Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Post about Breastfeeding

Coming up on Josephine's First Birthday tomorrow,
I decided I would do a post about breastfeeding since I have done it full time for a year now.

A little background first.
I have always wanted to be a mother. 
I have always looked forward to the amazing bond that breastfeeding provides.
I was NOT breastfed. 
I just longed for that interaction.
Knowing that God made us as mothers to provide for our new baby's every nutrient from our bodies was totally amazing to me.
A lil hippish... yes.. I am.
Anyway...
It really just blew my mind how God created all this work naturally. 
So I was really looking forward to this journey w/my sweet girl. 

So Day One.
 right after giving birth
 Just a few hours old.

I was definitely scared. 
Scared that it wouldn't take.
That we wouldn't get the hang of it.
Face, it's hard... 
You're exhausted.
You're nervous about how life will be from now on.
And making sure your baby is getting enough to eat... 
it's scary.
So we sought the help of plenty of lactation consultants while we were in the hospital.
You can read my birth story HERE.
I did have some placenta issues at birth & that caused my milk to be late coming in.
Day 7.
We had to suppliment w/formula for one night b/c she was jaundice & didn't have the energy to latch.
I hated that night.
Formula is such a hassle!
I would much rather just lift my shirt & cuddle up. 
Anyway...
So I went to see another lactation consultant on day 7 b/c I didn't even know if my milk was in yet.
After a visit to the pediatrician who made me feel worthless b/c I wasn't experiencing the standard engorgement, I walked into the lactation office & saw the most precious face.
A very close friend of mine's mother!
Susie King!
If you are birthing at Baptist Hospital in Nashville or need an AMAZING LC, seek her out!
I just lost it! Told her I didn't think my milk was in & the pediatrician was mean to me!
She took one look at me & told me my milk was in & not to worry.
So we went back for a weigh in & feeding so we could see if Josephine was eating well.
The girl took in 2 oz in 10 mins.
Score!
Took her back to the pediatricians office 2 days later & she gained 5oz back!
Hugh relief right? 
 this was her after one of her first full feedings once my milk came in on day 7.finally full.

During the first several months, KellyMom was my breastfeeding bible!
So if you are an expectant mother, and plan on breastfeeding, bookmark that website!
So I thought everything was fine & dandy & we were on our way to better days now that I had milk.

So we get to about week 4-6 I think then all of a sudden her poop is green and frothy...
When we nurse, she will nurse for a few mins & then pop off screaming...
then go back & then come off...
Was tramatic!
I was so scared. I thought... gosh, nursing is suppose to be comforting & it's not...
What is going on?!
So I contacted my AMAZING lactation consultant & she just encouraged me to just breastfeed & it will work it'self out.
Then one day, we noticed some blood steak in her poo. 
So we went to the pediatrician.
She told me to get off dairy & that it was an allergy.
So we did...
for 2 weeks.
No change.
Still screaming while nursing... still green poo. 
So then we contacted my LC again & she said that it sounds more like a 
So we just kept on breastfeeding & my supply evened out at about 3 months or so.
No more green poo...no more screaming.
We were comfort nursing once again!
Now... during those first 3 months while my supply was evening out..
I encounted several plugged milk ducts...
Im talking like... 3 in one week.
I was soooo scared of mastitis. I mean.. terrifed.
So I contacted my lovely LC & she taught me the fool-proof way to get them out & it worked everytime.
Had all my clogs out within 1 day. 
Then after 3 months, I was still getting pretty common clogs. 
Still pretty often.
So my LC recommended taking Lecithin.
That was my cureall.

 3 Months nursing outside

I started the suppliement & I think I've only had 2 clogs since...
& I've been on it since about 6 months ago.
Also, something I HAVE to do is nursing in a different position every time.
So in the morning we do the sideways laying on the "brestfriend", which BTW is WAY better than a Boppy...
it's much sturdier & is almost like a shelf they lay on.
Then we do "football" style in the afternoons, then cradle position for her evening feeding, then back to sideways on the brestfriend for her bedtime nursing.
And the clogs were mainly b/c I didn't drink enough water that day or something...
So... once again, my LC saved the day!


5 months old
 So we were finally nursing happily!
But it took several months.
Several tears.
Several doubts.

But it was SO worth it.
10.5 Months old

Looking into those eyes as they look up at me. 

Even through her teething, we encountered no problems. 
5 teeth now.
I was nervous that once she got her teeth in, it would be challenge. 
Nope. Not for us.

