I realized, when fellow blogger Trina asked, that I have never written about my breastfeeding journey with either baby. I’ve referenced a bit here or there, but nowhere really on my little site. So, in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I figured, why not now?
I had absolutely NO idea what to expect when Aubrey was born. In the hospital, they said she wasn’t eating enough so the nurse showed me how to express some milk and feed to her with a syringe. I later learned that our hospital (one that is “breast feeding friendly”) is not the norm. I was on a twitter party a few months after she was born and my little bubble was burst thinking that all hospitals help moms to nurse. It’s not an easy thing. And I’m not pro breast/anti-formula. I don’t care how your baby is fed as long as you do, and they thrive. Ok so back to my story.
I had no idea how much it would hurt. When we checked out of the hospital, our first trip out was to Target to buy Medela Nipple Shields as a suggestion from one of my friends. Thank heavens for those! I know many lactation nurses will advise NOT to use them. But I figure, if she’s getting milk, isn’t that most important? She didn’t have any confusion and within a few days I was back to nursing. From then on, we didn’t really have any big bumps. She was a very slow eater – each session lasting almost 40 minutes. At least I got to catch up on some shows!
I nursed on a schedule vs on demand. We averaged about every 2 hours at first, then went to 3. She ate a lot during the day and at night slept from about 7-7 after 6 weeks. When I went back to work (she was about 3 months old), I had a large supply of frozen milk. We took note from some friends to start bottle introduction early on. I believe it was around 6 weeks and we’d try to give her one a day. Transitioning to work was seamless. I pumped 2 times and didn’t like it. But, I did and we kept chugging along. Well, she did
In the middle of September, when she was almost 11 months old, I got really sick. I caught some stomach bug and my mom took her for 2 days. I barely had enough energy to eat, let alone pump. My milk was gone almost immediately. I remember being upset because it wasn’t on my terms that we stopped. But, she didn’t seem to miss it and we had enough frozen milk to get her to her first birthday. About 2 weeks before her bday, we started mixing her bottles with whole milk. She was the easy one.
Luke. Even though I knew what to expect (the pain, the engorgement, pumping) I didn’t expect to have such a different experience. He was my on-demand baby. I couldn’t go by my own clock for the life of me. I can’t tell you how many times I would tell Jon But he JUST ate! when Luke would be crying and fussy and I was emotionally spent. Give him the boob, no paci for him. Having 2 made it quite tricky to always give in and just sit to relax and nurse. I loved the quiet time, but with an active toddler, it was hard to relax. In the opposite manner, he was a quick eater. Most sessions were under 10 minutes and that included both sides. I never built up a large stash like I did with Aubrey because I was basically nursing him every 3-4 hours 24 hours a day – until he was over a year old. I’ll just let you ponder that a moment. LOL.
He would wake up almost as often at night as a 1 year old as he did as a newborn. It wasn’t until I got him a Baltic Amber necklace that his night sleep started stretching out. During our first year of breastfeeding, I pumped at 2 conferences, pumped in Chicago, got some blocked ducts in Chicago, and flew with over 40 oz of breastmilk on a plane. He’s 13 months old, and we’re still nursing. When he turned a year, I started getting extreme pain in my nipples and it was like reliving our newborn days. I finally bought some Lanolin Cream and had to pump and feed for a few days before they went back to normal. (that stuff is amazing, by the way!). We introduced whole milk to him, despite his many sensitivities to dairy. After a week, I realized yup, he’s still sensitive, and now he’s having almond milk during the day. I’m still nursing, which shocks me! I thought I’d be done at 12 months. I promised myself that I would NOT be pumping after a year and I did stop that. It took a bit, but it seems my supply has leveled out. I now nurse in the morning, before afternoon nap, and a night. With his necklace, his sleeps are longer stretches at night so he’s getting up just once, if even that.
I’m not really sure at what point I’ll drop the nap nurse session. Some days he’s just so tired he goes to sleep before we even get home, so he doesn’t nurse. So we’ll see.
It’s always interesting to hear the journey women have with breastfeeding. In the past year or two, I’ve come across more moms who either exclusively pump, breast feed for a few months then switch to formula, or nurse well beyond a year. That’s the beauty of being a woman and a mom – everyone has their own way of doing things and all deserve applause since we’re raising the next generation. That should be our focus. Not on what they’re feeding, so hopefully one day we’ll be there.
What was your journey like? Did you have a lot of support? Did you feel pressured one way or another? Leave a comment!