Thursday, June 29, 2006
The Nipple Natzi and the Prayer Warrior
I stopped by my son's place yesterday afternoon to drop off a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding to my daughter-in-law. She was in tears when I arrived. They both complained that the baby wasn't having bowel movements and that when they took him to the pediatrician earlier that morning for a weigh-in, he had lost 14% of his body weight. I encouraged her to read the book for some practical info and that I would take her to an LLL meeting next week. Meanwhile my mother comes by to bless the baby with her holy oil. She lays hands on my daughter-in-law as well and prays for peace and healing. It was really quite lovely. (My mother is a holy woman and a prayer warrior) I suggested two things. First, (a technique I actually learned from my mother, which she learned from hers), an ivory soap suppository to stimulate him to move his bowels. They gave me a little bar of soap which I cut off and carved a small chunk into a little fingernail sized bullet. I coated it in olive oil and inserted in his rectum. I then held him upright and massaged his back in downward strokes, soothing and talking to him. About 5-10 minutes later, out comes the soap suppository followed by a huge meconium stool. Next, I evaluated his suck to see why he has so much trouble latching on and staying on. I don't expect to find anything amiss since they've seen the lactation consultant twice at the hospital. But I find he has a short tongue, tongue-tied, and may need his frenulum clipped. I've seen shorter, but I do think its impeding his ability to maintain a good latch and suck. I tell them my findings and suggest they discuss it with the LC and pediatrician on Monday when they return. In the meantime, I tell her to attempt the breast at every feeding, followed by pumping and if needed finger feeding (which is what they've been doing). I tell her how important it is for her to empty the breast and make sure he gets that hind milk to overcome a possible calorie deficiency. I make an extra suppository for him in case they need it. I also encourage her to use lanolin on her one sore nipple and expose it to air to hasten healing. (She said the breast shield she was given at the hospital had cut her nipple- I had never heard of that happening.) When I leave, she has gotten him on the breast in a football hold and they are happily nursing away. It was nice leaving them smiling.