the 4 stages of breastfeeding

i know i have been m.i.a., but i have been trying to figure out some sort of balance with a newborn.  it's quite a task.  that, and i've been writing posts in my head.  so here's this one.

my 4 "stages" or "mind.sets" of breastfeeding

stage one | whatev.
while i was pregnant, everyone asked if i would breastfeed.  my answer always..."i'm going to try".  without divulging too much information, let me just say that i don't exactly have the most optimal anatomy for breastfeeding.  the girls are a little "shy"...so i've always been concerned that it just wouldn't work.  with that said, i did all the reading...talked to friends and family...got the top of the line pump...and told myself that it wouldn't be the end of the world if it didn't work out.  and while, no, it wouldn't be the end of the world...i think i would have been a little lot let down if it didn't actually work out.  regardless, i walked around with a "whatever" mentality.  and then she came...fast forward to june 3rd...

stage two | yikes!
at some point during drew's first days with us, my nurse came in to try her first feeding.  i should rewind and say that i'm about as modest as they come.  so, not only was i uptight about breastfeeding in and of itself...i was also anxious for any nurse or lactation consultant to give me a "hand" [based on some horror stories i've heard].  so - the nurse tried to get us going [she was a little odd to begin with] and, bless her heart, she tried and tried.  and i tried.  and drew tried.  and it wasn't happening.  the nurse didn't have many suggestions, except...a nipple shield.

in case you didn't know.
so, she would latch on to that.  but would pass out almost instantly.  even naked.  even while i tickled her feet.  even while we tried everything...probably because she was so little and it was just a lot of work to get much out [considering my milk hadn't 'come in' yet].  so we tried the shield through the night and it was going so-so and by morning, the pediatrician came in a little concerned about the amount of wet and poopy diapers.  she was only 5 lbs. 2 oz. to begin with and dropping.  so, she said we'd either have to supplement with formula bottles or try a supplemental nursing system [sns].

that tiny tube goes through the shield and the bottle is filled with formula.  p.s. that's not me.
if you think it looks complicated, it is.  and ours didn't have that handy neck strap.  jake had no choice but to hold it for the 45 minutes it took for her to down not even an ounce, until he figured out a way to rig it to the pillow.  but, the purpose of it was to get her interested in latching on and actually staying awake long enough to get a decent amount without straining herself...while still getting some colostrum or breast milk.  this seemed to be our best bet, but yikes...was it a production.  every.time.we.fed.

stage three | meltdowns
there were a handful.  will i blame it entirely on breast feeding?  no.  i think it was a bit of the baby blues.  but between the nursing every two hours and pumping about 5 times a day in the first few weeks [to really drive home that milk supply], i was a little warn out and seriously ready to give up at times. there were a few times when jake walked in to me pumping...in tears.  the one saving grace about the using the nipple shield, is that i could use a bottle much sooner, and pacifiers for that matter too.  this meant that jake could help, at times.  and since my pediatrician wanted us to supplement every 4 oz. with 3/4 tsp. formula in a day, i was "forced" to give myself a break and bottle feed her 2-3 feedings in 24 hours.  we had no issues with nipple confusion.  the downside to the shield, there's prep work involved every time you feed.  and juuuust when you get situated...she knocks it off. 

stage four | i am woman!
somewhere around 3 1/2 to 4 weeks, i finally felt like i was getting the hang of it.  jake was back to work and we were getting somewhat of a rhythm.  i was even able to phase out the use of the shield, on one side...at times.  we still go back and forth.  it depends on how much she's willing to work for it.  cut to six weeks [today!] and i'm pretty darn proud of myself for making it this far.  and while, yes, it can feel like a chore to pump three times a day and it's exhausting, at times, that she is completely and totally dependent on me...that's also the best part.  they need their mommies.  and i'm totally ok with that.

my words of advice - if you can just get passed that 2 to 2 1/2 week hump...it's a pretty awesome thing.  and the best part....it's free!

before i go | a list of breastfeeding must-haves...
1.  nursing tanks (mine are from motherhood and i love them)
2.  nursing bras...for the day and for bed (i recommend gap)
3.  lanolin and lots of it
4.  a really good, hospital-grade pump (my mother.in.law bought me the medela pump in style from cotton babies, where the price is the lowest we've found)
5.  a pump bra (thank you, marge)...hands free!
6.  nursing pads
7.  a dvr to record all your shows so you can watch them at 3 am


1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear it's going so well! I just wrote a post on weaning :( Cherish this time momma-it just flew right by me.

    And I second the idea of just getting past the first few weeks! Man was it tough in the beginning!


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