6/21/11

Liquid Gold

Breastfeeding, oh breastfeeding.

I have said a couple of times that I would do a post about breastfeeding. But each time I thought about writing an actual post on the topic I would back out.

I'm not really sure what to say on the whole subject, and I don't want to come across like I think I'm a know it all or anything like that because believe me that is not the case. And I also think sometimes, when a person talks about how she breastfeeds others assume that they she is a PRO-BREASTFEEDING-ALL-THE-WAY-JUST-SAY-NO-TO-FORMULA kind of person. And that is not the case either.

This is just my story about my knowledge of breastfeeding (which isn't a lot) and my two cents:

I went into pregnancy not really knowing much about breastfeeding. To me it was something you did after your baby was here. Yes I thought it was that simple. I never really entertained the whole Formula vs. Breast milk debate, as I had no reason to. What college girl, or newly married young adult actively pursues information about formula vs breastfeeding when she is not even thinking of having a baby at that point? Not this girl.

It was during my pregnancy that people started asking if I was planning on breastfeeding. I didn't know much about breastfeeding, but to me it only made sense that yes I would be breastfeeding. Why wouldn't I? If I had working milk, and Eli drank the working milk, why wouldn't I breastfeed??

After Eli arrived he latched on just fine and didn't really have trouble nursing. Which means one thing. I was in a lot of pain. Now, you will have people tell you that it is not supposed to hurt, however I beg to differ. Something is latched on to your body sucking away to their hearts content at one spot on your body causing the skin to become raw and very tender. AND THIS IS HAPPENING EVERY THREE HOURS. It's gonna hurt. Sometimes (a lot of times) the pain felt way worse than any contraction I ever had. And those hurt. A lot.

I have since realized that the pain should go away. If you are still in pain after a couple of weeks then you have a problem. But at first, the pain is there and it is real.

Also, prior to getting pregnant I did not realize that babies ate every 3 hours. I'm not sure why I didn't know this, as I've been around babies my entire life. Perhaps it's because I wasn't the one that was strapped down to a chair feeding them, but it's true, a baby eats every 3 hours. And if you are breastfeeding, it takes up to about 2 hours of that 3 hours (at first).

So, make the most of that last hour!!!!!

Now, this is the point in the post where it takes a spin.

Somewhere between 2 and 3 months of nursing my feelings changed. It had quit hurting and I had developed a routine. Instead of it being an inconvenience it just became a natural part of my life.

I learned to plan ahead. If I am going to lunch with friends, or I know I will be in the car a long time I have learned to schedule his feedings around what I will be doing.

I have also learned to go with the flow. I have fed Eli in the backseat of my car in a random parking lot MANY times, and I've also been known to sneak in a dressing room or two when I'm shopping and Eli needs to eat.

I've also become the girl who whips out her Hoter Hider and begins feeding her baby, wherever she is or whoever she is around (except I don't do it at restaurants) This took LOTS of practice at home before I would do it in public. I'm ok with being the girl who nurses behind the Hoter Hider, I am NOT ok with being the girl who flashes her goods to the whole world. No thank you.

And there are still days where I do get a little frustrated. Pumping at work is no fun and is annoying, and trying to find something to wear that not only fits my new curvy body, but also has easy access to my tools has proved to be difficult, but for now I will keep trucking along. In the words of a good friend, I can fight a bear for a little while. This is just a season of my life, and I want to enjoy every moment of it and not just wish it away.

ALSO, I am by no means opposed to formula. I was a formula fed baby and I'm a perfectly healthy, well-functioning, human being. With the exception of a couple of lung collapses and a mind that worries non stop and a case of hypochondria that might force any mother to breastfeed if that is the end result of formula. I kid. I kid.

And Eli isn't an exclusively breastfeed baby. Right now he takes formula about 10% of the time and breastmilk about 90% of the other time. This works for us and it works for him.

So that is my two cents on breastfeeding. It caught me off guard, I had moments where I wanted to give up, but I don't like to give up on anything just because it is uncomfortable for me or inconvenient. Yes it hurt, and yes it took awhile to get used to, but I couldn't imagine not doing it because of ME.

