Monday, May 8, 2017

Breastfeeding Round Two

"Please, God, PLEASE don't make me eat my words with this baby." 


With Aaron, I was Breastfeeding's #1 Advocate. 
He was a fairly easy baby to breastfeed (see his story here
and I REALLLLLY didn't want to have a crazy difficult time this second go-round. 

Good news: I did not have to eat my words! 

In the Hospital & Circumcision: 

Despite a very long time between birth and skin time 
(almost 3 hours due to the c-section plus being monitored for troubled breathing)
Oliver had a much easier start to breastfeeding. 
At "only" 7 lbs 10 oz versus Aaron's whopping 10.5, 
Oliver ate like a "normal" infant
and no one freaked the F out like they did with Aaron. 
With Aaron we got a constant update on his weight and blood sugar, 
with the ever-looming threat of formula if his weight loss didn't stabilize. 
With Oliver, it took several phone calls to the nursery to even confirm weight updates
No one was concerned. 
Oliver lost weight like a "normal" baby 
(his lowest at discharge was 7 lbs 2 oz) but again, no one blinked an eye. 
It was nice! 

Oliver nursed well-enough the first few days. 
I was mentally prepping for the circumcision on the 3rd day, 
which had kick-started Aaron's worst 36 hours of nursing. 
Sure enough, circumcision left Oliver pretty sleepy 
and his nursing increasingly worsened throughout the day. 
But this time I didn't freak. 
I had my back-up plan ready to go. 
When  Oliver refused to latch entirely, I made a phone call asking for formula. 
When they asked: "What kind?" 
I replied: "I don't care, I'm just dabbing it on my boobs."  
When the nurse arrived with a stack of pre-mixed formula bottles and nipples, 
I handed her back the nipples with the explanation: "I'm not feeding it to him."  
She looked so confused as I unscrewed the lid, 
swabbed some formula on my nips, 
and coached Oliver back to latching. 
He did - Success! 

The First Few Months:




The first few months were pretty standard. 
Oliver nursed differently than Aaron, but it wasn't bad. 
Aaron would latch and chillll. 
Oliver quickly proved that was NOT his mantra. 
After a few weeks home, Oliver dropped down to these confusingly short sessions, 
like 3 minutes a side. 
Aaron nursed one side at a time, often hanging out for 10-15 minutes. 
Oliver's 3 minute session meant he wanted both sides, 
but was still only a 6 minute nursing session. 
Once I got over my fear that he wasn't getting enough 
(clearly he was growing at an exponential rate), 
I was able to enjoy the efficiency! 


Progression

By 5 months, Oliver was nursing a consistent 8 times a day. 

We started solids at 6 months, 
and nothing changed in his sleep or breastfeeding. 

By 8 months, he had dropped to breastfeeding 5-6 times a day. 
Around this time, he stopped nursing after nap. 
Like flat out pushing the boob away and trying to roll off my lap. 
This was an odd reaction considering Aaron NEVER rejected the boob. 

At 9 months, he FINALLY hit 11 hours of sleep, 
and dropped to breastfeeding 4 times a day. 

I asked the doctor "is 4 times a day enough?" 
And she sort of laughed at me because um... 
do you see these rolls? 


He clearly is getting enough to eat. 


11.5-Months: The Lactation Consultant

Oliver's teeth came in at 9 months and at first no problem.  
Then he developed this "chewing habit" around 11 months. 
Not biting, but like "chewing" as he nursed. 
It was so bad I started bleeding again as if he was a newborn! 
And the craziest thing was it was only on the right breast! 

Obviously, at 11.5 months, we could have totally stopped breastfeeding. 
But he didn't want to end and quite frankly, I didn't either. 
Nutrition aside, I just wasn't emotionally ready for the end. 

So I hauled Oliver off to a Lactation Consultant. 
I felt so silly bringing a 25-lbs, crawling, babbling chunky baby 
into an office that normally diagnoses tiny infants. 
The office loved him because they normally don't see "patients" who are so interactive. 

It was totally worth the trip because she diagnosed my issue immediately. 
Since it was only happening on the right breast, I assumed it was an angle problem.
But the consultant explained since I always (out of habit) started on the left, 
the right had developed a severely diminished supply, 
which lead to his shallow latch, 
which then lead to his "chewing." 

From then on, I started switching back and forth. 
And about a week later, we were "cured" of the worst of the chewing. 

However, it took a few weeks for breastfeeding to really feel better 
(and my nips to fully heal!). 
Around his first birthday, I seriously considered giving up. 
I was kind of done with the whole thing. 
But there were two things that kept me going: 

1. Oliver's enthusiasm 

2. With Aaron, I regretted stopping at 14 months. 
Remembering that regret was a huge motivation for me to keep going. 
Had Oliver been my first, I may have said "DONE" right there 
but having that experience with Aaron pushed me through. 

