Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Notes on Nursing

Note: This post is about breastfeeding. It's not graphic but if you don't care about breastfeeding, I would just skip it.
As I said in my previous post, I originally planned on nursing Clay until 18 months but modified that to 15 months based on being pregnant with Carolina (no tandem nursing for this mama). Well, Clay has decided he's ready to stop (at 12 months).
Breastfeeding is the thing I was totally scared of while I was pregnant. I knew I had the skills to do pretty much everything else but there were SO many ladies who told me their horror stories about nursing that I was terrified. I was so scared that I would try it and it wouldn't work and I would be so disappointed in myself. So many, many fears.
When Clay was born, he really had no trouble at first. I was very drugged up (from a c-section) and very glad it was as easy as it was. Each feeding after that was an adventure. The nurses would try and help. Each nurse had a different technique (9 nurses, 9 techniques- no joke) and it was SO confusing and I was still very out of it.
Since newborns have to eat every three hours, I spent every three hours trying to get him to latch properly and actually get some milk. Lots of tears, lots of frustration, tired mommy. Eventually, one of the nurses gave me some advice that worked and I took it from there. Still, though, for the first couple of weeks every time it was time to nurse I was worried he wouldn't be able to latch on properly and it would be a battle.
We did have some problems that second week but the lactation lady at the hospital (not the hearing lady!) was wonderful and talked me through the whole feeding over the phone. She was like magic- anticipating Clay's every move before he made it.
It was a difficult couple of weeks learning to nurse but we made it. As a busy body, my next challenge was learning to sit still and rest while he was nursing for 17 minutes (that kid was like clockwork, he quit at 17 minutes EVERY time) and then pumping for 10 minutes after that. After all the latching problems, getting up every three hours to nurse and pump AND having to sit still for long periods, I was beginning to think nursing and pumping was either for saints or for idiots.
I would tell Mike how I didn't think I was going to make it very long with this nursing thing. Clay was a very efficient nurser but it still seemed like every time I would finish nursing and start something, it was time to nurse again. Luckily, it got SO much better.
It seemed like after the first couple of weeks it was just smooth sailing. I NEVER had any of the problems women had told me about in their horror stories. We spent a couple of weeks learning to latch and getting on a schedule and off we went. I never had to pack a bottle or buy formula, his feedings got more and more spaced out (i.e. more sleep) and something crazy happened- we bonded. In all that sitting still time and those quiet times in the middle of the night, I bonded with my sweet boy.
Now that Clay's nursing time is done it seems like it was so easy. I'm so glad I stuck with it and that I didn't have any of the problems I had heard about. I know now I shouldn't have worried so much (even though I still worry it won't be as easy with Carolina). But my advice to all you future moms-to-be who want to nurse: Don't let your fears stop you from trying it. It's not always easy (in the beginning) and EVERYONE has their own technique. Keep trying until you find what works for you. You can always pump if the latching part doesn't work for you (they're still getting the same milk). It's such a neat gift to be able to give your baby and it's something that benefits them for years to come.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I'm glad you posted this. I had an awful time nursing Avelyn and wasn't able to continue after 2 weeks. I felt like the stupidest mother in the world. I've been pumping my little heart out for weeks but now I have to stop and I've felt so guilty for it. No more guilt this week though because I gave it my all. As of yesterday I am pump free. I'm pretty sure the pain from stopping is worse than any labor pains I had. OWWW. Yay for 12 months Brittany!!