The Many Faces of the Nursing Baby Bug

When it comes to nursing, you’d think Baby Bug and I had completely different agendas. I want to get the baby fed, she wants to make it into a big production. The bigger and fussier, the better. Baby Bug likes to fake me out with all kinds of tricky moves. Here are some of them:

The first face of Baby Bug is what I like to call “the sneaky weasel”. We usually start out our battle with this face. This is what she does when I place her smack dab in front of my boob. If it was a bear, it would bite her. But no, she cannot see in front of her face. She pulls to the left, she pulls to the right…anywhere but where the boob is. The boob that is practically dripping milk right on her nose.

The second face of Baby Bug is the “flailing mad badger” face. This is the most common face of Baby Bug and what she resorts to most of the time. This is the “I’m-so-hungry-I-can’t-even-keep-my-head-still” face. She sputters and wails and chomps at the air. When I do manage to get her snarling mouth somewhat near my nipple, she bounces her head off my breast like it was some kind of skull trampoline. Or if I’m holding her head, it looks like I’m trying to dribble it off my chest like a small basket ball–which I’m not! Bob, bob, bob goes her head. Flail, flail, flail go her fists pounding me
on both sides wildly. Spittle and milk fly everywhere. It is a messy job being the badger baby.

After about five minutes of the “flailing mad badger” face, Baby Bug wears herself completely out. This usually happens at exactly the same moment that she has finally found my nipple. Right when she’s about to take her first sip of milk, she falls into a deep instant sleep. It’s as if she couldn’t find another calorie of energy to make another move. She lays there like a possum playing dead, not moving a muscle. This lasts for about a minute and then goes immediately back into “flailing mad badger” face. Rinse, repeat.

Occasionally Baby Bug does manage to latch on and when she does, she reveals her most stealth secret move: “the invisible shark teeth” face. She’s a tricky one. You would never guess this is coming as she looks up at you with loving eyes, shaded by long beautiful eyelashes. But just when you let your guard down, she goes in for the kill with a razor sharp bite to exactly the spot on your boob that is the most sore. This always sends me through the roof screaming. Never underestimate the power of a well placed shark bite.

The last face of Baby Bug is “the zen baby” face. This is also a trick. Baby Bug will relax and assume a peaceful blissed-out face. Do not fall for it. It does not mean she is happy and full. It does not mean she wants to be put to bed for some restful sleep. She is just stalling while she saves up energy for the next go around of “the mad flailing badger” face. Either that or she is just telling you that she is, “so over it all already and Mommy needs to chill for five minutes, sheesh!”

But things are going better. Really. I’ve figured out my biggest problem is that my milk lets down too fast. The streams of milk squirting all over and running down my sides into my pants should have been a clue. But what can I say? I’m new at this. I read up on and figured out that expressing somemilk first into a towel and then offering a dry (not a slippery slimy) boob to Baby Bug is much more productive. She doesn’t immediately pull off, as I try to smash my poor boob into her face, if she isn’t getting gushing mouthfuls of milk that make her choke.

So! We are making progress, we are! Onward! Onward! (I’m so jealous of my friends who are using formula. Arrrrrrg.)

Out and About in the Neighborhood

So many “firsts” are flying by and I’m too busy catching up on my sleep to record them! Now I know why moms always look so tired. It’s as if my life just sped up and everybody is talking really fast in mickey mouse squirrel voices.

Yesterday were two big firsts. A trip to the House of Horrors, I mean Doctor’s office, for a Hepatitis B shot AND our first walk around the neighborhood in the Bugaboo.

The trip to the doctor’s office was terrifying for me (Baby Bug managed to sleep through most of it). We went last week too (for an emergency visit to check out her infected umbilical cord) but this time it seemed even more scary. It’s as if I could see the germs crawling on the walls while we waited in the waiting room. So many people coughed, kids sat next to their mothers with glazed-over eyes of sickness, toddlers drooled snot, the sounds of weeping and wailing echoed from behind the dungeon door… It was horrible! Finally, after 20 minutes of breathing in all those germs, a really nice nurse lead us around to a private waiting room especially for newborns with immature immune systems. I think next time we have an appointment, I’m just going to go straight to the private waiting room and not wait for an invitation. I don’t care if they think I’m rude. Nobody comes between me and my mama bear instinct.

