Thank you everyone for sharing your inspiring stories! I have enjoyed reading them as well as the many blog posts that have been created as part of this event. All entries through the end of the day on Aug 7th will be eligible, so if you haven't yet shared your breastfeeding story we hope you will!
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- topicBirth Preparationtagged by Melanie Mayo, 7/31/13
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Win Big in Our "Blog About Breastfeeding" Event! - Page 2post #21 of 328/5/13 at 1:17pmThread Starterpost #22 of 328/6/13 at 9:44amThread Starterpost #23 of 328/6/13 at 10:42am
My first son was born 5 weeks early, after my water broke spontaneously, and weighed in at 5 lbs 6 oz. After a night in the NICU for observation, they let him room in with me for the second night. We were still waiting for my milk to come in, but meanwhile, I thought we were nursing fine with the colostrum. They were getting us ready to discharge, but when they weighed him, and discovered he had dropped to 4 lbs 11 oz, they put him back in the NICU. We started doing pre and post-feed weighs, and discovered he was only taking in a few milliliters per feed. I was pumping and my milk had come in FULL FORCE, so we knew that wasn’t the problem. His latch was the problem, most likely due to his tiny mouth. So I kept pumping and we bottlefed him while we worked on the latch. After a couple days of no progress, one of the nurses suggested a nipple shield. I was willing to try anything that meant I could breastfeed AND take my baby home, but one of my midwives (the one I didn’t really like, of course) fought me HARD on using one, and we ended up having a huge fight about it. I understood the risk for decreasing milk supply, due to lack of nipple stimulation, but I was prepared to watch it very closely and discontinue use as soon as possible. Well, the first feed with a nipple shield, he took in about 3 oz!!! We were home within the next couple days. At home, I continued to pump, to keep up my oversupply, in case my supply did start to go down. And I gradually weaned us from the nipple shield. It took about 3 months to stop using it completely, and then I gradually weaned myself from pumping and overproducing… by the end, I had tons of milk in the freezer, which was great, because then I could leave him with hubby and other family members, and know that we would never have to use formula. We weaned from breastfeeding, fairly peacefully, after talking about it and preparing for a few months, about 2 months after his 2nd birthday.
My second son was a normal pregancy until, at 33 1/2 weeks we discovered that my fundus had shrunk 2 cm over a 2 week period. After a Non-Stress Test and High-level Ultrasound, we discovered that the amniotic fluid was almost gone, the cord wasn’t feeding him anymore (it had a backflow), and he was within days of starving to death in utero. They did an emergency C-section within 45 minutes. He was born 2 lbs 10 oz. I started pumping right away, and saved up tons of colostrum for when he was ready for his first feeds. After a few days of ventilators, a shot of BLES (liquid surfactant) for his lungs, etc. we started focusing on his food situation. From the beginning, his only source of food was sugar water through an IV, and he lost 10 oz, dropping to just 2 lbs. When he was ready, they introduced a gavage tube (naso-gastric) and started with .5 ml at a time of colostrum, slowly increasing as he could tolerate it. After some setbacks and tummy troubles, we worked our way up to the point where we could take out the IV and just keep increasing the tube feeds, a little at a time. We also finally got to start practicing breastfeeding! At first we just let him suckle and explore, but once he started trying to actually eat at the breast, it was pretty obvious that we’d be needing the shield again. We could only breastfeed a couple times a day, because it wore him out a lot more, but at least I knew that all his bottles were my milk. Unfortunately for awhile they had to add HMF (Human Milk Fortifier) to his bottles, to bulk up on the particular nutrients that he needed extra of, and to add calories. We finally got to take him home at 5 weeks old, still weighing less than 4 lbs. They said that they rarely send them home that small, but that he just didn't need them anymore. At home, I just kept pumping, nursing, and gradually reducing our bottle usage, and within weeks, he was all breast. We also used the nipple shield till about 3 months, just like with my first. He’s also nursed till a few months after his 2nd birthday, and at almost 6 years old he’s still tiny, but his growth curve is steady and normal… just way below the charts, since he never had a “catch up” growth spurt. But he’s thrived on my milk, and is a very strong, smart and healthy childpost #24 of 328/6/13 at 12:15pm
The three children I nursed are now aged 19, 5 and 3. Exclusive nursing is not for everyone, nor is extended nursing, but I have done both. I love to encounter new mothers, and see their individual takes on being a "nursing mom" as opposed to not. I have fielded numerous questions from freedom to go out without the baby (Aren't you always tied to that kid?), and length of time I nursed each one (What do you mean almost 3 years?) but my favorite question is Why? I know that there is the canned response of "It's best for the baby" but if I were to be completely honest, the answer is this...I am lazy! Yep, you read that right, lazy. I am not saying that there is not part of me who enjoys the bonding, the nutrition and the natural goodness of breastfeeding; but there is a larger part that has absolutely no interest in the entire process of having a bottle fed child. Those are truly the parents with dedication...all I have ever had to do was wake up at 2am, roll over and let the baby eat. More often than not, they fell asleep when they were done and so did I. There were no bottles (or formula) to shop for, or make up at a moments notice. Never did I worry about the budget, or if I had enough supply to feed the baby until payday. Diapers were not as gross, spit up (when it happened) washed out and they all have amazing teeth despite being on the boob rather than off when they dozed. I would not trade one moment that I spent nursing my babies, nor am I ashamed that there was more than altruistic reasons for it.post #25 of 328/6/13 at 2:33pmThis is my first post. I'm a little shy, even online. But here it goes ...
