Jul 4, 2009

Breastfeeding - What I didn't know...

When it comes to breastfeeding, I'm a devotee. I learned as much as I could pre-baby to make sure I was prepared and educated on what to do, how to get a good latch, etc. Yet, everything I read could not have prepared me for the challenges and frustrations of breastfeeding... I never anticipated it would be so difficult for both baby and I to figure out.

Here are some things I did not know before I started breastfeeding -
  • You will know when your latch isn't right... it hurts like hell if the baby is sucking on your nipple only and not a big chunk of your areola. Plus it is hard as hell to get babe off your nipple if their latch is good.
  • There are two types of milk - foremilk and hindmilk. Hindmilk is the fatty milk at the "end" of your boob and it's important for baby to get this. I knew this part... what I didn't know is how challenging it is to make sure baby gets this. Who knows when you're near the "end" of your boob? And Jane often only fed for short spurts in the beginning. AND you're told to alternate boobs each feed, but if baby is only feeding for 10mins and then feeding again an hour later, should you alternate? Personally, I haven't been. I've been going back to boob #1 if that's the case. I think I've got it on track now... think being the key word. Every day is a new adventure with bf-ing.
  • You are going to get pressure from everyone about everything (soothers, bottles, etc)... stick to your guns.
  • Your baby will lose weight while they are living off your colostrum. Until your baby reaches their birth weight again you're supposed to feed them every 3-4 hours... this means waking a sleeping baby to feed! INSANITY!
  • You have no idea how hard it is to wake a sleeping baby, and to keep them awake!
  • The art of burping is a science. I assumed I knew how to burp from seeing others do it... My advice: Look up some techniques, learn them well and do them often.
  • Vitamin D drops SUCK. Jane literally choked on them when she was one week. Now I split the dose into four smaller doses but I'm constantly forgetting to give it to her four times. I tried yesterday to just give her the one large dose again and she vomited on me immediately after. Awesome.
  • When one boob feeds, the other leaks and boobs leak often. God forbid you forget your nursing pads or one falls out of place!
In pregnancy I was worried about two simple things (1) how do I know when the baby's hungry? and (2) how do I know when she's full? ha ha ha. Hilarious to think about it now. The answer, if any one has a similar fear, you will know. Jane wakes me up with her lip smacking in the middle of the night when she's hungry and literally pushes the boob away with her hand when she's full... she also pulls her head back to avoid going back on the boob. It's amazing how this little bugs communicate!

I introduced my first bottle yesterday (waited until the 4 week point) and all went well. I had gotten pressure to introduce it earlier and pressure to wait longer... but nonetheless, Jane's latch isn't ruined and she didn't refuse the bottle. On the other hand, it was no big life changer either. I thought perhaps she would sleep even better through the night but no change. Really, at this point, the only benefit is that I can go to the grocery store without worrying she'll get hungry and be stranded while I'm gone and I can have a glass of wine if I pump beforehand - YIPEE!

The other thing I am finding for me - manual pumping works better than electric. I have a pump that allows for both and I get much more milk from manual... plus, it makes me feel like less of a cow! When it's on electric it literally sounds like it's making a "moo-oooo" noise, sexy.

Ok, that's it for now... I'm sure I will be able to add to this list regularly as I continue bf-ing. If you have something to add, go for it, comment!

Jen :)

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Anonymous said...

I breastfed my daughter for about a year and there are so many things you learn as you go along. Hopefully you never have to be introduced to the world of blocked milk ducts (they HURT!) or worse yet, mastitis or thrush..

Kristen said...

awww congrats! I just stumbled across you blog and now I am following. I am a BFing mommy too. I weaned my 1 baby at 10 months and he did very well. I am now trying to wean our 14 month old and she will have no part of it! As far as the leaking boobs... put light pressure on them. Your milk will still let down, but you will not have a huge mess! :) If you have not nursed in public be aware of the ugly looks. I covered up with a nursing cover I made and I still got ugly looks. Some people just don't understand! Good luck and congrats- you are doing what is best for your adorable baby girl!

Dagmar Bleasdale said...

Hi! I just saw this post on my Facebook page and had to check it out. Love this post! I am still bf my 2 year-8 month old little boy and there is no end in sight :) We love it! Thanks for sharing this information and helping other moms with breastfeeding! I try to do the same with my blog.


Anonymous said...

Apparently you can get one drop dose of Vitamin D...there is a thread on the new baby board on Baby centre right now

tammy said...

Hi, I love your blog.. I`m too from NS but live in sask. So its nice to see someone from home! I have 4 children 3 girls one boy.. And trust me at times when I was ready to pull my hair out through the 5 times a night feedings and growing spurts and being just down right tired I hung in there and loved it. And wouldn`t change anything about it. I wasn`t able to get my one daughter Miranda to take a bottle at all. So that was hard but on the other hand when she weaned at 14 months she went right to a cup. Keep up the good work and thanks for the posts.

Jen said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! Super helpful and glad to have some new followers - I've learned so much from everyone so far!

Excited about this vit. D possibility as Jane threw up again today when I tried to give her the dose... grrrr! Will look into this.

Jen :)

Mike and Kate said...

Love you blog - I read it everyday!

I'm 35 weeks pregnant and I love reading all about your experiences as a first-time Mom.

I'm sure I'll be asking you even more questions in a few weeks time!

My question for today is which breast pump do you have?


Jen said...

Hi Kate,

I have the Medela Mini Electric Breast Pump - was about $129 at Babies-R-Us. It's great... although we are going to try a diff bottle today as I'm finding she's getting a lot of gas after bottle feeding... thinking it may be the bottle.

Jen :)

PS - YIPEE - Keep me posted about your status, only 5 weeks to go! jen.ellenberger@gmail.com!

Lisa said...

Love your blog, thanks for sharing,I can relate to so much of your experiences