When I started on this pregnancy journey I swore I would never be a breast feeding mom. Little did I know is all I have to say. I think every woman should choose for herself what she would like to do and not be ashamed in her choice at all. I also know for many women there are problems that cause them not to be able to breast feed. I myself have encountered numerous problems thus far and it is only one week and two days in. It’s crazy to think of all the problems I have had and it only being that short of a time. I mean really? A week? It feels like I have been going at this mom thing for months now. I started being adamant that I would not breast feed, I would do formula and I would take the pill at the hospital to dry all my milk up. I mean who wants to be whipping their breasts out in public because their little one is hungry? And I have no shame at all, so that is saying a lot. I am beyond grateful that I rethought all of this mainly thanks to my aunt. She breast fed her children until they were at least 5 years old. Now that is just crazy talk to me and I certainly do not see me doing it that long. Nonetheless, I took her advice to heart and started doing my research. The information I found blew my mind. Did you know that a woman produces milk to fill the exact needs of her baby? That is craziness! A breastfed baby is less likely to get sick, have ear infections, and reduces upset stomachs. It reduces the rate of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and has so much more nutrients than formula does. Just think of all the money you will save too! The bond and connection you create with your baby by breastfeeding is beyond words. One of the biggest pluses is you burn over 500 calories a day! Meaning you will loose baby weight so much faster than if you formula feed. After finding all of these wonderful benefits I couldn’t deny my baby boy at least an attempt at breastfeeding. So, I promised my aunt I would give it a try. I know my journey has only begun and I am only a week in but I will let you know the ups and downs that I have had thus far. To start, don’t let anyone at the hospital dictate what you do, be it a nurse or a doctor. You have to be strong-willed if breast feeding is what you want to do. After little Row was born the lactation consultant came in to get him to latch, which he did perfectly well, and to let me know that the first bit to come out is not going to be much. Before breast milk you will produce what is called colostrum. It is a thick dark yellow liquid that is packed full of nutrients for your baby. I was producing colostrum and he was latching but in the middle of the night the nurse came in and said that they wanted him to eat more.
MISTAKE NUMBER ONE, letting someone convince me of what is right for my child. Lesson here, don’t let anyone tell you what you should do, trust your instinct and again be adamant and determined.She convinced me to give him formula in a bottle. Thus began the formula feeding. It was so easy and convenient why would I want to breast feed I thought? These were pre-packed ready to go bottles and I didn’t have to do any work! MISTAKE NUMBER TWO, letting him have formula. But I persevered because I was determined that I was going to breast feed. But now my attempts at getting him to latch and feed from the teat were useless because he was used to getting full from a bottle and expected to get that much out of me. So I began pumping out the colostrum and feeding it to him with a spoon before giving him the bottle of formula. Since he now needed to fill his tummy up and I was still not producing milk the formula feeding continued. When I got home I pumped very irregularly, just whenever I felt like it. MISTAKE NUMBER THREE, pumping here and there. If you are going to breast feed the first two weeks are critical to getting your breast milk to come in fully. I can not stress this enough. I do my research and I read this time and time again but just disregarded it thinking I would be different and it would just happen when it was supposed to. Wrong! The more your breasts are stimulated and pumped, the more milk you will produce. So here I am already off to a horrible beginning. Little Row liked his formula and I was hardly producing any milk at all. Day number two of being home I got al title bit more diligent about it because I could tell I wasn’t getting enough milk and still hadn’t have this “let down” effect happen (and still haven’t to this day). I started storing my milk in the fridge and feeding him a bottle of formula then breastmilk, then formula, then breastmilk. Then we went to the doctor and Rowan was down 12% in weight. My pediatrician said they
start worrying at 7% and he was at 12%! My heart just sunk, what was I doing wrong? Was I failing this mom thing already?! So she sent me home with only a day to get his weight up before seeing her again. So I came home and decided to cut out formula completely. Although it is filling, there are not nearly enough calories in it. And my body was producing exactly what Row needed so I was confident that it would produce milk to get his weight up. For 24 hours he ate nothing but my breastmilk. I didn’t change his feeding regimen just made sure I was patient with him to finish up the bottles or finish off my breast. When we returned to the doctor today I am proud to say e was up a whole 3 ounces! In just 24 hours we managed to do that. I have never been happier than I was leaving that pediatricians office. I called my mom instantly to tell her the good news and scream from the roof tops with my joy! And to add to it, this morning I decided we would start trying to feed from the breast and he has done all but one feeding from my boobies! Yay me! I will say though, that I still am not producing as much milk as I would like. I have done even more research for how to increase milk supply and this is what I have found:
- Breastfeed/pump as often as you can, minimum of every two hours.
- Do skin to skin to promote oxytocin which produces milk in the body.
- Get good rest and try to minimize stress in your life (these both have negative effects on your supply).
- Drink @ LEAST a 16 ounce bottle of water before and after each session.
- Do not compress your breasts (either from tight tanks/shirts or too small bras).
- Avoid pacifiers and bottles if possible.
- Watch what you eat – get plenty of nutrients in that body!
- Use all natural supplements (I have another post about these if you want to know what I have found to be beneficial).
- Try Power Pumping – pumping for 20 minutes on each breast then waiting an hour and pumping again (I have officially began trying this today and will let you know my results in Little Rowans day 17).
- When you are done breastfeeding move to the pump to get out what is left (my pediatrician told me that the very last milk to come out is extremely high in nutrients and fats).
Also check out my blog post Supplements Used to Increase Milk Supply + Other Tips. I have to remind myself constantly that every mother is different. Just because my best friend starting producing tons of milk on the fourth day and was having the “let down” effect doesn’t mean I will. I have talked to other friends and one said she didn’t start “letting down” until a little after the second week. So, I have my fingers crossed that within this next week I can make this happen. Go mommy Go! Breastfeeding is way more time consuming than I ever thought possible and when Row wants to sleep longer I still have to get up and pump. That being said, I will sacrifice anything and do anything in power to help this little man grow stronger. I will be sacrificing for the better of him until the day I die. It helps me to remind myself that these days are fleeting and someday soon I will wish that he still depended on me as much as he does today. I also want to add just because one day you pump and extraordinary amount of milk doesn’t mean you can slack off. I thought that because yesterday I produced such a vastly larger amount today I could stop pumping as much and the next time I pumped it was drastically smaller. To all the moms out there, YOU CAN DO IT! I promise! So keep up the good work and contact me or comment with any questions and I would be more than willing to help!