Starting Tuesday, we have been having troubles with nursing. Haley would act hungry, but when I put her to the breast, she would scream and flail and turn her head. It started with just the left side, but eventually she was doing this on both sides.
I finally figured out how to "trick" her into nursing. I'd have to get her super calm and sleepy, and then she'd nurse without fighting it. (She did fine at night or right after a nap.) Sometimes it was as simple as giving her the paci for a few minutes and then switching it out for the breast. Other times I would end up sitting on the vanity in the bathroom with the hairdryer running beside us. I considered the possibility of an earache or some other pain that was aggravated by lying on her side, but as long as she wasn't nursing, she didn't cry when she was on her side.
By this morning I had just about had it. I was beginning to doubt myself. Was I misreading her cues? Was I forcing her to eat when she wasn't hungry? Was she just sick of me and didn't want to nurse? DH was frustrated with me for being so upset, and I said, "I can't explain to you how it feels, as a mother, to not be able to meet one of your baby's most basic needs. How am I going to feed her if she keeps on like this?" And how could I continue to care for this baby if everything I'd thought I knew about her was wrong?
I was already composing a desperate post in my head, hoping someone here would have some suggestions, or at least some encouragement. And then it hit me. My nursing pads!
I use washable cloth pads. I normally hand wash them in the sink with the same detergent I wash Haley's clothes in (as per package instructions). But I got tired of doing that and decided it really wouldn't hurt anything if I stuck them in a little laundry bag and threw them in with the rest of the wash. What I didn't think about was the fact that I was throwing them in with DH's and my clothes, which meant I'd be using Tide. (We had Tide leftover and are using it up; then we plan to just use the baby-safe detergent for everything.)
I figured out when I had washed the pads last (Monday evening) and when I had first worn them after the wash (Tuesday morning). And Tuesday afternoon was when Haley started all of this. Coincidence? I think not. Maybe there was some sort of scent or taste being left on me from the pads.
So I jumped in the shower and washed my nipples with water as best I could. Then I applied a little lanolin (just hoping if there was any leftover taste/smell that she didn't like, the lanolin would mask it) and dug out some disposable pads that I had left over (they make me itch, so I don't normally use them). I took the cloth pads downstairs and boiled them to remove any detergent residue for future use.
Since then I have nursed her twice and NO fussing. If there is no fussing for the rest of the day (over nursing, at least), then I'm pretty sure I've discovered the problem. Sheesh! Wish I'd figured this out a few days ago!