"See? All you have to do is feed me, and it's all better...
Kavya is still refusing to nurse. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to talk her into it. She knows how to latch on now, and how to suck, and we can fairly reliably get her to nurse a tiny bit, if we choose the exact right position, when she's not too sleepy, or too hungry, or just plain too annoyed with us for some unknown reason. She'll latch on, suck a few times, and then abandon it as a bad job. At most we can manage about five minutes -- two minutes is more common.
And if we want Kavya to take up nursing for real (which we do), I should be putting her to the breast pretty often (or so the advice goes, along with lots of naked cuddling (that part is pleasant, anyway)), but to be honest, it's just so disheartening taking your sweet, sleepy baby, offering her your breast, having her give it a few half-hearted attempts and then howling in bitter protest. It makes me want to cry, pretty much every time. Sometimes it makes me actually cry. And I'm so tired that I just can't take that reaction from her very often, so we're only trying it a few times a day so far, which is probably not enough to accomplish anything useful. Also, making my baby howl like her heart is broken makes me feel like a horrible parent, and I'm particularly self-conscious about that with other people in the house. Kev is okay, but anyone else... His mom has been a huge help, but maybe after she leaves Monday, I'll relax a bit more about subjecting my baby frequently to this torture. I don't know.
If we don't get the hang of this soon, we may actually get a lactation consultant to come out. The one we rented the double hospital pump from, we liked, as much as you can tell from a ten-minute conversation. According to my obsessive recent reading on the subject, it turns out that the hospital folk we talked to were probably not actual fully-certified lactation consultants, but rather nurses who took a one-week lactation training course (there's a different term for that, but I don't remember what it is). That might explain what seems like a difference in knowledge levels and approach. Hard to tell right now.
Kevin keeps reassuring me that this is all not a big deal in the grand scheme of things -- the important thing is keeping baby healthy and well fed, and so far, we're managing that, which is all that really matters. But despite my knowing that intellectually, it's surprisingly hard not to take this personally.
The other stress is worrying about whether my milk production will keep up with her. We were comfortably one-to-two feedings ahead for the first two weeks, but Kavi's abruptly jumped from eating about sixteen ounces a day to more like twenty-two-plus. And that's fine -- she should be eating around that much, based on her current weight. But my breasts have been just barely keeping up with her, which is stressing me out. It means that often I'm pumping just around the time Kavya wakes up and starts hollering for milk, and there is no milk to give her, and she does not understand, 'please, baby, just wait fifteen minutes, okay?" Absolutely no fun, especially when it's two a.m. and I can't think straight.
We're trying something new today -- I've been pumping every two hours, instead of every three, since noon. So far, I'm getting pretty similar yields to what I was getting per pumping before, so I'm hopeful that this might continue and we can actually get a bit ahead again. In theory, my breasts should start making more milk/pumping too, to keep up with her demands. I hope so, because if I don't get some more sleep soon, I'm really going to cry. Maybe Kavi and I can get into a howling contest.
But look. This is what helps me keep going.