Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Feeding Baby Part 2

My feeding experience
Feeding Baby Part 1

I am Rachel Evans, a friend of Kimberly, and a mother of 2, Alex 11 and Preston 1 year old today actually :). I became pregnant with Alex when I was 18 and he was born the day after I turned 19.  When it came to feeding Alex I had only thought about breastfeeding.  I was a college student and did not really have the means to buy formula, so I planned to nurse him as long as I could.  I remember a nurse coming in to check on me the night after he was born and I was trying to nurse and just could not get him to latch on.  She was so quick to realize what we both needed and she helped me get him latched, after that we were smooth sailing.   We never had any problems latching or with milk production.  I was able to mainly nurse him since I was in college and classes were just 2 days a week.  He did great taking a bottle when I was not there.  I nursed him for 1 year and 20 days (Christmas day was the last time I nursed him). I was naive and thought that everything was going to be smooth sailing when Preston came along…11 years later. 

I found out quickly that every child is different, especially in their eating manners.  Preston was/is an AGGRESSIVE eater!!!  Before Preston was 24 hours old my nipples were already cracked and bleeding.  The lactation consultant came by and helped with positioning and latching.  She tried to figure out his sucking style by letting him suck on her finger…she then said “wow that is one strong sucker.”  LOL  The cracked nipples were partly due to him not getting enough of the breast in his mouth and the aggressiveness of his eating.   After he was a week old I went to purchase a new nursing bra at MTMC.  The lady there recommended using olive oil on my nipples before and after nursing.  It worked great and they had stopped bleeding in about 3 days.   Since Preston was such an aggressive eater he would only nurse for about 5-10 mins and only on one side (he would spit up more if he nursed on both sides), so we nursed often, probably every 1.5 – 2 hours, we slowly made it to 3 hours.  I pumped often while at home with him.  Since he would only nurse on one side at a time, I would pump the other side and always pumped after his 4am feeding.  Preston’s sucking is so strong the only bottle nipple he does not collapse is Avent.  

Building my supply for when I returned to work was very important to me.  I was SCARED TO DEATH I would not have the supply to feed him with breast milk for the first year.  My sister had to exclusively pump for several reasons with her first child, so I tried to take all her advice and suggestions.  Pump often, pump for 15-20 mins at a time, drink LOTS  of water. Once I returned to work I pumped at 10am and 3pm.  My work has been amazing and never complained about my taking an hour out of my day to pump (I work with only men, so they don’t fully understand but they are supportive).  It took Preston and I a little while to get into a routine with him eating before we would leave in the morning but we just went with the flow.   When Preston was 6 months old I developed mastitis.  I had had a few clogged ducts before then, but the mastitis came on very quickly.  He was having a rough night sleeping (up every hour to hour and a half) and did not seem like he was getting much to eat when he would wake up.  I took my temp around 2am and when it was 103 I knew something was not right.  After talking to a friend I decided I should call my dr to get an antibiotic.  She put me on a 10 day (4 times a day) antibiotic.  It cleared up within 3 days.  Mastitis is very painful, not just an all the time pain, but shooting pains and lots of pain when nursing, but I just grinned and beared it, I didn’t know what else to do.  My milk supply did drop a lot.  I was pumping 16-18 oz in the mornings and 10-12 oz in the afternoon, after the mastitis it went to 12-14 oz and 8-10 oz.  I tried adding a 10-15 min pump in to my regular schedule and that seemed to help, with both supply and pulling out that infection.  After 8 days I developed a horrible allergic reaction to the antibiotic, so they called me in a different antibiotic to make sure we completely got rid of the infection.  I went to the lactation group at StoneCrest and talked to Joy (she is AMAZING) about what I should do to help build back my supply.  She recommended that I take Fenugreek.  It has helped a lot (I am still taking it). One month later, when Preston was 7 months old, another round of mastitis hit.  My fever was not near as high, but the redness and hardness of the breast were worse.  So, we did another round of antibiotic and I went to have an ultrasound to make sure there was nothing else going on.  The breast specialist recommended stopping with the breastfeeding if I developed mastitis again….my heart sunk!  I was not ready to give it up.  I had been able to freeze quite a bit of milk, so if I had to stop nursing and pump I knew he would still be getting milk for the first year.  My milk supply did drop again, but I have been mastitis free!  With Alex I did not worry about a decrease in milk supply like I do with Preston.  I think part of that is b/c I physically see how much Preston eats everyday b/c I pump and put it in bottles.  With Alex it was just nurse whenever and I knew he was getting exactly what he needed.  I still worry that Preston does not get enough milk even though he is growing and thriving just fine.

