Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2nd Time is Not a Charm

After a successful 15 month run breastfeeding my first child, I expected things to go well with my 2nd... they didn't. I was cracked and bleeding while still in the hospital. I was in so much pain every time I'd try to get her latched on, that I was happy to try a shield for the first time. It definitely helped and I'm glad for them, but they were also the source of so much frustration.
I read and talked to everyone I could about things to try to get off the shields and everyone from her pediatrician to the LC said I should wean off them as soon as possible.
I tried. Everyday, I tried. And everyday I turned into a sobbing mess because she wouldn't latch and I had to turn to a shield again. I felt like I was trapped since breastfeeding in public is not easy, but it's even harder w/ a shield.

I finally after several weeks found an actual encouraging website and realized that if it wasn't for the shields, she would not be getting any breast milk at all and she was growing wonderfully, so what everyone had said about my supply suffering was not happening at all. I would stick the shield in my bra and go- that took care of where I should put it when I'm out and about.
I am quite sure the only real issue with her was a small mouth because at the ripe old age of 3.5 months, she was being silly and unlatching and looking up at me and smiling over and over. I decided that this was a good time to try my daily no-shield latch attempt. To my surprise she went for it! I knew because of a good run with my older daughter that it would be worth it in the end and sure enough it was all worth it.

She's now over a year and we're still going strong!
mom of Macy 1 year and Sadie 2.5 years

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"My Breastfeeding Freak Out."

I breastfed Sully, and to be honest? I kind of hated it.

I know, I know. Breastfeeding is beautiful and natural, and for some women, it's easy-peasy, warm and fuzzy, and makes them feel like they're snuggled in a blanket of marshmallows.

Or something like that.

Yeah. That never happened to me. I could blame the hospital for my poor start. When Sully was born, I asked the nurse if I should try breastfeeding. She responded, "Well, I guess. They're usually not hungry for awhile." Umkay. So I tried, but she didn't show me how. Later, I asked for a lactation consultant to come make sure I was doing okay. She never showed. I left the hospital with blisters (yes, as painful as it sounds), and a huge bruise on my right nipple. Joy. I also found myself seriously engorged and feeding a baby every hour and a half. My boobs were bigger than DDs. I'm 5'3 (erm...5'1ish), and I looked like Dolly Parton on crack. Sully had what his pediatrician referred to as "barracuda latch" which basically meant he attacked my boobs like a fiercesome, toothy fish. Again, every bit as pleasant as the name implies. Breastfeeding hurt like hell for about four weeks.

Sully latched relatively well. Except when he didn't and would root back and forth in frustration. And he ate well. Except when he got tired of it, and he would instead, cluster feed. He would eat for a few minutes every few minutes. Which meant for me, having to go through the pain of latching over and over and over. I would leak everywhere. I constantly found myself out in public with huge wetspots on my shirts despite trying every kind of breast pad to prevent it.

And the pump. I despised the pump with every piece of my being. I realize that many women exclusively breastfeed and never give their babies a bottle. I commend them because ladies, you are stronger than I. I wanted to have a night or two (or maybe a few more) where I could have a couple glasses of wine and then sleep for more than an hour. On those nights, I loved having some milk stored in the freezer, and my mom would help by taking a night feeding. Or she would take Sully on Saturday mornings for a morning feeding while I rested. Thus began my relationship with the Medela Pump In Style. Nothing can prepare you for seeing your nipples be sucked into an unnaturally pointy shape into hard plastic cones over and over. Nothing. The suction was anything but comfortable. Instead of a sweet baby making me feel uncomfortable, I was dealing with a plastic machine and a motor sound. Luckily, I only used this demon contraption once a day or so for the six months that I breastfed.

Today, I bought a new pump. I decided to go with the Ameda Purely Yours after reading a bunch of reviews. Apparently, it's about as effective as the Medela, but it's a closed system, which means milk can't get into any of the motor on accident. With the Medela, milk was sucked through the tubing into the motor and MOLD grew. I just found the mold yesterday and about vomited in my mouth, so it was time for a new one. I fear this machine, but hopefully my experience will be better than last time.

The only reason I continued to breastfeed as long as I did was because I knew it was good for Sully. I also was loving the fact that all my baby weight was gone in a mere twelve weeks. Selfish, no?

I plan on breastfeeding again, and I would love to make it to six months again. I wonder if it will be more difficult for me this time around. If I'll want my body to myself sooner. If I'll want to not view my boobs as a food source. If chasing a toddler and breastfeeding an infant will be more difficult. At least this time, I'll be more informed. I know to ask for help more assertively if I need it. I know of countless women who breastfed at least a year, and many beyond, that I can use as a resource if needed. I know who to lean on for support when it gets really tough.

Mrs. Trophy Wife, Mom to Sully (15mths) Baby Dos (Due Aug 2!)