I am exhausted. I am confused. I am worried. I feel sad.
Yesterday started out great. The munchkin was in such a good mood. She was sleeping well, nursing well and giving out lots of smiles and giggles. Then in the afternoon, my mother came by. She was filling out an application for a job and then we were going for a drive to drop it off. When we were ready to leave, baby was napping and would most likely want to nurse in about an hour. I didn't know if it was a great idea to pack her up just then, messing with her schedule can sometimes really throw her off. I figured she could fall asleep in the car and if we had too, I could also nurse her in the car. I was sure we would be back within in an hour anyway, so it was probably not a big deal.
As soon as we left, she started crying and it wasn't easy to calm her down. She slept half the time and cried the other half. By the time we got back home, she seemed exhausted. I put her back in her swing so she could sleep for a while before eating. When it was about that time (around 3:30), I woke her up and changed her diaper. She was wide awake now and starting to fuss, so I sat down with her to nurse. She started crying and fussing ALOT and I was hoping she was just really tired still and would latch on after a while. She didn't. She seemed very upset with even the idea of it. So I decided to stop trying and wait until she let me know she was hungry. She went back to sleep and woke up after a couple of hours. She still wasn't acting hungry. After SIX HOURS had gone by, I decided to stop waiting and try again (it was now around 6:30). Finally, after putting up quite a fuss, she finally latched on and nursed. What a relief.
She slept a little more and we played with her a little more. She was a little fussy, but she was in a really playful mood part of the time too. Around 9:30, Joe put her in her Pajamas while I got everything else ready. I laid down in the bed to nurse her and she started crying really hard again. After trying for about 10 minutes to get her to nurse, I finally gave up and up put her in her swing to go to bed. I didn't want to try to force her and cause her to have bad feelings towards breastfeeding. She quickly stopped crying and fell asleep. I couldn't understand how she couldn't be hungry. Especially since she went six hours before her last nursing.
Around 11:30 she woke up crying and was acting like she was hungry. I brought her into the bed to nurse her. She started crying more and acting like she didn't want to nurse, but after about 5 minutes she finally latched on. Throughout the night she nursed two more times but not without putting up a fuss for several minutes first. This morning she woke about 8:00 acting like she was hungry (3 hours after her last nursing). I brought her into the bed again. She starting crying even more and acting extremely upset. After about 5 minutes, I picked her up and rocked her until she stopped crying, then I put her back into her swing. I didn't know what else to do. I can't force her to eat and even if I tried, this would only make matters worse. The last thing I wanted was for her to become scared of breastfeeding. After I laid her down, she fell back asleep and so did I.
Then around 9:00 she woke up again with hunger cries. I brought her into the bed with me to try nursing her again. I brought her towards me and she started crying harder. Her face became red and tears started running down her cheeks. She was so upset! I picked her up, rocked her, she calmed down and I changed her diaper. I know babies love skin to skin contact, so I stripped her down to her diaper, and pulled up my tank top. I layed in the bed and just cuddled with her for a while. She was smiling and giggling. I didn't know what to think. How could she not be starving by now? I brought her towards me to try again. She started crying again. I tried different positions. By now I was crying too. After about 30 minutes (from the time she woke up), she finally latched on. I sank into the bed with relief. She finished eating and acting as if everything was back to normal again.
This morning, I decided to try to keep her extra close to me and cuddle with her as much as possible. I was dreading the next time we would nurse. I was so exhausted. I hadn't slept well at all, with worry about what was going on. It seemed as if she felt fine. She didn't appear to be in any pain. She didn't seem like she had lots of gas or that she was having any problems nursing once she did finally latch on. She was still having a good amount of dirty diapers. I was completely clueless.
I decided to stop feeding her every 3 hours and try waiting until she acted hungry. Nursing had been going great for the last couple of weeks. I would bring her to me to nurse every three hours (or sooner if she acted like she was hungry) and then I would let her go as long as she wanted during the night. Maybe she didn't need to eat every 3 hours anymore? Every baby is different. Maybe she was getting bigger and was able to go longer between nursings. Maybe she was trying to tell me that every 3 hours was too much and to just wait until she was ready for me. So I waited. After 3.5 hours she was in a deep sleep. It was around 12:30 and Joe had come home for lunch to make us grilled cheese and tomato soup. So I set her down on her boppy lounger right next to me and started to eat. She woke up and began to route her tongue around and open her mouth, signaling that she was hungry. I scooped her up right away and brought her to the couch with me to nurse. She started to cry again but then after less then a minute, she latched on. I was so relieved.
I just hope it doesn't go on much longer, or that we have too many episodes like the one this morning that brought me to tears. I have never had a such an awful feeling of rejection then when it is from my own baby. It's hard to not feel like it's your fault, that you've done something wrong or that she doesn't want you. When it comes to their nourishment, and how important that is, it's not taken lightly. When they are refusing to nurse, it is scary and you worry that they are not getting what they need. I try to look at the facts. She is not acting like she is starving. She has plenty of poopy diapers. She seems content while she is nursing and after. So she must be still getting what she needs. So I am hoping that things are just changing a little for right now. She doesn't need to nurse as often at this moment and I just need to be patient and try to figure out what she is trying to tell me.
She is now sleeping peacefully and I have no idea what to expect the next time we nurse. Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this? Nothing has changed in my diet and no new products have been introduced. I have read about nursing strikes, but this doesn't seem to be what is going on. Thank goodness she is still nursing, even if it takes alot of encouragement. Once she finally latches on, she seems totally content and relaxed. Maybe it is getting better already.
Like everything else that seems really hard at the time, maybe this will pass quickly as well.