Thursday, September 16, 2010

Breast is Best... Right?!

I'm 34 weeks today and I'm exhausted! I haven't been sleeping well (during the night that is). Naptime seems to be the only restful sleep I can get and unfortunately since DS doesn't nap... I am limited to a catnap after dinner when DH is home.

I find myself awake almost every night at 3 or 4 am researching breastfeeding online. I am trying to do everything in my power to have a positive result with nursing this time. My first experience didn't quite go the way I had planned so this time I am educating myself as much as possible.

I had planned on taking a class but found out last week that the only one offered before
"Baby"comes has been canceled. I have spoke to two women over the phone now who have answered a slue of questions regarding my upcoming challenge. They have given me more insight then I could have possibly imagined and I wish now that I had taken more imitative to get this kind of information before going down that dreaded road with DS!

You see, like most first-time moms, I had it in my head that nursing was going to be so natural and often wondered why more women chose the bottle over the breast. Why would one even consider spending $25 a can on formula when you can supply your baby w/ all he/she needs for free? I obviously had watched way too many Baby Stories on TLC because when it came time to nurse DS, I failed miserably!

I remember thinking that when DS was born, that the Dr. would place him on my chest and he'd latch himself on and take right off... right?! WRONG! After four and a half hours of pushing and with the help of forceps, DS came bouncing into the world. But instead of the Dr. placing him on my chest, they held him up for me to see and placed him on the baby "hot plate" to check him all over. By the time I was able to hold him I was so busy looking at him and watching as our families passed him around the delivery room, that I didn't even think about trying to nurse.

Two hours later, as I was being prepped to move to postpartum I had to ask the nurse, "Should I try breastfeeding him now?" She replied that it'd be a good idea so I tried with all my might to get him to latch on not knowing what the hell I was doing! I was in such a euphoric state and so exhausted I think I actually thought I had gotten him fed since he'd drifted off to sleep.

DH and I had made the choice to have him brought into the room during the night only when he needed to be fed or changed. At midnight the nurse rolled him in and said she'd be back a little later to take him back to the nursery. DH fetched him from the rolly cart and placed him in my arms. I did what I'd seen so many times on Baby Story and again thought I was doing everything right.

The next morning after a very long night I asked for some help from the lactation consultant. She was very helpful and had some really good advice but I just remember thinking this is not something I should have to ask for help with. When she left the room I cried to DH telling him how I felt like a failure for not being able to successfully nurse our newborn son. I didn't' give up though, I wanted to, but I kept on trying for the first 3 or 4 weeks.

My mother-in-law went out and bought me a breast pump the first day we were home. I tried it out and didn't get much milk, no surprise, my milk hadn't even come in yet. I continued trying day after day, night after night to nurse DS but felt he wasn't ever satisfied. At his first appointment after delivery they had me start supplementing because he'd lost so many ounces. The formula would leave him feeling full and the weight was put back on fast so I felt relieved for the first time since bringing him home. No one told me about a little thing called nipple confusion and every time I tried to nurse, he'd not have much of a response. After those first few weeks, I gave up!

This time I am going to try much harder! And while I know it doesn't work for everyone, I plan to do things differently in hopes of having a better experience! What advice can you give me to have that better experience?


  1. My best advice is to relax! Stress does not help with your milk production, drink TONS of water! I drink 16 oz of water every time I nurse and then continue drinking throughout the day. Nurse on both breasts at each feeding or your production will slow. And while you're at the hospital do take advantage again of the lactation consultants, ask questions about correct latch and different feeding positions.

  2. I know it's a choice you made the first time around but try to keep your baby with you in the beginning. Those first few days are crucial! Oh and don't trust the quantity expressed by breast puùps, they're really less efficient than baby to get milk!

  3. Please don't beat yourself up about needing help. It seems to be a well-kept secret that "natural" and "easy" are often not the same thing at all. (Just look at pregnancy and birth! ha!) Other primates need help from their friends to learn how to do this! Really! It's not just us humans!

    Also, if it comes down to it and you do need to supplement, please know that nipple confusion is not universal. I know MANY more women (including myself) who successfully combo fed than I do those who had to give up nursing completely. It does happen, obviously, but don't automatically assume the worst!

    I agree with Catherine too, if you can possibly keep the baby around for skin-to-skin cuddles even when not nursing, it's a great help. We ended up not using the nursery at all, despite being totally BEAT after a three-day labor. It sounded like it would be harder on us than it ended up being.

    Hugs and good luck! :)