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?
Good for you for choosing to nurse your son. Did you know though that every time you choose to skip a feeding (either through formula or using prior pumped milk), you are decreasing your milk supply. This can also be a big factor in clogged ducts.
Breast is best! Keep up the good work!
Thank you for your comment, Sally. I do agree that nursing is good for the baby but beyond that believe that whatever a mom decides is best for her is best for the baby!
I wish you were a new mom when I was going through it! You know that what I went through was very similar and it felt like I was the only one (my reluctance to talk about it Bc I was ashamed that I was supplementing might have contributed to that feeling!) but even now with a two year old, I love to read these updates. I also remember things getting markedly better at about three months! So happy that seems to be the case for you and L, too! Can’t wait to meet him!! Xx
Can’t wait for you to meet him and to finally catch up! And talking to you made me feel SO much better about things!
You’re such a rockstar-I think its so important to talk about the challenges of breastfeeding-being open is so imp. for moms, methinks. And I know it makes me feel more ok with whatever my situation will be when I have kids.
You just keep doing your best, because you’re doing amazing! L is obviously an adorable and happy and healthy baby-which is what matters :)
Thanks, Kayle! You leave the nicest most supportive comments. xo
Nordstrom ladies lounge is the BEST! Once I found that, I felt comfortable going to the mall :) You’re doing amazing! I think parenthood is just made up of those little humps of ‘ok, we got this down…for now.’ I feel that way all the time, and as we start thinking about having a 2nd child, all I keep thinking to myself is…but we have it down the way things are! We are making it work! Another child is going to come in a throw a major wrench into that.
Love the pics of Liam…so cute!
Ha isn’t it great? Any other good BF spots you know of???
And I have a feeling I’ll be thinking the same thing when we start thinking about baby #2:-)
Noa and I have spent a lot of time in the Nordstrom lounge! So thankful for our daily texts. I couldn’t have survived the last few weeks without you. The only thing better would be having you here :)
Haha love you!!!!!
Haha I googled the same thing “when does it get easier” at 6 wks, and believe me, it all gets SO MUCH BETTER My kiddo’s 1 tomorrow (!), so I haven’t forgotten the horrors of the early days, but they are in the rear view mirror as they will be for you in a few short months. EVERYTHING gets better as sleep improves. Yes there are new challenges, but from where you are now, you’re almost out of the woods (4 months is a big turning point since sleep really consolidates).
Good luck and congrats!
Thank you so much for your comment! I’m really glad to hear that your experience got so much better, too. Happy first birthday to your little one!!
I’ve been a lurker on your blog for quite some time and never commented before. I believe I found you through my blogger friend, Joanne. She and I were supposed to meet up while I was still living in NY but it never happened :( Annnyway, I just had a baby boy a month or two before you and I’m LOVING your New Mom Real Talk series. You have no idea how similar you sound to my life right now. Like I could have written every word you wrote! It makes me feel so much better to know I’m not the only one who thinks like this. I barely leave the house because I feel tied to my baby’s schedule…leaving gives me total anxiety that the whole day will get screwed up in regards to eating/napping/etc! My husband doesn’t get it at all, hehe. Also, are clogged ducts not THE MOST PAINFUL THING ever?! Ugh. I think some of us must just be more prone to getting them. Let me know when you’re ready to wean off breastfeeding/pumping so I can give you some tips from a fellow easily-clogged-woman…I’m just about done and I managed to do it without getting clogs (my worst fear)! Can’t wait to read your next installment.
P.S. Your baby boy is SO CUTE!!!!
Thank you SO much for that comment, Amy! I really appreciate it… and I will definitely be looking to you for weaning advice when the time comes. And ah the schedule… I am trying so hard to let myself not worry about it as much but all I keep thinking about is not wanting to mess things up so that he stops sleeping through the night!
PS Would love to meet you if you are ever back in NY:-)
GO Girl- You are really doing so well and I am so impressed with you sticking with things even though they have been challenging :)
I found if I was shopping- anywhere- I could duck into a dressing room and nurse- that was always a great spot. And then, as everything got easier, I could just lift up my shirt and nurse anywhere because I was so good at it modestly. Those days will come! xo
Thanks, Audra!!! Ha, I definitely sat in a GAP dressing room one day for a LONG time!
I know I’m late to the party on this post, but I just HAD to chime in. Before I gave birth, everyone told me how much I would just LOVE breastfeeding. No one told me how difficult it would be in the beginning, and how tempting it would be to quit and do formula. Like you, I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of things (baby Kieran is 15 weeks at this point). I really don’t like breastfeeding at all, except for those tender moments between me and the baby…for weeks, I felt like a soggy, dripping cow whose entire life revolved around feeding. I couldn’t do anything else. All I did was breastfeed. And not well. I was exhausted, stressed, and feeling incredibly alone and lost. That all being said, we’ve finally got the hang of it and I’m so glad I stuck it out. I think these types of conversations are so important, though, because nobody really prepares you for how hard it can be. And all that does is make new moms feel inadequate or like they are doing something wrong. I actually think it’s MORE common for new moms to struggle with breastfeeding than to just get it right away, and I so did not get that message prior to trying it myself. It’s been such an eye opener talking with other moms who share my struggle. Thanks for sharing :)
Thanks so much for this comment! L just hit 15 weeks and I still feel like you do. I’m definitely pretty vocal about the challenges with friends I know who are pregnant now!