Monday, March 22, 2010

Just a few things I've learned about breastfeeding...

Let me say in advance if your not comfortable reading about breastfeeding or the anatomy of a woman's breast, now is probably a good time to stop reading. This post is purely for all the readers and women out there who are breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeeding and need a little moral support.

Ok I'm no expert on the matter unless you count my personal experiences with two VERY different baby boys. Actually before deciding to breastfeed Connor I was really completely ignorant on the matter, I've really spent practically no time with other women who breastfeed other than a few cousins who either briefly tried it or did it while I was living in another state. So other than my fifteen minutes with my lactation consultant in the hospital with Connor we went into the whole business almost blind. Honestly if Connor wouldn't have been a relatively easy baby to breastfeed I'm fairly positive I would have, like so many other moms, given up in the first week. It was actually a surprise visit by a WIC lactation consultant who made a suprise house call who pushed me in the right direction and answered all those questions you want to ask but are not brave enough to and all the ones I would have never thought of.

So needless to say it breaks my heart when I listen to moms on twitter and facebook giving up on breastfeeding. Mind you I would be the first one to admit that I think of giving up on Dylan at least once a day, he's an awful nurser and the "breastfeeding environment" of my town is really awful. I thank god every time I think about it that not only was the little town in IL that Connor was born actually very breastfeeding friendly but Chris's family was SO supportive. No one ever made me feel uncomfortable or excluded if I need to feed him, even if that meant feeding him at the dinner table. I think the last thing a mom wants to do is hide in a bathroom, especially a public bathroom, when they need to feed their baby.

My experience thus far with Dylan has been much more frustrating. First of all anyone who says that breastfed babies do not colic or spit up was sorely mistaken. Dylan cries 80% of the time he is awake unless he is eating or napping. He throws/spits up on me or himself more times in a day than I can count and lets not even talk about what happens if you try to supplement him with a bottle. Mind you none of the above is his fault and to make it only fair he did start off his first week in life with an awful cold which lead to a ear infection which is where many of our nursing problems began if you ask me. In the hospital he was a fairly good nurser though it seemed to take FOREVER for my milk to come in.. it is still not anywhere close to near what it was a month out with Connor and I still really struggle with having enough milk to make it through the day. The problem started when that ear infection begin and he almost completely stopped nursing on the right side. Mind you no one ever told me that though your nipples may look fairly similar one may be far more cooperative with the whole process than the other. Sure I knew about inverted nipples and things of that matter, none of which I suffer from, but stiff nipples? Not to get into mucho detail with you guys but lets just say that my right nipple is extra "firm" where the left one is "soft" which when you have a baby who is already nursing badly only adds to the problem. Dylan would just loose all suction when I moved him on to the right side due to his ear hurting and without good suction the right side's already stiff nipple wouldn't work. If you by chance have the same problem I've found the solution for this is to just massage the nipple before you attempt to let the baby latch on, it will really help both you and your baby be far more comfortable. We still struggle daily with our breastfeeding woes but I will tell you that a month into the whole ordeal things are slowly getting better. I wont lie, I wonder at least 40 times a day if switching to formula full time would be easier and even possibly help Dylan with his colic issues. Though I know rationally that his colic will NOT get better on formula, I sometimes fantasize that if I just give him bottles he'd stop crying.. three hours into listening to him in any given day.

So I may not be an expert and I certainly have my days where I want to give up too, and believe me if you're not feeling the breastfeeding and you want to give up its totally your decision! I don't think anyone should ever guilt themselves or others into breast feeding a baby. I won't lie it's not super easy, and its VERY time consuming. I will say that at least with Connor it became something I really looked forward to once we got the hang of it. Though he weaned himself and was totally ok with stopping once he did I spent many nights crying after he was in bed as I missed our time together. With Dylan I'm not there yet, getting our rhythm going when he's always so crabby has been much harder. I'll even admit that though I'm head over heels about him I even sometimes dread feeding him as I'm just worn out most afternoons from attempting to keep him happy as long as I can during the day. Not that I don't melt when he does have a good day, or even a good 10 minutes and he latches on and makes those happy sounds while he nurses... there is still just NO replacement for that.

