Hellooooooooooooo Google Searchers! Welcome to my blog. I think you’ll feel very much at home here.
Today, I am going to talk about boobs. Specifically breastfeeding.
Wait! Where are you going? Come back!
ANYWAYS – for the one of you that is still reading. Breastfeeding.
Now that my child is almost 4 months old (tomorrow!), I am declaring myself an expert on all thing breastfeeding related. (Not really – but work with me here.)
I have always had a love/hate relationship with the girls. And by love/hate, I mean hate. They are ginormous, which makes it impossible to do the following:
- Find a dress that really fits well
- Find a sports bra that is actually supportive AND attractive
- Buy good bras that cost less than my mortgage
- Run comfortably
- Have good posture (although admittedly, this is just bad habit caused by years of slouching in an attempt to minimize what others are seeing)
I know that there is no correlation between breast size and breastfeeding success, but I was hoping that FINALLY, they would prove useful in things other than attracting sleazy drunk men at bars.
And lo! They worked!
I am neither a martyr to the breastfeeding cause nor one of those people for whom it was just “so natural, I don’t understand why people say this is difficult… .” When I first held Alvie Bean when he was about an hour old (no idea – passage of time that day was super weird, what with the labor, and pushing, and emergency surgery), he latched on right away. We had a few hiccups the first few days. We both had performance anxiety, and due to the soreness that resulted from the super intense labor + the c-section, I often had trouble making the minute positional changes that would’ve helped make everything easier. Also, it is just difficult at first. (My savior: motherlove nipple cream. Seriously so much better than the lanolin they gave me in the hospital. Also awesome? Soothies gel pads fresh from the fridge.)
By one month, though, we were pros. We’d breastfed in public (airports, airplanes, restaurant bathrooms), lying down in the bed, in the glider, on the sofa, and the backseat of a car (not while it was moving, of course). The end of May, Alvie Bean started sleeping through the night, and all of a sudden, I had more milk than I could handle. So I pumped in preparation for going back to work. I had about 50 ounces in the freezer before my supply regulated. One day, I went to get some out to send to the trial run with the nanny. And every single bag but one had burst. There was milk everywhere.
It was the saddest thing ever, and I totally cried over spilt milk.
But – we persevered – only now, I didn’t have an extra supply. And then I went back to work. My supply is currently super wonky. Little dude wants about 18 oz of milk during the day. We were making do with 15 oz. I was pumping like a crazy person every day, trying to build up extra supplies, but not really getting there. Pumping the requisite 15 oz was killing me (well, not literally, but I do have blisters). I was so determined, however, that I would not supplement with formula.
Finally, though, my nanny said, “dude,” (she doesn’t really call me dude) “Alvie Bean (she also doesn’t call him Alvie Bean) is hungry by the end of the day. Please send more.” I have been having serious anxiety attacks about not being able to provide enough milk for my guy. I feel so awful about myself, my supply, and pretty much feel like a complete and total failure. I know that this is irrational, and it’s better for him to NOT be hungry, but it is what it is.
So last Friday, I asked the pediatrician how much formula he thought I should send in addition to the breast milk. And he gave me a handy-dandy chart. (It has all sort of fun info – like how much cereal, and fruits, and veggies, and meats to feed the little guy through 1 year of age once he starts solid food.) And then he brought in his attending to look at my son’s head. (Totally different story – but will do get to go to the pediatric cranial-facial specialists soon!)
She backed up the pediatric resident’s opinion on Alvie’s head (probably nothing wrong, but better to make sure now) and then said, “I want to talk about breastfeeding.”
And oh, she did. She asked if I was pumping at work. (Yes.) And at home. (Yes.) And if I’ve tried various supplements to increase supply. (Yes.) She said there is a prescription med that can increase supply.
Oh – and did you know that she managed to breastfeed both of her kids to 15 months each without ever having to supplement with formula, and she was doing her residency for the first one? Also, she never had to resort to drugs to increase supply.
And then she said, “I’m not saying you’re a bad mom if you have to supplement, but breast milk is really the superior choice for at least the first year.”
So – that made me feel better.
And yesterday, I sent Alvie Bean to the nanny with 12 oz of breast milk & 6 oz of formula. And he was not starving when I picked him up. He drank up that whole bottle of formula with no complaints. He does smell different now, but he was much happier when I fetched him.
Of course, yesterday I forgot my pump at work, so today he gets only 10 oz of breast milk & 8 oz of formula. But he also got a bonus 3 am feeding so that I didn’t explode. (He was awake and chatting to himself. I probably wouldn’t have actually woken him up to eat. Probably.)
So – I guess that’s done. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders. This morning, when I was walking my 1/2 mile from my car to work, I actually felt good and relaxed for the first time in…ages. As is almost always usual, the anticipation of a dreaded thing was much, much worse than the execution of said thing.
I am supplementing with formula. We made it 4 months exclusively breastfeeding, and will continue to do a mix of breast milk and formula for the foreseeable future, and my baby will be just fine. He is awesome and strong. And, as the pediatric resident said, not feeding him would cause sub-optimal outcomes. (The resident also came back in after his attending left and said, “You are doing an awesome job, and don’t let anyone ever make you feel guilty for making sure your baby is fed enough from whatever source.” The resident was pretty cool.)
And you know what? I am doing an awesome job. My baby got nothing but breast milk for 4 months, and will continue to get more than 80% of his milk either directly or indirectly from the boob. He is in the 60th percentile for weight and 50th for height (and 90th for head circumference, look at the big brains on Alvie!). He is super healthy and super awesome.