I am writing this because although there are tons of sites, groups, and people out there supporting breastfeeding, and they can answer tons of questions. And I am more than certain they can probably provide more factual and educated information. I am not about to go out and do the research and write a paper. If facts, and doctors answers are what you want, than your looking at the wrong blog. I am here simply to tell you MY story, MY experiences, and MY journey. This has been the most amazing thing I have ever done. I have learned so much, and there is nothing quite as fantastic as breastfeeding.
From second 1, when I heard her breathe her first breath and let out her first cry I was hooked. There was no way that little girl was gonna leave my side, she had me wrapped around her finger from her first breath. Anyone who knows her, and myself today, a year later, can vouch that its rather clear she hasn't ever. As she is still a major mama's girl and if I was willing would be literally in my arms every second of the day.
Well maybe the love I have for her makes it seem like everything has always been easy. It hasn't we had problems from the very beginning. She was pretty good at latching, but only on one side. And since my birth plan went right out the window with the c-section as did my hopes of everything going smoothly with breastfeeding. Since I had the c-section just as I had heard (although admittedly never really read about/nor cared I was so set in my mind that I was going to have her naturally) my milk supply didn't come in right away. I was heartbroken, she wasn't getting what she needed from me. After 2 days the doctors took her weight again and came to tell us that she had lost weight and they needed us to supplement just 10 ml of formula a day. It made me so sad, I wanted to be the one who provided her milk to her. But I was almost constantly nursing her to try to get the milk to come in. I was very dedicated to breastfeeding and I wasn't going to let it stop me.
By 4-5 days in the Hospital and Kyra gaining enough back they were no longer concerned she was taken off the formula and we were released. A day after getting home. Probably cuz I was finally able to relax my milk came in and nursing became much less of an issue. Or for a couple days it did. Than there was another issue. Breastfeeding magazines everywhere say that you can feed on demand, and that a baby will never overeat. HAHA so not true. Maybe it was because of her first couple days being so hard, or maybe I had done so much to stimulate my supply that I now had more than she could handle. But either way she didn't know when to stop she would eat and eat and than throw up most of it back on me. It was super gross and for 2 weeks I was really concerned something was wrong with her, plus I constantly smelt like spit up cuz it would litterally soak whatever I was wearing, she was wearing and since I rarely moved from the bed as I was still recovering from surgery it tended to soak our sheets too. It really increased our laundry list, poor hubby was so good about it.
One morning I was so concerned about her spitting up so much I called LLL. But they weren't able to come over and help out. And she told me to just try different positions and to just make sure I burped her. I tried this before finally deciding it was time to go to Google and see if anyone else had experience what I was going through. And sure enough there were people asking questions about it everywhere, and lots of kind advice. After doing a bit of searching around I decided that we were gonna try only nursing on one side and every 2 hours. It was nice to have some sort of order about how the day went. And it gave us a perfect schedule to make sure she was eating but not too much. Not long after the throwing up started to slow down. I was only getting spit up on every other day or so. I will say even with eating on a schedule she didn't completely stop until about 3 months. But that is alright it was far better than every single time she ate. And although I didn't let her eat on demand, she still was getting plenty and was gaining weight properly.
I have to say that after we figured out the overeating problem we were smooth sailing until about 11 months. We did occasionally get a blocked duct, and spent many days with either heat packs or ice packs on my boobies to help clear them out!! They can be painful and very uncomfortable but not something you can't get through with patience. Also growth spurts can be a very scary time too. As it will feel like your supply is dropping and you'll do anything you can to get i back up than suddenly it's over and bam your engorged and just want them to keep eating. But it only happened maybe 3-4 times in a year and it passes before to long. I learned to NOT pump when you feel over full to just suck it up until the next feeding cuz pumping only tells your body to make more. These growth spurts were worse after 9 months when Kyra started sleeping more at night so when I was engorged I had to wait longer to relieve the pain.
So as I said tho it was pretty much smooth sailing. I think living here in Europe made me more confident about breastfeeding specifically NIPing(nursing in public). Mostly because you got weirder looks when you wore a cover than you would have if you just discreetly sat on a bench and fed your baby. It is so much more of a normal thing here. I think I may have shocked a few people when I went back to visit stateside when I would sit on a bench in the mall and just nurse and never think twice. But I swear I never did it to just cause a scene or for any sort of women's rights type attention. Although mind you if someone was to have something to say about it, I had a whole spiel in my head on telling them off and wouldn't have been afraid to tell my opinion.
So I started asking around, friends, family, doctors, and my nutritionist at WIC. They all had different little tricks to the trade but pretty much it came down to doing it slowly there is no rush, just work with eliminating one feeding at a time. But to wait til the timing seems right. Okay that seems easy I thought alright she nurses about 4 times during the day where do we start. So I took a look at her schedule and decided which time was gonna be easiest to distract her or give her a snack to replace the nursing and hold her over til her next nursing. For me it was her mid morning time. She would wake up from her first nap and want to nurse right away, but it was pretty close to lunch at the time so instead I started giving her lunch just a little bit earlier, and to slowly push it back to the normal time as she adjusted. And it worked. That feeding went away so easily it gave me great hope to the whole experience going smoothly.
Next one to go for us was right before bed. A lot of people say that is the hardest one. But since we feed Kyra at 630, giver her a bath at 7 and she goes straight to bed she was still full from dinner so this wasn't really an issue. It was probably harder on me than her because it was such an attachment thing. I loved our cuddling time, and now it just keeps her more awake, she does better now if we just give her kisses and loves and lay her down and let her get herself to sleep.
Than we were down to two. They were ones she relys on the most, the afternoon one, after lunch and to make it to dinner. And the one first thing in the morning. I knew this was gonna be hard. So my thought was that if I started her on milk she would start to self wean and would drink it during this time to hold her over. So we gave her, her first cup of milk. And were just gonna wait a couple weeks before eliminating that feeding once she started drinking more milk. But than came our next challenge, her body wasn't ready for milk, and wasn't digesting it well, she would be up at night crying from the gas bubbles it was causing and her butt was bright red when she would poop. So we took her back off until she cleared off. I was so discouraged and confused on what I was going to do next. And instead went back to nursing at around 330 everyday. We went this way until just this last week. When I reintroduced her to milk (we are doing Lactaid for now) and we have stopped having problems and her body seems to be dealing with it better. So just the middle of this week we decided to stop the afternoon feedings. It was hard at first as she was so used to it being part of her schedule. But she seems to be doing fine with out it now with out nursing in the afternoon.
I have to say that yes we still have on time we nurse everyday, and although I plan to indeed eliminate it also, we are gonna go ahead and just nurse in the mornings until we both feel ready to be completely done. We are past the year mark, and I never thought I would but when the time came around it wasn't as easy as I had expected. You can't just go cold turkey! And you don't want them to feel abandoned either. Breastfeeding can be challenging at times, but most the times it is so completely wonderful. Its such a great bonding time, and the benefits for both you and baby are incredible.
Stay tuned this weekend as I finish off this Breastfeeding topic with stories from two other incredible mommies and their adventures with breastfeeding!! I plan to touch on other interesting parenting topics pretty soon with plenty of different perspectives!!
For Part 2 click this LINK
For Part 3 click this LINK