. This phrase, “waiting for the milk to come in” is another odd one. They refer to the milk coming in as if my wife is a convenience store that forgot to place the milk order.
  • I had mentioned in an earlier post the concept of nipple confusion.  When the nurses at the hospital mentioned this I thought this was plain weird and not likely to happen. Because my wife’s milk has taken a few days to come in we had to supplement Zachary with formula last night. Drinking from a bottle is much easier for Zachary.  At 5AM this morning we found ourselves cursing under our breaths as we realized that nipple confusion had happened to little Zachary.
Probably the biggest challenge to feeding Zachary has been keeping him awake. I am amazed by the fact that Zachary has to eat to live yet can barely stay awake to eat (he would not do well on Survivor). Every time we (obviously my wife) nurses Zachary he will latch on but then fall asleep after a few minutes and we will have to wake him up to feed him. Our pediatrician said this was common and suggested the following methods to wake him: tickle him under the chin or on the cheek; lightly scratch the bottom of his feet with the back of your nail; undress him down to his diaper as he will be colder and, thus, more alert; and wet a towel with cold water and dab him. We tried all methods and found that the nakedness and wet towel where most effective. So here is how are feedings have gone today:
Step 1: Start feeding an undressed Zachary
Step 2: Zachary falls asleep
Step 3: I dab Zachary with a wet towel
Step 4: Zachary eats
Step 5: Zachary falls asleep
Step 6: I dab him with the wet towel
Step 7: Zachary eats
Step 8: Zachary falls asleep
Step 9: I dab him with the wet towel
Step 10: Zachary eats
Step 11: Zachary falls asleep
Step 12: I dab him with the wet towel

You get the idea. And, Zachary would get used to where I was dabbing him so he would no longer wake up. So I would have to keep dabbing him in different places to shock him into waking up. I am pretty sure this same routine has been used in Guantanamo.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2011 4:39 pm

    here’s some unsolicited suggestions from an ex-nurserer:
    1. within the 1st 2 weeks of my baby’s life, she had binkies, bottles, (both of which i was STERNLY against) and boobs and took to all of them with ease. she did not forget how to latch on after taking a bottle.
    2. it is HARD to breastfeed a baby. it is only possible (in my experience) with TONS of support.
    3. it is crucial for mommy to relax and let whatever happens, happen. lots of drs. suggest having a beer before a nursing session because it helps mom relax.
    that’s all i’ll bombard you with. there are LOTS of websites, FB groups and “real life” breastfeeding support/advocacy/advice places. if you’d like suggestions, i’d happily direct you to some. in the end, however you guys decide to feed your baby, bottle or boob, will be the right way 🙂

    • July 2, 2011 6:24 pm

      I just read this to my wife and she really appreciates your comments.

  2. LaurenV permalink
    July 6, 2011 9:53 pm

    I would smack the bottom of V’s feet and blow in her face to try and keep her awake when feeding her.

    I agree with Amy above, bf’ing is hard. I found it more challenging than labor. I figured it should just happen naturally because babies used to need to do it to survive and it would be instinctual. Now I revised that and think it used to be easier because women grew up watching other women do it, and now that doesn’t happen anymore so we’re really in the dark about it. Probably giving birth is the same deal.

    Anyway, good luck and she’s welcome to call me if she needs some support! 10 months later and I’m still at it 🙂

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