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My Breastfeeding Experience

August 28, 2013

This is my breastfeeding story. Sort of.

I’m not going to wax poetic or go on about what a magical bonding time it was with my daughter. I’m not going to extoll the virtues and list the many, many benefits of breastfeeding. I’m not going to poo poo formula or insinuate that if you formula feed you’re in any way poisoning your child. That’s just not how I roll!

Side note:
My opinion on breastfeeding is this: it’s the best choice I made for my child. Notice some key words. Choice. I. My.

Do I wish everyone breast fed? Most definitely.
Do I understand why people who are perfectly able to nurse choose not to? No.
But am I going to criticize another woman, another mother for making the best choice for herself and her baby? Absolutely not. And I’m especially not going to criticize or berate the mom who tried her very best to make it work but for whatever reason couldn’t. Again, not how I roll.

Whatever you chose, breastfeeding, formula, a combination of both, I support you.

Side note over.

Now, back to my journey. I’ve been reflecting on some of the facts or highlights of my experience in nursing and wanted to share.

My one piece of advice? There is no right or wrong way. Do what works for you.

Here’s the facts:

– I’ve been nursing for almost 13 months

– My milk came in when Molly was four days old

– Molly was jaundiced at birth AND didn’t poop for a few days after the initial meconium explosion. The lactation consultant recommended supplementing with formula but we only gave it to her once, and only a few sips at that. After that she was exclusively breast fed

– She was 8 lb 12 oz at birth but 8 lb 2 oz at discharge. I wasn’t overly concerned; it’s normal for babies to lose weight, especially if mom has had an IV, which I did.

– For the first two months Molly and I struggled with her latch. And I was in pain the whole time. I now know she has (had) a shallow latch. It took a lot of effort and correcting her positioning but we finally got to a pain free place

– I still to this day find it more comfortable to nurse with a nursing pillow. Molly does too I think, if you consider how she brought it to me the other day when she wanted a snack!

– I suffer from tension headaches which is why the nursing pillow is more comfortable. Less strain on my neck and shoulders that way

– I also still to this day hold my breast while I nurse. If I don’t I feel like she can’t breathe properly. It’s also leftover from giving my breasts compressions while she nursed early on to keep my flow going.

– Despite trying both sides, she’s only ever liked nursing one side at a time

– The few times I tried both sides, she spit up. I can count on one hand the number if times she spit up after nursing. This is not counting The Great Stomach Flu of January 2013.

– I rarely pumped, being lucky enough to have a year of maternity leave

– On the rare times I did pump, it was to relieve discomfort if she slept longer than usual

– I once pumped 5 oz in less than five minutes. No problem with supply here!

– I had mastitis when she was 2-3 months old. It presented as the flu at first, with high fever, aches and pains but on the third day, that’s when my breast started hurting and turning red. Antibiotics nipped it in the bid pretty fast.

– We attempted the bottle but not diligently. To be honest, I preferred it that way. We found other ways for A to be involved (he’s been in charge of bath time almost since day one!).

– I have no problems nursing in public (no shame or modesty here) but prefer to be in the car. It’s more comfortable and I usually have something with me to help prop her up so there’s less tension on my neck

– I never got the hang of lying down to nurse

– Along the same lines, Molly has never, ever slept in our bed. The first three months she slept in our room, I had nightmares every single night that she was suffocating under the covers. Those stopped when we moved her to her own room at three months. Thank God

– To this day, if Molly is upset, I’ll nurse her. The breast is the original pacifier

– I still nurse her to sleep and absolutely love it!

– but

– we’re working on night weaning and in a few months, if she’s still nursing, we’ll begin work on weaning for good

– we EBF until she was just about six months old when we introduced solids using the baby led weaning technique

– I did not lose all my baby weight breastfeeding. I stalled after the first 20 pounds and lost the next 20 using Weight Watchers, which has a fantastic program geared towards nursing moms.

– My period came back lightly at 7 months, again at 9 months and I had my first normal 28 day cycle at 10.5 months

– We did not use breastfeeding as a form of birth control. I’m not bragging but getting pregnant isn’t an issue I’ve struggled with. Just couldn’t take the risk!

– my motto for the past year: when in doubt, nurse.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 28, 2013 7:15 pm

    I find that women are so judgey when it comes to the whole nursing business. We’re so lucky to be able to have options these days, so why should we judge what other moms choose to do?

    That being said, I don’t quite understand those who track their cycles and use breastfeeding as a form of birth control. Eggs and hormones are tricky, and my doctor even admitted that was how his wife became pregnant and didn’t recommend that method to me, lol

    • August 28, 2013 9:27 pm

      Agreed! It feels so much better to support rather than judge.
      My doc told me that even though I was nursing, you’re a lot more fertile after having a baby. Was not going to risk getting knocked up six weeks post partum! Not that I had the energy for that lol

  2. August 28, 2013 9:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. It means a lot to me. Reading your blog the past year honestly kinda stung somewhat to see you as a breastfeeding “success story” when I struggled so much and felt like such a failure. I’m not trying to say I’m glad your experience wasn’t perfect because, if anything, I can sympathize big time (as you may have read!). But I’m comforted to know there are more women out there who struggled and it wasn’t just me. Every day I wonder about what my experiences will be like with baby #2, especially armed with the information I have. I’m happy for you that you had such a good experience overall though!! Any mom who makes it a year is a hero in my eyes! I hope I can be as lucky someday. πŸ™‚

    I share and appreciate your thoughts in your side note BTW. *wink*

    • August 28, 2013 9:45 pm

      I know hon. I’m glad it didn’t make you feel too bad. I think about your experiences a lot. It took me awhile to figure out how to write about it without coming across as smug or pretentious. Not that I feel in any way superior because it worked out for us but the limitation of writing is that sometimes words are taken the wrong way. I don’t like making people feel bad, even unintentionally.
      And I still see you as a breastfeeding success! Every bit counts πŸ™‚

      • August 28, 2013 9:52 pm

        Aw thanks! No you did not make me feel bad or come across as smug at all. At least not to me. Honestly I’m super proud of you. But admittedly a bit jealous. But I’m working on that and am learning to be more proud of myself every day. One pump at a time! LOL…

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