For Moms Only – World Breastfeeding week is the first week of August!
My Personal Breastfeeding Experience So Far:
Breastfeeding as a Brand New Mom
When I was pregnant, I thought breastfeeding would be easy. After all, it’s the natural God-given miracle food for baby, so it should just happen easily, right? Wrong. I had recurring pregnancy dreams about forgetting to feed baby (yeah, right), which I quickly disregarded as the same dream showed us putting baby in a pan of lasagna to keep him warm. (If you didn’t already think I’m crazy you do now, haha). When Micah was finally born, the nurses showed me how to help him latch on to a big mouthful and the first few days were a blur of feeding him at least every few hours. I felt like he cried all the time and I barely got any sleep, and I didn’t like the nurses looking at us nursing as I wanted privacy (even though I’m a nurse too and know they only have the best intentions) so I didn’t ask for help much.
Breastfeeding a 1-3 Month Old
For the first two months or so, Micah was tongue-tied (just slighty) and colicky! I felt like he was eating ALL THE TIME! And if he wasn’t eating or sleeping, he was crying. And sometimes he was crying while he was eating (incredibly disheartening). I was breastfeeding him for an hour or longer, every two hours. I couldn’t do anything other than feed him, felt incredibly overwhelmed with 50% or more of my time was being spent feeding him, and didn’t know what to do! Then I talked to a friend who said that any baby should be able to fill their tummies within 12 minutes per side, after that it’s just comfort eating. So, I started cutting him off after 30 minutes of eating.We did a lot of rocking, cuddling, and using a pacifier (Peter was so helpful); my nipples started recovering and I regained a lot of time in my day. I wish someone had told me sooner! I quickly learned that if I cut him off and he started wailing, he was still hungry; if he was distractible, he was full.
Feeding Baby of Both Sides
Around 3 months old, Micah developed a sort-of schedule, eating every 3 hours (almost exactly) day or night, and napping in between each feeding. The colic got a little better, we got his tongue-tie cut (it was causing me pain and worry), and I went back to work. Up to this point, each time he ate he would nurse off one side and I would pump the other. This meant I built up an awesome supply of frozen milk, but also had very full sore boobs. So then I switched to feeding him on both sides (I cut him off at 15 minutes per side). For the first few days of that he seemed a little more fussy, he probably got more watery foremilk and less of the good stuff, then my body adjusted and life got better.
I believe in protecting the men and boys around me from seeing more than they should, as well as protecting other women from being uncomfortable in my presence. And babies, especially Micah, can be unpredictable and pull off suddenly. So I use a nursing cover in public, or when any male other than Peter is nearby. Unless I’m in a nursing room (like the one in Nordstrom’s in the Mall of America) or behind a closed door. When I’m with my mom and grandma, I’m not worried and just nurse away (it’s so awesome to have my family supporting me so it’s not awkward). When Micah was about 6 months old, he started pulling the cover off, so now I have to be careful about where I nurse and how well I’m covered.
Breastfeeding Does get Better!
Now we are doing great! It took time to get into a rhythm, but these days he sleeps through the night, and breastfeeds when wakes up in the morning, two times a day after food, and before he goes to bed at night. I love being able to bond with him (despite the scratches on my chest from his nails) and wouldn’t give it up for anything. I pump when I work (my coworkers are awesome about letting me take breaks) and he takes a bottle like a pro from his daddy. I’m planning to breastfeed for at least a year, hopefully more. Pumping at work is incredibly annoying and quite difficult some days, but it’s worth the effort for this little bundle of joy. God gave women boobs, we should use them (appropriately) for all their purposes!
Please let me know if you have concerns or questions about breastfeeding and I will do my best to answer your questions and encourage any mom who needs it, breastfeeding is the best for your baby!