Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Breastfeeding Story

Before getting pregnant, I wanted nothing to do with breastfeeding.  Even throughout those 9 months, I wasn't really looking forward to it.  I had resigned myself to trying because I knew it would be best for the baby and of course it was the cheapest option.  We took a breastfeeding class where I had to work hard not to giggle.  Haha.  I had heard so many horror stories of babies not latching or nipples cracking and bleeding . . . *shudder*.  Needless to say, it wasn't something I was overly excited about.

Moments after Lucy was born - before our families came in to see her, before they bathed her or anything, the nurse asked if I wanted to try nursing.  I remember just sticking her on there not remembering a thing from my breastfeeding class and hoping she would just figure it out.  Haha.  I sadly don't remember much beyond that.

The nurses helped me nurse her again when we got up to the recovery room.  It's funny that I consider myself a fairly modest person, but I had no problem with the nurse manhandling me.  Haha.  I think Lucy did ok those first few times.  She loved to suck and was constantly rooting and sticking her tongue out.  But things went downhill quickly.

I remember one night in the hospital when she just screamed and screamed and no matter what the nurse did, Lucy would not latch.  It wasn't that she couldn't do it, she just didn't want to or something.  It was such a victory when she latched for a second here or there!  Even writing this brings back the desperation and anxiety I had then.  It was so frustrating to watch her scream when I knew it was such an easy fix!  We eventually sent her to the nursery and they asked me if I wanted her to have formula.  I was so conflicted.  I knew she needed to eat, but I was afraid if she got a taste of that formula, she'd never attempt to nurse again.

The day we left the hospital, the lactation consultant came in to help me.  She brought little bottles of sugar water that she squirted on me to get Lucy interested in sucking.  They worked wonders . . . until the first night at home.  Haha.

She would not latch, and we both sat on the couch at 2 in the morning with tears running down our faces. When she miraculously did latch, she would nurse f.o.r.e.v.e.r!! 25 minutes each side.  Then she'd be ready to nurse again 2 hours later.  It was exhausting.  And she wasn't nursing well or taking much in.  (Although, honestly, my milk still hadn't come in, so there wasn't much to take in anyway.)  That first night, I was so desperate I gave her 2 oz. of formula.  She guzzled it so quickly she ended up puking it all back up.

We had a few days of supplementing with formula which was difficult because then she was less interested in nursing.  But we kept chugging along, and I kept trying.  It took seven days for my milk to come in.  (I realize now it's because I wasn't eating!)  And finally, she got the hang of it.  It took a good 2 weeks for her to really latch on consistently and get full feedings - which contributed largely to my postpartum anxiety.

Ever since then, it's been smooth sailing.  She fell easily into a routine - which is very important to me.  She nursed every 3 hours for a few months, then moved seamlessly to every 4 hours.  When I was ready to start weaning, she dropped the feedings no problem.  I had one, minor clog that I was able to resolve on my own.  And I never had any infections or anything.  Praise the Lord!!!

So here's the sappy part.  I nursed Lucy for the last time tonight.  I got a little choked up but didn't cry!  I don't think she could care less. Haha.

I'm amazed at how much I loved nursing.  I love the way she is so happy to nurse.  When she's sad or tired, she latches on and her eyes immediately roll back in her head like "Ahhhh - this is what I was waiting for!"  I loved when she was little and she'd get so wiggly and excited when I laid her down and started undoing my bra.  I love the way her hands rested on my chest and her fingers opened and closed.  I loved when she would fall asleep and her little mouth would fall slack.  I think I'll miss the closeness.  Nursing was the one time when she holds still.  I don't know if she'll lay still and rock with me at bedtime any more.  :-(

But as always, I'm just trying to be excited about the future.  I'm excited to go away for a couple days for our anniversary and not worry about pumping or having enough frozen milk for her.  I'm excited for her to grow up and get bigger.  I have to look forward to the firsts instead of lamenting the lasts or I'll just be a basket case all the time! Haha.

Ok, that was ridiculously long!  Thanks if you made it to the end.  And thanks especially for all the nursing help, encouragement, and advice over the past year!!

4 comments:

  1. Hurray! I'm so proud of you that you that you stuck with it!

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  2. what a sweet post! You are such a great Mom, Sadie. It's been fun watching you and Lucy grow together. I look forward to seeing more of her firsts too! As I'm looking forward to Tim coming home from his first year of college, I so agree with looking forward to the first instead of lamenting the lasts. Letting go is all a part of being a Mom, and I'm so thankful that whenever we let go, it's so our kids can start on a new stage of their journey and drag us along with them as we cry "not so fast!"
    Have a super wonderful celebration of Lucy's first birthday this week!
    Tracie

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  3. That was such a sweet story :) I'm really proud of you for sticking with it even though it was SO hard. That's really awesome.

    ...I just looked at the other comments and they're exactly what I wrote... so it must be true ;)

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  4. Your story is great...
    Let me preface this by saying I totally respect your choice for breastfeeding. It's natural and healthy. I personally find breastfeeding disgusting and did not breast feed either of my children... breast are for sex, not food. I know, backwards. Anyways.. always find it interesting to ask: Why did you share your breastfeeding story? Everyone has a different answer. I guess as someone who never had such a story, I am intrigued.
    Happy one year to Lucy!

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