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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Autumn's Breastfeeding Story

I met Autumn through Crissy and have always really liked her. She's so pretty and such a good mommy! I think I will always feel a bond with her since she was in the delivery room with me when Kye was born (she took all his birth pics!) and we enjoy getting with her for many of Kye's professional pictures now too (his 2 year pics will be coming up soon!) Here's her story...which is going to be longer here soon when she has baby Carlo in a couple months!

When I was pregnant with my daughter Alina 3 years ago, I read everything I could get my hands on. What I learned from everything that I read was that no matter how prepared you think you are, and how much knowledge you obtained, you just never know what is going to happen. Nothing can be controlled, or predicted. What you can controlled is how you react to the situation you end up in. I am a strong believer in using calmness as a weapon. Our minds can be our biggest enemy, and keeping yourself calm in situations that are out of our control, is the only way to control it. I planned on nursing Alina, but I could not guaranty that everything was going to work perfectly. I thank God that it did work perfectly.

As soon as I shot her out, she latched on perfectly, and ate like a goldfish (you know how goldfish eat, they would eat until they exploded if you let them). The hardest part of the first 48 hours of nursing for me was that my arms hurt so bad from the IV and blood pressure cuff. Because of my arms being so weak, it was easiest to do the football hold, where you hold the baby like you have a football under your arm. I also noticed that because I was so calm, I was never bothered by the nursing Nazis at the hospital that I have heard such horrible stories about. I did ask on the way out the hospital for some advice, just to make sure that I was nursing right, because I was a bit brain dead. I wish I had not. I was told that I should take a break to let my milk build back up, but like I said, Alina ate like a goldfish, and it was the hardest night I ever had with her. She just wanted to eat, and screamed until I gave in and just feed her until she stopped. I did not start a real feeding schedule until she was about a week old, and my milk had fully come in.

One thing that I wish someone had warned me about was how painful it was going to be when my milk did come in. Maybe it was just me, but it was worse than labor. I had to break the pump out at that point to relive some pressure. I also would stuff my bra with burp cloths so I would not have to change the sheets every night from all the over-flow. Everything got better when my body adjusted to the demand that Alina put on it.

I felt like a milk cow for the first month or so. After a while she got faster at eating, and I was able to have more of a life. She eat for about an hour at a time, and I would put a 2 ½ to 3 break in-between her feedings. She was a great sleeper, so I would always have to wake her up to eat. I do not believe in the demand feeding, because I feel like she would go too long in-between feeding if I had that philosophy.
I have the best job possible for a mom. I work at a Carpenter’s Kids Preschool, and they have a staff baby’s room, where I was able to take Alina with me, and nurse when ever I needed to. I never had to take a bottle. I know most moms who have to work do not have such an awesome set up as I did. I know that because of that I was able to nurse for so long. If I had to pump at work, it would have been so much harder fore me.

I nursed for 11 months, and if it was up to her, I would still be nursing her at almost 3 years old. I have never known a child be as obsessed with boobies, and nursing, as mine. I stopped nursing because my husband found out that he was going to loose his dental insurance, and I needed my wisdom teeth pulled. I figured that since she was old enough to drink cow’s milk, and drink from a sippy cup that I would go ahead and completely wean her. I did not want to wean her for the 48 that I was going have to because of the surgery, and then have to do it again 4 to 5 months later. I also did not want to get her use to a bottle, and have to wean her from that in a few months also. I decided to go straight to the sippy cup. I made my husband feed her for the first 48 hours after my surgery, and she never seemed to skip a beat. I wish I had done it slower, and cut out a feeding at a time, because I went from three feeding a day to zero in 24 hours. Emotionally it was really hard on me, physically it hurt worse to dry up then have my teeth surgically removed.

I am 7 months pregnant with my second child, and I am so looking forward to being able to nurse again. I am still going in with the realization that I can not control my baby, but I can control my reactions. I believe that it will go smoothly again, but this baby is already obviously not like his sister. I can not expect it to be the same the second time around.

My biggest word of advice is do what makes you feel comfortable, and stay calm. Eating is a natural thing, they will figure it out. Sometimes, the experts do not know what they are talking about, because they have never experienced anyone exactly like you, and exactly like your baby. Go with your gut. You are not a bad mom if you feel like nursing is not working out for you and your baby. At the same time, I think everyone should try, just to see. You never know.

Thanks so much Autumn!

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