December 2014

December 2014

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Breastfeeding Journey

How can one image illicit so many different emotions in me?  When I look at this picture, I feel proud, I feel in awe.  I feel pain, I feel sadness.  I feel happiness.
I took this picture with my phone the other night, because it has been what I see every night, for the past 11 (almost 12!) months. 

My breastfeeding journey.

0-3 Months
Like all new moms, not knowing a thing, I began my breastfeeding journey with Kaitlyn totally and utterly clueless.  Sure, I took the breastfeeding class, but really, all it taught me was some positions to use with a doll.  I figured, my baby will know what to do, it's instinct right?  She'll just grab on and suck and everything will be hunky dory.  Wrong, so wrong. 

I didn't know that my baby would be jaundiced when born and would fall asleep EVERYTIME I tried to nurse her, and seriously, I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME!  I would have to tickle her feet, move her arms, anything just to try and keep her awake.  And since she wasn't nursing very well, she wasn't gaining weight very well.  So my pediatrician wanted me to supplement with formula.  Which I did NOT want to do.  I know formula is perfectly fine, and many babies thrive wonderfully on it.  But I wanted that bond with my baby, and I wanted the health benefits, and heck, I wanted the cheapness!

So my solution (thanks to my amazing lactation specialist, hi Amy!) was to first try and nurse Kaitlyn as best as I could, then to pump, and  feed Kaitlyn my pumped milk in a bottle.  That way she was getting the most milk I could give her.  Thankfully Kaitlyn drank from the bottle with no problem, and her weight finally started going up!  Success!  So because of this, I am so proud that Kaitlyn has never had any formula.  I was so determined to breastfeed my daughter, and had such a struggle in the beginning that I am so proud of both of us!

3-9 Months
Breastfeeding was now going great!  Kaitlyn and I made a great team, we had our positions down, and though it was painful in the beginning with dry and cracked nipples, it finally got better.  I was in awe of how God made our bodies perfect for breastfeeding.  How I, and I alone could sustain my daughter, giver her nutrients to grow into the beautiful little girl she is now.  It truly is amazing what our bodies are capable of.
And then at 3.5 months, it was time for me to go back to work.

I didn't know that when I had to pump exclusively at work, that I wouldn't pump the same amount that Kaitlyn was drinking.  In the beginning, Kaitlyn would get two bottles at daycare, and I would come at lunch to breast feed her.  She would drink 2- 3 ounces each, so 6 ounces total.  But I would only be able to pump 3-4 ounces at work.  So everyday I was at a deficit at -3 ounces.  Even though I had a small milk supply frozen, I knew my stash would soon be depleted.
Enter 3am feedings once again!  Since I was still adamant about not supplementing with formula, I came up with a crazy idea.  Since Kaitlyn goes to bed at 7pm and now sleeps through the night, I would pump once before bed at 10pm, and then WAKE UP AT 3AM to pump.  You heard me right folks.  In fact, I still do that to this day, because I still don't ever pump at work as much as Kaitlyn drinks at daycare.    You might call me crazy, I call it dedication.

9 months - present (11 months)
With Kaitlyn eating more and more solids, she started nursing less and less from me.  And she also started getting her teeth in.  And with teeth and nursing, pain came to me.  I'm pretty fortunate that she's only bitten me about 3 times so far.  2 of the times I screamed and then she screamed and cried, so I think she gets the point to not bite mommy!  Although I will say part of it was my fault.  I knew she was done nursing, and she started playing and next thing I knew, chomp chomp!

Once Kaitlyn turns one, we can start transitioning her to regular cow's milk.  I would like to continue my breastfeeding with her past one year, but only at mornings and night time.  But we will see what she wants.  I will be so sad when she finally is completely weaned off.  But a part of me will be so happy to be done with pumping.  And most importantly, done with my 3am pumping sessions.  And that's something to be happy about!

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