Thursday, May 2, 2013

Breastfeeding: Before and Now

When I had Emery I knew for sure I was going to breastfeed and my goal was a year. However when the boys were home I felt like I had to cover up. Like it was going to make them uncomfortable. I took a cover everywhere and fought that damn thing. Emery hated being covered, he would yank on the blanket or under the cover he would get hot and sweaty and not eat as well.

Along with worrying about not offending others and being modest I screwed myself, or him mostly by eventually supplementing. I was diligent about feeding him the first few weeks/months but I doubted how much he was getting. The nurses in the hospital were so helpful in helping me with positions and latching but no one ever educated me on how much little they need the first couple days and weeks.

I didn't realize how tiny a babies stomach is. It's the size of a marble! I felt like he wasn't getting enough so we gave him a premixed bottle of similac. Like the 4oz you see where this is going? He guzzled it. Don't they put slow nipples on those things?! Cue the projectile vomiting. It scared me. I didn't realize what was going on. I was a first time mama frantically flipping him over to pat his back, suction out his poor drowned nose and strip him down... and yet I didn't realize what the issue was. Talk about uneducated. I thought that growing up around all my little cousins, babysitting, nannying and families daycares etc that I was experienced with babies.

Looking back I was experienced with them just not with breastfeeding so I just didn't know all the little details like that. Jake was supportive of breastfeeding but didn't realize things like supplementing were undermining me.

I didn't realize that supplementing would affect my milk supply, even with pumping. I wasn't told that pumping is not as effective as a nursing baby. You will get some milk, but not as much as a nursing baby does. So as I pumped and didn't see a lot of milk I was certain he just wasn't getting enough milk.  I regret thinking that it was just easier to take a bottle while we were out running around because it was more convenient for everyone. I hated thinking that I was inconveniencing people by sitting in the car to feed him before we could go in the store or go somewhere. Selfish. I hated that I felt like I had to cover up in my own home because of the boys or I had to go in another room. By 6 months I was basically done breastfeeding because we were just using so much formula and my supply had taken a huge hit due to that.

I tried to prepare Jake for breastfeeding again this time. I set out what my goals were. However he was concerned about nursing in front of the boys. He felt that it was inappropriate for them to see, that they would tell "mom of the year" and she would take us to court over it. I disagreed with inappropriate but I felt his concern over MOTY just because how freaking psycho she is and the fact that the judge ALWAYS sides with her no matter how much evidence is presented against her.

I told him that breasts were made for nourishing babies and that I wasn't going to act like they were anything but normal. I'm so sick of america thinking that breasts are only for sexual satisfaction. I was so frustrated and sad. It made me really emotional to think that I was going to have to cover up in MY OWN HOME, feed her only in our room or send the boys to their room every time I had to feed her. What happens when she cluster feeds? I can't just ban them to their room for the day, that isn't fair for them, Abby or myself. How would that make breastfeeding look then, and how much would they resent her.

Thankfully I presented my concerns to mommy friends in a local facebook group and got some great feed back. In Washington it is legal to breastfeed anywhere! If I can feed her in public in front of anyone and their children why can't I nurse the boys' sister in front of them.

I told Jake that I would explain to the boys about nursing and that we would not make it seem like something to cover up and avoid. That would only make them think there was something naughty goingon that had to be hidden and therefore be more interested and have that be where our problems started with MOTY. Jake said we would give it a shot and see how it goes. So that was settled.

With that out of the way I educated myself this time around. My goal with Abby is a year minimum. I told Jake absolutely NO FORMULA. It won't be in the house and we won't buy any, I am doing this no matter what. I know I can make loads of milk as Emery vomited from such a heavy let down numerous times in which and I had to change our sheets in the middle of the night because they were SOAKED.

A couple weeks before she arrived we got a can of Enfamil newborn formula in the mail. I am proud to say it hasn't been opened. She has only been fed from a bottle maybe 5 times and thatbeing due to me having to go into the Spa to do an appointment. I try to feed her as much as possible before I leave and as soon as I get home. If she couldn't hold out and Jake had to thaw a baggy of breastmilk then I just pump and freeze that to replenish that used bag. Plus she despises the bottle, it takes Jake quite awhile to get her to take it he says. I think she just likes mama's warmth and smell. Not some cold hard bottle nipple. It makes me happy to know my girl prefers mama as her food of choice :)

We are 6 weeks and going strong. This girl loves her liquid gold. I try to breastfeed her as much as possible rather than pumping. In the middle of the night I feed her from my right breast which I get the most milk from and then get up and pump from the left which is then put in the freezer to use for when I'm working.

