Before you read this I want you to know that I am not a breastfeeding consultant. I am just a real mom who tried breastfeeding two times. I may not have all my facts straight and I am still learning. But if someone can learn from the lessons that I have learned I think that would be great. I am not here to say breastfeeding is right or wrong. I just want to share my experiences with others.
Let me start off by saying that I wanted to breastfeed both of my children. Before I had my first child I watched videos online, did research, and tried to prepare myself as much as possible for breastfeeding. None of my close friends breastfed at the time. Honestly I did not even know anyone who breastfed. My Mom and Mother in Law did not breastfeed.
When I had my first child I breastfed her as soon as she was born. Three different lactation consultants helped me at the hospital. The process was painful. My daughter had a really strong neck and it was difficult for me to latch her.
Also, my husband and I were new parents. Neither of us even changed a diaper before she was born. We never even held a newborn. So when I get home from the hospital the true fun begins. I was not sure if she is eating enough. My nipples had scabs on them. I also did not like people seeing my breasts. It was traumatic for me for the nursing consultants to see them. So I decided to start pumping in my bedroom. Pumping took a large amount of time especially in the beginning. I did not like the sound of the machine. I did not like the time spend while pumping. Then I had to spend time to feed the baby the bottles, wash the pumping machine, and wash the bottles. This was very time consuming. For a new Mom with a cranky baby with little sleep it was not going well. Also, I don’t think I was getting the “brain chemicals” that nursing Moms get. I was sad, tired, and had to take care of a new life. About 6 weeks in I changed over to formula. My mood improved. I think I tried my hardest with the resources I had but it did not work for me. But I did give my baby breastmilk for 6 months.
So then I just stopped. Being a new Mom I had no idea what I was doing. My breasts got very large and hard. This was actually just as painful as childbirth because I was not mentally prepared for what was happening. I almost had a panic attach because I was not sure what to do. I was not aware that this would happen or how to fix it. Now I know that you are suppose to pump a little less every day. But at the time I was just too exhausted to research information. The number one priority was to take care of the new beautiful baby.
Then when baby two was about to arrive I was determined to breastfeed again. There was some thing I did differently this time. First off, I was around other breastfeeding woman before I began. I joined a few woman’s groups where I saw actual breastfeeding woman. I was around some of my friends who breastfed in front of me. I learned I did not have to breastfeed in a corner of my bedroom where no one could see me. I learned that is was not weird to have conversations with other people while breastfeeding. I went to a class on breastfeeding and did more internet research.
I prepared with a few items. One thing I leaned about was a breast shield. I bought one and brought it with me to the hospital. This little plastic thing was great. When my nipple became scabby ( I am told from bad latch) I used one of these. Now I read that nipple shield can be bad so do your research before you use one. But this really got me through the first month of pain on my nipples. I had to find it and clean it ever time I used it. But I honestly feel this is what got me though the scabbing.
I had to go back to the hospital 2 times after giving birth. The first was because of a post-dural-puncture headache and the second was because of late blood loss. Each time I had amazing helpers who brought the baby with me so I could breastfeed. At this point she was not drinking from a bottle and I was afraid to pump because I was told if I do I could create more milk which would make my breast hurt like last time. The thought I my breast being that painful again was very scary so I waited to pump until 2 months.
Another item I had this time was a towel for breasts in the shower called a shower hug. I told my breastfeeding experience to a friend that was going to breastfeed for the first time. She bought one for herself and then let me borrow it this time. When your breasts get warm they get larger. This towel was great in the shower because it gives you support while you are in a warm shower, the water does not hurt your breast, and your nipples are shielded. A warm shower is just what a new breastfeeding Mom needs but the thought of it can be scary. This towel really helped in the first few months and kept me relaxed and ready to keep breastfeeding.
I leaned this time that keeping your breasts at the right temperature is important. I actually used a chillo that we got as a Christmas present many years ago when my breast were too warm to keep my breast from hurting. A few times my breast got hard on one side and lumpy. I used a heating pad on that side to loosen things up so milk could continue to flow.
I also used lansinoh cream on my nipples in the beginning as well as putting some extra breastmilk on them and letting them air dry. But only for the first 2 months. I used lansihoh soothies gel pads on my nipples when they were hurting. As you see this breastfeeding this was expensive in the beginning to get things under control. But then later became less expensive as I produced more milk and did not need as much help from different products.
