Micheal made the choice for me! With breastfeeding. I stressed it before I even had him. I had this dream early on in my pregnancy where I was nursing a ferret. Fucking weird, I know. After I nursed it, it rubbed it’s cheeks in satisfaction. I had to send a message to my favorite dream analyst, Laurie Lowenberg! She said it was my anxiety about it. I think I was afraid it wouldn’t work and there’s so much pressure to be the perfect breastfeeding mom. It doesn’t exist.
As soon as the craziness of the birth was over they put him on my bare chest to see if he would latch. HOLY SHIT, he latched right on. He sucked so hard the nurses were like, “Wow look at that strong jaw.” I just watched in Awe. I thought to myself, this is it. He’s going to be a breastfed baby. I was fully prepared to go to straight to formula if I had to. I know too many Moms who couldn’t produce the milk. Never know what hand you’ll be dealt.
I remember getting nipple butter at my shower and thinking, do I really need this? Whoa did it hurt like hell. My nipples got raw and chapped. I most dreaded putting the bath towel around my body after a shower. For some reason the towel even brushing my nipples was the worst feeling. I used the cream before and after every feeding. Then at one point my nipples were just used to it. They have doubled in size. My husband was like WTH. Goodbye old perfect boobs.
In the first month Michael was super fussy. I almost thought he had colic. Everyone kept blaming the breast feeding. It must be what you’re eating, he’s not getting enough, switch to formula. I swear I almost threw in the towel so many times. Every doctor appointment he was gaining weight so I knew he was getting enough. When he’d latch he’d make this angelic sound as if he was the most satisfied baby in the world. My friend who is a breastfeeding consultant came over the first week. She pointed out the sound of it hitting his throat. It was a great thing to be aware of. Overnights it was him and I. In this thing together. My favorite. I survived watching “Sex and the city” and the Housewives. His smile after feeling full is the best.
He’d latch on the left perfectly then not so much on the right. The right nipple would get so sore and almost feel infected but it would go away. Jess also showed me how to latch him better on the right. You can check her out
I cut out dairy, tomato sauce and drank water like I was in the desert. In the first two weeks we went through 8 gallons of water on our culligan machine. Thank God we got that. As I got to weeks 7 and 8 it was as if he needed so much more. I was nursing every two hours. Pumping few times a day. I just couldn’t keep up. Breast milk is kind of watery and seemed to go right through him. My pediatrician said to give him a 4or 5 ounce bottle of formula before bed. It helped make him more full and he slept three hours. THREE HOURS! I was like YES!!!! Then that week he hadn’t pooped in 4 days. I was giving him Similiac “sensitive.” His doc had us switch to Similac “gentle comfort.” It’s the closest to breast milk. It’s been great.
Finding the right bottle was a challenge. The Tommy Tippee had too much release and he’d choke. Latch bottles had the slowest release and he’d throw a fit. Dr Brown also had to rapid a release.
So far the Lansinoh “Momma” has done the trick. I was able to get a free breast pump from my insurance company. At first I was going to get the Medela but switched to the Spectra. I posted on Facebook asking which was better. I love the spectra. For the first few weeks I was pumping one boob at a time until I realized there were two pumps meant to do both. Sitting there holding them in place was the WORST. The Lansinoh bra was a lifesaver.
Here’s the bra I use
It took about three or so weeks to finally be able to pump a good amount. First thing in the morning I’d get the most. By the end of the day I felt dried up.
I thought I’d crave a cocktail right after having him. Alcohol was the last thing I wanted. The thought of it made my mouth more dry. My first drink was on mothers day! We celebrated at a winery. Two glasses went right to my head. Luckily I had four bottles of pumped milk in preparation.
I think my Mom, sister and brother had a good time too! We were lit. hahaha So worth it. We laughed so hard we were crying.
I was literally petrified trying to figure out when to nurse again. I waited until the next morning. I pumped and dumped two overnight. I have these strips that detect alcohol. Really great to have.
As I was approaching the end of my maternity leave I decided to start weaning a bit and using more formula. I’ll be commuting four hours a day. The idea of pumping and moving the milk from fridge, to cooler bag, to fridge and to the baby. Too much. I had tremendous guilt. HORRIBLE. After speaking with my OBGYN she said any breastmilk is better than none. I nurse him before I leave for work and when I get home. I cherish each time knowing eventually we won’t have this. He also had a lot of trouble sleeping. I now give him 7 ounces of formula before bed. He’s been sleeping 8 hours.
I never realized how much I’d miss nursing full time. One thing I wish would change is judgement. People are so quick to judge on both sides.
When I’d tell exclusive breastfeeding Moms I was supplementing, some made me feel guilty mixing the two. Moms who only used formula would get weirded out by my conversation about nursing. Can’t win. Can we all agree fed is best?
Nursing my baby has been one of my proudest achievements. It’s not easy sticking it out when it’s painful or causing your baby to get gas. The bond we shared through the endless nights of breastfeeding will forever be close to my heart. One of my favorite things was my boy Cooper always sitting near when I nursed.
I took this picture Sunday afternoon. The week that followed would be the first time he rejected nursing. For two days he wouldn’t latch. He wouldn’t even let his mouth touch my breast. I was so confused. Also sad. I kept at it hoping he would latch again. I called his doctor and she said his nose congestion was affecting his ability. How can you nurse and breath if you have a stuffy nose? Then we tackled the stuffy nose for a week. In the process I tried pumping but those two days really set me back. I wasn’t getting a lot. Here’s the problem, he is a hungry boy. He’s sucking down 8 ounces of formula at a time. I’m assuming he’s just done breast feeding because he’s not getting enough. She suggested I give him some Gerber oatmeal. Not in the bottle though. From a spoon. She said if we put it in the bottle he’d want it in every bottle and that would be too many calories. Turns out he weaned himself.
For the incredible amount of highs you get from being a Mom this was one of the lows. When I kept trying my husband saidI couldn’t force it. If he’s done, he’s done. I cried. Cried so hard. Sean was like, “why are you crying?”
I was crying because that was our bonding. I felt good being able to give him the nutrients and antibodies he needed. I adored when he would fall asleep on my chest. How could it be over? Maybe if I hadn’t gone back to work I could have worked harder at it? So much guilt.
I realized I have to listen to him. Really tune into his needs. He’s now on formula and doing great. I miss nursing so much. I’m trying to accept it’s over and appreciate the time I had doing it. I’m slowly realizing we are our own worst critic.
To all moms out there, you are strong! To juggle all the things we do and give our babies the nurturing they need is under appreciated. Instead of judging each other we need to support one another. Ask questions and offer advice. Sometimes it’d be nice to hear a fellow mom tell you it’s ok.