For five long and exhausting days last week Miss Olive went on nursing strike.
Check me out writing that with no hint of hysteria! Last week, there was most definitely hysteria ... and tears, and snot and sobbing, and soul searching, and hope and despair.
This tale of woe starts last Sunday when Miss Olive started to cut her first tooth. At her evening nursing session, she erupted into a rabid, drooling fit of rage which I just chalked up to bad timing.
I fed her suitable doses of everything we had in the house and tried again. And again. And again. Each time she turned her head away from me and screamed like a banshee until she was put down.
The only way she would feed at all was by tipping her head back and allowing milk to drip into her mouth from a bottle.
That night I didn't sleep much. That night I lay wide eyed beside my baby terrified that she had called time on our nursing relationship. I stared down on her sweet sleeping face, tears flowing, and silently begged her not to give up on us.
The next day came, and the one after that, and I started to share my situation with a few people: “celebrate what you have achieved and move on” one counselled, “keep trying
” another advised, but Miss Olive stayed immovable in the face of my “make the boob available with no pressure” tactics.
By Thursday I was in pieces.
It felt so unfair to have worked so hard only to be stopped in our tracks. We should have been on easy street! This was supposed to be the part where we cruised along free from all those problems you get when you're learning the ropes.
My only hope was that Miss Olive was still clearly feeling sore, so I decided that I would keep offering her the chance to nurse until she was back to her usual self. If she hadn't changed her mind by then I would put on my big girl pants, celebrate and move on.
In the meantime I received some useful advise which I think may well have tipped the odds in my favour: cut out the bottle and use a cup instead.
On Friday I sent Keith a text asking for an update:
After dinner that night I took my food covered baby, sat on the sofa, took a deep breath and once again offered her the chance to nurse.
There was a moment, just a brief moment, where she looked at me with suspicion before she ever so gingerly latched on.
After five days it was the most uncomfortable latch I have ever felt. It was like nursing a Christmas Nutcracker Soldier with razor teeth and it took a good ten minutes of mal-coordinated chomping before her technique came back to her.
Once it did, she went to town, and despite my back and arms cramping up I couldn't bring myself to move ... or breathe ... in case I broke the spell.
Keith came in to see why he was having an unusually one sided conversation, smiled and left again, while I sat there trying desperately not to cry all over the baby.
I did move of course, and I did cry, and Miss Olive has continued to nurse without the first notion of the stress she caused me:
Because that’s how babies roll
Have you experienced a nursing strike during your breastfeeding journey? How did you cope with it emotionally and physically?
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Mum, activist and parenting junkie. Passionate about empowering women and living a good life with my family. http://www.maybediaries.com/