February 10, 2017

My Breastfeeding Journey

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You may recall my old post "Why Breast Isn't Always Best" and while I have considered deleting it, I decided to keep the post up because it shows how much I have changed and yet I still agree with it in many ways.

After a lot of conversations with the midwives and my husband during my pregnancy, eventually, they managed to convince me to give breastfeeding a shot.

Unfortunately, I had a rough start due to no lactation consultants being available when Elsa was born since she chose to arrive on a holiday. The nurses weren't too helpful even though I kept asking about my latch. They just said it looked alright and to keep trying (when obviously it wasn't, but they aren't as trained as lactation consultants). The midwife who saw us on Christmas was a bit more helpful since she was able to manually express milk from my breast, so we at least knew I was producing milk. It wasn't until our pediatrician appointment that I finally got the help I needed (Our pediatrician is also a lactation specialist.)

By then my nipples were already cracking and had some bleeding. I was ready to give up, especially since our baby lost too much weight. The pediatrician finally was able to help me with latching and positioning. We did end up needing to supplement formula to get Elsa's weight back up, but after a day my nipples were already almost fully healed, and after a couple more days they were completely healed and breastfeeding got easier, and no longer hurt! Breastfeeding should not hurt, as I have discovered. Your nipples may feel sore afterward, but they make creams for that, but during the feeding, it should not hurt. If it hurts, your baby is most likely not latching correctly.

I do also have a pump but have found pumping to actually be more of a chore than breastfeeding so I only pump once a day, on a rare occasion twice. It is pretty hard to find time to do it too since I never know when the baby is going to cry and I have to drop everything. I usually pump when my husband is home so he can handle the baby. Pumping also isn't as good as the baby is at getting milk out of your breasts. The most I get is like half an ounce of milk after 15-20 minutes of pumping, but that's of course after I feed my baby. I got 2 ounces once when I didn't feed her first.

Now it has been a few weeks and I am still breastfeeding. It is not as inconvenient as I thought, especially since I am a stay home mom now, so I have the time to do it. If I was working, I'm pretty sure we would be strictly formula feeding. (For those mamma's out there that work and breastfeed, kudos to you as I know I could not do it! ). However, it is a lot more time consuming than I would like, but hopefully that will lessen as she gets older and doesn't need to fed as frequently.

We do still use formula from time to time. Usually once in the evening so I can get at least 4-5 hours of sleep without interruption while my husband feeds and watches baby (sometimes she is super hungry and ends up taking four ounces instead of just two). Then he sleeps the rest of the night since he works, and I follow "sleep when the baby sleeps" rule till morning. It has been working pretty well.

The other times we give her formula are if she is still super fussy/hungry after breastfeeding or if I am just super tired/stressed and need a break. I feel bad at times because it feels like I am giving up, but at the same time, I need to take care of myself, and there is nothing wrong with formula. At most she has four bottles a day, on a good day, she will only need two or three,

Eventually we will probably switch to just formula, but for now I want to give her the breast milk as I know it has all sorts of good stuff to help her immune system. Plus formula is expensive so the more she breastfeeds, the less we spend on formula!

In the end, you have to do what is best for you. The most important thing is that your baby gets food, be it breast or bottle.

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