Monday, May 07, 2007

Other Tales - Part Three

I. Am. Supercow!!!

So a couple of weeks after my traumatic first pumping experience (time flies so fast! Raine is about to hit her 7-week mark!), I decided to try it again. Raine was still asleep and my breasts were leaky, achy and rock hard. Good time as any to pump.

As my seesters ate taho at the breakfast table (warning: this is not something you do at, say, McDonalds while you get your hashbrown, or in front of unsympathetic people, or in front of people you don't know too well--they would not want to see a deformed breast squirting milk), I set up the amazing Chu Chu pump, whipped out a painful breast, started breathing ala Lamaze and turned on the pump. Wonders of wonders, I came up with about 6oz after maybe 20 minutes of Chu Chu-ing.

In about three days, I had built a stock of 17oz. And I had great incentive. My seester from Dubai was taking me out to paint the town red while our mom watched the baby. And since I hadn't been out since Raine and I came home from the hospital (other than OB and pedia visits), I was super cabin fevered. All I wanted was a haircut.

Oh, we did have a trial run Wednesday night, when The Hubby and I went to a baby shower for one of our cell mates. Raine decimated 6oz and she was raging mad when the bottles of milk ran out. Good thing we were on our way home; otherwise my mom would've given her formula. So for an afternoon of painting, I had to make sure I left enough milk (as it turned out, Raine slept most of the time we were out, so she didn't drink too much).

Building up my 17oz stock though, the Amazing Chu Chu finally gave up. Though I changed batteries, it was barely sucking. I was painfully overflowing with milk, and I pumped for 30 minutes, and all I came up with was 2oz.

Fortunately, The Hubby finally agreed to get an Avent pump. I would've settled for the manual one, but dear, dear Hubby got me the electric Avent that just pumps out your milk while you sit there. And with the Avent I discovered that pumping milk isn't painful at all! It was just that torture device Chu Chu that hurt (but give it credit, it helped me when I needed it. I think I will keep the Amazing Chu Chu for posterity's sake). And that petal massager isn't all hype. Thank God people actually took time and effort to study breastfeeding mechanics.

So now my new record is 7oz in 14 minutes--and I didn't empty the breasts, just took off enough to relieve them. I am such a supercow!

That makes Raine Superbaby. And to match, The Hubby gets to be Superdaddy. Superbaby, Superdaddy and Supercow don't exactly sound like the perfect family, but it works for me.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Raine's Here, My Feet Are Back and Other Tales -- Part Two

My First Experience in Being a Cow
The first night home, my mom had to wake me up when Raine cried. Either I was dead tired, still too doped up or just not attuned to the baby yet. I'm so glad my mom was around. I had no breast milk yet, or at least not much. So Raine wasn't getting much and it made her cranky and fussy. So we were up most of the night, my mom and I.

But I'm really adamant that Raine be fully breastfed as long as possible. And, praise God, by Monday, my breasts were so engorged it hurt. Even my left armpit was so swollen--and I could feel the drag in my pit whenever Raine sucked! I've also been leaking milk like crazy. So thank you, Lord. He's answered my prayers for an abundance of breast milk.

It takes getting used to though, I guess it really takes time to adjust, both me and Raine. Things got better as the days went on, and my mom didn't have to get up every time Raine and I did. And the past nights, The Hubby gets up to do diaper duty, letting me sleep until it's time to feed.

I've also gotten used to whipping out a breast with no qualms, whether there are people around or not. Raine does not take any delay in her food lightly. What I still have to get used to though is Raine's enthusiastic feeding style--she can suck like we haven't fed her in days, and we have no intention of feeding her in days to come. Oww! I am so not looking forward to when she starts teething.

Funny thing Raine, she sometimes has this little ritual before she will actually start feeding. She opens her mouth wide, then shakes her head from side to side, before forcefully latching on. The Hubby says she looks like a little gremlin coming in for the kill. Sometimes, she will pause and seemingly contemplate my breast, as if thinking, "Hmmm...what shall I have today? Milk? Or maybe more milk? Then she'll daintily latch on, all wide-eyed and innocent looking--then she closes her eyes and makes like a vacuum cleaner. Other times, she uses my other boob as a personal footrest while she's feeding; or she uses either breast as a pillow as she falls asleep. It's amazing how I never realized how multi-purpose breasts can be.

The Hubby has been after me to start pumping and storing breast milk, so I can at least hand over feeding responsibilities once in awhile. But I'm sort of torn between wanting the freedom, and being sad that I won't be her sole source of nourishment anymore. Besides, I still have to psych myself up for another pumping session after my traumatic first experience, which my mom insists is my fault for not reading the pump instructions completely.

A friend of The Hubby lent us a pump, which I confess I didn't have much faith in. After all, how effective would you think a tiny battery operated pump with a brand name of "Chu Chu" will be? So the first half of the instructions said attach the bottle, turn on the pump and apply to the breast. Dutifully, I attached the newly sterilized 2oz bottle and switched on the thing. I tried sticking it on my palm to test the suction, but didn't feel a thing. So overflowing with cynicism that something named Chu Chu could really suck, I plunked the suction part on my poor unsuspecting nipple. And promptly screamed in pain, disbelief and shock as I watched my nipple elongate and get sucked down the tube. It took me a few seconds before I had the sense to turn the darn thing off--and I still couldn't get my nipple out. "Press the button," said my mom. "See --if you read the instructions from start to end..." Fine, fine. Mea culpa. The good thing was, I was quickly able to come up with 1oz per breast--which according to my sources, is a very good start for a first time pumper.

When The Hubby tried to give Raine the bottle though, it was like she was at war with it. She hated the thing. Though she managed a little more than an ounce, she cried every few sucks, poor thing. It almost broke my heart to see her cry like that, knowing that I could just lift my shirt and put her out of her misery. We finally gave up and did just that. But I know I have to pump soon, and teach her how to drink from the bottle. We're trying softer teats next time. I'm just worried that she'd start preferring the bottle. Oh well.