Sunday, October 14, 2012

my experience with breastfeeding

Remington at 4 months

I love breastfeeding. I love it so much i'll probably be one of those moms who nurses her kids until they are old enough that it becomes socially unacceptable. In my case they'll be 2 year olds that look like 6 year olds. Take that you haters.

I'm only partially joking.

But in all seriousness, breastfeeding is the bomb. The decision to breastfeed Remington was never a question in my mind. As soon as he was born and put on my chest we began on our breastfeeding journey. He latched right away and things seemed easy peasy. Everything went smoothly and we went home with out ever experiencing a problem.

Haha, yea right.

I actually had a really hard time. Rem and I really struggled with nursing in the hospital. Unfortunately we had a bad experience with my nurses not being very helpful or encouraging. If it wasn't for my Mom stepping up, we'd be in a very different place. Thank the heavens for my Momma bear. I credit her for everything. She is the reason we are still going strong. She was the biggest support to me and Remington as we learned how to perfect the art of breastfeeding.

The first two days home where awful. I literally dreaded every feeding time. Remington wanted nothing to do with it. He would scream, arch his back and fling himself around. We would go hours between feedings because he fought it. I was an emotional mess. I had no idea what I was doing. My body ached, I hadn't slept in days and I thought I was starving my baby. My mom was at my side constantly coaching and encouraging me. She helped me stay positive and try different positions, skin to skin etc. Nothing seemed to work. We learned quickly that Rem was experiencing some nipple confusion as a result of using a binky. As soon as we'd stick that thing in his mouth he sucked just fine.

We ditched the binky and things got worse before they got better. On day three my milk came in and brought a whole new set of problems. For everyone's sake I won't go into details. But eventually, every feeding that didn't end in tears (for either of us) was a mini victory. After a week of being home I finally felt like I had it down.

Remington has been thriving on the boob juice ever since. (that's what David likes to call it haha). He'd be at the breast all day if I'd let him. He never lost any weight after being born and packed on the pounds really quick. He could be a poster child for breastfed babies. Now that I look back I am so grateful for sticking to it. I know how hard, painful and demanding it is. Breastfeeding means sacrificing your time, sleep, and your perky boobs among other things. But it is a sacrifice that is so rewarding. I remember thinking how much easier it would be to stop and use formula. I know that without the constant encouragement from my Momma and David I would have given up. That being said, I've come up with some recommendations that in my opinion can help anyone be successful in breastfeeding.

1. Surround yourself with supportive people: I put this first because I believe it is the most important. You need to have constant support and encouragement to keep going. Breastfeeding is hard. It can be awkward and uncomfortable and you need someone in your corner. I'll say it over and over. If my Mom wasn't there we'd be using formula.

2. Skin to skin/Rooming in: Successful breastfeeding starts as soon after baby is born. We started nursing within a few minutes after delivery. The first couple hours are critical for mother-infant bonding and what better way to begin this process than to nurse! Rooming in or keeping baby in your room over night has also shown a higher success rate for breastfeeding. We made sure to include this on our birth plan. Despite our request, our nurses kept asking me if I wanted to send Remington to the nursery so I could sleep. I was slightly annoyed but also physically drained and I almost considered it, but I knew that feeding on demand was important, especially those first few days of life. I was also terrified that the nurses would feed him formula or give him a binky instead of bringing him to me when he was hungry. (My mom said that really happens. Messed up, huh?)

3. Don't be afraid to ask for help: I was so lucky to have my Mom, my very own personal lactation specialist. I know that most hospitals have them and they can even come to your home to answer questions and to help. WIC also has them. Use them!

4. Invest in a good pump: I use a electric Medela Pump in style as well as a Medela hand pump. I recommend one for every nursing mom. I started using mine from the very beginning to relieve pressure when my milk came in. I now use it every day when I'm at school. It's been nice to have both because I can pack the hand one when I'm out and about running errands. WIC also has pumps available to rent.

5. Educate yourself: The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend breastfed infants to use a binky until 8 weeks and until breastfeeding has been established. We learned this the hard way. After we stopped giving Remington a binky, nursing got a lot better. He hasn't taken one since. We're not complaining since some babies have a hard time giving them up when they're older anyways.

6. Boppy/nipple cream/breast pads: Every breastfeeding momma needs to have a boppy. It has been the single most used baby item in our house hold. It really helps with your back and the positioning with the baby.  It has lots of other uses too. Nipple cream is also an essential item for a nursing mom. The first couple weeks of nursing can leave your nipples chapped and sore. This will help ease that pain. Breast pads, breast pads, breast pads! Holy cow I didn't even realize I would need these. For the first couple months I went through a set every 2 hours. We spent probably close to 100$ on those puppies before I got smart and invested in some reusable ones. (I've learned that I'm an overproducer in the world of breastfeeding mommies so that amount is not normal haha. )

7. Have a sense of humor: They say that your milk regulates around 8 weeks but here I am at 7 months and I'm still leaking milk through my pads/shirt. Most nights I still wake up soaked. Just know that you will walk around church, school or the grocery store with wet circles around your boobies. And when It happens and there is usually nothing you can do but laugh. Watching people's reactions is hilarious when they realize what is up.

8. Don't beat yourself up: I have a handful of friends who because of many different circumstances could not breastfeed their babies. It doesn't matter if it's breast-milk or formula your baby is still getting the nutrition they need and they will be perfect either way. I don't believe that a woman is any less of a mother if she can't or decides not to breastfeed. No judgments being made here! I really don't care if you choose to breastfeed your babies or not. We can still be friends. Promise.




Yep, it happens.

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