25 April 2012

our ups and downs with breastfeeding: part 1

I have so much to say on this topic that I had to split it up!  Here's part one.

I won't lie, I was pretty intimidated about breastfeeding, mostly because of looking at illustrations like this one:
That just looked painful to me! (But now I know that it's not.)
I don't really like being touched, so the though of my nipple being shoved back in my baby's mouth kinda freaked me out.  But I also knew it was something I wanted to do.  Actually, when people asked, I said I was going to "try."  I had known so many people who gave it a shot and then gave it up after a few weeks.  I knew there would be roadblocks, so much so that a friend convinced me to attend La Leche Leaguemeetings while still pregnant.

So I did.  That first meeting, I wasn't completely enthralled by this group of crunchy co-sleeping mommas, but I finally got the opportunity to see someone breastfeed without a blanket covering them.  I had never actually seen it before.  In retrospect, I wish I would have asked one of those nursing mothers if I could just sit next to her and really observe it instead of simply pretending not to spy on her.

I did a few other things to prepare (read a book, went to the class at the hospital), but I still had no idea what I was in for.  Learning to breastfeed in the hospital was rough for me.  I was already exhausted from being awake for over 24 hours straight (3 of those actively pushing), and now I had to figure out this whole new world.  The nurses propped up some pillows around me in such a way that I couldn't figure out how to do it on my own when they weren't around.  They told me I had to feed her every 2-3 hours, but all I wanted to do was sleep.

Finally, at one point, B went home and brought me back the My Brest Friend pillow that my sister loaned me.  There was a rocker in the hospital room and this one nurse finally came in and set me up there, and it finally clicked.  (I still use that pillow every day!)  By that point, we were actually supplementing at the breast as well because it was day 3 (I stayed an extra day, thank you Tricare), my milk hadn't come in, and my baby was getting very close to losing 10% of her birth weight, which the doctors don't really like.  The syringe supplementing devices were great, and they even sent me home with a few.

I've lost all but ONE POUND of baby weight!!
My mom, who formula-fed both me and my sister, was actually one of my biggest cheerleaders.  That first week we were home, she would get up with me for those middle-of-the-night feedings, and just talk to me and fetch me water and sometimes food if I was hungry.  She was (and is) super grandma!  My mom never even tried to breastfeed, but I think we both have the same kind of determination.  If I really want to get something done, then by golly, it's gonna happen!  She never once tried to convince me of doing anything differently, and for that I am so grateful.

Some weird/fun things that happened early on were that my feet sweat every time I fed her.  I've always annoyed B with my cold feet and had to put on socks every night, but not those first few postpartum weeks!  I was wearing flip flops every day, and it was February.  (Granted, this is Florida, so that's not too weird here.)

And yes, my breasts hurt those first few weeks, as they were just getting used to all that new work they were doing. Sometimes I absolutely dreaded when baby got hungry, but once I actually had her latched on and nursing, I was basically in the zone.  Whenever I put my nursing pillow around me, it felt like I was putting on a suit of armor!  (I still feel that way sometimes when she wakes at 4am.)

I'm glad I made it through those first painful weeks! In part 2 you'll get to hear about a major setback we had a few weeks later.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Since everybody has a different experience with breastfeeding, I love to read a different perspective than my own.