I'm glad I did because a few weeks later, 
4 teething molars reared their ugly head
 (as I type this, 2 broke skin and 2 are still bulging), 
and Oliver's #1 comfort was breastfeeding.
I am so relieved I hadn't given up! 


Pumping:

SAHM Pumping > Working Mom Pumping. 
I didn't have the pressure of pumping for going back to work, 
which relieved a LOT of stress. 
Additionally, this time I was pumping for FUN. 
As in, if I pumped, that meant a night out with friends or a yoga class. 

To top it off, my body also had pump memory. 

With Aaron, I pumped 3 oz in 15 minutes. 
With Oliver, I was pumping 3 oz in 5 minutes. 
(This, I suspect, was another reason Oliver dropped to 6-minute nursing sessions so quickly.)

There was one weekend I was away and didn't have enough pumped milk. 
Oliver was 10.5 months old
and I asked the pediatrician about this predicament. 
She assured me that given his weight (see fat rolls picture above), 
he could very well sustain a weekend on water & solid foods until I returned. 
She explained he probably would reject formula anyway so no use trying that. 
However, Adam was so terrified of having no milk that he begged me to pump, 
and I had just barely enough to cover the weekend. 

When Oliver turned a year old, 

I packed away my pump for good. 
If I was gone for a nap or bedtime, he had a sippy of goat milk. 
Goat milk is often preferred by breastfed babies because it is much more similar to breastmilk. 
There are a lot of other interesting facts about goat vs cow milk, 
and Dr Sears has a great article here


Bottle Strike & Solution

At 3 months old, Oliver went on a bottle strike. 

This was timed PERFECTLY with our move to a new house. 
AWESOME. 
(NOPE.)

At Oliver's 4 month checkup, 

the doctor smiled sympathetically 
and informed me that at this point (1 month into the strike), 
Oliver would protest up to ELEVEN HOURS before taking a bottle. 
Let me repeat that: 11 HOURS. 
So I either had the option of enforcing an 11-hour showdown or... 
just wait until solids. 
I opted to wait for solids. 
In the grand scheme of things, 2 more months with a baby chained to me? 
Not awful. 

At Oliver's 6 month appointment, 

the doctor recommended giving him a sippy cup of water. 
Not a lot (like 2 oz), just enough that if I was whisked away for an emergency 
(hospitalization, etc) 
he would stay hydrated. 
Turns out, Oliver loved his sippy cup of water. 
And after he took to the sippy cup, 
I started reintroducing breastmilk and...... HE TOOK IT. 
HALLELUJAH! 

(Sippy cups: We use the lifefactory glass bottles with their sippy caps)


When Will I Stop Breastfeeding?


I get this question a LOT from Adam's family, 
a "formula family" that consider breastfeeding past 6 months to be odd. 
Fortunately, I don't really give a damn what anyone thinks. 
There is a ton of nutrition benefit to extended breastfeeding (see some here
as well as emotional benefits. 

From here on out, 
I'm just going to follow Oliver's lead. 
If you asked me my mental timeline, 
my thought is I'd like to make it to 18 months, 
but would like to be done by the time he's 2. 

I'm not going to stress over it. 
Maybe we won't make it to 18 months. 
Maybe he will nurse long past 2. 
Whatever happens, I'm ok with it.  


And lastly, I leave you with this photo. 
My breastfeeding companion: 
Aaron nursing his Monkey. 
LOVE. 





3 comments:

  1. Okay, that photo of Aaron is adorable! And I nursed Sam until 16 months, when I was trying to get pregnant (but it was only like once every 24 hours) and I nursed Rachel until 13 months. She was biting me Every. Single. Time and I didn't feel like it was important enough to continue.

    My kids NEVER took formula. There were a few times I tried, but they never ever took it. And since I was a SAHM with Rachel and stayed home with Sam until he was one (yay one year mat leave in Canada!), and then only worked 3 1/2 hours a day, it wasn't a problem.

    I was never successful at pumping. I would pump for three days to get enough to miss out on ONE nursing session (date night for Dave and I).

    I just read a lot of your nursing posts and I agree with a lot of things you said. It was free, it was easy (most of the time), and I love the bond it provided for us.

    Okay, I'm done :)

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  2. Sometimes I kind of miss nursing but I have never missed pumping (at work, anyway)- the first day I got to come to work without it after having the twins was the greatest day ever, ha! Glad to hear you've had two successful rounds of breastfeeding thus far!

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  3. My 3 experiences have all been great! Each has had different challenges, but I thankfully never had supply issues. No one has ever had formula and I am very proud of that. This time I am not pumping very often and it is more to have an emergency stash. That has been so freeing to not be tied to the pump since I work from home and Paige will be home all summer.

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