When I wrote this story, Preston was 11 months old and I was pumping a little more than he eats during the day (I am able to freeze about 5 oz every day or every other day), he nurses at bed time and usually 2 times during the night (yes I know I should have stopped this habit long before now, but I haven’t).  Thankfully I have been able to continue pumping through his first birthday and now I'll start to slowly taper down.  I feel so blessed to have been able to nurse and pump for his first year of life.  The support from my family has been amazing!!  When I think of having to stop nursing, it makes me sad.  I have for sure had my days where I thought to myself “I am done with pumping” (I really hate it!) but I remind myself to be thankful for the opportunity I have had thus far. Every child is different and where you are in different stages of your life with each child makes a difference.  The hardest thing I have struggled with is not being able to spend as much time in the evening with Alex….it is rather awkward for him to be in the same room with me while nursing and Preston does not like to be covered, so using a cover does not work very well….We have made it this far though.  Lord willing I will be able to nurse another child (if I can convince my husband to have another : ))

There is always an inner struggle that others may never see.  As women we beat ourselves up over everything and compare ourselves to others.  I try to remind myself that I may want what someone else has, but there is probably someone out there who wants what I have (maybe).  It is a never ending cycle and we must learn to be content in all that we have and look to the Lord for the guidance when we doubt.    Isaiah 41:10 & Heb 13:5 & 1Tim. 6:6

My name is Sara and my daughter is Roane.

I don’t think anything can prepare you for the life altering experience of becoming a mom.  I taught kids for years before having my daughter, Roane, this past March and although I wasn’t so arrogant to assume it would be “easy” or anything, I did think I knew enough about kids to make the transition smoother.  But this journey has been more difficult and full of more self-doubt and guilt than I ever imagined it would be.  I think it’s something that’s hard for us new moms to talk about because we assume others will judge us, but I just want to come right out and say that I feel like a failure 90% of the time.  But in my saner moments, when I’ve had a decent night of sleep, I know that I am doing my absolute best and I only feel that way because this is the most important thing I’ve ever had to do and I want so desperately to do what is right for Roane.

All that being said, breastfeeding has not been my personal struggle.  Blessedly, it has been one of the things I’ve felt more confident about and competent at since becoming a mom.  I hope that writing my story doesn’t discourage anyone else or come across as me claiming that breastfeeding should just come easily and naturally.  I know too many for which that is not the case.  But maybe sharing my story can spark ideas for others or just provide an encouraging success story for anyone considering choosing to breastfeed.

I had a natural birth with my daughter which really couldn’t have followed my birth plan any more closely.  I was very lucky that everything went smoothly and I was able to have the birth I wanted.  My husband and my mom were in the room with me.  I remember being so incredibly overwhelmed and dazed in the moments after Roane was born, so grateful it was over and so overcome with emotions.  It was thanks to my mom that I had some skin on skin time with Roane and got her to nurse for a few moments within minutes of her being born.  This is something I wanted beforehand but forgot about in the moment until my mom helped me unbutton my gown and showed me how to put Roane onto my breast.  She latched right away and sucked for a few seconds before they took her to the nursery.  I don’t know if this early moment helped her later on but I think there is definitely something to starting them as soon as possible.
I kept Roane in my room while I was in the hospital.  The first night I felt like she wanted to nurse all night long and it was awkward for me to find a comfortable position.  I felt like her latch hurt and remembered being told that if it hurt, it was wrong.  My husband called a lactation consultant the next day to come and talk to me.  She taught me how to help Roane latch on and it was much better after that. I also had my mom bring my Boppy to the hospital and that helped immensely with finding a comfortable position.

Another thing we did in the hospital that I think made a big difference was to give Roane a pacifier.  All the breastfeeding blogs I read talked about waiting to do that for 4-6 weeks until the baby has a good latch down but it just seemed like she wanted to suck on something all the time!  My sister shared with me that she’d read about studies done in hospitals that showed that women who used pacifiers from the beginning showed a higher success rate of breastfeeding.  After I heard that, I was like, “Call the nursery and get this baby a paci!”

