This is my final week in the fourth month of pregnancy! I wish I had something new to talk about so instead I think I'll hit on the Breastfeeding topic I mentioned last week.
I am not the type of person that believes one way is the only way. I am horrified by people who attack women who nurse (especially in public) and by people who judge those who bottle-feed. I have used both means to feed my daughters.
With Elaina it was difficult to breastfeed because of my inexperience and lack of help in the hospital. Because I had her on a Saturday (actually both of my girls were born on Saturdays) the lactation consultant would not be in until my discharge day, Monday. The nurses had absolutely no experience with breastfeeding.
By the time the lactation consultant reached me I was a bawling mess, giving my newborn a little glass bottle of formula. My chest was raw and blistered from continually trying to get her to latch. I actually had those wound dressings (the gel ones) because I was so raw.
I went home clueless and cried our first two days home with guilt that I might not breastfeed. I was at the brink of giving up when, in desperation, I bought a breastpump. Apparently my gals are "flat" so they need to be coaxed out more. On top of that I used a handy, dandy device called a "ni.pple shield". Probably way more information than you ever wanted to know about me!
I nursed her for two weeks before switching to pumping. I gave up after one solid month of desperately trying. My daughter decided she liked bottles better anyway (they're easier to get milk out of). And Elaina was a S L O W eater. She'd literally eat every hour. When they say babies eat every 2-3 hours they mean that babies eat every 2-3 hours from the time they START eating, not when they end the feeding.
Similar nursing story with Abigail, except I used the shield for three months straight before my ta-tas were crying out to stop (shield is a temporary device). The reason I ended up using a shield was LACK OF SUPPORT in the hospital again. Apparently Abby was doing just fine, latching on great, but it hurt so badly that I kept unlatching her (that sounds weird) to try again.
I had learned in a breastfeeding class prior to having Elaina, "If it hurts, they're not latched on correctly." That is NOT true. When the lactation consultant finally came in (again, on Monday, my discharge day) she told me that caucasian women, specifically from Irish descent, usually have very, very sore breasts when they begin to nurse. Abigail had been latching on perfectly and the pain had nothing to do with that.
The hospital isn't bad. I just wish their lactation consultants worked the weekends, too. People don't just have babies Monday-Friday from 8 am to 8 pm.
This time I feel more prepared and have the information and skills to deal with whatever happens, with or without a LC. I will not give up and I'm hoping that the third time is the charm and that I can nurse without the shield (hate that thing)!
Because Abigail suffered a broken bone after birth I felt even more passionately about giving her breastmilk to help her heal. I felt that I was contributing to her wellness by continuing. She refused to wean from the bottle but loved breastmilk (I'm sure she'll love to read that as a teenager) so that made our end to nursing even more bittersweet.
Each time I stopped nursing I bawled my eyes out. My babies did just fine and didn't notice. But the Momma cried her little heart out. I don't want to struggle. I just want it to happen and be a wonderful experience. I definitely produce enough milk (and really good, fatty milk that is as white as cow milk!).
Funny story about that. The first time we left Abigail with her grandparents so we could go on a date, I put a couple bottles of pumped breastmilk in their fridge. When we came back to pick the kids up my MIL asked me if I left her regular milk or formula in the fridge because it looked like whole milk. When I told her that was my milk her eyes got as big as dinner plates! We had a good laugh about it. She was just relieved I hadn't left cow milk for my baby.
I'm trying to prepare myself mentally for nursing before we even have this baby. I feel good about it and that maybe it'll work. I'd love to be able to nurse until they're 6-12 months old. Plus, I hate washing bottles! Okay, so that's not the only reason to breastfeed but it's a good one when you don't own a dishwasher.
If you're wondering: both girls did wonderful with bottles and formula. I used Avent bottles with the breast-like ni.pples. And I used Enfamil Prosobee Lipil with Iron (soy-based formula). I believe soy is a lot easier on their tummies, though it stinks something awful!
But nursing is my preference so I'm definitely going to give it my all. And if it doesn't happen, I know I'll probably cry (hormones) but they'll grow up and be perfectly fine. My daughters are very, very healthy children who rarely get sick (even when we go shopping and I catch them putting their hands in the mouths!).