Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the more you know

When talking with a friend the other week we mentioned how hush-hush the topic of breast feeding is. Just before you have your baby you decide if you're going to nurse or not and then when talking about it with others all you ever hear are nightmare stories that freak you out and make you want to change your mind. Since I'm a pretty open person I have decided to share my knowledge and my experience on nursing. So for those of you who don't want to hear about it I suggested you stop reading....now.
Keep in mind that everything I say is all from my own exerience. Everyone's experience is different because I think our success at nursing is mostly up to your body, not us. For me though nursing was a very positive experience. Cason had no trouble learning to latch on. The first couple of days it went smooth and there were no problems or pain. Then I woke up one day and my breasts were huge! That's when my milk came and when latching on began to hurt. I used a cream after every time I fed Cason which helped from them drying out, cracking, and bleeding (I did this for a couple of months). So I highly recommend using that. The pain of Cason latching on faded and then nursing was just like any other thing and not a big deal. When he was a new born though he took f o r e v e r to eat! It was a good half hour, mostly because he fell sleep a lot! But as he got older he got faster and could stay awake.
At the beginning I woke up every three hours to feed Cason. But when he started sleeping through the night I was really engorged every morning. So I would pump to help out and would save the milk for a babysitter or his rice cereal (which you usually mix with breast milk). You can freeze breast milk for six months. When you're engorged though, it hurts. Your breasts are huge and hard. I couldn't sleep on my stomach when they were like that because the pressure hurt too much. If I was engorged in the evenings I would pump so it wouldn't be so bad when I woke up in the mornings. Some times my breasts would be different sizes too. It was kinda weird. Some times he would eat really good on one but not on the other so they'd be different. I'm pretty sure I was the only one that could tell, thank heavens.
I would get plugged milk ducts a lot. Where milk would gather in just one spot on my breast and I could feel it and some times even see it poking out. It was like a little hard spot. When this would happen I would put heat on it for a good ten minutes or so and then nurse or pump to help get the milk out from that one area. It usually worked pretty good. Travis reminded me to put heat on it numerous times because that's how you can get an infection and it made him nervous.
When Cason was a newborn I fed him every three hours, on the dot. And can you believe I never needed a clock to tell me when it was a feeding time. Why? Because my nipples would start to tingle. So weird. But my body was on a clock schedule just as much as Cason was and every three hours, my body was ready. Leaking! Oh how I leaked. Mostly just in the beginning though. I used breast pads every day, every day. I could tell when I was leaking, I could just feel it. When he was a newborn I would leak when I heard another baby cry. In church, at the store, etc. It was the weirdest thing. But when you're wearing a breast pad you're covered and don't need to worry. I only leaked for the first couple of months. When my breast pads were dry for the whole day for about a week I think that's when I stopped wearing them and never needed them again. Then I would good when I heard other babies cry. I think it's just like that in the beginning because it's something your body has to get used to.
I was lucky and my milk never dried up. I decided to wean Cason off nursing at twelve months. Do I miss it? Kinda. I mostly miss just holding and snuggling with him but that's pretty much it (it is so much fun feeding them table foods) Now I try to get that fix of snuggle time with reading him books on my lap or something. So now Cason drinks from a sippy cup. I completely skipped the bottle stage. Because he did so good nursing he really never took a bottle very well so I took him straight to the sippy cup and I'm glad I did. If he's old enough to feed himself then he doesn't need to be a bottle. In the beginning I would mix Cason's milk, half whole milk and half breast milk. I did this until he actually started drinking all of his milk. Then I would just lessen the breast milk and add more whole milk until he was fine with just whole milk. This took about a week.
He now does really good with the sippy cup. At first it was a transition, especially the whole milk part. I did it slow, for me just as much for him. By twelve months he was getting four feedings a day. So on day one I cut his lunch feeding and gave him the sippy cup and would just pump. I did that for about three days. Then I cut out the afternoon feeding and would pump in between lunch and afternoon and I did that for about three days. Then I cut out the night feeding and would pump right before bed, did that for about three days. His morning feeding is the one he usually ate the most at so I cut that one last, which was the hardest. But I stuck to my guns and always gave him his sippy cup when he was whinny or fussy. At this point I would just pump whenever I felt engorged, about twice a day. A couple days later there was never any milk coming out so I stopped. Drying up hurt for awhile. I got a lot of plugged milk ducts that I would continue to put heat on every day. Every morning though they got a little better and a little softer.
Cason figured out the sippy. I would always leave his sippy cup with milk out too. He would get his breakfast milk, we'll call it, from when he got up till his morning nap which is about two hours. By then he usually drank it all. I would do that through out the day with his lunch and dinner milk as well. Now he does great. Some times he eats it all and some times he doesn't. Did he lose weight? Oh yeah. Does he look skinny? Oh yeah. But that's all apart of growing up, especially once they start walking.

