Other than the fact that Louisette, until Gene, doesn’t need makeup to look pretty, the major difference between the two is that they represent different ends of the “tongue length” spectrum. Louisette has an extremely minor condition called a “tongue tie” which means that she can only stick her tongue out a tiny tiny way. This wouldn’t matter at all, except it means she’s physically unable to attach properly to the breast.
That, in turn, means much more pain for me (at a certain point each suck was like getting slashed across the nipple with a sharp knife, and there was a little blood) – a problem that has already been solved by my using an annoying plastic device called a nipple shield with each feed until things are better. It also means less milk coming out – which, because breasts work on a supply and demand basis, means the breasts don’t produce enough milk (mine were slow starters anyway, I suspect).
Louisette became dehydrated, and had to drink formula (while still breastfeeding – or my milk would stop completely). She is flourishing on the formula, but is having the usual response to formula in that she is less and less enamoured of the more difficult process of getting milk from the breast. . . which again means less milk production. To try to keep my [insert descriptive swear word here] breasts doing their job, I’m getting her to breastfeed more than once every three hours (each feed takes about an hour, so getting even two hours’ sleep at a time takes careful planning and a certain amount of luck – not to mention continuing the strict anti-visitor policy I’ve had from day one). I’m also using an electric breast pump (just as weird and ridiculous as it sounds) and my hands to constantly remind my breasts to keep functioning like breasts.
So far, it’s not going particularly well. Worst case scenario, this endless bizarre circle will continue for days or weeks – and there are no guarantees I’ll be able to breastfeed by the end of it. But Louisette will be fine either way, so who really cares?
The good news is that, as you may have noticed, breasts don’t come with an on/off switch. They tend to produce milk (sometimes with alarming suddenness) in response to a baby. Which means it’s a medical necessity for me to think gooshy thoughts about Louisette, and to spend time with her when she’s at her cutest. (I’m having some interesting mental issues which I’ll write about later, but there’s still plenty of gooshy pro-Louisette feelings for me to work with.)
The other good news is that a tongue tie is such a common condition it was even covered in our birthing classes. It’s also extremely easy to fix – so easy, in fact, that they don’t use anasthetic (I suspect because the anasthetic shot would hurt more than the procedure itself, which is basically one cut to the skin beneath the tongue). Louisette will be a little more like Gene Simmons by this Tuesday.
Whether that makes the world better or not is a matter of musical taste.
4 thoughts on “Spot the Difference: Louisette and Gene Simmons”
Oh, I went AWOL for a few days and missed the birth!! Congratulations!! She’s gorgeous. 🙂 Yeah, the tongue-tie thing is pretty common and easily fixed. Sorry to hear it’s causing issues with breastfeeding; that can be hard enough even without a tongue-tied bub! I’m sure it’ll all come good in the end, and it’ll be worth the effort you put into it. But rest assured that if you do end up going exclusively with formula for her, that’s not such a crisis either! Try to be relaxed and make choices that are the best for your situation, don’t feel too pressured by people who aren’t really much to do with you or your family. Best wishes!! 🙂
Stace: How funny that you missed the birth, when you’re one of the most active commenters! Today was an amazingly great day breastfeeding-wise, with dramatic improvement (the last two feeds last night she was just crying with annoyance when I tried to encourage her on to the breast). Even now, formula has some impressive advantages – I can see how much she’s drinking, and if necessary I can skip a feed and have CJ do it (which is so, so useful). But it’s true: as long as she’s healthy, it really doesn’t matter.
Neither of mine had a tongue tie, but it is very common and I’m glad it’s getting fixed soon. It should make a huge difference once it’s done, and avoids potential future speech issues too to have it fixed.
Breastfeeding is definitely hard, especially the first time around because you’re blind leading the blind as you both learn how. If you need extra pump parts to save on the washing up I have loads, and you can keep the set up in the fridge between sessions to save you cleaning too.
I’ll share a trick for getting a good latch that our NICU nurse shared with me for my first breastfeed: Get her thinking about her mouth before you start, there are loads of distractions for a newbie which makes it harder for them to focus and latch. So start by stroking her cheek from the corner of her mouth out, then brush her lips, then rub her gums, then tickle the inside roof of her mouth with your pinky. In all likelihood she will be extremely tetchy at you for this, but ALL of her attention will be on her mouth so she’ll open up wide for just about anything. I had one bad latch in my entire NICU stay thanks to that advice.
You’re doing good work. If you can, get side-lying nursing working because it means you can doze whilst you feed which is a major win for overnights. And if you’re having an emotional meltdown at 3am, the ABA’s helpline is 24 hours: 1800 686 2 686 (1800 mum 2 mum) and is staffed by trained breastfeeding counsellors.
Breastfeeding is fabulous, and it’s worth the effort, but the most important thing is that she’s getting fed. You’re doing really well, even though it’s hard. *hugs*
Thanks Pixie. I’m counting the days until the tongue tie is fixed, that’s for sure. In the meantime my breasts have recovered enough that I’ve dispensed with the nipple shields, and Louisette is suddenly willing to attach to me (rather than only the bottle) once again. I’m still not producing much, but now Louisette is helping. I’ll work on getting her to open her mouth wider.