We did encounter the challenge of "bottle refusal"...
So we just accepted that fact that she would not take a bottle & just accommodated accordingly.
We are busy professional photographers so that was a challenge.
We just worked around her feedings.
She started on solids at 6 months. 
No baby food.
Solids.
So if Im going to be a lil longer, we just have whoever is watching her give her some yogurt, grilled cheese, anything she likes until I get back & we nurse. 
She also takes my milk in a sippy cup casually
so that holds her over for when we shoot weddings or newborns.
My thought is this: She has been sleeping 12 hrs at night since 3 months so if she is a lil hungry for an additional hr or so, she'll be just fine. 

Hey, I was watching Regis & Kelly the other morning & Heidi Klum was on & said that her lil girl who is 4 months old refuses the bottle too so she is exclusively breastfed! Some babies just want the real deal!

Nursing in public is a tad bit of a challenge now b/c she like to play w/toys while she nurses. 
She has even wanted to read a book while nursing.
So if I have to nurse while we are out, I make sure I have plenty of options for her.
Usually the cell phone works just fine while we are out.
At home, I have a table next to my nursing chair that has a basket on it that has some toys for her.
Recently, she has wanted to play w/the whole basket... so that was interesting.

Wow... so I think that is a pretty good recap of my first year breastfeeding.
I would LOVE your feedback.
How have you enjoyed breastfeeding?
What are you currently encountering if you are breastfeeding?
Do you have any questions about what I've shared that you'd like me to expand on in another post?
Tips, advice, anything?!
I'd LOVE to share!

xo

18 comments:

  1. Amber, that's SO incredible that you've been able to make it this far with nursing! Great job, mama! Unfortunately with my twins and youngest daughter, nursing didn't work out because they weren't gaining enough weight according to our pediatrician. Looking back, I wish I had continued at least with Maya, because I honestly think she was just growing at her own pace. Even at 3.5-years-old, she is a tiny little thing... but eats plenty! I wish I had a chance to try it again, but 5 kids is PLENTY for us. ;)

    I hope you can nurse for as long as you want (or she wants)!

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  2. I loved reading your post. Job well done momma! I am currently nursing my 11.5 month old and will continue until she is done. She is my third baby and my second weaned herself at 2.5 yrs. It is encouraging to see that there are others out there still that are advocates of breastfeeding. I don't see too many anymore that value it like I do. Will you let her self wean or do you have a time frame in mind for stopping?

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  3. I have loved breastfeeding. I love that it's something I can do for my little man that no one else can do. I'm looking forward to starting BLW here in a few weeks! He's already pretty interested in food.

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  4. Anonymous3:14 PM

    Good for you for keeping with it. My 2 girls are 11 and 14 now...but I nursed them both (neither took a bottle) over a year old. The first one was like 2.5 years old and the second one was like 3 years old when I quit. It was easy and painless for both mom and baby (well..toddler) :) I don't regret it at all! And they never took a pacifier either! I was the human pacifier!

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  5. i admit at first i was a bit wary of breastfeeding. i'm very ticklish around my breasts and it's just not one of my favorite places to have kissed. right after being born my son was hungry from the start. unfortunately, my milk didn't come in until the second or third day so we had to supplement with formula for a little while. with my son, we also went through a milk/soy allergy, so he was half on similac alimentum. when he turned 1yro, right after our pediatrician told us that we should gradually start weaning him off later in the year, i caught a really bad flu whose antibiotics made both of us nauseous. that was when the hubby and i decided to that it was best to wean him off. so instead of a gradual "over the course of several months" type of weaning, it happened in one night. i took it hard. i missed the bond. the connection. i didn't realize how strong it was, how much it meant to me, until i couldn't share it anymore. thankfully, with my daughter (6mos), things went a little more smoothly. my milk came in right away and i'm much more mindful of enjoying the moments because i know they'll soon come to an end.

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  6. Julie Riley5:57 PM

    I've had to re-assure, and then re-re-assure my mum that I will breast feed my fience's and my children when we have them (not for a few years). I'm SO excited for that time to come, and be pregnant. And you're right, why would we be built this way if it wasn't the most natural thing to do, and provide for our children? One day, hopefully sooner than later. My only worry is not being able to get pregnant. But I try to remind myself I'll worry about that if the time comes, and not to stress about it in the meantime. Thanks for this post! I'm in love with your blog!

