Thursday, February 18, 2016

Our Breastfeeding Journey

**Warning - Nursing Pictures Included**

When you were born, the nurses put you directly on my chest and that's where you stayed for a few hours.  You showed no interest in latching, instead you just stared up at me and we were lost in each others eyes.

Throughout our hospital stay, you nursed a few times.  Each time resulted in dirty diapers (both kinds) and I was confidant you were doing just fine.  You never cried and you slept lots.  You slept so much the nurses were constantly insisting I wake you up and make you try to nurse.  You, my sleepy headed love bug, did not like being woke up and having a boob shoved in your face.  

After 24 hours, your father and I were DONE with the hospital and the lack of support from the lactation consultants.  At home, we did ok.  The first night was a bit rough because you had a shallow latch and wouldn't stay on very long.  After working with you for 24 hours on my own, I called an in house lactation consultant to come help us figure out what to do.  She was an angel.  For over an hour she taught your father and I better ways to hold you and how to help you get the best latch.  You nursed for over 30 minutes!  I was AMAZED.  The next day...BAM.  My milk came in.  I counted my lucky stars we called for help when we did.  You and I struggled with your latch over the next two weeks until you grew enough that you were able to latch on without any of my fancy maneuvers :)  

However - nipple sensitivity is REAL and it HURTS and lanolin was my best friend in the beginning.  By the time you grew enough to latch without help, it suddenly wasn't hurting either.  I was so proud that I persevered through the initial stages.  My goal all along was to nurse to 1 year, maybe longer if you still wanted to nurse in the morning or at night.  Each month that went by was a success in my book!

The day we brought you home, I brought out my pump.  I knew that I was going back to work and I wanted to have a few days worth of milk frozen; as well be comfortable with the pump.  This may have been a little overzealous - turns out I am an over producer.  I was able to pump enough milk to constitute us to buy a deep freezer to store it in!  At the highest point, I had 6 diaper boxes packed full of frozen milk (you were about 5 months old).  When you hit 6 months old, I began to taper off my pumping since we had so much frozen that I wasn't needing to keep up.  I dropped a pumping during the day and was still pumping more than you drank in a bottle at daycare.

We never had an issue with "nipple confusion".  You took a pacifier within your first week (from Dad, I didn't want to give you one at all) and still nursed great.  After you and I had nursing down pat, I wanted you to be comfortable with a bottle as well.  I didn't want you to struggle at daycare because of bottle issues.  The trick to getting you to take a bottle was Dad.  You would gobble up your milk if I was in another room pumping.

You and I have had a wonderful nursing experience.  Only once did I start to get a clogged duct, I immediately put heat on it and nursed you on the same side for a whole day (while pumping the other side) and the clog went away.

I'm grateful your daycare was right across the street.  I was able to nurse you every day at lunch and as soon as we get home.  For a while, you stopped getting bottles at daycare because I was there instead!
Napping post Nursing

I had a moment of fear/anxiety right before Thanksgiving.  When I cleaned out the fridge freezer and went to organize the deep freezer, I realized that there was only 1 box half-full of milk left.  For two days I was stressed thinking how we were going to get the milk to stretch out two more months.  Then it hit me - two WEEKS, not MONTHS!  You were two weeks from turning one!  Right then and there I started mixing some whole milk into some bottles.  You already loved yogurt and cheese, why hold off two more weeks of milk? hated it.  Right then and there you started hating bottles and reusing to take one.  You hadn't taken a bottle in a few weeks and you were only nursing at night and in the morning, so we began to put milk in a sippy cup.

Within a few days of your first birthday, you started sleeping past your morning nursing session so we stopped.  I was sad and grateful that we were still nursing at night, but you still struggled with cows' milk.  Daycare offered it to you all day long and sometimes you would refuse to drink until you had water.  Over the next few weeks you started nursing for a shorter period of time at night and the week of January 24th, you started to 'play' with me instead of nursing.  My dear lovebug, it wasn't fun for mom :(  So Tuesday January 26th I told your Dad that we had just nursed for the last time.  The next night you took almost two extra hours to fall asleep.  You were happy and calm, just not sleeping!  Your poor Dad was more stressed about you not nursing before sleep than you were.  Haha.

That Friday, the 29th, we nursed officially for the very last time.  You had a rough day (molars were starting to come in) and I was so upset we were done nursing that we snuggled up in your rocking chair and I nursed you to sleep.  After that night you weren't really interested anymore!  Bedtime routine went seamlessly and only twice in one month did you try to latch on for a quick snack.  And both times you looked up at me in annoyance and walked off to find your sippy cup!  Haha.

The past 14 months nursing you were the most enjoyable.  I loved every minute of it with you (pumping, not so much.)  If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a minute.

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