It's funny, I don't remember my dog going through the training to become a lactation specialist, apparently she's been holding out on me. Until now.
First, some background. Some extremely embarrassing background, so please don't tease. I've mentioned before that our nursing relationship started off very rocky. Improper latching (basically no latching), low supply, etc. etc. Then we employed the use of the nipple shield, which was probably the savior of my goal to breastfeed exclusively. We started using it while I worked on other issues, like increasing my supply. Because I was overwhelmed, the lactation consultant at the birthing center and I both agreed that I should keep using it until I felt comfortable with nursing in general, and then focus on weaning off the shield. Well, due to all the bottles of expressed milk that he was getting at day care, it was hard to get ourselves off the shield and get a good latch. I decided to wait until we had transitioned to our in-home babysitter, since I am now able to nurse him exclusively again while I work from home (i.e. no more bottles). For reference, his last day at day care was last Friday. So yes, although it's meant to be used for just a few weeks, we've been using the shield quite happily and successfully now for about three months. *blushing*
Meanwhile, in the past couple of months, the pooch has discovered the joy of grabbing fun little baby items, sneaking out the doggy door with them, and tearing them to bits in the yard. (This was the unfortunate fate of those three dead binkies.) Well, she decided that she was going to help wean us from the shield by slowly destroying them. We started off with three shields in the rotation, and she picked off the first two slowly to get the process going. We've been down to one now for several weeks. She got it twice, and both times I found it outside in the yard -- but perfectly intact. After major sterilizing, I could put it back to use. I can only believe those were her warnings to me: time to start getting off the shield, lady.
Last night, she made good on her threat. DH and I went upstairs around 9 pm to change Bean's diaper. I can't remember why we both went up, other than it's always easier to have one of us distracting the little guy while the other tackles the dirty work. I distinctly remember hearing her quickly bolt across the family room and swish through the doggy door as soon as we were headed up the stairs. This is odd, because Evey is usually our shadow. Wherever the three of us are, so is she. Unless, of course, she's doing something she's not supposed to be doing. That concern briefly crossed my mind, but as I couldn't remember leaving anything dangerous within her reach, I figured she just had to pee. Really bad.
With the diaper change complete, I decided to start getting ready for bed. Put the sleeping Bean in his baby hammock, changed into my pajamas, gave the dog some love for being a good girl with all the attention I have to give the baby... and headed downstairs to grab a water, the nursing pillow I use, and the shield.
Nursing pillow: check.
Instantly I realized what happened. I was furious and told DH my suspicion, that it was now just past 10 pm and I had no shield to use when feeding Bean all night. He told me not to panic, we would be fine. I assured him I was not panicked, just enraged. I went outside in the cold and dark to look for the shield, which was of course pointless. DH came out with a flashlight and said I should head back inside to keep an eye on the baby. I marched across the lawn muttering choice words about the dog, while she followed innocently at my feet. She grabbed something in her mouth on the way in and brought it into the family room to play with it.
"DROP IT!" I shouted to her. She tossed it on the floor. I picked up the mangled piece of plastic that was formerly a nipple shield, and called for DH to come back inside. It was over.
I went upstairs to wash my face and brush my teeth while I calmed down. @!#$*&~ dog. When I came back down, DH was on the phone calling every pharmacy and 24-hour megastore within driving distance. Poor guy, he had to explain what a nipple shield was to about six young clerks, none of whom wanted to know what one was.
No luck locating one. We had plan: I would attempt to nurse shield-less, and if that didn't work, DH would feed Bean some of the expressed milk in our stash while I pumped.
Fortunately, my Bean is not a picky eater. However the milk is delivered, he's all about it. While his latch still leaves something to be desired, we successfully nursed all night without the shield. It's been more than 12 hours now, and we're doing okay.
I'm not sure whether I want to throttle the mischievous pooch, or thank her.
Either way, she did want me to add that she's available for consultations if anyone else is having trouble weaning from the shield. Doggy door not required.
In fun news, I am going to have dinner tonight with Sharon at Surrogacy 101, whom I "met" through NaComLeavMo. I am so excited. Not only a baby-free meal (it'll be warm, hooray!), but it will be neat to meet another Mom/IF blogger and hear about her amazing experience as a surrogate. Cool beans.
Speaking of beans, some pictures of mine!
I can't get enough of his sweet grin.
Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?
Yes, we can drool now also.
I'm on Daddy's shoulders! Holy crap!
Time for a snooze after a busy day. How comfortable is that position, really?