First, let me apologize to those of you that visit my blog for design ideas and are tired of hearing about Baby H and what I think about c-sections. I agree, I am blogging more about mom stuff and less about decor, but I have been getting a lot of positive feedback on the mom stuff and there are just some things I think are worth telling. I promise to get back to more design based posts soon!
Ok, onto the breastfeeding. While I was pregnant, I took several classes and one of them was on breastfeeding. Out of all of the classes, this one was by far the most informative and I would highly suggest a class by a lactation consultant to anyone that is considering breastfeeding. That said, there are some things that NOBODY mentioned to me before I started, so I feel like it is my duty to put them out there.
Its really hard at first!
It seems like a simple concept. Baby is hungry, and you have the food, so she will want it. Because Baby H was in NICU for the first 36 hours and received some tasty formula in mass quantities, she was not too keen on my food and working for it. So we struggled a bit at first and I wondered if it would be like this the whole time. Well, it wasn't. By the second week, it was much more simple. And by the 4th, she would latch on if it was even in the vicinity of her greedy little mouth. I can now nurse her anywhere - couch, bed, even the back seat of the car. So, I promise, it will get better.
I never heard this mentioned in my class but boy did I learn quickly what it was. She started doing this at the hospital - I would feed her and she would eat well. Then, 45 minutes later, she was acting like she was starving again, so I would feed her again. This had the potential to go 4 or 5 rounds and by the end I was exhausted and basically didn't have any milk left to feed her. The nurses informed me this was called "cluster feeding" and nicknamed her piranha. One nurse told me it could last up to 6 weeks and I almost killed her. The nurse, not the baby. Baby H only did it for about a day and a half, but be prepared, it is so tiring!
You think preggo boobs are big? Wait till you see your breastfeeding boobs. I felt like a porn star and I did NOT like it. Everything I put on looked scandalous, with super cleavage. I remember some friends were coming over and The Husband mentioned that I might be showing a bit too much boob. I challenged him to find something that I could nurse in that didn't make me look like I was going to a night club. He shut up. So just be prepared, they will normal out in size after about 2 to 3 weeks of nursing but they will still be bigger than you are used to.
For the first 3 week or so, I was feeding her every 2.5 to 3 hours and I felt like that is all I got to do. I felt like we couldn't leave the house because as soon as we got somewhere she would be hungry sooner than I expected and I wasn't comfortable nursing her in public. (I still don't , we usually retreat to the car) This too gets better and once you establish a routine and you know better when they will be hungry.
Sometimes, she would get hungry like an hour or so after I just fed her and I felt like I didn't have enough to satisfy her. Or, if I pumped to build up my freezer supply like a good Mommy, and she got hungry quickly after that, I felt empty. So I would have to supplement her with some frozen milk, or most of the time, formula. Gasp! Hey, you do what you have to do to calm your fussy baby and she seems fine to me!
When I took the class, they talked about possible negative side effects, like cracked nips and mastitis. The graphics of boobs they showed were huge boobs that looked crazy to me, so I assumed I was in the clear as I have nice smallish boobs. WRONG! At week 3, I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a bus. I was sweating and shaking so much I couldn't even open my pill bottle to take a pain pill. The Husband took care of the baby while I laid down to die. That morning I was undressing for a shower (probably the 1st in 3 days) and noticed one boob was HUGE and red. I got out my packet from the class and diagnosed myself with mastitis. An antibiotic and heating pad cleared it right up and it hasn't come back. Just be aware of any changes in your body and if you have any questions, my favorite breastfeeding resource website has been kellymom.com.
Make It Work
Lastly, in the words of Tim Gunn, just "make it work." Do what you have to do to make breastfeeding work for you and only halfway listen to all the advice people will give you, including me. For example, you learn that you should alternate which boob baby starts on each time. Well, Baby H really preferred one side and for the first 3 weeks if I started her on the other one, she would get frustrated and cry. So we always started on her favorite side, and that worked for us.