Yesterday I hit a bit of a rough patch on this new adventure called motherhood…cluster feeding. My son is obviously experiencing a bit of a growth spurt and seems to be feeding thusly. From 1:30-7:30/8:00 Alva fed in 30-40 minute increments every hour. Doing the math on this will reveal that I had a child latched to my breasts almost non stop for 7 hours, with 20-30 minutes of free time in every hour. One hour I got a 10 minute break. I’ve read that milk supply can be lower in the afternoons and evenings and I’m sure he wasn’t necessarily feeding efficiently, but still. This was a little bit ridiculous. My husband did what he could to calm and sooth the baby, but when you hear that cry, you know, the one where if you let it go too long it equals the quivering shaking chin and the beet red face, you know only one thing will make it stop…the mommy pacifier, or the boob. It got to the point where I was so frustrated I was in tears. I just wanted to not be glued to the chair or the couch with the Boppy wrapped around my waist. My back was hurting, my ass was hurting, my arms were hurting, my nipples were less than enthused about being used that much. It was exhausting and had very little reward. Eventually the cluster feeding ceased and I went to bed around 8:30, sleeping until 11:30 then waking to pump (my husband had fed him a bottle while I was sleeping) and sleeping again from 12:30-3:30. 6 hours provided me a lot more perspective and gave my body a chance to recover. I realize I could have worse things to complain about. He could be colicky and inconsolable. At least when he’s getting fussy I do have something to offer him to quiet the cries, but I don’t think I realized how draining (physically and emotionally) breastfeeding could be at times. I hope he gets himself a little more regulated soon. I suppose I could wake him to feed him during the day/morning a little more often as opposed to letting him dictate the schedule, but it just doesn’t seem right denying him the food that he’s wanting, especially since it’s breastmilk. It’s not like he’s overfeeding himself.
It’s a constant education, this thing called motherhood. And I know I’m only 3 weeks into this gig…sometimes it feels a lot longer. But as I sit here on a Sunday afternoon, looking at my peacefully sleeping child, I know it’s totally worth all of the aches, pains and tears.