March 19, 2013

All About Nursing!

By Lauren
Introduced by Amy

Hey, Ladies!  So...I am a leeetle nervous about this topic.  Cause it can send some mommas into a frenzy--and suddenly, we're in a mommy-war: judgments flinging from one side and angry, defensive retorts flying from the other.   However, there is SO much understanding that can come from honestly listening to another momma's experience, so I felt like this would be a good topic to discuss.  Therefore, regardless of your own breastfeeding opinions and experiences...NO poo flinging, ok?!  Thanks! :)

First, I want to share a post written by my good friend, Lauren, who had a really positive experience with breast-feeding.  I knew she would do a good job of sharing encouragement and advice for those who chose to breast-feed, without getting all preachy on a soapbox, berating those who do not nurse.  And of course, she totally delivered!  Here's my experience, which was a little rocky, so that those of you who are unable to breastfeed can know that you are not alone, and it's OK.

To introduce Lauren: she is kind and beautiful.  And she looks much younger than she is. :)  She was the first person who was friendly to me when my husband and I went to our new church soon after moving.  After that, we had dinner with her and her husband a few times, including one of the most hilarious dinners I have ever been to (seriously, I almost peed my pants) and she introduced me to Manicotti. (Hello, delicious AND easy!?  My kind of recipe!)   I will always be grateful to Lauren and her husband for helping us to feel welcome and comfortable as the "newbies."  Oh, and she's got a stinkin cute little boy, too!  :)  

I'm so excited she agreed to write about breast-feeding...it probably isn't the easiest topic to write about! :)  Enjoy!
-Amy


Before I start this post I want to share another post I saw on Facebook. It says:

Good moms breastfeed.
Good moms formula feed.
Good moms vaccinate their kids.
Good moms don’t vaccinate their kids.
Good moms co-sleep.
Good moms use cribs.
Good moms have hospital births.
Good moms have home births.
Good moms adopt.
Good moms have natural births.
Good moms have epidurals.
Good moms have c-sections.
Good moms have 10 kids.
Good moms have 1 kid.
Good moms use cloth diapers.
Good moms use disposable diapers.
(See Facebook group Prego & Mommy Chat)

My topic can be a touchy subject. Nursing. This is my story.

I nursed my son until he was 15 months old to the day.

I was very lucky in the nursing department. The first time I nursed something clicked for both me and my baby. I was hooked!! Now this doesn’t mean I didn’t have a hard time. The first two weeks were excruciating!! I was in so much pain. Every time my baby would cry to tell me he was hungry I would also cry. But I knew that if I stuck out the first two weeks (so I was told) that things would get much better. And they did!! The next 14 and a half months went pretty well. I did get mastitis five times. Yes. . . You read that right!! And there was a period that my son thought it was so funny to bite me. Why did I stick it out??!!

Nursing was mommy and baby time!! I got him ALL TO MYSELF!! I treasured that time with my little one!! I know that it helped ME feel more like a mother.

I believed in the goodness of nursing.

I tried formula. I thought my baby could maybe have a little bit of both. WRONG!! My baby had INSANE reflux. I mean like projectile vomiting 3-4 times a day. I was constantly changing not only him but me. The only thing that seemed to help was to take formula away from him completely and to change my diet. Once I did that the reflux got SO MUCH better.

Looking back on my time nursing I sometimes miss it. I miss the moments when my baby would sit still for a few minutes. I miss the mommy and baby time. I also (believe it or not) miss the late night feedings. There was something so spiritual to me about them. I am so grateful I was able to have these experiences. I wouldn’t trade them for the world!!

Now to all you mommas out there who are considering nursing. . . Here are some tips and tricks I learned.