I'm new to this. It's only been 6 1/2 weeks since I birthed my third child. My other two are much older (14 and 10) and were not breastfed. The reasons for my decision to feed my older children formula are very personal and very complex. The easiest way to explain my reasoning is just to say that I was on medication for a misdiagnosed mental health issue. My life back then was very hard and I didn't have the support I needed to really make decisions about my parenting choices. Honestly, I was just following the advice of others out of fear that I would get locked up in the psych unit of the hospital if I didn't do what all the professionals suggested because I had toxic people in my life who really wanted to put me there (the same people that actually caused my mental health issues, one was my mother who just kept taking to get psychological testing until I was one 5 different drugs at the age of 15). Medication was one of those suggestions.
It took me until about 5 years after my second child was born to get rid of the toxic people and finally start healing.
By the time I found out I was pregnant with my third my life was so much better. I could finally make all my parenting choices based on my own research and beliefs.
I decided I would breastfeed her. I didn't make this decision because I thought it would be easy. I knew it would be hard, not just because I would not be able to sleep through a feeding while my partner took over, but because it was new and there was a lot to learn if I was going to be successful, I made this decision because I knew it was best for my child. I read as much as I could throughout the pregnancy and I think that is why I'm still breastfeeding today, at 6 weeks.
These first weeks have been tough, I cried many times and even thought for brief seconds about quitting, but it does keep getting easier and I know that all of the benefits will outweigh the difficulties. Just the bonding experience alone is worth it. I love all my kids, and yes bonding does happen even when bottle feeding but it is different this time, I do feel closer to this baby.post #26 of 328/6/13 at 4:04pmpost #27 of 328/6/13 at 4:04pmpost #28 of 328/7/13 at 12:53pm
I just finished a post about how breastfeeding and climate change are interrelated - perfect reflection for World Breastfeeding Week and our focus this year on peer help! Check it out here: www.babysdailywork.blogspot.com. There are a couple other recent posts on other reflections, as well.
Edited by Babysdailywork - 8/7/13 at 4:54pmpost #29 of 328/7/13 at 5:50pm
Okay, I've never actually posted on this site before, but figured this is a nice way to start posting. :)
My daughter (first baby) is now 8 months old. I'm so very grateful to say that breastfeeding came relatively easy for us (and continues to be a beautifully bonding experience). That's not to say I didn't have any of the early anxiety. I was in tears one evening when she was about a week old because she had only had one bowel movement all day - and all the books and fliers said she was supposed to have SIX! When she filled her diaper that evening, I was never happier to see that mustard-colored poop!
One issue that I've really grown a lot in is breastfeeding in public. At first, I had a lot of fear about it. It's not a shy or modest thing, because I believe it can be perfectly discreet, with or without a cover. It's really that I'm not very good with confrontation - and at first I was really afraid that I wouldn't respond well enough.
