A week ago, all the rules changed and suddenly Norah started completely losing her cool when I brought her to the breast. I DID eat substantial amounts of bok choy on Tuesday which may have caused the subsequent all-night fussapalooza, but then it carried on...and on...and on.
Ruling out all the obvious suspects: thrush, reflux, low milk supply, illness, pain, I'm left scratching my head and contorting myself into ridiculous positions to feed my girl.
After a few days, I found that swaddling her, holding her under my arm in the football hold, bouncing my knees, and talking calmly while getting her to latch on did the trick. For a few days, that is.
I've used the "bait and switch" technique, where I get her happily sucking on a soother, then carefully lower down to the level of my breast and quickly switch the soother for my nipple.
I've waited till she falls asleep, or until she's just awoken from a nap.
In all these situations, she latches on and nurses happily and well. She is otherwise completely happy, sleeping well, cooing and burbling and interacting and using her hands with much surprise and delight.
But, if I try to nurse her in the cross-cradle position (as I've done since she was born), watch out. She arches away, screws her face up in a look of complete disgust, and screams her head off as if I'm trying to poison her.
This is so bizarre: a formerly happy nursling needing to be tricked creatively into doing something she clearly enjoys once she gets started. It's been distressing for my husband (who still carries the wounds borne when Margot was so ill as a baby and is triggered by this whole breast-refusal routine), for the kids (who have to wait and be quiet and stay home because going out has become near-impossible), and especially for me. I breathe deeply, talk calmly, and try not to panic about what feels like not only a rejection of my milk, but of me.
The hill is steep, the boulder is big, and every step back adds more stress to the journey. Meals are simple, the laundry has to wait, and I'm just watching the calendar in hopes that this is just a phase that will pass as mysteriously as it began.
In the meantime, whisper a little prayer for us, would you?