At one point my nipples got itchy and the white milk on my daughters tongue started to get clumpy. I also had shooting pains in my breast. We went to the doctor and were told we both had thrush. I wish I would have went sooner because I thought these pains were all part of the beginning of breastfeeding. They gave her a liquid for her mouth and myself a cream for my nipples so we could continue to breastfeed.
At this point breastfeeding was difficult. Trips to the hospital, engorgement, and thursh. One thing I did this time was set up a support group on facebook. I created a private group before the baby was born and invited to my friends who have already breastfeed to the group. The provided their experience, research, and sometimes were just cheerleaders for me. This group was really helpful to send a quick message and get lots of support at any time of the day or night.
Going in public and breastfeeding has been interesting. The first place I went was our local coffee shop and church. After doing some research I decided to use aden + anais Classic Muslin Swaddle Blankets to cover while breastfeeding. They are very soft, large, and breath well. These are not actually made of muslin but cotton gauze. You can find this material at your local Joann Fabric and use a coupon to buy it if the price is too high. I actually bought them on Amazon and got an Amazon credit card which lowered the price to $12 for 4 blankets. I was happy I bought these because of the large size. These blankets are also great for putting under the baby to breastfeeding. If you find them other places such as target, the size is smaller which makes it harder to cover up when breast feeding. Sometimes I have breastfeed in the car. We recently went to our favorite amusement park Knoebles and they had a nursing station. Also, our local country fair had one too. I am realizing that she does not like sweat when breastfeeding. I read that it could be from the salt. There are some places that I am just not comfortable breastfeeding at yet but I am working on that. I am still afraid to breastfeed some places that I go. For example, there is a three hour trip to my parents house. Where will I breastfeed on the way? What if there is a traffic jam and my daughter is crying? What is my car breaks down?
Our little one is about two and a half months now. I did get a free breast pump with my insurance. I choose the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump but have not used it yet. I have a hand breast pump that I got from the hospital that I use incase there is too much milk and my breast are painful. For example if she sleeps though a feeding. But since I am a stay at home Mom I just try and breastfeeding.
So I will just write it here. I love breastfeeding. It is one of the most relaxing things I have ever done. I feel this connection with someone like I have never had before. I enjoy doing it almost every time. Breastfeeding at night relaxes me so I can fall right back asleep. I love that I don’t have to clean bottles. I like that I can just try to see if she is hungry quickly and if she is not try something else. I love looking into her eyes, feeling skin to skin contact, smelling her head, and relaxing as she does. I am glad I did the research and put the work in because I feel like it is one of the best things I have done in my life. I am very thankful for the help of others during this process. It took a village! I would love to help other women with the hurdles of breastfeeding. Sometimes when I breastfeed in public I think that woman who see me might give it a try themselves.
Also, my daughter had trouble taking a bottle in the beginning. We tried different nipples until one time at the right temperature she did it. So hopefully she will again in the future if the need arises. But so far it has not.
Also, we were very surprised at the poop consistency of breastfeeding compared to not. This poop is much easier to clean off. The other poop was much stickier which mad it harder to clean off which made the baby cry more. Sometimes she would not poop for a few days which apparently is normal. This made diaper changes much easier this time. I was also lucky to have a baby that did not loose much weight during breastfeeding. Actually she is a great weight which makes me feel more comfortable about the entire process. I don’t know if it is the baby but the breastfed baby is sleeping excellent at night. At about 1 month she was only grunting once at night which made me wake up to feed her. Then we would both go back to sleep quickly most of the time. With my other formula fed daughter I was waking up at least two times a night. But that might have only been the baby and not the way she was fed.
So if you are a list person here are some lists:
List of things to do to prepare for breastfeeding:
- Be around other people who breastfeed in public
- Check out where there is private nursing places in public (such as an amusement park that you enjoy).
- Start a facebook group with people you know who have breastfed in the past.
- Check out http://www.llli.org/ and http://kellymom.com/
- Buy products and have them on hand for when you start breastfeeding
- Ask people you know who tried breastfeeding how it went.
- Read other blog posts about breastfeeding.
Reasons Why I am Glad I Tried Again
- Less sticky poop
- Poops less
- Don’t have to clean bottles
- Can try feeding her at any time to check if that is the reason she is upset
- Relaxing brain chemicals
- Lessens risk of breast cancer
- I know all the ingredients that are in my daughters food source
Products that I used this time around:
- breast shield
- shower hug
- heating pad
- lansinoh cream
- lansihoh soothies gel pads
- aden + anais Classic Muslin Swaddle Blankets
- medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump
Other Posts you may be interested in by me: