Friday, July 12, 2013

The one about Breastfeeding.

{Warning: Long Boring Post}
So, I've been wanting to write this post for a few months now just for my own memory and record. 
I knew I wanted to try to breastfeed before I even got pregnant.  I knew that it was great for both me and my baby.  I'm cheap and I didn't want to have to buy formula if I could avoid it (and I hate the way it smells).  I really just wanted the overall experience of providing for my child.  The thought of being all he needed for a few months both amazed me and terrified me. 
I didn't have an expectations really.  Everything I'd read made me think that it wasn't really going to be easy and that I was probably going to have to work at it.  If I made it one week fine, one month great, anything more was just icing on the cake.  It started kinda rough in the hospital.  Barrett wasn't very interested in nursing.  I tried not to stress about it.  The nurses were so helpful.  We would have to take all of his clothes off and Patrick would basically have to tickle him the entire time he was nursing to keep him awake.  He would go 3 hours between feedings which was nice.   I hate to say this but I almost dreaded every time it was time to feed him those first couple of days.  It was just such a process.  I didn't really stress because although he was losing weight he was still in the healthy range.  The third day his blood sugar kept dropping so they suggested we give him formula to get his blood sugar up.  I think we were still letting him latch for some time then giving him the bottle, I really can't remember though.  I still didn't stress, we were just going with the flow and doing what was best for our baby.  It was going pretty good.  I was able to relax a bit because I knew Barrett was getting food. 
We went home on the bili-light and the nurse suggested we keep with the formula while he was on the light just so we were sure he was getting enough to flush the bilirubin out. (or something like that) The Dr suggested I just pump until further notice.  This is where I started to think that maybe breastfeeding wasn't going to work for us.  I was so afraid he wasn't going to want to nurse after having a bottle for basically the first week of his life.  He finally got off the light and we started trying to nurse him again.  He was a little resistant at first but after a few minutes he realized he was getting milk and he was perfectly fine.  Turns out he didn't really care where it came from as long as he got it.  Barrett was/is a great eater.  At night he would wake every 3.5-4 hours eat and go right back to sleep.  From then on out it's been fairly easy for us.  I was fortunate enough that I can usually skip a feeding without needing to pump.  I joke that I have large containers. 
I wasn't in love with breastfeeding at first.  It was so overwhelming being the only one to really feed him.  Luckily while we were giving him formula I was able to pump and store so Patrick could feed him when I needed him to but I hated using the stored milk.  I was basically hoarding it.  
It seemed like no time and we were at the 2 month mark.  I felt like I had really accomplished something.  I think it was around that time that I really started to enjoy the bonding time.  One time particularly was the day we had him baptized.  He had done wonderfully all day.  He'd been passed around from person to person.  He wasn't really fussy at all.  When it was time for him to eat I got him and I was going to give him a bottle but I felt like he just needed to nurse.  It was like he missed me and needed me for comfort.  It was the reassurance I needed that I was doing something right. 
Here we are 6 months later and we're still going strong.  I still don't have any goals or expectations.  I'm just happy I've been able to do it this long.  I keep thinking I'm going to have to supplement one bottle of formula during the day while I'm at work because it's really difficult to nurse him there and I don't pump enough for two bottles.  (I've been nursing him right before I leave, give him one bottle and nurse him right when we get home.  I'm only working 5-6 hours a day.)  If I have to give him formula, I will.  I'm just so thankful to have made it this far. 
One funny thing I want to always remember...Harper always kept me company while I was nursing.  Usually it was just because she wanted to hold him and was patiently waiting.  One Sunday she'd been keeping me company then went in the kitchen to tell everyone that "He eats from your bra!" 
So here's my two cents about my experience with breastfeeding.  It has been one of the most special parts of being a mommy.  I'm so glad I didn't give up when it was tough those first few weeks.  The hardest part has been dressing for feeding the baby.  You have to wear separates.  I used to wear a lot of dresses but they just don't work while breastfeeding.  I also realize breastfeeding isn't for everyone.  If it was causing me so much stress that I was missing out on my sweet new baby, I wouldn't do it.  I encourage every new mom to give it a try though, you might be surprised by how much you enjoy it.  I know I was, eventually.

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