I have a friend (I use the term somewhat loosely), I'll call her Rachel, who has really pushed me to become more confident in this, but not because she supports me in it. Quite the opposite. She wanted to meet up with me for lunch when my little girl was about two months old. We met, by my request, in a family-friendly seating area at a big grocery store. It wasn't long before my little one needed to eat, so I pulled out my cover and asked my friend if it would be okay if I breastfed there with her. Rachel seemed uncomfortable, but said, "yeah...that's fine...". She then proceeded to tell me the following story:
"So, on my last flight, I was seated next to a woman with her baby, and all of a sudden, without any warning, she just starts BREASTFEEDING her baby - without even telling me she was going to!!"
I responded with "Oh, did she not use a cover?"
Rachel exclaims, "Yes, she used a cover! If she hadn't, I would have asked to move to a different seat!!!"
I wish I could say that I had a witty reply, or even that I defended breastfeeding with or without a cover, but at that point, I just let it go and said nothing more about the subject. Even when, half an hour later, when my daughter had fallen asleep at the breast, under the cover, Rachel asks, "Is she STILL eating??". I told her, no, she's fallen asleep. She replied, "oh good - I didn't think they ate that long". That irritated me, too, but like I mentioned - confrontation is not my favorite thing.
Well, a few months later, Rachel asked me and my husband to go on a double date with her and her boyfriend. She wanted to go to a relatively fancy place (less family-friendly than I would generally choose with a baby). Plus, her boyfriend is a very "manly" man - not the type of guy I would feel terribly comfortable feeding in front of. However, I agreed anyway, and decided I would just do what my baby needed while we were out.
When we showed up at the restaurant, I think Rachel was a little surprised I had brought my daughter ("Oh - you brought your baby!"). But, I had her comfortably in my Ergo, and we sat down to eat. About halfway through dinner, my little one wanted to eat, so I quietly pulled the hood up on the Ergo and latched her on. She ate for a while, and fell asleep - perfectly content.
As we were leaving the restaurant, Rachel said to me, "Well, it's nice that the baby didn't need to eat that whole time". And, I replied very plainly, "Oh, no, she ate! She ate while we were all eating!". With a look of shock (and possibly a bit of disgust), Rachel said "Oh, wow, I didn't realize."
Knowing Rachel, I likely accomplished nothing toward her views on the subject, but I sure felt good about myself!post #30 of 328/7/13 at 10:34pm
I had a little girl 4 years and 5 months ago. I nursed her (or she nursed me) for 4 years, 4 months. Starting out I didn't plan to nurse her that long. I assumed I'd quit at age two. But she wanted to nurse and I saw no reason that I needed to stop! She didn't want to stop last month, but I was sick and it was an easy way to say 'Mommy can't without making a big deal out of her getting bigger and she just needed to stop. I am convinced that her nursing kept her healthy. She's only been sick twice and she has older siblings (not biological) and is in public quite often. I am so thankful that I didn't experience mastitis (sorry to those who have!) and I experienced almost nothing negative health-wise, relating to breastfeeding. It was such a wonderful experience! (Pictured here my 15 year old cat who had liver cancer lays with us. She never bothered my little one. She seemed to love being close.)post #31 of 328/8/13 at 12:31am
It didn't occur to me to feed our baby any other way than by the breast. My breasts. My tiny boobs that never served much of a purpose - they aren't the perky larger kind glorified by the media. On my mother and father's sides of our family, people breastfeed as a natural part of raising their children. My mother, however, not only breastfed four children, she was a major advocate for breastfeeding. So, the world I was raised in considered breastfeeding normal, acceptable, smart and healthy. When I was pregnant, I noticed for the first time just how much formula is pushed on mamas, mostly via bottle and formula company advertisements. When you sign up for a gift registry with a store, for example, the free treats you receive are bottles and formula that come in a nifty bottle bag. The bag and bottles could come in handy for storing expressed breast milk, but there is definitely a formula push. There are lots of breastfeeding-related products that would be perfect for a shwag bag, like lanolin for chapped nipples or breast pads. Even in addition to the formula would be fine. But, it feels like the world wants a mama to feed her babies manufactured grub, even if there is no specific reason requiring her to make that choice (I realize each mama is different and sometimes formula is the necessary or best choice).
