My Breastfeeding Journey
Mar 28, 2021
My Breastfeeding Journey
Mar 28, 2021
First off, everyone’s journey is different! My experience is just that, my experience. However, to me – fed is best. No judgement here. Breastfeeding is easily the hardest part of the newborn phase. I don’t have many tips or tricks, because when it comes down to it, this shit is just hard! What I can provide is my experience, how I coped and what worked/didn’t work for me. As always, if you are struggling seek advice from your Pediatrician or lactation consultant.
Milk Comes in – Yikes
Just be prepared for a WOW moment. This was very shocking to me. I have always been on the smaller size of the boob spectrum. When my milk came in, my boobs were rock hard and hurt like hell. They felt swollen and hot. I believe this happened on night 3 or 4. Make sure you have bamboo boob pads (ones you can throw in the wash), you will need a lot of them. Even after nursing just walking around or even sleeping at night you will leak, especially if you have engorgement issues (which I did). Even for how much I was feeding, my boobs were always rock hard and full. If you are like me and had engorgement issues DO NOT PUMP in the beginning. I made the mistake of pumping in the beginning to help store milk and that caused my body to think I needed twice as much milk than what he was eating. It was horrible. I would suggest holding off to pump until you have established your supply with your baby (in my opinion).
- Just know this WILL change quite often. At the hospital, Briar at jaundice and he needed to eat a lot to help clear it up. For the first 2 days he was supplemented with formula at the hospital until my milk came in. He fed every 2-3 hours when he first came home and it is what it is; hard.
- I used a timer on my phone to time the session on each boob. I liked to nurse one side and then flip him to the other side, so that I emptied both! It was hard having my phone and then trying to turn the app on, trying to attach the Hakaa on the other boob, meanwhile he is trying to latch – not to mention positing him so my back didn’t hurt on the nursing pillow.
- I kept his feedings spaced out throughout the day, if he unlatched but it wasn’t close to the normal length he was feeding, I would try and get him to latch again. When he was so small it was hard because he would just fall asleep and I was worried he wasn’t getting enough food. Try not to worry!
Every nursing mother’s worst nightmare. I got mastitis twice during my breastfeeding journey and tried to fight it off many other times. Not every woman gets mastitis, but if you are having engorgement issues it can be more common. Lots of people suggest cold cabbage leaves. I never did try this, in hindsight I wish I would’ve. I purchased these boob gel ice packs and was using them constantly! Oftentimes my boobs felt like they were on fire, so I just shoved these right in my nursing bras. Seemed to be the only relief I could get. Make sure you have comfortable nursing bras, and that they aren’t too tight, this can cause clogged ducts.
I used the Spectra pump, and was able to get it through my insurance for free (so make sure you check that out). I wish I would’ve also purchased the Elvie handsfree pump. I have heard such amazing things about it, but I didn’t bite the bullet when I should have. When you have a wired pump you are really limited to one space and there are you’re connected to so many things. I also had the Hakaa pump, which I used when I was breastfeeding on one boob and suctioned the hakaa on the other. It does help you get a little extra milk (that is going to come out whether you want it to or not). When your baby latches and your “let down” starts, it comes out vigorously from both boobs. For the bottles we used Dr.Browns and never had any issues with gassiness or discomfort, but every baby is different! Make note of the nipple sizes on your bottles, I didn’t realize but they are numbered. Newborns have nipples that have smaller holes so the milk comes out slower. As they get older the nipple hole size gets bigger. OH, and I bought a hand pump. I really think this is helpful if you are a working mom, or on the go. I kept it in my car and there were a couple times that I needed to pump because my boobs were so hard and hurt and I was away from Briar.
I start weaning Briar around 8.5 months. I started only cutting out 1 middle of the day feeding. I was back working full-time and in the office and it was hard to set aside time to pump twice at work, I also had stocked up on milk in my freezer – so even though I was weaning, he would have breastmilk exclusively for awhile. After I made it through cutting one mid-day pump session I cut out both of my day sessions and just breast fed him morning and night. I would say cutting out the night feed is the hardest because I would get so uncomfortable in the middle of the night and sometimes would need to use the hand pump to pump a little bit out.
Just for fun – here are some lounge sets to keep you comfortable and give you that little extra pep in your step! At least you will look cute from the neck down 🙂