has inspired me to apply to be a mentor for adopt_a_mom
, so I'm writing out my breastfeeding stories here.
When I found out I was pregnant with Jack, I read a bunch of the mainstream books and pregnancy magazines and decided that I was going to breastfeed for six months. From what I read, I figured it would be cheap, help me lose weight and make my baby smarter. I got a boppy and a Medela pump and figured I was all set.
He arrived via emergency c-section and I was unable to see him for several hours as I was shaking so badly from the epidural in the recovery room. When they finally brought him to me, he refused to latch on. The nurse brought me a fancy pump and I pumped some colostrum and fed it to him with a dropper. For the next several hours it was rinse and repeat -- no latch, pump, feed with dropper. The hospital lactation consultant finally came in and shoved him onto my boob and he actually latched for the first time. Unfortunately, he would only latch for 30-40 seconds at a time and quickly lost interest. Soon my nipples were sore and cracked, and the pain was unbearable. When I got home from the hospital, I was crying every time it was time to feed. Thankfully, my mom, who'd breastfed four children for more than a year, was staying with us and was very encouraging. She would get up in the middle of the night with me and help me to fix his bad latch, which he eventually did. But the pain wasn't going away. I almost gave up -- the formula samples in my cupboard were calling to me -- but I decided to try a different lactation consultant (IBCLC, this time). She took one look at my nipples and diagnosed thrush. Three days after I started treatment, the pain had significantly decreased and I started to feel like I could do this. We also suffered a bout of mastitis in the first month, but after about six weeks it was smooth sailing.
Around the time Jack was six months old, when I was originally planning to wean, I started a livejournal and joined the breastfeeding
community. I hadn't realized that there were so many people who breastfed past six months, much less beyond a year old. I was intrigued and continued to breastfeed after doing more online research on the subject. Once I realized the benefits, I decided I couldn't stop. I also started co-sleeping at this time (another internet revelation), and that made those night time feedings so much better. This was fortunate because Jack didn't sleep through the night until I night-weaned him at 16 months. Shortly after he was night-weaned, he started cutting back on daytime feedings as well, and weaned himself completely by 20 months.
Fast forward to the birth of Ruby...I felt much more confident going into it the second time. I had a repeat (planned) c-section and made certain that I could bring her with me to the recovery room. This nursing relationship started off on a much better foot. She came out ready to eat - the doctors placed her next to my face while they were sewing me up, and she latched on to my nose. As soon as we got to the recovery room she latched on like a champ and nursed for about 20 minutes!! I was so excited and just KNEW the beginning of this nursing relationship was going to be so much better than the last. However, in spite of a perfect latch, I had cracked and bleeding nipples -- with the accompanying excruciating pain -- three days after her birth. Fortunately I knew this was a temporary thing, but I also knew this meant there was a problem that needed to be fixed. I suspected thrush and went to an IBCLC for confirmation. It was. I embarked on a massive anti-thrush mission, including changing my diet and taking GSE along with the Diflucan prescribed by my OB and quickly nipped it in the bud. Thankfully it only lasted two weeks as opposed to the six weeks before diagnosis with Jack. This nursing relationship has also been easier because I've co-slept from the beginning, which makes the days following nighttime feedings much better. She's eight months old now, and still vastly prefers nursing to solid foods. And I have no problem with that -- breastmilk poops are much nicer to deal with!