Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Breast Feeding - what they don't tell you!

Hi Everyone!

I am no expert when it comes to breastfeeding, but I can tell you what I know and what worked for me. My cousin (who is more like a sister to me) is pregnant and due in March. She already has one lil girl who is 4 and she did not breastfeed her. All of a sudden she wants to exclusively pump (she is refusing to put baby to breast) for this child and came to me for advice.
I went to her house yesterday to give her a breast pump tutorial. Brought back sweet memories of my not so little baby girl - and made me realize I am SO ready for another baby!

When I was pregnant with my daughter I had no family members to ask questions to. My mother did not breastfeed me and no other women in my family did it either. Everyone kind of gave me this dumbfounded look when I said I wanted to breastfeed her. I ended up taking a breastfeeding class, which was very useful, and read lots of books. It sounded easy enough so why not. Plus, formula is freaking E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E. Also, breastfeeding is supposed to help you lose weight well that shit didn't work for me!

So I had my daughter, and every book I read said that you need to put baby to breast immediately, so that's what I knew I had to do. All I kept thinking was "if I don't put her to my boob I feel like she will never latch on" so I literally pushed her out, she got checked out, and I was immediately asking my midwife if I should start nursing her. That first time was the easiest. She must have been HUNGRY because she was sucking away!! I know she didn't get much and it was only the colostrum but it made me happy that she latched on so easily. When I got to my post partum room (around 2 AM) I told my nurse I didn't want Gianna (my baby) to leave the room but she told me it would be better if I got some rest. I had no idea this was the only rest I was going to get for the next several weeks! I fed her again and then I fell asleep they took her to the nursery for about 4 hours.

I asked to see a lactation consultant to make sure I was doing everything right. These women are very knowledgeable and even gave me tips. I highly recommend seeing one before being discharged. They kick you out of the hospital so damn fast after having a baby. I had been cradle holding her with my boppy pillow to nurse but I always felt like I was suffocating her so I was uncomfortable the whole time.
This is the boppy pillow I have. I used it daily until my daughter was 9 months. 

On the right shows how your back can hurt if you don't position properly. This was my least favorite position
They showed me how to do a football hold which worked much better.

The middle is the football hold which ended up being my favorite. The 3rd one is laying down and I did that position during the night which was more comfortable than sitting up with her.

Things nobody tells you about nursing your baby:
  • It hurts! Everyone told me "if it hurts you aren't doing it right" - well everyone told me I was doing it right and I was still in PAIN. I would cringe when it was feeding time.
  • Don't even waste your money on the Lanolin cream. It did nothing for me!
  • I ended up getting a prescription ointment from the Pediatrician for my cracked nipples. Yes, they crack and bleed until you get used to it. It took me about 3 weeks to get "used" to it.
  • I will spare you cracked and bleeding nipples but just google it - it is horrific!
  • Pumping takes time to set up and time to clean up, then its time to start all over again. A pain in the ass but worth it.
  • Don't waste your money on these bras:
  • Instead just cut two little holes out of an old bra - saves a lot of money and more comfortable
  • Start pumping early - I went a whole month without pumping when I first had my daughter and I never got a "stock pile" - something I regret every day.
  • Watch out when your milk comes in - I could soak a T-Shirt in 1 hour full of breastmilk if the baby slept more than a couple hours and I started leaking
  • Your boobs will increase a few cup sizes while nursing, and look like flat pancakes after you dry up.
  • Clogged milk ducts and engorgement are no joke- breastfeed and pump consistently to avoid it
  • If baby is cranky and won't go to sleep I just put her to my boob and she was out in 3 seconds.
I'm upset that work got in the way of my breastfeeding - not to mention formula is ridiculously expensive. My insurance covered a free double electric pump but my employer did not give nursing mothers any amenities. It's hard to walk away from a patient who is critically ill to pump when the other nurses who could watch my patients were just as busy with their patients.

My daughter was exclusively nursed for 2 months then nursed and breast milk fed from a bottle for another 2 months until I finally dried up and couldn't do it any longer.

Most importantly- If hubby won't get up in the middle of the night to help out feeding with the breastmilk you generously left out for him to give to her - squirt him in the face with your milk from your boob. I got so good at it that I was able to squirt him from the bedroom door! haha he learned real quick :)



Kay said...

I didn't breastfeed for long as I was re hospitalized a few weeks after my daughter was born, but its quite the bonding experience. Thinking about it makes me miss having a baby around (not that I'm loving the pancake boobs right now).
But did I gather that you work at the hospital and they weren't receptive to you leaving the floor to breastfeed? I work on the med-surge floor and they allow breast feeding mothers to split their lunch and take a break, hypothetically being able to leave the floor three times, go up to maternity and nurse, then store the milk in their refrigerators. I understand that it puts an extra burden on others but I think that breastfeeding, if you so choose to, should be supported in a medical field.
Thanks for the post though! Its brought back a lot of memories!

Meredith said...

I didn't breast feed my first, but I didn't my 2nd for 7 months (and pumped enough for her to have breast milk up until 9 months). I loved it, and hopefully next time I will do it longer!

Ashlee said...

I only lasted about 3 weeks with breast feeding, he wouldnt latch on, I wasn't producing enough, then I got a yeast infection and dried up! It was an awful experience for me, but you are right about formula being expensive!! I felt guilty for MONTHS about not breast feeding longer, but I will definately try again, if we have more babies!!

Candis said...

I love breastfeeding (I'm actually breastfeeding my son as I type this! How's that for multitasking?). Like you, I had no one really to talk to about breastfeeding. So I took a class (very helpful) and read everything I could! I was so upset when my son was born because he was taken away (to a level 2 nursery) and I didn't get to see him for 5 hours. I thought our chances were blown for sure. But, we ended up working through that. Then, we came home and I was hospitalized again. The nurses kept offering formula so I could "rest" but I refused! When we went to his doctor appointment he wasn't gaining weight. She wanted me to start formula but I told her to give me one week to get my supply up. I was popping Fenugreek like crazy, eating tons of oatmeal, feeding in demand, then pumping right after... It was an insane amount of work. I was exahausted and emotional but I stuck it out. I couldn't be happier I did! My son is 6.5 months now and we are still going strong!! My biggest tip would don't be afraid to ask questions! I found that women who have breastfed successfully love it and are more than willing to help!

Nichole Gaertner said...

This is in perfect timing to me weaning my baby! I didn't bf my first, but did with my second and third children. That shit hurts. It took me a month to get a hang of it even with my THIRD... And I would cry for three months everytime she latched. Why did I stick with it? I have no idea. But I'm very glad I did. My boobs are saggy and massive. *sigh* Oh well... I do miss feeling my baby next to me at night. Both of my girls gave it up on their own literally on their birthdays.

Becca said...

I had a ton of support when I started breastfeeding, my mom and aunts are all very pro breastfeeding and they are nurses and they still never told me how much it frickin hurts. Now that is the first thing that I tell anyone about to start, it is going to hurt for probably 6 weeks. And I wish that I could say it didn't hurt with the second child but in my case it hurt every time until my nipples got use to it. It is such a wonderful thing though and so easy once you get in the swing of it. Bummer that you weren't able to pump at work.

Kates @ You Betcha Baby said...

Bahaha! Love the last part! You crack me up girl!