Don't get me wrong, I don't judge or think people who formula feed their babies are wrong. Yeah, I personally think breast milk is better, but I don't think breastfeeding is for everyone. A lot of factors go into it. You have to be 100% dedicated to it in order to make it successful and easy on momma, and for some people, its just not possible. You are connected to either your baby or your pump, for however long you want to breastfeed, at all times. And remember, breastmilk is digested faster than formula, so those babies are ALWAYS HUNGRY. Like every 2 hours hungry and when they cluster feed, might as well just keep them latched on at all times. So, you might have a baby like mine that sleeps through the night from the first night home, but that doesn't mean momma gets to sleep through the night. If you want to keep your supply up and not feel like your boobs are going to explode, you gotta get up at least every 4 hours to pump. Plus this gives you a chance to build up your supply if you want to escape for a few hours and have them take a bottle of pumped milk. But don't get too excited, gotta get home and pump or feed. And please, I beg you, don't ever leave the house without breastpads, you will regret it after about 2 hours or if there is a crying baby around you. I learned my lesson with a trip to pick Cole up a few items and it was crying baby day inside Baby Gap. My grey tee had little wet marks, not the look I was going for.
So, what could possibly go wrong if your not dedicated??First, if you don't express milk enough, you have the potential for clogged ducts and god forbid, mastitis. Ain't no one got time for that. Trust me, when your baby is sleeping at night, the last thing you want to do is get up and pump, but you have to. Then there are the sore, bleeding nipples, I LOVE YOU LANOLIN. Oh, and having to buy a new wardrobe that easily accommodates to breast feeding isn't something you think of. But trust me, at 3 am, you don't wanna mess around with anything but a simple snap. And then you have the stress of 'what about when I go back to work'? It seriously is not for the weak. I commend any momma that exclusively breast feeds for any amount of time, it's a lifestyle and you do have to mold your life around it. And then you have the possibility of baby having sensitivities or allergies to food you are eating, this we will touch on in a bit-no bueno.
Enough of the not so glamorous sides of breast feeding, lets get to the good stuff. Breast feeding has taught me to chill. You can't multitask while feeding, so it forces me to sit, and enjoy my baby. And have you seen the price of formula these days, holy crap. So, just think of the money you are saving that can go towards cute little baby cloths or more Lanolin (seriously, its that good). I am not even going to go into the health and physical benefits for momma and baby of breast feeding. I think everyone knows and if not, just think, we make milk for a reason, its made to sustain life and help baby be as healthy and happy as possible. And the convenience of it is awesome. I leave the house with Cole and all I really need are a few diapers and wipes. No bottles, formula, bottled water, just the boob-check!!
My journey started off rough, Cole wouldn't latch on and I wasn't making much at first, and that led to him not gaining weight properly and me stressing out to a point that I couldn't sleep. Well just when we were thinking we would have to supplement and my heart sinking, it just fell into place. He started eating like a champ and I was a milk machine. Now, only 2 months in, I have an entire freezer full of milk for when I go back to work or need some alone time at Target and daddy can give him a bottle. It was tough like I said above, getting up in the middle of the night to pump, but now it's just part of my schedule. I will take it if it means Cole sleeps 9 hours at night. And, it does suck that I can't go to far from my baby or pump for too long, but I am ok with it. I dedicated myself to this and all that comes with it. So, for the weddings coming up, I either have to leave early to come home and pump/feed or get a very large clutch that my pump can fit in-does Coach make that yet?? And once I start back to work, even though I may have crazy busy days, i am going to have to find time to pump.
At about 1 month of age, I started noticing Cole being extra fussy, having some mucous in his poop and being a little gassy. Well, I went to the all knowledgeable Dr. Google (fyi-STAY AWAY), and it was sounding like my baby had a dairy intolerance. I was eating greek yogurt at least twice a day and loved sharp cheddar cheese for a pre-dinner snack. So, I took a 2 week hiatus from dairy, not fun, and noticed a little change, but didn't know if it was from him maturing into a fun little 2 month old, or if he really was sensitive. Well, I went back on dairy, and nothing changed. Then, my mind was going a million miles a minute and I was thinking he was allergic to something else, the eggs I eat on a daily basis, nuts, didn't like the my morning caffeine fix??? I was driving myself and Ross crazy. Before I went to a water and toast diet, I gave myself a break. Stopped worrying and just decided I am trying to find an excuse why I have a fussy baby. Food sensitivities and allergies are not as common as people think, but it does happen. Lets keep our fingers crossed that I was being dramatic (shocker).
Overall, my experience has been very good. I read A TON about what helps and what hurts breast feeding and everything associated with it- like I said, I am in for the long haul and wanted to be fully educated. It's not just something you can do, its a lifestyle in my eyes, for however long you choose. So, if I could just leave you with a few tips that have made my experience a positive one;
*Do not go more than 4-5 hours without feeding or pumping, it will hurt and could potentially affect your milk production.
* Eat lots of good healthy fats. Nut butter, avocado's, raw nuts, and salmon to name a few. And oatmeal in my eyes, is the best food to keep milk production up. Don't know why, it just is. Plus it keeps you full if you don't get to another meal for awhile.
|my breastfeeding power food|
* Do not try to diet or cut calories while breastfeeding. Your body needs calories to make milk, if it doesn't get it, it won't make milk.
* WATER, WATER , WATER. I am talking 3-4 liters a day. Put a bottle of water wherever you nurse and finish the entire thing while you nurse.
* Get your sleep. Stress and sleep deprivation can also cause low milk production.
*Buy a good pump. I have the Medela double pump and that bad boy can get all the milk out in 10 minutes, that is very tolerable. My insurance company would have paid for some lower grade pump, but I did not want to mess around with pumping for 30 minutes at a time. I love my Medela.
* Buy a supportive sports bra for when you get the ok to return to working out. I mean so tight you can barely get the sucker on. Nothing hurts more than bouncy boobs that are already sensitive and growing by the minute.
|Moving Comfort sports bras are a must|
* Educate your significant other about breast feeding. Just because we have the goods, doesn't mean they shouldn't know everything about it too. Especially about the care of breastmilk. How long and where it can be stored and how to prepare are most important.
*Buy at least 3-4 extra sets of parts. No one wants to wash and sterilize parts in the middle of the night.
* Lansinoh brand Lanolin, its thick like butta baby and feels so good on the nips.
*Boppy's work great for propping baby, but the Breastfriend is the bomb, highly recommend.
*Invest in a nice chair to nurse in, you will be spending lots of time in that special place!!
|my special place|
* Make lots of room in the freezer. I didn't anticipate making as much milk as I have. And now the frozen chicken breast have little room to mingle.
* Last, but certainly not least. Enjoy each feeding. It doesn't last long and its such an amazing bonding time. I love my time with Cole, listening to Kenny Chesney, rocking in our chair( not blue though- for the KC fans).
So, like I said, breastfeeding isn't for everyone. The most important thing is to make your decision, and stick with it. Don't second guess yourself. If you formula feed and your kid is sick all the time, don't wonder if it would have been different with breastfeeding, you'll drive yourself nuts. You are doing what works for you. And if you are bound and determined to breastfeed, its going to suck for a few weeks and you will probably shed a few tears. But I promise, it gets easier and you will be so happy you stuck with it!