Like I said earlier, this was my experience and it was very positive. Will I nurse again? Yes. Will it be the same? Probably not. Every time is different and it really all depends on our bodies. I got lucky this time around. Hopefully I get lucky when number two comes around.

Now you know a little bit more about breast feeding.


Missy and Jake said...

I am so glad you posted that because now i have a source to look to when i start having kids. I had no idea you could get those clot things. Thanks Camille for a very insightful post!! I Can't wait i hope my expierience is as good as yours was.

Ali said...

I loved this post!!! I am definitely pro BF so it is nice to hear some positive feedback. Let me know if you recommend any books!

Lynn said...

Your experience was very, very similar to mine. Almost exactly. Except I didn't get the clogged ducts at all. It was very simple and really handy to breast feed, after the intial learning curve, which really isn't as bad (usually) as we can be led to believe. That said, I do know women who couldn't breast feed for one reason or another, either by choice or physiology, and that's fine, too. But if people are considering breast feeding, I think our experiences are the norm rather than the exception.

TheTerry's said...

How nice. It sounds like you had a good experience. My first baby was a nightmare to breast feed since I had constant infections and had a bad reaction to pumping. It actually took of the skin around the nipple, and wouldn't heal for months. I remember stomping my foot on the floor and biting my lip while nursing because the pain was so bad. I nursed him for 10-11 months. Second baby there was no problems at all, no infections, (i never pumped) and no clogged ducts. It was fabulous. But of course, my milk dried up after six months. Who knows what will happen with baby #3. I enjoyed reading your story :)

Heather McGowan said...

I just noticed this cute cute blog! Props to you for being able to actually update it and keep it going. Mine is just a sizzle. ha But I liked your post on breast feeding. I had a really positive experience with both Haiden and Kailey. I did get stomach sick-- like maybe food posioning that lasted about a week which made me totally loose milk supply with Kailey. BUT! I just wanted to say that the second time around is so so much easier! At least, it was for me. And, i've heard the same from others. So once you get done the first time around, and even if it wasn't the best experience.. the second will be better! ;)

Telsha said...

Thanks for posting. My experience was pretty similar as well although with my first I got a cut on my nipple cuz we weren't latched on right and ended up after months of pain and trauma losing all the milk in one breast. Yeah, not so good so I nursed her exclusively for like 8 more months on one side. So with my second I never was able to get my milk supply in that side up and had to supplement with formula cuz he wasn't getting enough. But I nursed Skylee till 13 months and Jaston is still half and half at 1 months. I love it! I love how you wrote it all down right now because you seem to remember so much I have such a hard time remembering anything! Kudos to your post!

RonElaine said...

This makes me miss nursing so much! I love nursing my babies. Starting off with Maliah was nightmare-ish, but after lots of appointments with the lactation consultant, we did great! We nursed for about 20 months. Then came Anna - she was a breeze at first, so much more experience the 2nd time around. But, she and I continued to get thrush on and off the entire time she nursed. And it was such a battle at the end - much to my dismay, she was ready to be done by her 1st birthday. Something so finite about stopping - it means they really are getting big and not just a sweet baby anymore!

Jer and Jules said...

It's sort of weird people don't talk about the good experiences as much as the nightmare ones, so I'm glad you posted. It's funny how different and similar my experience has been to yours so far. I'm planning on weaning Ella around 12 months too, so it's good to read a little of what to expect.