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Breastfeeding

Yes, a whole post on boobs and milk.  Sorry.

I was fortunate to breastfeed Coen for 11 months, which is a HUGE accomplishment, but at the time made me so sad to end.  But unfortunately because of being pregnant and nursing, I was losing my supply by the ounces, DAILY.  It was sad to watch Coen struggle to eat and not get anything and while I would've loved to have nursed him longer, I decided to stop because it wasn't doing anyone any good at that point.  But, I remind myself that 11 months was a GREAT deal of milk that was more beneficial to him than formula could've ever been.

Now, with Emie, I never once thought that I would have a problem nursing and so far, she's proven to be a CHAMP eater.  Our problem from the get go has been a forceful letdown and unfortunately it's a work in progress.  I know that I can adjust it but it's not consistent. I asked other nursing mothers how they've managed with a forceful letdown and while there are some really great tips, I haven't tried too much yet for fear that it would stunt my milk supply.  She eats well and keeps up with the letdown about 65% of the time, but there is that other percentage that just rock her little world. Sometimes it's the morning feeds or sometimes it's the afternoon/evening feeds that do it to her, but only about 14% of the time do we have a huge spit up fest.

Going back to work has been hard too.  Some days I bring home 15 ounces of milk and other days I bring home 20.  It just depends on what I eat, how much water I take in and what she was able to eat before I left home. It's all trial and error and I can imagine in the next few weeks, I'll have a better pattern to how everything works out, but for now, it's all up in the air.

Right now, this is how a typical work day works out for me:

Emie gets up to eat around 5am to 6:30am.  If she gets up any earlier than that, we usually have to squeeze in two feedings before she leaves the house, otherwise I'm too full and she doesn't get everything she needs before departing.

Around 8:30am or 9am, I pump at work and this is usually my biggest volume (7 to 10 ounces).

Around 11:30am or 1pm, I pump again at work and this one is usually not that great of a pump.  I'll get something like 5 to 7 ounces.

Around 3:30pm or 4:00pm, I'll pump my last pump of the day and get about 8 ounces again.

From there, I go to my sitter's house, where Emie usually has just eaten, and then we feed when we get home.  Some nights, she's ready to go as soon as we get home (around 6pm) but other times, she'll snooze and not get up until closer to 7pm.  It all just depends.

Throughout the evening, she's usually cluster feeding and eating about every 2 hours or less.

Then from about 9pm to 11pm, she'll get her last feeding in there (sometime) and then she's out.  There have only been about 3 nights when she would wake up and want more throughout the night (since turning 7 weeks) but otherwise she'll sleep through the night.

Yes, she sleeps from about 10pm until about 5am.  And that's every night, with the exception of a night or two when she's a little off her rocker.

We are lucky, we know.

Pumping at work is not a good time, but luckily, I have the flexibility to do it whenever I need to throughout the day.  And it's what's best for my baby, that's what I always remind myself.  The real problem is just the pump.  If I could nurse all day long, I would.  It's much more pleasant, but I'm a working mom and I am doing this for my baby.

Nursing on the weekends, alone with my baby, is a dream.  I look forward to doing it for as long as I am able, with Emie.  My 11 months with Coen was great, but I still wish we could've had a longer run.  I'm grateful that I am able to feed my children this way.  It's not something that everyone can experience and for that, I'm thankful.

Breastfeeding has been apart of my life for almost 2 years straight and I wouldn't trade any moment of it for the world.  The ups and downs have been all part of the journey and I'm thrilled that my body had allowed for me to do this.  It's been a great experience.

Comments

Mrs. B said…
I had an oversupply, overactive letdown, and pukey baby too. None of the tricks really helped us. I just relied on the statistic that most babies adjust by 3-4 months, and she did. She quit the pulling off and on over and over and the choking right around then (although until she hit 1 she was a super distracted nurser and it drive me bonkers!). She had an immature esophageal reflex and the puking didn't end till about 6m (it was a glorious day when I realized that was over!!!) Good luck with everything!
One Pork Chop said…
Wow, you have a great supply! I'm having a good day when I can pump 6 ounces at work (I only pump once, though). Since starting back at work, my supply has dwindled quite a bit, but we've also introduced solids to Joe, so he's not as interested in nursing as frequently when we're together. I certainly hope my supply can keep up until the one year mark (we're at 7.5 months now). He's supplemented with formula because I just don't produce enough since starting back at work. I am mainly doing it for the bonding time because I just love it so much. This time was MUCH better than last, and I'm glad I've made it this far and hope to continue a few more months at least.
J o s e y said…
I'm glad that BFing has gone pretty smoothly for you this time. I truly love that time with Stella as well! It's a magical bond.
Jessica said…
I had a strong letdown too. The thing that helped me was rolling onto my back and putting baby on her stomach on me, face down on the boob. Then gravity helped her from choking. That wouldn't affect your supply at all and is easy to try! Good luck :)

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