Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Breast feeding was something that I've always felt strongly about.  I'm not a fanatic by any means, but I knew it was an avenue I wanted to explore when I was first pregnant with Isabella.  It wasn't as natural and beautiful as I imagined it would be, but then again nothing was.

I struggled with low supply, but in hindsight I really kind of jumped the gun on formula and pumping.  I think the real issue was lack of support.  All my husband knew was that the baby was crying and I was miserable.  My mother, who didn't breast feed us, was constantly saying things like, "How do you know how much she's getting?"  "Aren't you worried she's not getting enough?"  I was a brand new mom and scared to death I was starving my child.

It was a huge source of my anxiety and depression after Isabella was born.  Why couldn't I make enough milk?  Why did I hate pumping so badly?  Why did I have to supplement with formula?  I felt like a complete failure.  I realize now, with my 20/20 hindsight boobie vision that I was just unprepared, inexperienced, and ill equiped.

I really thought breastfeeding would be natural and just come to me, so I didn't prepare myself.  Now, I know better.  So I'm all signed up for a breast feeding class at the hospital, with Andy so he can support me better and I just bought the book The Motherly Art of Breast Feeding and the first chapter already pissed me off because it made me feel like the only way to breastfeed effectively is to co-sleep, which is just not for me.  However, I'm going to keep reading since it came highly recommended from a lot of women.

With Isabella I was able to accomplish a mix of breast feeding, formula feeding, and pumping (God how I loathed pumping), but she stopped receiving breast milk at around 3 or 4 months.  I'm hoping to exclusively breast feed for at least 6 months this time around.  But I'm not going in with that attitude that it's the be all and end all of motherhood.  I'm going to arm myself with knowledge and set a goal, but I'm also going to be kind to myself.

Do you have any breast feeding tips and tricks or resources that you think would be helpful?  Also is breastfeeding one word or two?  When I spell it as one it comes up underlined in that angry red, but when I google it as two it corrects it as one.  For the sake of this post I just did both.


Katie F said...

My first I breastfed exclusively for 9 months. She never took formula or a bottle. Not because I didn't try but because she rejected it all. And I never pumped. My second however is a big boy and sucks me dry. He will be six months on two weeks. I still breastfeed but my supply has decreased a lot. During the day ill give him two bottles of formula and try to pump during that time and then breastfeed during the night and the rest of the day. He's much more content. I'm trying to build up my supply of frozen breast milk so I won't have to give him so much formula but to be honest he seems much more content on the formula during the day. I say don't beat yourself up a out it. Feeding in demand worked for me. You could also take fenengreek to help with your supply

mtendere said...

Breastfeeding was such a struggle for me and I fought to do it for a long time, but I'm certain, in retrospect that it added to my experience of PPD, because it was such a tough time for me. I'm glad you are able to approach it with the right attitude. Education and determination, combined with kindness to yourself and a reminder that your health and sanity is important, too.

My biggest technical advice is to get help from as many different people as you can - Lactation consultants, nurses, doctors, LLL. Some will have conflicting opinions, but one may just have the right solution for your problem or give you the little trick that you need.

And there's just no way around breastfeeding constantly in the beginning. Get plenty of help with everything else, so that you can concentrate on feeding.

Jackie said...

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a great resource, but I agree they were a bit one-sided when it comes to their opinion. Obviously, co-sleeping is not the only way to successfully breastfeed, but it did help me a lot with my second! So maybe don't put it on your never gonna happen list just yet. :) But that said, there are so many successful ways to breastfeed, and getting the support and information is probably the most important thing. That and trusting your body to do what it's supposed to do: make milk for your baby. Good luck! I hope everything goes wonderfully for you this time, because it really is a wonderful experience!

Lindsey Brackett said...

I love breast feeding and did it for all four of mine, and I was a teacher so I know how hard it is to pump at work! I think you've got a good attitude, so here's my best encouragement--it's much easier the next time around! I'll be happy to answer any of your questions, and don't worry, you don't have to co-sleep. We didn't and I have plenty of friends who didn't.

Jennifer West said...

Hang in there, I had a tough time with my little ones as well. It will all work out!

Heather said...

I had the same exact experience with my son! However, my daughter has been a champ at breastfeeding. I think what helped me a lot was pumping in the hospital after she was born. I pumped every four hours for the first few days and nursed her in between. It was a lot of work but it was so worth it. She exclusively breastfed. Now she is one year old and we still nurse in the morning and at night. Good Luck!

Leslie said...

My first was supplemented from the time she was in the hospital. With a combination of LOTS of pumping and herbal supplements we were able to continue mostly breastmilk until about 11 months. My second/current baby has loved nursing ever since she got past the sleepy baby stage. She’s never needed any formula and is a chubby, healthy baby. I plan on keeping it up until she turns 1. My point? Not only is every child/pregnancy different, so is every breastfeeding experience. I agree with Jackie that co-sleeping is helpful. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but our second just wouldn’t sleep unless she was right up against me. Most importantly, stay patient, give it a few weeks and don’t get too stressed about it. Best of luck to you and your new little one!

Allee G said...

I am breastfeeding exclusively my first born son who is now 7 months. All I can say is to be thoroughly prepared. I read a lot and watched a lot of videos on YouTube. It's very rare that your milk supply won't be enough. You may face a host of problems but if you are really determined most women can do it.
And yes it's very mom like to ask are you sure you're getting enough :)

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