And looking back that time that seemed so exhausting with the constant feedings and ME being the only one that could feed him, seems like it passed so quickly. I feel like I did a lot of unnecessary whining. I'm glad I didn't give up. There were certainly days where I thought I couldn't do it anymore. When the next baby comes, I will know that the hard period is so short and I can get through it.

In everything in the baby world my advice is always do what works best for you and your baby. I'm not sure how long I will breastfeed but right now it works for us, and I would be sad to quit doing it. So we will keep moving forward!

P.S. Nursing doesn't make your weight come off. Whoever told you that is lying to you. If somebody's weight fell off and they think it's because of nursing they are wrong. I think they are a person who would have lost the weight easily anyways and they think it's because of nursing. But that's just my opinion. I'm not bitter.

29 comments:

d.a.r. said...

As usual, I adore your attitude. You are such a great mom!

Kate said...

Thank you for this post. I am due in August and need all the advice I can get on this subject!

Dianna said...

Great post! Love your perspective.

Sweet Simplicity said...

You do have a cute hooter hider! I'm glad you were able to breast feed. I know it can be very difficult for a lot of people. Hopefully, you will be able to continue until you and Eli are ready to stop.

-Lauren said...

Thanks I needed this. I have heard about this nipple pain people speak of..good to know that there is an end to it! xo

Jess said...

I love your perspective on just about everything. Especially your warning about nursing being a weight loss lie, lol.

Kiersten said...

Love your perspective on this. And go you for sticking with it through the hard times! The whole thing sounds a little intimidating, but it's good to hear it gets easier with time.

mrs.mfc said...

This is a great post!!

Mays said...

Hi Megan,
I breastfed my little one for a year and am BY NO MEANS an expert...but I wanted to say that Medela's lanolin worked wonders on sore nipples and is safe for the baby too which is nice! Also, at around 6 months my daughter was eating SO much that that is when I noticed the weight really coming off! Hopefully you'll see a difference soon because I know that breastfeeding did help me get back into my old shape! Just my two cents worth... :)

Ashley Paige said...

Ha! Loved this post.. I nursed C until he was about 4 months old and then my bubbies went all wonky and to formula we went! I wrote a whole entire post about the "formula guilt" and yadda yadda.. but the real reason i wanted to comment is because you're right.. whoever said you lost the extra weight breastfeeding? major liar. LOL.. such a fool for putting that awesome idea into all of our heads.. at least for me? only to BFeed and for the weight to still be hanging on there.. and hanging.. and hanging.. and hanging... ;oP

Alex and Jill said...

I think anyone that sticks with it is AMAZING! It's so stinkin' hard. And you're right...it doesn't make you lose weight. I believed that one too. Great post!

Wade's World said...

I just posted yesterday about my struggle with the fact that I'm about to quit nursing my 2 week old. He's not gaining weight like he should, and I'm still dealing with the fact that part of me was ready to give up on nursing because of how hard it is, and the other part of me is sad that I'm not giving him what he needs, therefore I have to start with formula. This motherhood stuff is hard, and I'm a second time mom!

Kudos to you for making it work for you and Eli! It sounds like you are doing wonderful!

Our Family said...

Megan, I love reading your posts. Usually they take the words right out of my mouth--- this one being no exception. I too have fallen in love with breastfeeding. My DD will be 3 months in 2 weeks and we are settling into quite a nice routine. I really loved your PS because I just had that conversation with a friend yesterday. My weight is NOT falling off and I am BF up a storm. Oh well... BIG SMILE Lana :)

Melanie Norman said...

Oh my word Megan, this post is just what I needed! I have a baby boy who will be here in October and I was really struggling with wondering if I should breastfeed or not.. like really struggling. I have had so many mother who are either pro- or anti- breastfeeding..to be honest I'm actually really nervous. It makes perfect since, breastfeeding that is. Why would God allow you to make milk if it was not going to be used to feed your baby? This post is just what I needed..seriously..Thank you Megan!

