Wednesday, March 10, 2010

my breastfeeding struggles

Just got the word that I'm now a Medela Mom Maven! To see if you qualify, go here.

{Before I start, I want you to know that I realize all breastfeeding relationships are different. I am not saying that "my way" is the "right way." You do what works for you!}

Out of all three of my kids, The Baby is the only one I've successfully breastfed. I failed with the other two because I wasn't educated, and I listened to people who I THOUGHT were. FYI: Your doctor did not learn about breastfeeding in medical school, so it's possible he may not know what he's talking about!

With Otter, I was only 19, and I didn't try very hard. I said, "If breastfeeding works, great, if it doesn't, fine." I guarantee you if you go in with that attitude you won't be successful. Because breastfeeding takes work and dedication!

With Raven, I was determined to breastfeed. We got off to an awful start. By the time we came home from the hospital, I was bleeding. It was SO painful. I'm from a small town where there are no lactation consultants, just nurses who don't have training in breastfeeding. I started pumping since the pain of nursing was unbearable.

I had been exclusively breastfeeding and pumping for 2 weeks when my doctor said to start supplementing. This was the beginning of the end of our breastfeeding relationship. I know now that I did NOT need to supplement, because my milk production was fine.

Your baby will go through a growth spurt around 2 weeks. She/he will be fussy and want to eat all the time. It does NOT mean you're not producing enough! Just keep feeding and your production will level out.

Now there are some cases where milk production can be a problem, but it does not happen as often as people believe.

I rented a Medela hospital-grade pump and pumped until Raven was 2 months old. I decided to quit since she was getting way more formula anyway.

Here's another fact for you I didn't learn until just recently: Did you know that breastmilk intake does not change much from around 1-6 months? Formula amounts you have to increase, breastmilk you do not. Read more about it here.

While pregnant with The Baby, I spent a lot of time researching breastfeeding and overcoming obstacles. I ordered the Simply Breastfeeding DVD with Shari Criso. The biggest help for me was how she recommended limiting the time of feedings for the first few days to prevent sore nipples. This is what saved me!

Day 1: 5 minutes on each breast
Day 2: 7 minutes on each breast
Day 3. 10 minutes on each breast

Don't let people tell you that if breastfeeding hurts you're doing it wrong. That's not always the case. It just hurts at first!

I gave The Baby a pacifier right away to satisfy her sucking need. This did not create nipple confusion.

The Baby is now 3 months old and I am VERY proud of our exclusive breastfeeding relationship. I plan to nurse for a year and possibly let her self-wean. We'll see how it works out. I'm loving every minute of it.

I chose to breastfeed mainly because it's FREE and convenient! Ya, the health benefits of breastfeeding are great, but I don't go into that much because I had 2 formula babies that are healthy as well. {Okay sans the epilepsy but I do not believe that was caused by formula.}

I do NOT judge people for choosing not to breastfeed. It's your personal choice!

It makes me so sad to think I missed out on this awesome experience with my first two just because I didn't educate myself on breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is tough folks. It takes work and dedication. It's not just something that happens "naturally." Well it didn't for me anyway.

So most importantly, LEARN THE FACTS! Take a breastfeeding class if there's one in your area, buy a book, buy a DVD, join an online support group, see a lactation consultant. And don't always assume your doctor knows best!

What were your breastfeeding struggles?

7 cleansing comments:

For the Love of Naps - Sarah said...

I found myself nodding and filling with so much pride for you. You go girl! Education - key! Support - priceless! A drive to succeed - powerful! I love that you gave it a go, learned, and kept going with it.

I had very lucky and positive breastfeeding experiences...I did get thrush with Henry and it was AWFUL - but I persevered. Breastfeeding lasted a little over a year for both of mine - my views are right along with yours...choice, nothing against formula, do what works for you! Great post!

Ellemes said...

Yeah living in Nowhere without any lactation consults sucks. I was lucky to have gotten a really good book at my baby shower about breast feeding.

Other than the first few days of it it hurting like crazy, it was okay. I was really tempted to just give up, but I had a friend tell me to give it two weeks and if it still hurt, quit then. It stopped hurting after a week.

I'd say my biggest struggle was that Roo always wanted to nurse, pretty much constantly from 6-8pm...when my husband wanted to hold her. He and I both struggled with this.

So cool you're a Medela Mom Maven!

Melissa said...

Thanks for letting me know about this! I'm going to check it out.

I never really gave breastfeeding much thought until I was pregnant with my first baby. I had always assumed that I would use formula because that's what everyone I knew did. But after doing research I decided to try to exclusively breastfeed. I breastfed my first until 12 months and have been breastfeeding my baby for the past 6 months.

I had a terrible case of thrush with my first baby. It was excruciating and I spent a whole week crying every time I fed him. Thank goodness I haven't had any problems this time!

Angie said...

I was lucky to be in a hospital that had a LC - and boy did I need the help!! While in the hospital and after!

It is definetly not an "easy" thing to do!

Angie said...

I was lucky to be in a hospital that had a LC - and boy did I need the help!! While in the hospital and after!

It is definetly not an "easy" thing to do!

Mommy Lisa said...

I don't know why, but for Boo Boo La La and I it was not hard at all. It really wasn't work for us, we just clicked and she NEVER had formula - ever. (Everyone says it is because it took me three years and lots of help to get pregnant, and progesterone to STAY pregnant that I got off easy with labor, delivery and breastfeeding. My tears and troubles were all before my baby.)

I breastfed her until she was 22 months old. After 10 months I quit pumping at work and only fed her mornings, evenings and weekends.

It worked for us, but I know it is WORK for others. There is a LOT of pressure people put on themselves to be the perfect mommy. I think that causes a lot of troubles too. Whatever works for you is the RIGHT thing.

I love this post Messy Mommy! Good Job for doing what YOU had to do for it to feel right for YOU.

Meg said...

Gosh, I'm pathetic. I teared up over this post.
I, too, live in this small town where BF info comes from people that have been-there-done-that or nurses in L&D. The baby's nurse told me I needed to get her wet diapers up and to supplement. I imagine that is where we went BADLY wrong.
I failed at it. I bled, cracked, lost chunks of nipple, and generally cried everytime I fed. So I threw in the towel...and felt horrible because of it. I failed the whole mommy thing; had to have a c-section, and then I couldn't BF. I try not to think about it too much because it brings me down.
When I have my next baby, I'm coming to you for help and suggestions. Be prepared.

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