April 29, 2013

My Experience Breastfeeding

The one thing that I have learned quickly since becoming a mom is that everyone has their own experience and no matter what the best piece of advice I would give any new mom is that if it works for you then go with it...don't listen to what everyone else is telling you to do because if what you are already doing is working then just go with it!  

That is definitely the case when it came to breast feeding for me!  As soon as Sawyer was born we began the initial breastfeeding journey that everyone has in the hospital.  Soon as he was born the nurses helped him latch on and start feeding.  They all said that if you listen closely you could hear the baby swallowing which was a great sign!  They pretty much patted both of us on the back and that was that.  "Keep doing it every two to three hours and you're good!"  I remember having tons of doubts because I wasn't sure what I was doing and no one could honestly tell me that he was getting anything and therefore eating enough but we went on our merry way and kept it up every two to three hours.  The morning after our first night at home my parents, Tice, and I all went out to breakfast and in what felt like a couple of seconds all of a sudden my milk came in.  My boobs were has big as melons and as hard as rocks!  Even after feeding Sawyer on our set schedule, my boobs never really felt much relief.  Three days later we had an appointment that we had set up while we were still in the hospital with a lactation expert which I was so thankful for because above all else I was looking forward to asking her whether or not it was normal for my breasts to still be large and hard.  As soon as I sat down in the chair she immediately asked "have you been out in the sun?"  to which I looked at her like she was an idiot and said "no".  She then determined quickly that I was in the beginning stages of mastitis.  She immediately fit me for a nipple shield which turned out to be the most wonderful thing ever!  Sawyer wasn't latching well which meant he wasn't getting very much milk and because of that my breasts just keep filling up!  Once the shield was used it was like night and day!  

We ended up using the shield for about 2 months, each and every feeding, and I can honestly say it was the best thing ever!  I am so glad that it enabled Sawyer to breast feed because with out it he might have had to be formula feed or I would have had to pump exclusively which I know wouldn't have been any fun!

Once Sawyer turned 4 months old, we started giving him solids once a day before bed, that then gradually turned into three feedings of various solids a day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Then in March I went away for the weekend and Tice was forced to give Sawyer formula for the first time (my supply was low enough that I wasn't able to pump enough before I left).  He did great with the formula and because of that I felt as though I should start weening myself away from breast feeding because my supply was so low and I was HATING pumping before bed every night.  Therefore I stopped pumping all together and for the last month have been able to feed him twice a day by breast feeding but all other bottles have been via formula.

He feeding schedule up until last week looked like this-

6:30 AM Wake up and immediately breastfeed

8:30 AM Feed bowl of mixed fruits with oatmeal

Between 9 and 10 AM Sawyer goes down for a nap with a 4 oz bottle of formula

Around 11 AM Wakes up from nap 

Noon Sawyer eats lunch- typically a bowl of mixed fruits and veggies

2 PM Goes down for nap with a 6 oz bottle of formula and maybe breast feed depending on how my supply felt

4 PM Wakes up from his nap

6 PM Start dinner which includes puffs and a bowl of mixed fruit and veggies

6:30 PM Bath time followed by a bottle of formula (6 to 8 oz)

Asleep around 7 PM

Overall I am so happy I was able to breast feed Sawyer for as long as I did (almost 10 months!) but am also happy with my decision that I decided to stop after it felt like it was no longer as benefical as it had once been.  Hopefully with our next child I will be able breast feed for just as long and have the same overall experience!

How was your personal experience?  Was it as hard as you expected?  Easier?  How long were you able to breast feed?