Mar 21 2009

3-month breastfeeding update

Johnny is still exclusively breastfed and I’m happy to say that it definitely has gotten easier as time marches on. 
The first two weeks (or so…my concept of time around that period isn’t so good) were definitely the hardest. Two people had to figure out a totally new thing. Sure, it’s “natural,” but it still takes some practice. Sometimes I had difficulty getting him to latch properly. Other times I had some engorgement. And there were a few times when I had horrible pain. It was all I could do to continue to feed him and not run out the door, screaming into the night.
We worked on our latches and holds, and the more we practiced, the easier it got. 
I’m estimating he has nursed anywhere from 700 to 1,000 times. That’s a lot of practice for both of us, yah?
He can latch himself on without my assistance most of the time. I’m able to feed him lying down now, which helps a ton. When he was a few weeks old, we couldn’t get that position to work. Perhaps he was too small, or I was just too uncoordinated. I think it’s harder to help a baby to latch on in that position, but once they figure out how to do it on their own, it works out better.
Popular advice states that a breastfeeding duo should continue on breastfeeding as long as it works for the baby and the mother. I’m very glad to say that it is working well for the both of us.
When I first got going, I thought, “Let’s just stick it out for a few more weeks and evaluate things then.” I didn’t want to feel bad if we didn’t make it to three months, or six, or whatever. I hope that once he sprouts teeth it won’t be a problem!
I was given an electric breast pump and I’ve used it just a couple times. I hate pumping. It’s uncomfortable, time-consuming, and just a big hassle. Also, I feel like a cow.
We have one bottle. It came with some freebies I got at Motherhood Maternity. 
I had a dentist appointment one morning and decided to pump some just in case the appointment went way long and Shane was left with a screaming baby. Johnny didn’t know what to do with the bottle. He sucked a little but getting liquid from a bottle involves a different sort of suck, and he seemed kinda confused. I don’t know if he got any milk from it. I’m sure if we worked at it some more, he’d get it sorted out.
But ya know what, I don’t want to. Pumping is supposedly supposed to benefit me by allowing someone else to feed my baby, but really it’s just more work for me. I have no reason to be away from him for longer than 2 to 3 hours at a time. So, to pump simply to have Shane feed him with a bottle, I’d have to take the time to pump, clean and sterilize bottles and the pumping equipment, and store the milk. 
Later, he’d have to heat the milk to a satisfactory temperature and figure out how much he needs to eat. Right now, I have no idea how much he eats per feeding. It’s enough, but whether it’s 2 ounces or 8, I couldn’t tell you. He knows how much he needs.
And, intermittent pumping would affect my supply. By pumping, my body would think that I’d need more milk and then I’d have a bout of oversupply (not fun) and leaking (not fun) until my body regulated itself.
I don’t think that pumping would allow me to have more sleep at night right now, anyways. Since my body is used to feeing him every so often, if I miss a feeding, I leak. I’ve woken up a few times soaked and sore because he has slept longer than usual. So much for getting more sleep, huh?
So yeah, pumping only creates more work for me. No thanks. I can see how pumping would be beneficial to a mom who is away from her baby for regular periods of time. A pumping mom has my respect — it’s gotta be way harder than doing formula!
Ooh, another perk for breastfeeding: I get to eat a ton of food and don’t gain weight. It is awesome. 
Johnny seems to like it, too. He can be instantly calmed by nursing (some of the time). He doesn’t appreciate pacifiers; in fact he usually gets really mad when we try to give him one. 
I’m still not 100% comfortable nursing in public. I don’t want to offend anyone. I know it’s ridiculous to think that, but I can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable every time I do it. I feel a lot better about feeding him in public when I’m with friends or family. I try not to be obvious — I use a sling sometimes, or I cover up with a scarf, cardigan, or blanket to latch and unlatch. Maybe I’ll feel easier about it as time goes on, but I’m not so sure.
I’m just really fortunate that breastfeeding has worked so well for us. I know it isn’t always the case. 

5 Responses to “3-month breastfeeding update”

  1. I completely agree on everything you said about pumping. And isn’t nursing lying down wonderful? We couldn’t figure it out until Hans was a month, because that’s when he could consistently latch without my assistance. My favorite nighttime option, but now he’s getting so squirrel-y in bed, so I’m nursing him sitting up and putting him back in his own bed instead. But it saved my sanity for months!

    Susans last blog post..My son failed!

  2. Sounds like you’re doing great, Kacie! Good for y’all. I have a dinky little pump and I’ve used it somewhat to have an emergency supply just in case! I’ve practiced giving Libby a bottle too so that if Tim were to have to give her one in an emergency it wouldn’t be a stressful situation. If she were already familiar with the bottle it would be a little easier. I’ve only done it a couple of times though because I don’t want to interfere with anything.
    Breastfeeding is great but it’s no piece of cake! It takes a lot of determination and dedication but for me the reward is definitely worth it!

  3. I am glad that you have had such success. I wanted to give another perspective. My daughter was born a few weeks early and even though we had several nurses and grandmas trying to help the nursing situation we struggled. After a week the pediatrician said Abby was not getting her nutrition and suggested I formula feed – I was so upset. My sister gave me her pump – a really good one. I researched bottles and found one that was similar to me – not the same I know but close. I was able to pump and feed and did so for 8 months. I had enough stored to feed her for another 2. It was very hard at times – I had to pump every 2 hours at first. Eventually my body figured out how much I needed and it all leveled out and I was pumping every 4 hours. AS she grew I was able to space it out a little more. It was not the same – but I am glad in my choice to not give up and to make sure she had breastmilk – even if my BIL called me PUMPS!
    My youngest son fed like a champ! Must be something about those boys!
    SO – if anyone out there needs pumping encouragment give me a shout – I have been there and done it! Best of luck to you and you lil one! I love the updates.

    Amy Qs last blog post..Pray for my Cause!

  4. It is so reassuring to read your post, and the two comments. After reading an editorial from the NYT that basically sounded like a bunch of whiny, spoiled women who managed to get pregnant but are som uncomfortable with their breasts that they just didn’t want to provide the very best nutrition for their babies. Kudos to you all! You have made the best choice for your babies.

    I am old, now. I was only able to pump successfully the first 3 months when I had copious milk. It didn’t hurt that much, but it was just a hand pump. Only the rich and hospitals had the electric pumps, way back then.

  5. I was so happy to read your post. I just turned 20 and most people look at me crazy when I breast feed. I thinks its great how well breast feeding is going for you and your baby. I’m still breastfeeding my 9 month old son but since my milk isn’t coming in like it used too, he has to get 1-2 bottles a day. But I’m glad I got passed the pain. I haven’t pumped this time around because its much easier for him to latch.

    Good Luck and keep going!

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