Products:

1. Get a hootie hider.

I know you just giggled!! I know I did the first time I heard that term. But seriously these things are genius. I tried the whole ‘throw a blanket over’ thing and it never worked for me. My little one was always too squirmy so having this thing helped me from being exposed. I made mine from a tutorial I found on the net (before pinterest came about). I’m sure you can just search hootie hider OR nursing cover in pinterest and get a whole list of tutorials. I know you can also order them online and you can buy them at motherhood maternity.

source: www.kids-n-cribs.com
2. Lanolin.

 I was given the Lansinoh brand at the hospital so that’s just what I went with. But people, I would recommend to use it BEFORE YOU HAVE YOUR BABY!! Seriously!! I wish someone told me this. You will be so. . . ahem. . . chapped the first few weeks if you don’t. I used this stuff after I nursed my little one every time. As the months went by and my body got more use to nursing I would only use it once a day and would typically put it on after I got out of the shower. This stuff can seem really pricey but it lasted me for a while. So don’t be put off by the price.

source: www.nursingbraexpess.com
3. Advent nursing pads

I went with the reusable ones. I got the hint from the lady at Motherhood Maternity. I seriously saved so much money from these things. I would recommend to buy two boxes at first because you’ll be needing them. I ordered mine from Amazon but I know you can also buy them from, you guessed it Motherhood Maternity.
Source: www.chemistdirect.co.uk

 4. Get a pump.

I just used my Medela hand pump that I got from the hospital. I never produced a ton of milk so this worked perfect for me. I took one class a semester after I had my little one and only had it twice a week. I only had to have two 4 ounce bottles a week. This worked perfectly for that. And another thing I loved about this?? The Gerber baby bottles fit perfectly with it.
Source: blog.thebump.com

5. Two bags of frozen peas.

The nurse at the hospital told me to get some when I went home. I thought it was weird and didn’t think anything about it. But if you’ve ever had milk come in and your baby wasn’t hungry you’ll understand real quickly why she recommended these. I hurried and I called my mom that was coming over to see the baby to go get two bags of frozen peas. As soon as she entered my door I grabbed those bags and laid them right on me. I felt INSTANT relief!! So take my word for it buy two bags or frozen peas BEFORE you have the baby.

6. Nursing bras

I recommend going to Motherhood Maternity and just getting fitted. They size you for the expected growth you will experience. They also explain somethings very well. It is a little more pricey but in the end it will be worth it when you have a bra that works and fits just right. ALSO. . . get their sports bras for nights. They are lifesavers my friends!!

Some other weird things I have found out along the way:

  • Your baby WILL go through a stage were all they want to do is eat. Sometimes you wonder why you even put a shirt on in the morning!! Yes this stage is frustrating but it IS NORMAL. They WILL grow out of it. Just be patient.
  • You will get grief from some for nursing. And when you are a new momma and EXTRA hormonal this can hurt. Believe me. My Grandma who didn’t nurse and simply just didn’t understand it gave me some major grief. I had to learn to shrug it off and remember that I WAS THE MOM so I GOT TO MAKE THE CHOICES. Once I got into that mind set things became a lot easier.
  • You will miss somethings. I remember when we would be at friends or families houses and the party would just been getting fun when my little one would get hungry. Yes, sometimes I would get frustrated. But as soon as we would go into another room and we would get into our groove I would just look at him and be grateful that I had this time with him. It was mommy and baby time and NO ONE could take that away from me. 
  • Drink water and eat well and often. I cannot stress this enough. In order to produce milk you need to drink water and eat. And I found that if you ate well that you would feel good too. Win, win. You have to act like you are pregnant with the medicine you can take and the food you can eat. Just remember that things pass through milk. 

Mastitis:
The first time you get mastitis GO TO THE DOCTOR!! I cannot stress that enough. Do not just take this advice instead. Mastitis is serious and needs to be treated by a doctor!! I got mastitis so many times that the last three times I got it I was able to treat it on my own. Drink tons of water, rest and use a heating pad. I knew the symptoms pretty well so as soon as I knew the moment I had it I would do those three things and it would go away within 24 hours.