Back to my baby and my breasts... my first baby and I had an extremely uncomfortable, miserable time working out our breastfeeding relationship. My boobs hurt like hell when my milk was coming in, and once it did, the milk would spray out so forcefully that my wee one had a hard time getting on and staying on. She'd cry, I'd cry, we'd all cry. Our first family outing after her birth was to Nordstrom to get fitted for bras so I could at least get some support around my newly gigantic, hard-as-rock boobs and so I had something to stuff my breast pads into so I wouldn't leak everywhere. I leaked all over the fitting room but got two fantastic bras that I continued to wear throughout my nearly two years of breastfeeding. I went to a La Leche League meeting at my mom's suggestion when our baby was eight days old. She was the tiniest in a cramped, hot room of moms and babies up to four months old, all of whom looked like professional breastfeeders. Our baby cried, the coach encouraged me to try different positions, and somehow we made it through the meeting without getting heat stroke or just getting fed up with having a wailing baby while people were trying to talk. From there, our breastfeeding relationship really just took time to perfect itself. Baby needed to learn my body and I needed to learn her style.
Within a few months of our baby's birth, we were an expert breastfeeding team. We breastfed anywhere and everywhere I went when the need arose. She breastfed until she was just shy of two-years-old, when she began to slowly ween herself and when I became pregnant with our second child. She was down to a couple of nursings per day when I cut her off. Two factors pushed me from continuing her natural self-weening to deciding our many months of intimacy in this way were over: I could feel my uterus contract when she nursed and it was very uncomfortable. And, to be honest at the risk of sounding selfish, I began to feel that from sun up to sun down external demands of many sorts were driving my life. I needed to make some changes to ensure I had regular opportunities to just quietly be with myself by myself to maintain simple sanity. Stopping breastfeeding was just one of those changes. I figure if our daughter wants to re-start when her sibling is born, she's welcome to!
There were times during what I consider our successful run at nursing when I resented being tied so tightly to a needy little creature. The first was when she was about three months old and I really, really, really wanted to paddle the Vogalonga, a 30 km "act of love for Venice and the water that surrounds it, for its lagoon and its islands" - basically, an 8 hour party in a kayak through the canals of historic Venice. My parents refused to take care of our baby all day, particularly because we hadn't gotten her accustomed to drinking expressed milk from a bottle. I was righteously annoyed at first that between my husband and I the one with the boobs had to stay behind, but I quickly recovered and had a damn good time watching the boats pass by with our baby and my parents. Other more minor situations popped up here and there - my ma is generous to watch our daughter quite often. Sometimes when I was out for a couple of hours she would call frantic that I needed to come home right away and feed my starving child (me: will she drink from the bottle? ma: I tried! me: did you try again? ma: yes! me: ok fiiiiiiine, I'll be there in a few - and would arrive only to find the baby sleeping soundly. Ok, this sometimes happened; other times, she would still be crying her head off and I'd feed her and all would be peachy). Nursing was a primal cause for me to learn to give and care for another even when I wanted to flake off and just do what I wanted to do. Nursing taught me to be still and notice iddy biddy phenomenons, like the subtle rise and fall of my baby's lungs as she breathed. Nursing allowed me to watch all the past seasons of Grey's Anatomy in a super compressed time frame! Nursing was an incredible lesson on my own body's anatomy - the acute feeling of connection between different parts of the body that previously seemed remote from another, the incredible rush of hormones during the "let down" of the milk, the spiritual peace, knowing and excitement that begins with nursing and continues through motherhood.
The network of people around me were enablers of our successful nursing experience, and I am forever grateful for them. First, my husband was all about nursing. He felt kind of guilty and helpless sometimes, because he didn't have the magic cure at who-knows-when in the middle of the night and I was exhausted. He would have loved to have shared the responsibility of getting up to feed her, but he contributed in so many other meaningful ways and continues to as our daughter's needs and wants change. Second, my workplace supports breastfeeding not only in written policy but in practice. I was given a private space to nurse in and was allowed to bring our baby to work until she was six-months-old. Once we passed the six months mark, our baby went to a phenomenal sitter - a breastfeeder herself - who was more than glad to serve our gal expressed breast milk. Finally, the breastfeeding women around me, including my mama and sisters, create a fun, supportive community to grow our babies in. For good reason, it feels like we are part of something that extends back and forward in time forever. Being connected is the essence of life, and I am grateful my wee one and all of our supporters who continue to provide me the opportunity to become the woman and mother I am becoming.post #32 of 328/8/13 at 6:36pmThread Starter
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