My Breastfeeding Experience
From the first day we got home from the hospital with Easton, my number one question topic that I receive on a daily basis is BREASTFEEDING. To be totally honest, I never imagined myself as a "breastfeeding mom"... I didn't know many women who breastfed and the ones I did know had such strong feelings about it that I was intimidated by the idea of it and quite frankly terrified to even try it! Breastfeeding was really important to David, so I agreed to try it out and began to look forward to that connection of our first "latch". Luckily, Easton latched quickly at the hospital and breastfeeding seemed to come easy to me at first!
By the time we left the hospital I swear my boobs grew three more sizes (they grew several bra sizes during pregnancy and I was in a size G by second trimester... so you can image how enormous they were by the time my milk came in). Unfortunately, around 4 days postpartum I was stuck in bed with a 104 fever and a terrible case of mastitis. Nobody told me anything about mastitis before I started breastfeeding and I felt like I was dying! Some of the symptoms are high fever and engorged/warm/tender breast... if you begin to feel a lump, you should check with your doctor because the infection can become dangerous if you don't catch it early enough! I tried all of the at-home remedies (frozen cabbage, hot/cold compress, even microwaved damp diapers help!!) and eventually was prescribed to an antibiotic!
I felt defeated but I didn't want to give up on breastfeeding quite yet! I promised myself that I would try for one month. By two weeks I had mastitis AGAIN and that's when I started pumping and we supplemented with formula when I wasn't producing enough. I've never had a "stash" of liquid gold stored in our freezer... so we make it work when we are out & about and supplement with formula if we need it! And here we are, 16 weeks later, and I am proud to say that my little man is still breastfeeding! No, I don't talk about it much publicly because I don't really think it's anyone's business! And it makes me so sad that women aren't comfortable admitting that they use formula.
There is so much mommy shaming happening right now regarding breastfeeding and formula feeding... and here is my take on it all: FED IS BEST! And you don't owe ANYONE an explanation! If you want to breastfeed publicly, DO IT! If you are more comfortable breastfeeding in private, DO IT! If you are unable to breastfeed, have NO GUILT in feeding your baby formula! I am proud of being a formula baby, thanks mom!! If you don't want to breastfeed, I FEEL YOU GIRL! But please, do not put another mother down because their choice looks different than yours. We are ALL just tryign to get by during the newborn phase... the last thing a mom needs is to feel any kind of shame while she's feeding her baby! Do what makes YOU and your baby the happiest, so you can go and be the very best mommy you can be. *drops the mic*
Here are the top questions from y'all!
Q: How long do you plan to breastfeed?
A: I promised myself I would try it for 8 weeks. And it honestly took 8 weeks for me to really get a hang of it. I am not planning on anything, really! Once he is able to eat foods I would like to slow down but honestly it's all up in the air right now!!
Q: Did you have to cut anything out of your diet? Do you add anything to your diet?
A: No, but I know it's very common for women to have to cut out dairy, etc! Luckily Easton hasn't been sensitive to anything!
Q: Have you lost your baby weight from breastfeeding?
A: I think so!!! Breastfeeding has been a huge help but my mom also lost her baby weight quickly and didn't breastfeed, so it could just be genetics.
Q: Will Baby E take a bottle from you if you're out in public?
A: 99.9% YES. There was one time in the mall when he was screaming at the top of his lungs and refused a bottle, but I think he was just tired. When he is REALLY tired he has a hard time taking the bottle at times!
Q: Did you have a lot of pain when you first started breastfeeding?
A: YES. I cried so many days because of the pain. Mastitis was also terribly painful. My nipples and engorged boobs were both so so so sore... thank goodness it all went away, but I thought the pain would never end! LOTS of lanolin and coconut oil, ice packs, hot and cold compress, frozen cabbage, warm showers, all of it helps.A
Q: What's the best nursing bra?
A: I LOVE all of the Cake Maternity bras. I have 4 and rotate them everyday... They are the most supportive nursing bras for busty girls and they are 100% worth the money!
Q: What helps your produce more milk?
A: I am definitely the wrong person to ask because my supply is literally all that Easton needs and NOTHING extra. I have never been able to pump extra, or enough to store because I REALLY do not like pumping. I have tried the milk makers cookies from target and I think they work!?
Q: How did you get through the first painful weeks?
A: You just have to COMMIT. If you don't 100% commit, it is so much easier to quit. Take it ONE day at a time... say to yourself, okay, it got a little easier today... tomorrow will be a little better too. I wanted to quit every single day. And sometimes I still do! Breastfeeding is A LOT of work!!!!
Q: Were you ever at a point where you wanted to give up but couldn't?
A: YES. My second time with Mastitis I said I am done and David went to the store and bought some formula. I gave my body a break for a few days and only pumped, we supplemented with formula and E was fine! That's when I realized I had to stop being so hard on myself and it was OKAY to use formula!! Sheesh, I put way too much pressure on myself those first few weeks.
Q: Do you supplement with formula?
A: Yes! Recently he has been more reluctant to formula, but we have tried several and most recently have used Similar For Supplementing if we are out and I haven't pumped!
Q: Why do you use half formula half breastmilk in your bottles?
A: Easton prefers the formula with breastmilk in it *diva*... so I can easily pump 4 oz and turn that into 8oz with formula!
Q: Favorite breastfeeding products?
A: My boppy nursing pillow (for the early weeks) and my Cake Nursing Bras!!! All of my favorite nursing friendly looks are linked here.
Q: Were you feeding/pumping on a schedule?
A: We tried feeding and pumping on a schedule early on but it was too much for my body. My boobs were so engorged and producing double the amount of milk it needed that I had to stop! I know schedules help so many moms and babies though, it just didn't work for us!
Q: My right produces so much more than my left... my boobs are lopsided! How do I even it out?
A: SAME GIRL. SAME. It is SO bad!!!! Everyone says it eventually evens out after your milk dries up, so I'm just hoping for the best!
Q: Do you pump and dump if you have a drink?
A: No! My lactation consultant said it is fine to have a glass of wine and feed your child after an hour. Talk to your doctor or other moms who you look up to if you're concerned!
Q: Do you breastfeed in public?
A: nope. I'm not comfortable doing it, and he is so hot under one of those covers.
Q: Best remedy for cracked, sore nips?
A: LANOLIN AND COCONUT OIL. ALL DAY. DRY LINERS. TYLENOL. Ice packs... and get a diaper wet, moisten with a little water and microwave for about 20 seconds. Lay the diaper over your boobs and it brings a ton of relief!
Q: Do you like your pump?
A: I have the Spectra 2 and I like it, I guess?! I have nothing to compare it to! My lactation consultant recommended it!
Q: Do you feed baby on demand?
A: Yes, for the most part! He always eats when he wakes up and before naps and bedtime. Other than that, he snacks. We call him the SNACK ATTACK.
Q: How did you relieve Mastitis?
A: ALLL of the recommendations from google. Warm shower, hot/cold compress, the diaper trick, frozen cabbage, massage, etc. But I had to have an antibiotic prescribed to get rid of it.
I wish I could answer ALL of these questions but the baby is calling for me!! I promise to do another one SOON... if I missed your Q, leave it in the comments so other moms can see and I will try my best to answer later tonight!