I was very blessed to have my mom, who breastfed all of her three children and used to lead La Leche meetings for new moms on the air force bases we lived on, stay with us for the first two weeks after my daughter was born.  I know having her support during those early days was integral to getting a good supply established.  I also believe in feeding babies on demand and do not hold to Parent Directed Feeding schedules, such as those advocated by programs like BabyWise.  Research has shown that PDF can lead to undernourished, failure to thrive babies and mothers’ milk drying up. There were days when Roane would finish eating and be hungry twenty minutes later.  It constantly surprised me that I could feed her again that soon and more milk would come down even though she’d just emptied it twenty minutes before!

We have had a few small challenges to overcome with breastfeeding.  The first came about when Roane was 6 weeks old and I developed mastitis.  I think it happened because I slept in an unusual position the night before and in a sports bra because my nursing bras were dirty.  Luckily it was the night before my 6 week checkup with my OB/GYN.  He prescribed some antibiotics and I was able to continue nursing her as the infection cleared up.  It hasn’t been back so far!  A little more serious has been our discovery at around 3 months that Roane has an intolerance to a protein in cow’s milk.  Apparently, this is fairly common among babies and something most of them outgrow before they are a year old.  I have had to give up dairy products because they were hurting her stomach and affecting her poop pretty drastically (I won’t go into too much detail but think explosive and mucousy- Yuck!).  It really hasn’t been as bad as I assumed it would be and I’ve found pretty good dairy free substitutes and recipes out there (hello Pinterest!)  

Our only other hiccup has been with bottle feeding Roane expressed breast milk.  I went back to work for three weeks to finish out the school year when she was two months old.  I put off getting used to my pump because I found it and the thought of returning to work very overwhelming.   About two weeks before I returned to work, I finally began pumping every couple of days and feeding her a bottle every now and then.  She took to the bottle just fine so I didn’t worry too much about it after that. And thankfully, the whole time I was working she continued to take a bottle with no problems.  I pumped twice at work (and had to laugh at Jillian’s comments on the last post about being walked in on by janitors and principals because I have similar stories of my own!).  My mom and mother-in-law were taking turns watching Roane while I was at work.  They also were good enough to bring her up in the middle of the day so I could feed her in the parking lot on my lunch break to save me from having to pump a third time.  Looking back, I am so grateful that she did so well with a bottle when I needed her to because when she was 4 months she suddenly just started refusing to take one.  I wonder in retrospect how much of that was my fault for not being more diligent at giving her one every so often to keep her used to it.  But hindsight is 20/20 right?  She is now 7 months old and I still have to be present for every feeding about every 3 hours or so.  I am staying at home now so this isn’t as inconvenient as it could be but this has probably made me feel more overwhelmed and isolated than anything else.  My husband can go off and have a free night with his friends but I can never plan anything (with friends or dates with him) that might last more than two hours or so.  It is definitely something I will be more careful with my next baby to try to avoid, but for now all I can do is wait it out.  I’m hoping to train her on a sippy cup soon that she might be willing to take some milk from.  We’ll see!

So that is the story of our breastfeeding journey.  Not so positive of a tale is the one about our sleep journey… but that’s a story for another post!

My name is Nikki Brown and I have two precious angels, Caden, who is 5 and a half and Liza, who is 12 weeks. 

Looking back now when I became pregnant with Caden I was just a baby.  I was 20 years old and had no idea what I was getting into.  I had a tumultuous pregnancy both in life and in physical health and towards the end of my pregnancy developed preeclampsia.  After 15 hours of labor and an emergency c-section my little Caden was born.  Quite honestly I had no intention of breast feeding my entire pregnancy.  I didn't really think the benefits at the time were THAT important.  I even felt bad for nursing moms because it seemed like so much work and they had to hide under a blanket in public.  I was young, and to be frank, breasts were sexual to me and it made me feel dirty to put my baby boy on my breast even though I was fully aware that’s what God gave them to us for.  But at that point I had been through so much I wasn't interested in having anything else physically attached to my boob.  Formula with Cade was a difficult journey as we later found out from several BAD reactions that he was allergic to lactose. After he was put on soy it was pretty much smooth sailing.  At no point did I ever feel less bonded with my sweet boy because I had not nursed.  He was the little man of my dreams and that was the least of my worries.

With Liza I had totally different intentions.  All I had heard in the years since having Cade was EVERYONE was at least attempting to breast feed. It was ALWAYS the healthiest choice for your baby,  the bonding experience, less expensive, even the benefits for mom; like helping you more quickly reduce post pregnancy weight, quicker contracting back in of the uterus and so on. People constantly asked me while I was carrying her if I would nurse and would act so shocked and appalled that I wasn't sure.  I did want to at least attempt, just to say I did try.  I had pretty much planned to at least until I went back work, but not necessarily for long term.  I knew that once I returned to work it would be nonstop, no break, busy work schedule.  I am a hair dresser and I just wouldn't have the time to even make pumping work.

