Friday, May 10, 2013

Breastfeeding: The Good, The Bad & The Milky


You all remember my breastfeeding confessions post, right? If you don't, I'll give you the short of it: I had a really rough time attempting to breastfeed my first child, didn't even try with my second, and was terrified I was going to mess everything up again this time with my third child. However, I'm happy to report that we've been exclusively breastfeeding for two and half months now and things are going great! In that time, I've learned a lot about breastfeeding and just wanted to share my thoughts of everything so far:

The first couple feedings were not magical. Even though I KNEW it would probably be a learning experience, I kept hoping that baby would arrive and magically begin suckling with no problems. So I began to feel mildly panicked when his initial feeding was a challenge. But my midwife kept instructing me, showing me different positions to try, and just putting the baby to my breast.

Breastfeeding can hurt. There are so many books or articles that say "breastfeeding should not hurt." So when I felt pain, I thought great, I'm doing it wrong. They are right, it shouldn't hurt...but it can, at least initially, when you're trying to get everything figured out. My postdate baby has a VERY strong suck which could have contributed to the initial pain some. I also had a few issues at the beginning getting him to latch - it wasn't his issue, though. My nipples kind of were going flat every time I tried to feed him so we had to use a little thing to draw them out and I had to figure out how to position him on the breast right. And the more worried or stressed you get, the harder it is. I was very sore for the first week or two - I even had a few spots that cracked & bled and was beginning to dread feeding him. There were two things that helped me, though:

1. Having someone qualified watch me nurse & asking them questions. I had a midwife and a breastfeeding peer counselor at the ready to answer my questions. They helped figure out my issues, reminded me to relax, and gave suggestions.
2. Having a supportive husband. Although there really wasn't anything he could do for our initial issues, him telling me if we could just get through another feeding, it would get better, was actually very helpful. It's hard to keep goals in mind when you're in pain, but when someone is cheering you on, it gets easier.

I want to reiterate that pain can happen but that it's the sign that something is wrong or was wrong, and is now on the mend. All my issues healed up during the end of the second week. I'll feel the occasional tug or pull now, but it's not painful at all.

Breastfeeding is messy sometimes. For the first week or so, I consistently had giant wet spots and splotches all over my shirt. That let-down can really "let go" at times and baby isn't always prepared for it or will pull back and then you'll end up with streams of milk going everywhere. Or sometimes it will just happen. I was changing one morning and looked over at baby, happily cooing away in his bassinet, and suddenly it was go-go-gadget milk! Sometimes it's easier to just go shirt-less, especially in the beginning. (Assuming you are at home, that is!) I thought about putting a sign on the door temporarily that said, "If you stroll in unannounced, you may find me without a shirt." And really all the skin-to-skin contact with baby is good, for you and him/her.

I'm still learning to NIP (Nurse In Public). I am not going to tell you how to nurse your baby. I figure it's your baby and your body. I support breastfeeding mommas of all kinds. All I will do is share my experiences and feelings. I still have the occasional issue but it's much easier than it was. I'm a rather modest person so I do cover up when we're out in public and/or try to find a cozy spot with less people. While I have escaped to a bathroom a time or two, I made sure it was one with a sitting area - I will not feed my baby while sitting on a toilet or anything like that. NIP for me also depends on what audience I'm with. At a sit-down dinner with a big room full of strangers? I'm going to go out and find someplace else. At my best friend's house? I'll just feed him while I sit on the couch.

Now that I've got the hang of it, breastfeeding is so easy and convenient. Seriously. Feeding this kiddo could not be any easier. Especially at night! I don't have to stumble out into the kitchen half awake to find a bottle, scoop formula, mix, shake, heat...all I have to do is pop something into his mouth! The diaper bag is a lot lighter too! It's also relaxing, in a unique sort of way. There is a special breastfeeding bond you develop, as much as I never thought I'd say that. (And that's not to say that the bond with any of my other kids is any less, it's just a different kind of feeling I guess. I'm not sure how to describe it.) A pediatrician assumed I had breastfed all the kids because {and I quote} "You're a natural!" That was really nice to hear.

You develop a camaraderie with breastfeeding mothers of all ages and stages. I've only had one instance so far of a negative response to my breastfeeding in public - but it was just some dumb teenage girls. I have found that no matter where I NIP, I am inevitably met with positive feedback from mothers who breastfed. There always seems to be someone who comes by and says, "Oh, how beautiful" or "Way to go" or "I nursed all three of mine!"

I just wanted to share my breastfeeding success story for those who are struggling or who are just looking into breastfeeding. Just because it didn't work before doesn't mean it can't ever work again. I did not think I'd ever breastfeed again but with good support and determination, we did it!

1 comment :

  1. Just blog hopping and found yours. Now following via GFC.

    If you love blog hops, I would love to see you on my Bloglovin Blog Hop; it happens every Wednesday at 9pm PST.

    Take care,
    Meg
    Happy Kids, Inc

    ReplyDelete

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