anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Our Breastfeeding Journey | 3 Months In



I've been thinking about this post for awhile now, but I didn't feel like I was far enough into breastfeeding to share yet.

Before I had Everly I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, mainly because there is so much hype right now about breastfeeding your baby. I heard that you should breastfeed for a year, but I wasn't sure that I could make it that long (who knows if I will still...). I didn't know if I would want to breastfeed that long, but more than that I wasn't sure that I would be capable. I've been small chested my whole life and honestly it never really bothered me but it was a real concern for me as far as making enough milk went (which, by the way, I learned has NOTHING to do with milk production). I was also concerned because my mom was never able to breastfeed past about 3 months because her milk dried up. I thought that maybe genetically I was destined to formula feed.

I told just about everyone that I would be fine either way, that while I wanted to do everything that I could to breastfeed I wasn't going to beat myself up if I couldn't (which I knew while I was saying it was a lie. I knew that I would beat myself up mentally).

When it came down to it, breastfeeding was nothing like I thought it would be. First, I had no idea that it took a few days for your milk to really come in. Hand expressing colostrum was no picnic and required me to pump 15 minutes then try and get out what I could into a spoon. I wasn't breastfeeding Everly at first because she was in the NICU and because her sugar levels weren't what the doctors wanted she had to be fed donated breast milk.

Breastfeeding is this beautiful and weird and wonderful experience. It does not feel natural, AT ALL. I'd read a lot about breastfeeding before I delivered to try and prepare. I knew the basics of how to get a good latch, I knew that it shouldn't hurt. I wasn't prepared for the fact that even though I knew what a good latch looked like and I knew how to try and get it, breastfeeding is something that both you and the baby have to learn how to do together. I was very sore. I first attributed that to the fact that I abused my nipples with hand expressing trying to get out every drop of colostrum to feed to Everly through a tube or in a bottle. Then I realized that even though I was trying to get a good latch, we were still working on it. When I showered I had to cover my chest with my hands to keep the water from hitting it directly or it was too painful for me. Eventually, we got to a place where Everly knew how to latch better, but then she was sucking my nipple in and out between her gums (thank goodness that stage is over).

Even though we got breastfeeding down, I honestly didn't feel that magical feeling that everyone seemed to have about breastfeeding. I knew that it was supposed to help me and the baby bond. It was good for the baby in a million ways. However, especially in the beginning, I didn't care whether the baby was fed from a bottle or from me. I felt the same about pumping as I did about feeding my baby. Both got her the food that she needed, but I didn't really enjoy either one. I especially hated when it was inconvenient, like when people came to see the baby and I had to feed her. I felt like my needing to feed her was taking away from them. Plus, I was a whole mess of hormones when it came down to it.

If it hadn't been for our birth class teacher telling us not to give up in the first month, I don't know how far along I would have made it. Especially when Everly started having green diapers on the regular. I knew that could have come from a variety of factors, but it was my job to feed her and make sure that she was having enough diapers and that they weren't all green. So I kept a food diary, diligently tracking every single thing that went into my mouth. Before I decided to give up dairy she was having green diapers for weeks and she had a rash on her face every time she ate. She never seemed to get fussy or spit up a ton, but those green diapers wouldn't quit. So I gave up dairy. And eggs when it seemed to bother her.

Breastfeeding is hard. It hasn't been until maybe the last month or so that I finally have started to enjoy breastfeeding. Now that I'm not so worried about what I'm eating and she seems to be gaining weight (that was another thing that I was always worried about. That I wasn't making enough for her or getting the right things for her to grow), and her diapers have returned to a normal color, I can finally enjoy it. I love looking down at her and watching her. I love knowing that I'm the one feeding her and that she's getting what she needs from me. It kind of makes me feel like Wonder Woman ( I felt that way in the hospital too, whenever I filled a whole syringe or bottle or the day we realized that she wasn't using donor milk anymore, just mine). Some of my favorite pictures of Everly are ones that I have taken while she was breastfeeding. It's a very tender thing for me, even though it took me a long time to grow into feeling that way.

I still don't know if I will make it a year and I still worry all the time about whether I'm making enough for her, but I am grateful that we've made it this far. I hope that we can make it all the way, for both of us. I will feel sad to lose this with her, even if it means no chocolate, ice cream, or cheese. Even if it means that I do still have to pump on occasion. Even if it means that I have to wear nursing bras all the time and try to figure out how to nurse in regular clothes (anything with buttons in the front has become my best friend). It is worth it.

I've linked a few of my favorite breastfeeding items below

-Bamboobies I think these are the softest and I like that they're reusable
-Off-brand Bamboobies These work just as well as Bamboobies in my opinion, are cheaper but are not quite as soft, which if you're having issues with soreness can make a difference.
-Boob Ease Nipple Balm I haven't used this often, but it is nice for when they are sore!
-Silicone manual pump Still love this. If you follow me on Instagram I talked about it recently. If you hate the extra time for pumping but still want to have some milk on hand or stock up in the freezer, I highly recommend this.
-Front zip/button nightgown
 Option 2 
My mother in law gave me something like this. I was kind of like "Okay" but it really has been the best thing ever. I lived in this (still kind of do) and a robe for the first month of motherhood.
-Breastfeeding pillow I used a cuddle U because it was cheaper than a Bobby, but I hear that a brest friend is actually the best thing ever.

What was your breastfeeding experience like?

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