So needless to say I was really convinced that this baby would be easy like the first one. I thought that since I was a breastfeeding champ the first time that the road with Dylan would be just as gold, needless to say I was sorely mistaken. Did you guys experience the same things? Do you have any questions about breastfeeding you want to ask, your free to use an anonymous post or email me privately if your shy, or maybe if I don't have the answer another reader will. I'm even totally open to listening to you bitch and moan about your problems... I've done enough of that on my own. heh.

I'm also all ears if someone has some suggestions for a colicy baby. I've tried a pacifier, a vibrating chair, swings, slings, baby wraps, gripe water, swaddling, the vacumn cleaner, the car, you name it.. some of them give VERY short term relief others only make him worst. For the most part the only thing I've found that gives him any relief is to just sleep... thankfully he does sleep most of the night its just daytime that is the problem.

7 Comments:

Elizabeth said...

Great post. Welcome to motherhood, with all its potholes. I might gently suggest that you read a great book by Brian Vardebedian called "Colic Solved." He is a well-trained pediatric gastroenterologist .... whose credibilty was cemented, as far as I am concerned, by having a "colicky" baby of his own once he had kids. So, the book is great in that it looks at this vexsome issue through the eyes of a parent AND the eyes of a doctor. His premise is that most, if not all, colic can be explained by either reflux disease, OR an allergy to some of the proteins in mom's milk. Notice I did NOT say "allergic to breastmilk." Switching to formula would NOT be the "cure" since the proteins exist in cow's-milk-based and soy-based formulas, too. The good news is that for most refluxy babies, simple mechanical measures can be hugely helpful to making abes comfortable. Appropriate guidance in elimination/ reintroduction of items in your diet (if allergy to proteins is suspected) can be provided by any decent IBCLC or RD

Anonymous said...

For the right sided BF, the football hold has the baby more on his back so he's not laying on that ear, maybe that will help? In the same vein as Elizabeth, I did alot of research with my fussy 2nd boy and found that my avoiding milk products helped his stomach. After our horrible experience trying to switch him to cow milk, he tested positive for a milk allergy. He's now a happy soy boy.

Jet'set said...

I like the previous commenters gentle suggestions.
Our almost 4 mo old spits up- throws up A LOT!
When I was in the hospital w/ my first son (almost four years ago!) He came a day before due date via emergency c-section and I had milk that shot out accross the room. This time I really uspset myself because we had a planned c-section and I should have started pumping early to prepare my body- There we were in the hospital and baby boy was borderline jaundice w/ a heart murmur and I had no milk! I felt like crap!
Now he throws up all the time which I do fear has to do w/ my diet.
How old is your little guy? I tend to think their systems just get better equipped to handle things as they get older... That said allergies and reflux happen.

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Drea said...

I just blogged abt nursing with Owen.. not sure if you read it but I threw in the towel with nursing him.. and it was no easy choice... ive been in tears over it and it breaks my heart.. but Owen has been a totally different baby in just 1 day after putting him on the bottle... i mean NIGHT AND DAY!!! I wasnt producing enough for Owen... and well you can read my blog post abt it :) Lets just say... I dont think nursing is the right choice for all moms... I think what is ultimately the most important is that baby is provided for and that mom is happy, sane, and enjoying their babies...

As for colic the only thing that brought Owen relief was GRIPE water, u can buy it at most pharmacies and its totally natural and safe for newborns.

Drea said...

oh and www.dreawood.com is my blog ;-)

IASoupMama said...

Hi! I just stumbled by from the Ultimate Blog Party and wanted to send you a hug. I was heinously unsuccessful at nursing my firstborn, and stupendously successful nursing my daughter -- she finally weaned at 29 months. It was a night and day difference, so I completely understand how your experience with each of your sons has been so vastly different. Much luck to you!
@IASoupMama http://courtenaysbo.blogspot.com

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