Becca said...

Liquid gold is the same thing Adam and I called it :-)

Dana said...

Hey, hey, hey!! I am no liar over here! :)

You have to be patient- you're only 3 months postpartum! Your chest will most likely go back down and you may or may not be less curvy (you might look at your mom's body for a clue as to what you could look like in the future.) BF burns an additional 500 calories a day, so it really can help you lose weight. My weight tends to fall off in shifts: a good chunk within the first few weeks, a little more by 6 months, and the rest of it by about 13-14 months. You don't need to worry about it anyway- you look great!

amanda said...

I think people say it makes you lose weight because it makes your uterus contract so it goes down a little fasterand because you burn an extra 500 calories a day by nursing. What they don't tell you is how hungry you are so you can't help but eat those calories and then some!

Brittany said...

I'm definitely going to bookmark this page so when we do have children I can go back and know that I'm not the only one who has gone through everything. I also think that you gave some great tips! I also never thought about pumping at work until a friend of mine mentioned that. I'm an elementary teacher and I have no idea what I'm going to do when that time rolls around. It just seems like I wouldn't have time to stop and do that. Do you find it difficult to make time in your day just for pumping? Thanks!

Tami said...

Love this post! I've been breastfeeding for 5 weeks and have felt many of the things you described! I have to agree that the pain can be worse than contractions!

Whitney said...

Finally. A breast feeding mom who doesn't swear that your child will die without breast milk. HORRAY for you, girl. And another thing - I love that this is titled Liquid Gold. LOL!

Perfectly Imperfect said...

Okay, so I'm going to disagree on one point.. I did lose all the weight nursing, but I also had a child that was SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF ME. So.. there's that. I ate all day everyday and still lost all my weight and then some.

But don't you worry, it came back with a quickness when I quit. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Amen sister!Good for you for giving your baby the best food and for being the hooter hider girl! Its moms like you have gave me the courage to become a hooter hider girl myself!-
Hooter Hiding mom of 2!

Anonymous said...

p.a. I didn't lose weight that way either! ha! actually according to research breastfeeding moms hang on to about 10 lbs while nursing. No biggie. You still look great!

Maryland Magnolia said...

Good to know! I'm going to have to save this post so that when I do have a baby, I can re-read it and be a little more prepared :)

Summer said...

I breastfeed Colton for a year and I really do think it helped the weight come off. But, like someone else said it's not all at once. But by around 7-8 months, I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm hoping it will work for me this time around. I still have about 15 to loose and baby is 2 months old.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting about the weight loss lie. For some, it really seems to be. For me, it just made me hungry ALL THE TIME. And there was no avoiding the temptation. If I dropped my calories at all, my milk supply was clearly reduced. And so I just maintained my weight. But I also had 9 months of pregnancy followed by 15 months of nursing where I could eat about 500 calories too many and maintain my weight. Two years of those portions made it really hard to admit to what proper portions were when the nursing was done. Hence, a few more pounds on top of the pregnancy weight came on as my son started weaning.

Waiting for Bulgaria said...

I never intended to nurse or pump. Then my son came early, and I felt (a lot) of pressure from the nurses to pump so that he would have his mother's milk. Then they sent him home with me weighing 4 and a half pounds and eating every two hours and it took him an hour and two adults coaxing him to eat that one stinkin ounce. Then after feeding him, I would try to pump. Then my boobs dried up and I went over the edge and almost lost it. Then my doctor said no my sweetheart. And I fed my son formula from that point on. And he's fine. I think you do what works best for you and your baby. (and yes I know I used a lot of "thens")

Waiting for Bulgaria said...

That should say *no more* not *no my*

In this wonderful life... said...

I think this was VERY well put!! I agree with you completely. I'll do what works best for me and the babes. I'll definitely give it a go and pray I produce as much as I did last year.

I've always heard you hang on to 5-10 pounds when BF bc it's your body's way of keeping the fat for milk supply.