Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Breast Feeding Struggles

Before I had Presley, I was adament that I was going to breastfeed for as long as I possibly could. Personally, I think it’s the best thing for a baby and it’s free. My mother breastfed me for over a year, granted I knew I probably couldn’t go a year but I was determined to do it for as long as I possibly could. Before he was born, my breast were getting ready. I was constantly leaking clear fluid for weeks before his birth.

When Presley made his grand arrival. I started having colostrum instantly. He would latch on really well and stay on for just a few minutes. I was also manually expressing it (which is painful) and putting it into the syringes the hospital gives you for that purpose. The nurses also helped express it and let me tell you, you haven’t lived until about 15 different women have helped squeeze your breasts. Then my milk didn’t come in. It was probably 3-4 days later and it finally started to come in. It’s painful (at least for me) my breast felt like giant rocks and had to be massaged and put under hot water to find comfort. I also had developed a cracked nipple. Unfortunately, Presley was having some sugar regulating issues and was in the NICU. So I couldn’t really feed him on demand. We went there for feeding every 3 hours around the clock for 3 days. I would also sit in the NICU him and if he wanted to latch on he could. Due to the sugar issue they also had to give him some formula. I didn’t want to have to do it, but you have to do what you have to do.

Then Presley became a lazy latcher. He will latch on but after the first let down, he’s bored and over the sucking. Basically he was only staying on each breast for about 2-4 minutes. For your milk to come in at full capacity a baby should be staying latched on for 15-20 minutes each breasts. I met with lactation several times. They gave me different tips and advance with each different person that I talked to. Finally the last lady that I talked to gave me the most helpful advice. She told me to start pumping a minimum 9 times a day and only latch him on for comfort. She said do that for several days and that should help increase my milk supply. I did that for 5 days and my milk supply did increase. My precious, little Presley is still a little lazy when it comes to the sucking but he’s staying on now for about 7-9 minutes. So what am I doing? I’m pumping many times day and night and botteling it we are giving it to him that way. Because guess what... breast milk is breast milk. I don’t care if he gets it by latching on or bottle. He’s being fed either way.

Now... with that said.... we are having to supplement with some formula. He’s eating so much I can’t keep up. I’m still about 5-8 ounces a day short on breast milk so we are having to give him some formula. Did I want to do that? No, not really but again.... you do what you have to do. He’s hungry and needs to be fed. Do I think it’s wrong to give him formula no but do I feel like a big, fat failure every time I crack open one of those newborn formula bottles? Sure do! But with pumping way more, I feel better that he’s getting 16-20 ounces a day in breast milk.

It’s not easy. Breast feeding is definitely work. You have to seriously want to do it to make it work. Definitely if you have milk issues like me. Now, is it rewarding to see progress? Yes! While I have no idea what will happen when I go back to work, I’m going to keep pumping and feeding him as much as I can, for as long as I can. I put him on a few times a day and let him latch on for however, long he will and then I pump as many times as I can in a day. When I go to work I’ll pump as much as I can and feed him in the mornings and evenings as much as I can to keep the milk supply going.

Just know that if you have problems breast feeding... I get it. Keep pushing though it. You can do it. Buy those breast pads, get that breast soothing cream!
A plus side too.... you will drastically burn calories and lose that baby weight quickly!

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