Monday, May 4, 2009

Week 16

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!).


The Mommy said...

Nursing Muffin for only her first five days of life has left me with the greatest guilt! Like you, I'm hoping that it works out betterthis time. The lactation consultant may become my new best friend.

Susan Sene said...

I have a fear I won't be able to breastfeed and I so desperately want to. :) Hopefully we'll both be able to!

Valeta said...

I also gave up nursing my first baby. I had no support and it hurt. All my babies seem to just nurse constantly in the beginning.

But I nursed my second for 12 months. My advice is to not give up! You can do it!

Becky said...

I SO agree with having lactation consultants on duty every day. Nothing is more frustrating to a new mom than not having the help they need to give nursing an honest chance, and babies need to eat within a few hours of birth, so you can't exactly 'wait'.

They weren't "on duty" the day I had Jericho, either. After an awkward attempt with the 'help' of a very old nurse, she said, "It's not working" and whisked Jericho away to the nursery. They so freaked Jeff out about his needing food, that they talked him into consenting to formula (without my knowledge or consent). I was SO angry with the hospital for that. (I was worried he'd develop a taste for the formula and not want breastmilk). I insisted on nursing him even though he was not properly latched on and it caused me great pain.

The day after we checked out of the hospital, I met with a lactation consultant who helped me get him properly latched and set me up with a nursing pillow which changed everything for me. It was more comfortable then for both of us, and no more nipple pain.

With both my boys, I often laid down on the bed or sofa at home to nurse, as with larger boobs it was hard to cuddle and yet not smother my babies while feeding them, lol. Holding them in the crook of my arm (as I saw so many smaller-breasted women do with ease) was never an option for me as it wasn't a comfortable angle for my babies to latch on.

All that to say it's hard work getting each baby used to the procedure, but so worth it in the longrun if you can make it happen.

Anne Elizabeth said...

My doctor prescribed this wonderful cream this time around. It made a major difference for BF. I didn't have to deal with the cracked bleeding nipples this time. I will tell you the name if you end up BFing so your doctor can prescribe it for you too. I could only get it at Hyvee but it was really cheap. Anyways. Nipple shields suck! I had to use on with pink and it was awful. Thankfully I didn't with the boys. Gosh I sure hope no guys read my comment since I mentioned my nipples. lol

Sunshine. said...

I had a horrible time getting Riley to breastfeed. It would take awhile for him to get latched on, then he would fall asleep after like 3 minutes!!!! it was horrible. Everyone at the hospital was GREAT with breastfeeding though. I used a nipple shield for the first week but, believe it or not, my boobs were toooo big!!! I really couldn't get it down so I pumped the next 3 months for the most part. Ouch, I know, but it was sooo much easier for both of us. Then I had to switch to formula when I went back to school ): but he did great with the change!

Raising Olives said...

I hope that things work out for you this time around. Have you read the "Womanly Art of Breastfeeding". It is a terrific resource and should be available at your library.

I have been blessed to nurse all of our children for a year or longer, but realize that it is not that easy for everyone. My grandmother was not able to nurse any of hers, no matter how hard she tried.

Would love to know about Abigail's broken bone. Was it after or during birth? Did you know that 4 of our children suffered broken bones during birth?


Kaye said...

I completely understand your struggles and how they emotionally affect you. I went through something similar with Patrick and am also hoping that this time goes better!

What's important though is that you are working to do everything you can for your baby...that's true love and all that matters.

Proverbs 27:19 said...

I'm so glad that you still want to try at it again, (and that would be with anything),keep the optimism and all will be fine!


My Regular Voice said...

I do both BF and pump. Luckily BB doesn't have nipple confusion, and eats either way just fine! I have noticed that when I pump and feed him that milk at night he sleeps for 4-5 hrs, so that's my method now to get a good nights rest. It's been like that for a week now, and I like to think it's because I tried that. But I do both, and sometimes it hurts, but I look to see if they are pinched meaning a bad latch on, and some times they are and sometimes they aren't. I just suffer through it because I really don't want to do formula. I'm aiming for at least 6 months.

Mel said...

I love nursing, I believe it is my favorite time with my dear sweet baby. It's a special connection only she and I share.
I truly pray this time you'll be able to make it work. I don't think anyone should feel guilty when it doesn't happen, but I bet I would have felt exactly the same way. And yes, it does hurt the first week! Anyone who says otherwise has got nipples of steel!