I was naive in my assumptions about breastfeeding my son. I had such an easy experience in nursing my daughter that I assumed the same would be the case this time. The reality of my breastfeeding experience has been anything but easy. While I’ve managed to avoid the sore, cracked nipple horror stories that I’ve read about countless times on blogs and he latches great, I’ve faced an insane battle with oversupply. I’m talking firehose milk spraying, considered-starting-my-own-dairy sort of oversupply.
It doesn’t sound like that bad of a predicament – lots of milk is better than not enough and it’s a sure fire way to start an impressive milk collection in the freezer (trust me, I’ve got a gallon or more already frozen) but it has caused countless hours of struggle and discomfort for my son and many sleepless & tearful nights for me.
To make matters worse, Arlo was diagnosed at 10 days old with reflux and the insane amount of milk he was attempting to gulp down only made the situation worse. Last week, I made an appointment with a lactation consultant in the hopes of helping me get things under control – she recommended latching and unlatching him every few gulps to help pace the amount he was drinking. Added to that was frequent burping sessions to help release the air in his system, nursing on the same side for three feedings before switching and pumping at the beginning of every nursing session when I switch breasts to keep him from drowning in milk. Oh, and also – ice packs and cabbage leaves in my bra. Got all of that?
Arlo turns three weeks old today and I feel like we’re finally rounding the corner on this oversupply issue. I’m no longer walking around with breastmilk soaked shirts, bras, and sheets. I’m starting to feel human again and for the first time since he was born, my son was able to comfort nurse this evening – it was hugely gratifying to feed him and relax at the same time. I remembered just how much I enjoyed watching a sleepy newborn drift off to sleep against my breast and I promised myself that I’d never take the experience for granted again.