While breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent, it is the best choice for every baby. ~Amy Spangler
Before I got pregnant I was adament that I would not be pushing a baby out of my body, I would have a c-section… and I would definitely not be breastfeeding, because I couldn’t even imagine having a baby eat from my breasts. Well, everything changed once we conceived our gift from God! What I wanted didn’t matter anymore, everything I did had to be for the baby. I wanted nothing but the best of everything for him. So I started with researching the safest delivery for babies and it only made sense to try to deliver the way God inteded… Which got me thinking that God made women this specific way for a reason…. and this thought led me to start researching breastfeeding. I was not that encouraged by most family members to breastfeed because not too many people had even tried it, and the slight few who had did not have a very good experience. (only one woman in my family had a wonderful experience, my cousin’s wife, and she was VERY supportive and informative) Anyways, what I found when in my research was that there were sooooo many more pros vs cons! And again, what I thought I had wanted before went by the waste-side the minute I found out there was a baby depending on me. So, my mind was made up… I was going to be a breastfeeding momma!!!
Rypken was born at 10:32am on Nov.16, 2011 at St. Johns Mercy Hospital in St. Lous, MO. He was 7lbs 6oz and 22 inches long. I started nursing hours later. At first you only produce this watery stuff called collostrum and I don’t even think Rypken got much of anything that first night. Rypken latched on great from the very first time (this is a BIG part of this breastfeeding journey, so I am sorry to those that have babies that are very difficult to get latched on, I do not have experience with this). I had a nurse and Rypken had a nurse for the 3 days we were at the hospital. All of his baby nurses were so very helpful and answered every breastfeeding question I threw at them. They helped show me techniques to help him latch, etc… Because I was CLUELESS when it came to this subject… All I knew was that he was going to eat from my boob. lol
- Drag your nipple from their nose to their bottom lip and this will get them to open their mouth to latch on.
- Once they open their mouth, get your entire areola in their mouth, not just the part that sticks out.
- Blow in their face if they fall asleep.
- If they are asleep but need to eat (they brought Ryp in from the nursery at night every 2 hours) then change their diaper before feeding time so they are awake.
- “Skin to Skin” Which is when the mother bares her skin for the newborn to feel while feeding and the newborn has only diaper on to feel the mother’s skin.
- Holds… There are different holds that you can use with your baby.
- Football Hold: Hold the baby with head at breast and body under the same side arm.
- Cradle Hold (most common): Hold the baby with head at breast and body across body.
**These holds I used together, fluidly… Start with football on right side, and switch breasts to cradle on the left…. or vice versa.**
Once I started getting the hang of feedings I really enjoyed it! I looked forward to feedings and being able to bond with my son! Then came the soreness… This didn’t kick in until the second evening. I pushed through it until that morning (our last day there) and then when his baby nurse came to check on us that morning during feeding time, she noticed my nipple was bleeding slightly. She said “Sweetheart we can’t have you all sore and bleeding going home today, I am going to give you something.” She then told me to keep using the Lanolin ointment and then gave me the following..
- Medela Nipple Formers: These you put over your nipple inside your nursing bra (I will inform you on my fave nursing bra next…) and it lets your nipples are out if they are raw! Amazing!
- Medela Contact Nipple Shield: These I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Some people look “down” on these… I praise the LORD for these!!! Since that first time I bled and was sore at the hospital it never happened again because of these! I also think it helped Rypken latch on to a bottle perfectly….then it was easy for him to go back and forth from me to a bottle throughout each day. (Since I pumped while nursing.)
- Medela Hydrogel Pads: These I put on my nipples while they were raw to get relief. It moisturizes and cools your nipples after feedings!
I would have been utterly lost without the fabulous baby nurses at St. Johns Mercy Hospital!!! They guided me through darkness of motherhood for the first 36 hours (besides my mother of course… but she didn’t breastfeed me.) Now, once I got home I was on my own… Please understand that breastfeeding is not easy, it is a job, and only you can do it… no one can help you. This is why I also had borrowed a pump. (Medela Pump In Style Advanced) I did bring this to the hospital, but I didn’t not use it there. I started using it after the first week of being home. (btw my milk came in a day or two after I got home… and it did not hurt… I realized it when my husband started commenting on my bra size. lol) I got Ryp in a schedule, or should I say he got me in a schedule… lol… once I felt that I had gotten the hang of nursing I added pumping. He ate 2 ounces ever 2 hours for a short time and then went to 3-4 ounces every 3-4 hours. Once he started waiting longer inbetween feedings, I had to relieve my poor boobies. (and I wanted to stock my supply as much as I could) I used NUK breastmilk freezer bags from Walmart to store in my freezer. (do not store in freezer door) When using your pump, it will become much easier once you have the correct sized shields. I got mine from Babies R Us and they were Medela SoftFit Shields 24mm (medium/standard).
These shields are not what normally comes with a pump… I had to find them separate at the store… It was soooo worth the trip to Babies R Us b/c the babies have a “give” to them when the pump treats your breats like cow udders…. lol Pumping became my “me time” b/c everyone knew I had to do it and I was connected to something, so I was not bothered. Now, when I was home alone, I would nurse/pump or feed bottle/pump at same time so I knew baby was occupied as well. This went on for about 4 weeks. Then all of the sudden I realized my milk was not producing like it usually did (8 oz in about 10-15 minutes)… It was taking double the time to get the same amount. I started drinking much more water and it fixed that problem. While I was freaking out that my supply was dwindling, I started combining my breastmilk with Similac Sensitive Formula (the orange container). I did this little by little… and we stayed at half and half for a the next two weeks. Then at 6 weeks I started getting sick with upper respiratory crap that I still currently have. I went to urgent care and they wouldn’t give me anything b/c I was nursing… So I tried to tough it out the next two days… It got considerably worse, so I called them and they got me some antibiotics asap… This meant I couldn’t breastfeed for 14 days. I weighed my options and figured, since I was going back to work soon, I decided to ween him from the breastmilk. We started giving 2oz bmillk, 4oz formula. (he is drinking 6oz currently) We did this until my supply ran out. He has been on strictly formula for the last couple days and is doing just fine. He has always ate well and is almost double is birth weight at 7 weeks!
Breast feeding was a Godsend to me and gave me a bond with my child that no one else has or will ever have! It was difficult at times and tiring, but most definitely worth it! I am writing this so someone can get some tips that I never had until it was “go time.” Hope it helps! God bless and happy bf-ing!!!
The following is pictures of my pump (Medela Pump In Style Advanced), my Brestfriend (another Godsend!!! It helped my back and my comfort during nursing!!!! Get one fast!), my cover that I used while nursing in public (bought at Babies R Us), and the pumping bra I made out of an old lifeguarding bathing suit! (Totally awesome, made pumping handsfree w/o paying $40 extra dollars for a fancy one at the store! I just cut small slits where my shields could slip through…)
Here is my FAVORITE nursing bra… It’s so comfy I still wear it and I’m dried up now… Lol