In honor of the beloved Lactina pump being returned at work, and thus all my milk supply issues being solved, I’d like to share my breastfeeding journey up to this point.
I wish someone would have told me how emotional breastfeeding was. Like so much more emotional than anything I experienced during pregnancy. Like for several weeks early on I could not even say the word breastfeed without bursting into tears.
I had a very nonchalant attitude towards it in the beginning. People would ask me if I planned to breastfeed and I’d shrug and say “yeah I’m gonna try it but if it doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world”. It most certainly felt like the end of the world! I cried crocodile tears whenever I tried to talk to anyone about our struggles, like not being able to finish speaking cries. The instant he was born, it became the most vital thing to feed him naturally. I didn’t know I cared so much, but I do. I wanted to feed him, just me and only me nourish him and grow him like I did when he was inside of me.
A lot of people have a lot of words to say about breastfeeding, some qualified, some experienced, some just plain old judgy. Everyone has a different breastfeeding journey, and mine is unique to me and Ike. It hasn’t been perfect, or easy, or impossible for us. It has been a bumpy road, but a road we are nevertheless still traveling. Ike had some formula very early on, that is something else I wish someone would have told me. How pushy the nurses can be in the hospital. Ike lost more than 10% of his weight in the hospital. That’s bad. But to put this in perspective, we stayed an extra day in the hospital, because I needed to, he was fine, but they weighed him every night, he passed the 10% threshold on the last night. And, they weigh the babies in the middle of the night, ALWAYS when moms are asleep. And, he weighted almost 8 freakin pounds when he was born! This was no skinny little fragile person.
Anyway, he had some formula, probably not more than I could count on my fingers. And it stopped at two weeks old. He rebounded from that dumb 10% loss in a BIG way. By his 4 month check up my baby was in the 75% for weight. Btw, he’s in the 90th now. Take that night nurse!
That was a rocky start to our journey. And we continued on the slippery slope for another month, at least. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I didn’t know how to position him, or latch him, or check to see if he was actually swallowing. I read the books, I took the classes, I even had multiple visits to the lactation consultant. It just seemed so subjective, how do you know you’re doing it right? We mostly just practiced and muddled through feedings for probably the next three weeks. We’d try for a few minutes to get latched, provided he didn’t lose his shit, and I also didn’ t lose mine. One of the two happened about 75% of the time. Then dad would take him and give him a bottle while I got a kleenex and went to pump.
I don’t remember the exact time it happened, but one time, during our practices, he latched, sucked, and swallowed. I knew this was right. There was no doubt. This is what it was supposed to be like all along. It’s indescribable, hence my frustration when people tried to explain, show or write it for me. But when he figured it out (and I did too) we both just knew.
Whew, I could nurse him now. Awesome. No more needing to stop and go pump every three hours (even at night!). Then, I went back to work. And he blew through my freezer stash in record time. Wait stop STAHP! You ate how much today? 16 ounces! I was only gone for 8 hours! I thrashed about my bedroom frantically looking for the Breastfeeding book and that bottle of fenugreek pills and the bottle of Malta. Malta is gross. Fenugreek comes in horse sized capsules that you are literally supposed to take 6 of every day. AND if you do take 6 of them every day you smell like maple syrup. I smelled like maple syrup and choked down malta for a few days. And I pumped, when I got up, as soon as I got to work, and before I went to bed.
Eventually we evened out and Ike and I met each other half way. I was able to produce what he eats, and he was satisfied with the milk I left for him. We were in a pretty comfy grove save for the weekends when we traveled. My initial goal was to breastfeed for 6 months. Ike will be seven months old this coming Sunday. We have not looked back to formula since that first two weeks. I’m happy to be a nursing mom and I think that Ike is happy to be a breastfed baby, so we are gonna keep this good thing going for a little while longer!
Now, Isaac and I are planning to go to the mountains for a few days with some friends while Ike hangs out with his grandma over the Fourth of July. Ahh, there’s how much milk in the freezer? And Ike eats 2, 4, 6, 8, TWENTY FOUR ounces in a day. Hmm where did I put that fenugreek?
Well thanks to the hospital grade pump at work and some vigilance to return to pumping at night, I am on my way to socking away just enough milk to go away. We bought this just in case.
The plan was to give him some earlier on, like last week, to be sure it agreed with him. I cried for a while and Isaac agreed to drop the formula discussion for now. Also I should mention, the awesome hospital grade pump at work broke last week and I took home 2-4 ounces less milk every day. Now initially I thought this was due to the dieting, so I ate a bunch of lactation cookies. It’s fixed now, so I feel all the milk related problems will sort themselves out now. And anyways I ate all those cookies so surely that helped.