Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Breastfeeding: My experience thus far

Breastfeeding is a strong topic among my culture. Including my family, especially my mother. From my first pregnancy I knew there was no "I can't do this" or even "it just didn't work out for me". Knowing that my mother exclusively breastfed all four of us for past the first year of life I had no excuse why I wouldn't be able to do it too.

With my first son I like to think that I was young and uneducated about the topic. Even though I breastfed for six months. That's pretty good if I'd say so myself. And I actually enjoyed it too. I didn't breastfed him exclusively, I supplemented with formula and I didn't see nothing wrong with that. With this child however, I knew what I wanted to do from early on. So I put on my learning cap and got to research. From websites and more websites to breastfeeding education classes I learned all that I could possibly learn. With the exception of engorgement and pumping and saving to return to work. For some reason those two topics kind of flew right over my head. Once at home from the hospital, about 4 days postpartum, I went through the transition from colostrum to mature milk and my breast were sore, hard as a rock, sensitive, you name it and I had no idea what to do. I knew I had to let the milk out but how? I was clueless. It was the middle of the night and Adrián was in no mood to eat or latch on correctly. So I tried pumping but I had never used an electric pump before and crap did it hurt! Of course that that made it worse, in my opinion. Because as I let milk out more milk was produced and Adrián was still not eating. Next I tried taking a hot shower, manually expressed some milk, and got Adrián to nurse a bit. It helped to an extent and I was able to sleep a bit. I also googled some things to try at home and every website kept saying to try placing cabbage on my breast to help the soreness. Again , it was the middle of the night so that wasn't much help at that moment.

The next day I had an appointment at the doctor for AJ and I told them about my night. AJ lost another ounce since the day before so they had me schedule an appointment with the lactation consultant. After meeting with her I learned how to latch him properly and things got better from there on. The day before I had also spoken to a friend's mother who is a LC and she gave me great advice on relieving engorgement (more on that later). On our next weigh in he had surpassed his birth weight and we were good to go until his one month check up.

Things were more than great the next couple of months. I had an over supply and was able to feed him according to his needs and save some for when I had school or was out running errands. He also didn't mind taking the bottle. He nursed for a total of 40-60 minutes at each session and at about every 1.5-2.5 hours.

At around 8 weeks he started nursing every hour. I remember feeling exhausted! I could barely get anything done around the house and I just wanted to sleep. I thought that he was going through a growth spurt since this is one of the times when it usually happens so I ignore it and kept on with life. Then I decided on starting my stash for when I returned to work. I called the Lactation Consultant at the Peds office and she told me to start pumping after every feeding and put it in the fridge and that at the end of the day I could combine all the milk I had collected as long as they were chilled and freeze them. Well, after starting this I felt like my world was ending.

I was worried. Very worried.

I discovered a dropped in my supply. And I didn't understand why. AJ would latch on correctly and we had developed somewhat of a feeding routine that had me with an excessive amount of breast milk. There was so much milk that I didn't know what to do with it all. If only I wasn't so caught up on whatever it was, I would of thought on saving enough milk for a rainy day and even for when I return to work. But no, I repeatedly told myself that it was too early for all of that. And now, now I'm dealing with my worse fear, a decrease in my supply.

I remember getting a little depressed with my son Steven when I had to stop breastfeeding him because I didn't have the time to pump as often as I should had. And this time around is no different. This past Friday I was in tears when I realized that my breastfeeding days were soon to be over.

I contacted my LC again and asked for advice. I got advice from two consultants and put them to work right away. A follow up post will be coming soon on how is all working out.

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