Because of my previous cesarean with Cade and because they knew I was unable to vaginally deliver I was scheduled for a c section July 31st. However on July 24th Liza and God had different plans. I had been to the doctor that morning to have a biophysical profile ultrasound done as I did every week because of my gestational diabetes.  She had turned sideways since the day before but they didn't seem too worried since I was a scheduled section anyway.  I took my son to see Turbo at the movie theater and became very uncomfortable having pain in my back and contractions. The doctors told me to come in even though my contractions were far apart.  Long story short, she was in distress and her heart rate dipped to very low or zero and shot back up with every contraction. She had to come out fast!  After what felt like being sawed apart with a hand saw…lol. Sorry.  She was born!  It was still a beautiful moment seeing my little lady for the first time and hearing her sweet cries despite the rough delivery, she made me forget it all for the moment.  She had a knot in her cord and it was prolapsed and all the docs and nurses raved about my smart miracle baby that knew to come because she most likely would not have made it to my scheduled date. PRAISE GOD!  She was having trouble regulating her temp and was being kept in a heater in the nursery and knowing I'd had it rough she was given formula in the nursery and I didn't even fight it.  I was in a good deal of pain this time and on pain drugs and just couldn't handle it.  Later, after being sent home, developed seromas in my incision which burst, breaking my incision open and leaving 2 deeply tunneled wounds in their place. I had and still am seeing a wound care specialist and had to be on a wound vac, taking strong antibiotics and medicines to counteract yeast all which dried what milk I had gotten really fast. With all the medicine, packing and problems there after it would not have worked out anyway and I was actually happy in hindsight I hadn't added nursing to my list.

My advice to moms trying to make a decision or that already have and are struggling with it is to do what's best for you and don’t feel bad about it!  I would be lying if I said I wouldn't always wonder about nursing or if it would’ve changed anything but I can't waste time with that. I'm too busy loving these beautiful healthy kiddos!  Both of my kids are perfectly healthy and haven't had bad immune systems or repercussions because they weren't nursed. I may have never felt the feeling of maintaining my child's hunger from my breast but I know exactly what it felt like to grow both their lives inside me and what a beautiful honor it was. It was just as sweet to watch their little eyes look up at me behind their bottle and hold my fingers while they sucked away as it would’ve been to hold them to my chest. I hope this helps anyone feeling the guilt of not being a successful breast feeder and shows there are just as many sweet moments with your babies without it.

My name is Shanon Rice. I have three beautiful blessings. Lily who is 7, Barrett who is 5, and Kason who is 4. I have to throw in, that for part of the year the boys are the same age because they are 11 months apart. Yep, that's right. I always tell people my first question when I get to Heaven will be, "Lord, I know with all my heart you had a reason for that, but now that I am here....can you please tell me what it was?" LOL! 

OK, OK, on to the reason I was asked to write. Breastfeeding. The word in and of itself causes so much controversy. Let me just go ahead and say, that I wasn't prepared for that. I also wasn't prepared at all for the task itself. It seemed so easy and straightforward to me. I thought, well I'll just pop her on and she'll go at it. How hard can it be? Let me just begin with the first child and take you through my experience with each one briefly.

Lily was my first. I was so excited about this little bundle of joy they brought to me at 4 am on Sep. 11, 2006. She was perfect. They asked me to feed her right then. I did, and it seemed easy. Now fast forward to the next day. I was bruised and sore and raw AND she had reflux and was projectile vomiting after every feed. No one had prepared me for any of this (and even if they had tried, I'm not sure it would have helped). So day 2 in the hospital, I said, "FORGET IT! I am not enjoying this and I'm not doing it." I probably had a harder time than most, because Lily started the reflux and the colic right after she was born. She threw up all the time and I don't mean just baby spit up, I mean projectile vomit across the room. She cried nonstop for 5 months of her life. It stressed me to the max and really made me think it was because I didn't breastfeed. In the next year of her life, I regretted that decision many, many times. At least, I thought I did.