Baby Bug had an excellent check up. She grew! All those nights of tears, worrying that I’m just not getting the breast feeding thing, finally paid off! She gained 8 ounces! I guess you can still get nutrition even if you refuse to latch on correctly. Contrary to all the advice of the lactation nurses, my nipples are permanently in a scabbed painful wedge shape. They say round healthy nipples show a proper latch. I try and try and try to get her to latch correctly but it’s like fighting a badger. She’s all invisible teeth, spittle and mad flailing fists. I might have to go back to the clinic AGAIN… but at least she’s not starving! She’s actually right on track to being the most average baby ever, with a growth curve in the 50th percentile. Of course Toby says she’s only average in growth. He’s already got plans for her above average intelligence.

She squealed a bit when the doctor gave her a shot but I didn’t even cry. I thought I would. I cry about everything and a lot of other new mom bloggers have written about crying when they see their little helpless baby stabbed with a giant needle. I guess I’m tough. Or at least I think Baby Bug is. I knew she’d be fine even though Toby had to entertain me with the 101 things that could go wrong while we waited for the doctor to show up.

Toby is the worst. He knows just enough about the medical field to scare the crap out of you. And then he asks questions that annoy the doctors and nurses. Since we are with an HMO insurance plan, they want to move you in and out of the office as quickly as possible. Long complicated questions from know-it-all pre-med fathers are not really appreciated. Our doctor is really nice though and manages to answer most everything with a smile. I’m just worried that as soon as that door closes, he probably shakes his head and rolls his eyes.

After a successful doctor’s visit under our belts, we went home and I took a record long nap in the sunshine on our couch in the living room. There’s something about the sun warming you that makes you fall into the deepest
sleep ever. When I try to wake up, I feel like Gulliver in Gullivers’s Travels when he’s tied down with a million tiny Lilliputian ropes (correct me if I’ve got the names wrong). I really do feel like a million tiny ropes are pulling me back into the couch and opening my eyes is an act of strength I can’t muster. I never used to be like this. I could never take naps in the day time. No matter how tired I was, my eyes would stay flipped open if the sun was out. Not any more. I’ll sleep anywhere, any time for as long as the little Bug will let me. She’s a good baby and does take really long naps if I feed her properly. That’s probably why she gained so many ounces. I’m always trying to feed her properly.

And then! We took our walk! It was so great. The air was crisp but not cold. There are flowers blooming everywhere (since February is the new spring when you live in Southern California). We walked and walked and walked.

Our first destination was the library, so I could try and get out of $41 worth of fines I’d racked up since my books and rented dvd’s were due on the day Baby Bug was born. Unfortunately for the library, returning them just wasn’t a priority. The librarian reluctantly didn’t charge me but she gave me the mother of all guilt trips about it. “Couldn’t somebody else return your books for you while you were in the hospital?” she asked. I wanted to level with her and say, “Listen lady, when I was up to my eyeballs with a crying baby, bleeding nipples, stitches up the wahzoo (literally) and not sleeping a wink, I really couldn’t even think straight enough to ask somebody to return my books for me.” In reality, I did ask Toby to return my books for me almost every day but he just looked at me as if I’d just flown in from Jupiter or something. He hasn’t had a minute to go to the library either. So anyway, at the end of the day I’m not on the best customer list at the library anymore but I didn’t have to pay the forty-one bucks.

After the library, we walked through the park and did a little off-roading to test out the new wheels. I showed Baby Bug the playground but steered clear of any children for fear of more germs. We cruised down Whoorl’s street, but she wasn’t home. We stopped to smell the flowers and listen to the birds and then headed home with a song in our hearts. Or at least I was singing something like “Home again, home again. Jiggety jog.” Toby was so relieved to see us back in one piece. I think he’s convinced I’m going to step in front of a car or something. Crazy Papa.

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In other news: I’ve just found out that I’m sucking up way too much giggage from my friend who hosts this site for free for me. Does anybody have any advice/reccommendations on a new company I can get to host this site? I’m clueless. I might just have to start advertising to pay the monthly fees! Oh no! Say it ain’t so!!! It is, I’m sorry to say.