Weening:
Oh wow was this quite the event at our house. It was a hard decision for me. I wanted to nurse my little one until he was 18 months. But at his one year check-up he was measuring on the lower end of the percentile in weight. I thought nothing of it. Well as the weeks went by I started noticing that he wouldn’t eat a lot of normal food because I was nursing him. I didn’t like that. I wanted him to be eating and experiencing food. I didn’t want to be the one holding him back. So I started counting how many times I nursed him a day for a week. Once I knew how much I nursed him the next week I would cut off one of the feedings. And then the next week I would cut another and so on and so forth. This took a month and a half. THIS IS NOT A FAST PROCESS. The last two weeks I was in extreme pain. I read a few things online about what to do. One of the things I read was to pump when you just couldn’t take it anymore. As much as that made me feel better I would not recommend it. It didn’t stop my milk from coming in. So what finally worked?? Wear a tight sports bra DAY AND NIGHT. Ice and take Advil. It will take a while but it will finally go away. Promise. The last time I nursed my little one it seemed so serial. I was nursing him right before I put him to bed. Once I put him to bed and shut the door I knew that was the last time I would nurse my baby. I was sad. But I knew in the end it was best for both of us.

I am so grateful for my experience with nursing and I am so excited to nurse my next baby!! Remember this is what worked for ME. Others may have amazing ideas too!! Also sometimes you have to do it your own way like I did!! And to that I say, swag on!!

-Lauren


Your turn! What advice do YOU have for nursing moms?


9 comments:

  1. This is all great advice. Thanks for sharing. I'm curious, how did you change your diet to overcome your baby's acid reflux?

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    1. I got rid of all spicy foods from my diet!! And I tried not to eat a lot of citrus!! It seemed to work like a charm!! My doctor also recommend I take dairy out of my diet... I tried it but it didn't seem to make a difference!! So I tried the spice!! I think it's a lot of trial and error!! Just see what works for you and your baby!! :)

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  2. I have a quick tip for washable/reusable nursing pads. Get some nude colored flannel and trace a CD. Three layers is fine. Stitch around it and there ya go! Happy Nursing! Way to stick with it even when it got tough. I stopped when my daughter wouldn't stop biting. I love nursing.

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    1. SO smart! I will have to remember that!

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  3. Great post! Another tip I have is for when youre done nursing, and youre trying to dry up. I used the super tight sports bras, and put really cold whole cabbage leaves in it. :) Super wierd, I know!! My doctor said there is something in them that helps soothe your skin and relieve the "My-chest-is-gonna-explode!" feeling. You just switch them out once they get warm. Sure, you smell like coleslaw, and your husband will crack up everytime he sees you, but I promise it works!!!

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    1. HAHA! That's awesome. I hope you had it poke up a little like a frilly cabbage camisole. Well, at least now cabbage has a purpose besides coleslaw!

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  4. For soreness/engorgement you can actually soak a newborn diaper and freeze it. That was the trick the nurses did in the hospital and I also used them on my c-section incision. I adapted that method at home with disposable nursing pads I would soak in water and then freeze them over a little bowl. They held the moisture in because they have gel inside like disposable diapers. They were just the right size/shape and gave so much relief. When I only had cotton ones I would soak/freeze them in a sandwich bag. Then I'd put a thin cotton cloth between the pad and my breast so it was cool yet dry.

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  5. Also, On mastitis. I'm not sure that I ever had it but I knew I would have sore hard lumps occasionally in my breasts. I figured out that they were glands that were not getting properly emptied each time. While my baby fed I would massage and finger those areas and I could feel them soften. With a little time the soreness would leave. At the end of each feeding I'd often squeeze/massage the whole gland area to make sure it all properly drained. Probably the angle of the feeding or something but the bottom glands were often the culprits.

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    1. Crazy...I don't think I ever made enough milk to deal with stuff like this...Thanks for the tips, Becca! And, that diaper trick is awesome! I will have to try that next time! :)

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