Now on to Barrett. He came 22 months later. (Yes, I had three kids in three years if you haven't done the math. And yes, it is STILL killing me. HAHA!) I had learned and studied everything that I could possibly get my hands on during my pregnancy with him. I was GOING to breast feed this child. I was hard core. I did the whole no bottles or pacis in the hospital and I kept him in the room with me the WHOLE time, feeding on demand. I was convinced I didn't need to pump in the first two weeks because I wanted him to work up the supply. I got raw and bruised and sore with him as well. I bled and bled every time he ate. When he cried to eat, I cried. I was hurting so bad. They told me if I could get through the first two weeks, I would be ok. Alright, I thought, I can do this! So, I stayed ON IT. Once I got home, I pumped EVERY two hours without fail. I fed him and then pumped. I had milk galore. I had milk for the whole neighborhood, for the whole state, probably the whole country to be honest. My freezer was overflowing and he was getting full. But two weeks came and went and all my milk was still pink from the blood in it. I was STILL bleeding 2 months into it. We had a lactation consultant check his latch, and it was fine. I was just extremely sensitive in that area apparently. Well I hit the 3 month mark and was still bleeding. In fact, (GROSS ALERT) one nipple separated from the rest of my breast in one spot. It was AWFUL. So, I quit. Cold turkey. I was not enjoying him. I was not enjoying breastfeeding. I was not enjoying my life at all. Now, if I had lived 200 years ago and I had no choice but to feed him, I would have persevered. But this was 2008, and I was D-O-N-E, done. So at 1am one random morning I popped open a can of formula and gave it to him. That was that. Life was so much easier.  By the way, I breastfed him, as I said, for 4ish months (feeding/pumping/and the frozen milk) and he STILL had reflux.

Now, Kason's story is so much simpler. I found out when Barrett was 4 months old (right around the time I stopped nursing him), that I was pregnant with Kason. I cried, I screamed, I prayed, and then I cried some more. I didn't know what in the world I was gonna do with a two year old, a one year old, and a newborn. So, the decision was easy. When they handed Kason to me in the hospital and said, "Do you wanna try and breastfeed?" I said, (without a second of hesitation) "Nope! Don't put him near my boobs! Bring me the formula." I know to some of you that might make me a bad mother, but I knew how hard of a time I had with Barrett and I wasn't gonna put myself through that. Not for one second. What mattered was I had my hands full and I had no intentions of making my life hard. And EVERYONE survived!  Kason also had reflux but it only lasted a week, maybe two and we were good to go. So, don't make yourself feel guilty over anything that is or isn't wrong with your child. I fed all mine differently and they were all affected by reflux.

My advice to all new moms is, do what works for you. I think that if you can breastfeed your babies and you love that bonding time and you love how it makes you feel, do it. I think if it is hard, and you dread your baby being hungry, give them that bottle!!! We live in 2013 folks, and they will be perfectly fine either way! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Kimberly's final notes:

There are a couple of things that I would like to encourage a nursing mom to purchase if you are planning on pumping as well.  A pumping bra is a MUST!!  Just a few weeks ago one of the other nursing mom's at work asked me if I was one that was reading a book while I was pumping (I leave it in there because it's a great time to read) and I said I was.  She asked, "How in the world do you do that?"  I was so confused at first, but then realized she wasn't using a pumping bra.  She said, "Does it really work?  I think I have one, but haven't used it."  I said, "ABSOLUTELY!!"  I noticed the next day that she had a book stuffed in her bag :).  You can fold clothes, play with your baby, even wash dishes if you have a plug close to your sink.  It makes pumping not has awful as it could be if you are just sitting their holding the bottles.  Secondly, a great purchase is a car adapter.  I used one for the first time on vacation and have since purchased my own and I even use it to curl my hair in the car on long trips!!!  It's, maybe, $20, but well worth it!!  I don't have to wait to leave to pump I can just pump in the car now!

I truly hope that these stories have helped any mom's out there struggling with their feelings on feeding their baby.  It seems that once you have a baby you feel judged by everyone.  I guess it's the thought that you are completely in charge of another human and whatever they do is a reflection on you.  I don't necessarily agree with that because baby's have their own personalities from the beginning.  As you can tell from several of these stories of mom's with multiple children, each one was different!!  So, just like they all said, do what works for you and your baby and don't let people make you feel bad.  It's way easier said than done, but if you're having a bad day just head back on over here and remind yourself that you're not alone!
Thanks so much to ALL the wonderful mom's who were willing to share their stories with us!  If there's any one out there who needs encouragement, someone to talk to, or someone to cry to please do not hesitate to reach out!!  More than likely someone has experienced the same thing and can offer assistance.  Good luck and no matter what love on that baby!!!!


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