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  7. Hey amber! Long time since i commented. Would just like to chip in to say that I love reading stories like that and all the above comments on bfeeding. In asian society especially, it was pretty frowned upon until our generation. It was really great that I had a great supportive family that really pushed me to do the whole bfeeding route! I went through it for 10mths with #1 and an amazing 22 mths with #2. It really is the most magical natural gift ever! :) makes me almost want to have #3 just to go through it all again.... lol.

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  8. I am so happy to see you post this. I nursed babies for over 6 years total (and I only have 2 kids!). I feel like women mostly hear about stories where breastfeeding didn't work out, so they think it won't work for them, so when they have a problem, they assume that's just it and quit. Then they also have a story that breastfeeding didn't work for them. (This is no blame on them, btw)

    I wish more people like you who encountered breastfeeding problems and overcame them with the help of lactation consultants or groups like La Leche League would tell their stories from the rooftops.

    Breastfeeding is the biological norm, and it would not be the case if it wasn't likely to work out. There are 6 billion people on this planet and almost all of them are here because they were fed from their mother's breasts.

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  9. With my first I had lots of trouble in the beginning. She was jaundice, she would fall asleep after 10 mins, so I was nursing every half hour. I was SO AGAINST supplementing and I shed lots of tears those first few weeks. I am SO thankful for my LC who calmed me down and encouraged me with great advice. I ended up nursing her until she turned one and then she just weaned herself.

    With my 2nd I had no problems at all, it was a dream, and then when she was 6 months old I got VERY sick, and had to stop cold turkey because it wasn't safe for her with the medication I was on. That was REALLY tough, but there was just nothing I could do, so I had to let go of the guilt I felt.

    Now I'm expecting #3, and really looking forward to the experience again. It's definitely something special.
    Thanks for sharing your story!

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  10. Im so happy that you stuck it out even through the hard times! Im currently nursing my 5th baby...and it is such a joy. I adore this season in their life.

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  11. Oh this post just made me so happy to read! I have 2 boys, ages 4 and 2, an nursed them both. My oldest weaned himself around 1 yr..just too busy to slow down and not interested :( I nursed my youngest for 13months and truly loved every minute. It just goes too fast. It is a bit tough at times, but the beauty and bond it creates is worth it ALL!

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  12. Thank you so much for this post, it was exactly what I needed to hear right now! I've read your blog since before Josie was born but never commented. This post brought me out of hiding. :)

    My son turned 2 months yesterday and we're having a really hard time nursing. It's something I've always wanted to do but it seems I have a new problem at every turn. It started with him spending 7 days in the NICU & not being able to breastfeed for the first time until he was 4 days old and just goes on from there. I'm really hoping we can get it worked out to where he's comfort nursing.

    I have a few questions that I would love to get your input on.

    1.Did you experience a lot of pain in the first few months?

    I feel like I'm being tortured when he nurses & not just when he latches on.

    2.What fixed your clogged ducts?
    3.What is the benefit of nursing in different positions everytime?
    4.Where did you go to see the lactation consultant? Was it through La Leche?

    I'm really scared to go to a complete stranger to talk about problems that make me feel like a failure as a mother.

    You have a beautiful family and your love for God are so apparent. It's been a joy to read your blog. Thanks again for the awesome post!

    Katie

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  13. Thank you so much Amber! I am a pediatric nurse and my heart breaks to see babies brought up on formula. Sometimes breastfeeding is not an option but when it is, the support is just not there. I LOVED breastfeeding my babies and I still have some milk in the freezer that I just won't let go of. It was very difficult for me and I never figured out why I would just NEVER have enough milk so I always had to supplement. But I would never trade the love, because that is what it truly is, that my babies and I have shared.

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  14. great post Amber! Wow, you encountered some doozies in the beginning...so glad you persevered on! I nursed for year and then I was done...Ada was done. Prior to I thought I would be sad, but it all worked out in God's perfect timing so it was not sad at all...besides we will have more kiddos and I'll get to do it again. I am with you...it is amazing that God equipped our bodies with the ability to feed our babies :)

    Oh and Ada never took a bottle either. Our girls are just boob snobs I suppose :)

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  15. I loved breastfeeding too! great post. I think it is so important. My daughter never caught a cold or got sick at all until she was about 4 years old. I think it definitely keeps them healthy!! (I didn't nurse until she was 4. LOL Only until she was almost 1.) Such a great bonding experience too, I'm so so glad I did it!
    Danielle

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  16. Thank you!! I am expecting my second and I needed this encouragement!!

    God works in you girl!!!

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  17. Thank you!! I am expecting my second and I needed this encouragement!!

    God works in you girl!!!

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