Breastfeeding: The Struggle Is Real

by - October 24, 2016

So before Milo was even born I knew I wanted to attempt breastfeeding. I'm not very fond of formula and if I can avoid it at all costs, then I will. For me formula is not a choice, but a last resort. The benefits of breastfeeding are so magnificent, it's truly a no brainer. With the countless pros come a cost... the cons. None of which are are a big enough deal to steer me away from giving my baby the best nutrients possible.
In the begining Milo had a hard time latching and latching properly. Which we later found out, at his first appointment with the pediatrician, that he had a Tongue Tie. The improper latch caused me to have rough, chafed, broken nipples. Like I'm sure you can imagine, it was very very painful any time he would nurse, I would pump, or even shower. There were times when I was nursing and tears of pain would drip down my cheek. Ever sense the doctor cut the bit under his tongue his latch has been far better. He nursed at that appointment for longer than he ever had. The tongue tie caused him not get the appropriate amount of milk so the poor little guy was pretty hungry.
To allow myself time to heal, I started Milo on bottles part time. To also speed up the recovery process I used the Honest Company Nipple Balm after feedings, and before and after I pumped. Which worked amazingly. At this point, I already had plenty of milk stored and that supply continues to grow. He was not a fan of the bottle at first and hates waiting for it to warm up. When I nurse him, I can tell when he is  hungry and begin a feeding before he gets upset. With the bottle, I have to prepare it, which takes time. Even with my Quick Serve Bottle Warmer from The First Years Co. Milo drinks incredibly fast regardless of nursing or out of a bottle. With bottle feeding, I've noticed he gets more hiccups, he spits up way more, and often times becomes very fussy afterward. I decided to switch his bottle from the Tommee Tippee brand to the Munchkin Latch bottle and he seems to be doing way better. It's important to find what works for your baby. Not every bottle fits every baby's needs, feeding style, or desire. Sometimes this comes with trial and error.
This week I decided to go back to nursing him full time vs. bottle feeding. I was pumping way too much and we are begining to run out of room in our freezer! I'm not going back to work for quite awhile, or I may continue working from hime, so really there is no need for us to have this much milk stored. I'd rather be safe than sorry, though. Plus, I don't plan on nursing Milo forever, like some mothers choose to do. Once he is on baby foods and can hold his own bottle, I will more than likely begin weaning him. I don't know about yall, but nursing a baby with teeth does not sound like a good time. I recall the recent damage he did and that was all gum. I figure I can use the milk stored during our travels, and later down the road. That way even though I may no longer be nursing him, he will still be getting the nutrients from breastmilk.
Since I began breastfeeding, the swelling I had during pregnancy was gone within the first two weeks post partum. I am also down to my pre pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding takes alot out of you and rapidly increases the speed of your metabolism. Even though I had a c section I have still been able to loose the water and baby weight fairly quickly. It has been really hard for me to quench my thirst and my appetite was really really low for the first couple weeks. Just recently I started noticing myself becoming hungry again. Now that my appetite has returned its like I'm starving all the time! I still drink so much water and various other drinks throughout the day, that keep my belly full for the most part. When my appetite was low for the little while post partum I picked up Carnation Complete Nutrition Breakfast Drinks. They have plenty of vitamins and minerals with 10 grams of protein. So even when I couldn't eat I still was getting what I needed.
Once we were home from the hospital, I began getting to really know my baby. He fusses and chews his hands when he is hungry. Moans when he stretches, and has a different fuss when he is gassy. Now that I've taken the time and learned the meanings of the different noises he makes, I can better respond to his needs. This was a struggle in the begining, but once I relaxed and stopped focusing on schedules and hear say that was put in my head, I was more in tuned   to my mother's intuition. It took about three weeks for us to get to know each other and fall into the routine we have now. So far it's been working really well.
Schedule
Milo and I have naturally fallen into a routine. I tried to force a feeding schedule in the begining, but all this did was put stress on him and I. The hospital will pressure you to stay on a every two hour feeding schedule and force you to try to wake baby up for feedings. My opinion is, this is unnecessary. Once I gave Milo some space to feed when he was hungry and nap when he was tired, we began to organically form the schedule we have now.
He goes down for our bedtime between 8:00 and 9:00 pm. Wakes for his first night feeding around 12:00 or 1:00 am. Then again around 3:00 am where he stays awake for about an hour. Wakes once more between 6:00 and 6:30 am. After that he will typically nap till about 8:30  am and then stay up for a couple hours. I spend this time working on his muscles, movements, and flexibility doing "Tummy Time" on his play mat. Then we nurse and cuddle for awhile. He will typically fall asleep and nap for a couple hours. That is when I begin to get some work done. During the day Milo is what's called a cluster feeder. He nurses multiple times in a row. Basically, he is a little hog. This causes him to go longer between feedings since he is fuller. (My guess at least) At night he gets right down to business. Nurse for a few minutes and back to sleep. That's why he doesn't sleep as long during the night. Do I wish that was reversed...? Ofcourse. However, I am finally adjusted to our routine and soon, fingers crossed, he will sleep through the night.
My personal list of the pros and cons of breastfeeding.
Pros
-immune benefits for baby
-nutritional benefits for baby
-speeds up metabolism of mommy
-reduces post partum swelling quicker
-mommy & baby bonding
-more convenient 
-less fussing, spit up, colic, hiccups vs. bottle feeding
-can't beat the price!
-reduces risk of post partum depression
Cons
-constantly thirsty
-soreness and aches from time to time
-latch issues can be frustrating for mommy and baby
-public awkwardness
-breast vary in size on an hour to hour basis
-LEAKS!!
-pumping (a necessary evil)
-wardrobe (not all clothing is breastfeeding friendly. You have to wear clothing with easy access so you can whip those puppies out at a moments notice)
-alcohol (I enjoy a glass of wine and a nice book in the bath from time to time)
Old Wives Tales
◆A beer or glass of wine will increase your milk supply and/or let down.
False (Alcohol can decrease your milk supply. Nursing babies recieve 20% less milk after alcohol is consumed.)
◆Alcohol does not get into the milk supply.
False (Just like your blood stream alcohol passes through the milk supply. It is recommended to wait 1-2 hours after drinking 1 alcoholic beverage to nurse. That's a 12 oz beer, 1 oz cocktail, 4 oz wine)
◆Massaging the breast can promote milk let down.
True (I massage when I pump after feedings)
◆Warm compress can promote milk let down
True (Heat helps milk release. Warm damp cloth, hot shower, or heating pad can all be beneficial)
◆You need to wait for your breast to fill up or become engorged before feeding.
False (A mothers breast is never completely out of milk. Waiting till your breast become engorged can be aching for you and make latching more difficult for baby)

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