I gave up the cover. The only time I have covered up is at Jake's parents, as I don't know how it would make his dad feel and inside chili's when we went to dinner. What a hassle. I HATE not being able to see her, my breast and get her latched on.

We went shopping at Sears and she was starting to get fussy and hungry in the Moby. I told Jake I would be over by the patio furniture and went and sat down. I lifted one side of the Moby, rotated her so she was laying down a bit and latched her on. I was able to adjust the Moby and my nursing shirt to keep myself mostly covered but not so much that it interfered with her eating. No one seemed to notice except one lady with a little boy and a baby. She smiled and said that she was glad they had places to rest, that she does it all the time. I smiled back and said I felt the same. Jake walked up and asked "is she feeding?" I had to laugh because it made her sound like a little animal and not a baby...then again she is an animal when it comes to her milk. If she doesn't get it right away she starts a little tantrum where she starts kicking her legs all impatient.

I absolutely love watching her nurse. We have that snuggle time. I can touch her, talk to her, sing to her and be all she needs in that moment. With Emery I felt I had to rush through it and get stuff done. This is for sure our last baby and I have made myself settle down. I sit and enjoy nursing her. I try to get Emery what he may need before we start so that I'm not having to make him wait and resent her that his needs aren't being met. I love that we are getting that important bonding...I know she will be a daddy's girl, she already is so I need all I can get ;)

The boys? For about a week there were no questions, nothing awkward. Ethan would come up even while I was nursing and give her a kiss on the head and run off to play. One night playing card games I

had to nurse her. Ethan says "mom, why is she sucking on your boob?" I casually explained that they are made for mama's to nurse their babies. That breasts make milk and that is how babies eat. Some mom's use bottles and powdered milk and other's use milk from their breast. That was the end of that, he shrugged said ok and went on with the game.

A week or so ago something came up about breastfeeding and I was able to tell the boys that when she gets germs on her mouth and nurses that my body can automatically create antibodies to keep her from getting sick so breastfeeding is a very good thing for her.

I am proud of my girl and myself. We have made it this far. It takes 6 weeks to establish your supply and I feel as if we have done great. Jake is supportive and we know what I did wrong. She is first. We need to go to the store ASAP? Yea well if it's almost her time to eat, she eats first and then we go. I'm not taking a bottle because it's "easier". It really isn't because then I'm engorged, screwing with my supply and having to pump.

I am happy with where we are at. MOTY hasn't pulled any crap, the boys don't think anything of it, Emery knows what she's doing and loves watching the pump work when I have to pump, I am not embarrassed to nurse my child in public and if it bother's anyone else, screw them basically. I try to keep covered as much as possible with clothing and my babe, but I won't stick some hot awkward cloth over her head. We have a stash of milk in the freezer and I'm trying to figure out how else to store it as it starts to take up a lot of room and we don't have a deep freeze (darn apartment living!). I also love how supportive WIC is. I got a pump for nursing up to 6 months with Emery and going back to work so they gave me a $300 pump. I am so thankful to have that. The LC there even told me if I ever needed more bags than what they gave me to let her know and she would get me more. I was getting low on what I had leftover from Emery and looked at the price at walmart. 20 bags for almost $20. INSANITY! I called her up to ask if the offer still stood and she said absolutely! I went in, she gave me 3 boxes of baggies, a nursing tank they got in and washable nursing pads.

I am so glad that they exist to help encourage other mama's. I hope others look for help before they supplement. Educate yourself mama's, you were made to do this. In most cases you CAN breastfeed, it's not always an easy start but if you persevere you will make it. Very few are unable to so give it a shot and make sure you have a support system!


  1. :) I love, love, love your post. I'm a nursing mama, we've been nursing from the very begging. This is my first kid too, and we are going into 2 and change years of nursing. I got educated by my midwife, she asked me so many questions about it, and I in turned ended up reading a library of books about it. If I've not gotten that, if I hand't been as lucky to get educated in those ways I might have ended up stumbling over my own feet.

    What really matters is the outcome, and what we learn though. Each of us as parents will always do what it is best for our children, from what we know and what we learn. :)

    So congrats on meeting your starting goals, it will be one year before you know it! (and I know the whole expensive bags thing... they should make them a bit cheaper).

  2. I'm so happy that nursing Abby is working for you! You go Mama! I love that you just kept trying and now you're there and you are working to your goal:)

    My Munchkin also hates the cover! I have up on it early on. And nursing snuggles are the best:)

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your story!! I think it will help so many people out there who are struggling with BF. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is not getting themselves educated about it. Wish there was more awareness out there!!

  4. Thank you for the comments and support ladies. I tried to respond individually but blogger is goofy and won't let me. I hate disqus but may have to go back to that so I can respond :)