New Mom Real Talk: Breastfeeding
A couple of weeks ago someone asked me if I was breastfeeding L, and when I said yes, she asked, “isn’t it the best?” I practically laughed and said, “no, not really”.
Truth be told, the last week and a half has been a drastic improvement over the ten weeks prior. Around six or seven weeks I was googling, “when does breastfeeding get easier?” Around two months I felt like I at least had a manageable nursing/pumping combo down. Now at twelve weeks, I finally feel like we are doing something sustainable (I’m actually afraid of saying that out loud because who knows, in one minute things could change).
There have been clogged ducts (why is it that when breastfeeding is most painful you actually can’t quit?), around the clock pumping sessions, hour+ nursing sessions and bleeding nipples (er, one that will never be a non-issue). There have been tears, frustration, and wondering what it’s like to live in a world beyond three-hour increments.
But lately, things really have been better. L’s feedings are taking much less time; this morning we finished a feeding in a record twenty five minutes! Each day I nurse for three feedings, nurse + bottle for two, and then the last feeding is all bottle while I pump (that way Matt can feed him before bed). I also pump after the first morning feeding because, well, it’s necessary. Most days at least one of those bottles is formula. I can tell that L is thriving just by looking at him, and based on some before and after feeding weigh-ins, I’m confident that he is eating enough this way. That is obviously the most important part, but my sanity, which seems to be returning, is a close second.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still some rough feedings. The other day he decided he was hungry as soon as I walked into Trader Joe’s and I ended up nursing him in the car. That would have been fine if it didn’t take a half hour to burp him (not so uncommon around here) afterwards. But then again, he had a great feeding a week ago while I was at the mall. I fed him in the Nordstrom Ladies Lounge and things actually went pretty smoothly. Now that I feel comfortable with that, I can actually leave the house for a few hours at a time. (Well, as long as I have plenty of extra clothes in his diaper bag!). Maybe this will help me start feeling “normal” again.
So for now, I’m going to keep on going. I haven’t committed to any fixed amount of time because I don’t think that pressure is fair (though if I made it a total of six to twelve months I’d be very happy). Today was a “re-evaluation” point and I’m comfortable continuing. I’ll probably re-evaluate again around his four month doctor appointment.
I’ve mentioned this before, but talking to other mom’s has helped me immensely. My best friend and I text on a regular basis about our random challenges (trying to drink smoothies full of brewers yeast, sneaking into the baby’s room to grab a pump, trying anything and everything just to make it work…). I also joined this Facebook group where most women are very supportive of one another and offer advice to breastfeeding moms.
What helped you get through the challenges of breastfeeding? Did you have that “this is actually working” turning point?