Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My Breastfeeding Story

I am currently taking courses in breastfeeding to hopefully one day apply to being a lactation consultant.  I am taking it slow, right now doing a program that takes about 6 months. I'll do what I can when I can. I want to help Mom's breastfeed their babies like I had ladies help me.

My breastfeeding story....

While pregnant with my first son I knew I wanted to breastfeed him.  I knew it was the healthiest choice for him.  My mother in law breastfed all 7 of her children for a year each.  She never pressured me to breastfeed, but she encouraged me to do so.

My Mom breastfed my sister, but was unable to breastfeed me. In 1985 there just wasn't very much help for ladies to breastfeed.  As was the trend when my Mom was born in 1958. In fact then, usually you only breastfed if you were low income.  My Mom tried to nurse me for 2 weeks, but her poor nipples kept bleeding and she was in so much pain. My sister latched on great right away, but I didn't.  And with no lactation consultants there to help her, she decided to bottle feed me. And I don't blame her!

Knowing the hard time my Mom had with me, I fully prepared myself {or so I thought}. I read books, I watched videos, I even attended a class even I think.  But nothing can really prepare you for it, except experience. It helped I knew some things, but it didn't help him actually open his mouth and latch on. 

I was in so much pain by the second day he was born.  I told my husband, "I can't do this. I am just gonna pump! It's the same thing."  A lactation consultant told me, pumping wasn't the same thing, and that my milk supply would not be enough being stimulated just by the pump.  I cringed through that day, and finally that night I had a wonderful lactation consultant come in.

Dawn say my nipples, and said, "Oh my, you can't go on like this can you?" and I cried and cried and said no.  It was too much pain.  She then told my husband to go buy me a nipple shield, which literally saved our breastfeeding journey.   It was like immediate relief. He latched on perfect, my milk came in.  She encouraged me to stop using it when my nipples healed.

Then came another issue. Weaning him from the shield.  Oh boy that was tough. I spent many nights in tears.  I was also trying to "do the right thing" and get my baby on the "Babywise" schedule.  Then I wondered why he wanted to nurse for 45 mins at a time.  The book says babies should nurse for 30 minuets, 2.5-3 hours apart.  Ugh. Why is MY baby so difficult? Why does he cry ALL.THE.TIME?  Oh he has "colic". Even though he was skinny, because he had just nursed for 30  mins he couldn't be hungry. Wrong.

I finally wised up. I realized my son was just hungry.  By then my milk was established and it wasn't enough for him {or so I thought}, so I supplemented with a bottle of formula a night. Now I know, some babies really are just more hungry and need to nurse more.  He was a different baby after he started getting a bottle at night.  He finally did sleep through the night.  Because he was satisfied. By 6 weeks old he was off the shield and onto bare breast, and around 6-8 weeks old he had one bottle a night.  Life was good.

When Shane was 6 months old, I got pregnant with Cody.  Nursing became uncomfortable and I didn't know if it was safe to be pregnant AND nurse, so Shane started getting more bottles as well as solid foods.  Finally by the time Shane was 9 months old, he preferred the bottle over breast.  I was very sad that he weaned so early, but thankful I was able to nurse him at all, and confident I'd nurse Cody.

I used the shield for Cody as well but only for 2 weeks, while my nipples healed because again I had terrible pain and bleeding.  He was easier to get off the shield. I breastfed him on demand and he was a very happy, easy, chubby, healthy baby. He nursed for 21 months.

I am still breastfeeding our 15 month old son, and will continue to nurse him until he is ready to wean.  I used the shield with him for only 3 days. I breastfeed him on demand, and he is also a very happy healthy baby boy.

I used the assistance of a lactation consultant all 3 times.

1 comment:

The Skinny on Staci said...

Baby #1 was the only baby I had a lactation consultant with. They are worth their weight in gold! I was told about Lansinoh cream application 2 weeks before I was due and started using it. Then I was watched nurse the first 2 or 3 sessions and kept being reminded "Pull her chin down! Open her mouth! Make sure she doesn't just get the nipple." haha Baby #1 was a breeze. Baby #2 left me horribly sore on one breast the entire time. I'm sure it could've been corrected, but I didn't know and my new location didn't offer a lactation consultant. But I suffered through! With babies #3 and 4 I had mastitis that wouldn't respond to outpatient antibiotics. I had to be hospitalized twice with it for baby #3 and just once for baby #4. A week long hospital stay each time with big-gun antibiotics. I was told to quit nursing the baby because of the antibiotics, but I called a larger hospital in Nashville, got advice from their LCs and even LLL, and refused doctor's orders. LOL The kids never suffered consequences from it. Breastfeeding is so awesome but can be so crazy and scary and easy to quit if you don't have support and aren't informed.