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Adventures in Breastfeeding

Monday, August 24, 2009

nursing after delivery
There was no question that I'd breastfeed. My mother breastfed all six of her children, so I grew up knowing that I'd follow in this tradition. I just survived my first week of being a new, breastfeeding mommy, and I ain't gonna lie...it was tough going. First off, I am lucky that Marlie latched on minutes after being born and knew what to do because I was in no shape to help her. I was in such a fog that I couldn't remember my name much less the techniques I learned in the two breastfeeding classes I completed. All I have to say is that nature is amazing because it will compensate for your lack of skill in any life or death situation. An example would be the first time by milk let down in response to her cry. I wasn't sure if she was crying out of hunger, but my body sure let me know!

Breastfeedibreastfeeding cross-cradle hold
ng has gotten easier each day and I am so glad that I didn't let sore nipples, engorgement, leaking, sleep deprivation or erratic feeding times scare me away from providing my baby the best source of nourishment. Here are the lessons I've learned in the first week of breastfeeding along with my opinion on the utility of some of the tools I am using:
  • I panicked when I became engorged around day three and couldn't nurse her because my breasts were swollen, hard, and hurt like heck. The battery-operated pump that we had picked up at the last minute was a life-saver when nothing else seemed to work. After expressing enough milk to reduce the pressure, I used Soothies to relieve the pain (thanks for the tip Kelley!).
  • Itzbeen is a handy, easy-to-use, pocket gadget that keeps a digital record of feedings, number of diaper changes, etc... It was a very useful during the first three days when I was lost in the fog of afterbirth. Around day five my own biological timer kicked in, I stopped using the Itzbeen and watched for Marlie's hunger cues instead. I also realized that I could just count her soiled cloth diapers to make sure she was making enough pee-pee and bowel movements.
  • I wished someone had warned me that breastfeeding is a pain in the neck (and back)! I am going to need a deep tissue massage from craning my neck and holding her while she nurses. I have a breastfeeding pillow, but I have decided that it is more useful as a neck brace, LOL!
  • Breastfeeding resources (books, support groups and web sites). I was of the mindset that breastfeeding would be easy. Was I ever more wrong?! I have re-read the books and notes from the classes, put the lactation consultant's business card on the fridge, bookmarked kellymom.com (another helpful Kelley tip), and made plans to attend the next local La Leche League meeting. These sources of information calmed my fears and gave me the confidence to stick with it.
The best advice I have to share with new mommies who are breastfeeding is to trust your instincts. We are equipped to take of our young and we just need to believe in our abilities.

8 comments:

Kim @ What's That Smell? said...

Great job!

I think it's interesting that something sooooo natural can seem like such hard work in the beginning.

When I breastfed my son I always had a pillow under him and something up around my neck too. Proper body alignment for you is just as important as her latching on right. You CAN be comfortable, you just have to find what works for you.

Brandy and Brian said...

I went to my first La Leche meeting 3 weeks ago. I felt a little nervous about going before my baby was even here, but the ladies there made me feel so comfortable. Everyone was so nice and open with advice, questions, and any topic that needed discussion. All of the breastfeeding moms had their kiddos with them, and would breastfeed as needed during the meeting. I think you will find some comfort and good advice by going. Good luck and happy breastfeeding!!!

Maureen said...

She is so cute nursing! She's so tiny, none of mine were ever that small, so it just looks soooo cute to me (mine all were 9-10 pounds at birth). I'm still breastfeeding and have never been to a LLL meeting, but am contemplating it for nursing a toddler. Things change constantly with breastfeeding. Just when you get a system down, they have a growth spurt or get sick or get some teeth and it throws everything off. Right now I just would like to talk to some other moms who are breastfeeding toddlers. None of my other kids nursed much by ten months and they all weaned by 15 months. Persephone is a hard core nurser though and I don't see her weaning any time soon. So this is new for me. BTW, warm showers helped my milk let down when I would get engourged.

Dee said...

Oh dear I still remember that back pain and my son is 16. There is nothing like it though and one good thing it helps to get that tummy back in shape.

JaelCustomDesigns said...

Yay Mommy! I'm so proud of you. I'm going 19 months strong breastfeeding my little man. I used a Boppy earlier on now he's so active that we have routine. Lol!

Amy @ Six Flower Mom said...

I think it does get easier but at first it is so hard! But if you can get through the beginning it is so wonderful!

I love the 2nd picture in this post -- precious!

Diana - FreeStyleMama said...

Precious pics! Keep up the good work!

Tooj said...

You'll find a comfy way for you to do it....it just takes time and then once you get comfy, they seem to get bigger and you have to go about finding another NEW way. LOL It's a never ending cycle, but you'll be just fine. :) I'm excited to hear that it's going so well for you.

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