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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Breastfeeding - When it is not as natural as you think it will be!

When I was pregnant with my first daughter Gabby something came up the night I was supposed to take the hospital sponsored breast feeding course so I missed it. My biggest worry at the time was whether or not I would get a refund, I should have been worried about the information I missed out on. I thought Gabby would be born, immediately latch on and breastfeeding would be a completely natural process that took almost no effort. I was wrong. It took her 24 hours before she latched on, the nurses assured me that it was okay and she would be fine, she was. It took a couple weeks but eventually we both were champs and nursing went pretty well. I made it through going back to work, complete with having to pump in my vehicle on my breaks. I even dodged a police call when I found a police officer banging on my van windows trying to figure out what was going on in mention of pumping and she was gone! Gabby and I made it ten months with her breast feeding and I was pretty proud of that, although I was determined to make it a full year with my second child. I am not sure why I let naiveness take over again but for some reason I thought Gretchen would be born and just latch on and life would be grand, I guess I felt like I was a pro (ha!) so I would be able to guide her better. Again, I was wrong. Gretchen was born three weeks early and she had some breathing problems so they took her to the nursery for observation. She was hooked up to a couple machines and I was not able to immediately breastfeed. I went to my room to get some rest and in the mean time they started her on a bottle. When I was finally able to breastfeed her I had lactation consultant there with me ready to face any issues that might come up but it went beautifully so she watched for a couple minutes and that completed her visit. When I went to feed Gretchen the second time we were in my hospital room with my husband and sister by my side but no nurses or lactation consultants anywhere around. It did not go as well. I knew what I was doing but it still was stressful. Eventually a nurse came to help but we were unable to get Gretchen to properly latch on and eat. At that time it would have been very easy to give up and give her a bottle, but having done this before I knew what the benefits were and I knew I wanted to make it work. After working with a lactation consultant and a nurse we started using a Medela Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) and a Medela Nipple Shield to get her to latch on properly and increase my supply at the same time. She was not interested in nursing because it was not producing the same amount of milk as a bottle was and my milk was not coming in as strong because she was not nursing well. I got out my Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breastpump and started pumping constantly to produce milk for her and increase my supply. I was able to produce enough pumped milk that I was filling her SNS with my milk instead of formula and she was beginning to latch on better and better because she was getting an adequate supply of milk, partially from my increasing supply and partially from the SNS feeder. After just a few days we were able to stop using the SNS feeder since my supply was up by that time and within two weeks we were able to drop the nipple shield and continue with natural breastfeeding sessions. Had I been a first time mom, not knowing that it WOULD get better or had I been on the fence about wanting to breastfeed I would have given up in those early days. The stress we felt with the added factor of having to prepare the SNS feeder combined with the sleepless nights and adding a 23 month old into the mix was a lot to handle for my Husband and I but now six months later Gretchen is a nursing champion and I am so glad we pushed through the hard times. In fact, she is such a nursing champ that she refuses to take a bottle, but that is another post for another day! If you are about to have a baby (or already have one!) please go to the website and check out the many products that Nicki's has available to make your breastfeeding experience as seamless as possible such as a Boppy Pillow, Medela Tender Care Lanolin Nipple Therapy, Milk Bands, Knickernappies Stay Dry Nursing Pads (my favorite baby shower gift!) and Mother's Milk Herbal Tea. If you are in the Madison area please come into Nicki's Madison store and take part in the many breastfeeding classes/clinics they offer. It is valuable information that you WILL need. I also recommend coming in after the baby is born and taking advantage of the other breastfeeding resources they have available, including the Mama's Milk Hour. Breastfeeding is very rewarding but does not come without challenges, educate and prepare yourself in advance but remember the hard times are more then likely short lived. Both of my girls ended up nursing well and I was able to adequately supply them with the milk they needed to survive and flourish. ~Corey


Chari said...

Thanks for sharing your story!
I didn't know Nicki's carried so many breastfeeding supplies. I LOVE the Medela Tender Care saved my boobs! ;-)

melaniek said...

I'm so happy breastfeeding worked out for you! The one thing I wish people knew more about though is IGT or Insufficient Glandular Tissue. This is when a women lacks the sufficient breast tissue to produce enough milk or some may not produce milk at all. I wanted to breastfeed so badly with this last pregnancy but because I have breast hypoplasia and IGT, I just can't produce enough milk.

Christian, Rachel and Savannah Baldree said...

I wish I was better prepared for breastfeeding. I just didn't realize how complicated (yet simple)-but yes, complicated it can be... I ended up pumping exclusively for 8 months before finally switching to formula. I am just barely pregnant again and I am already looking into more research and people to help guide me so i can do it right this next time around! I didn't realize Nicki's has so many BFing supplies- thats great!!! Thanks for the great article- glad BFing worked for you!!!!

AnnaLisa said...

Thanks for sharing Corey! I too thought breastfeeding my second would be a breeze and truth is I had the longest breastfeeding success with my first! The sucking reflex may come naturally, but the art of breastfeeding can be complicated and frustrating. Bravo to Nikki's Diapers for not only offereing merchandise but practical resourse to support this sometimes challenging decision!

Cristin said...

Good to hear your story! I plan on breastfeeting when this little one arrives, and its good to know there are items out there to help if needed.
I want to find a local Le Leche League group too and attend before and after baby arrives. Support is key, I think! Cheers1

dsnelson1 said...

Sharing stories, having proper and helpful supplies on hand or available, a good nursing bra, comfortable clothes and a supportive husband/partner/family are many of the factors in making breastfeeding work. I have breastfed all 3 of our kids; the first 2 until they were 24 months and my 3rd is now 12 months. It came so easy for us, I feel fortunate. We need to be supportive of one another, even if it is as simple as a smile when you see someone breastfeeding in public :)

Karrianne said...

I loved breastfeeding my first. My second, I still loved it... but I wasn't as dedicated. Me and my husband were having some struggling back then and the stress affected my attitude I think. I was not as patient and I didn't enjoy it quite as much. However... because of this my milk dried up at 6 months! I cried and cried. I wasn't ready to be done. My third baby was born 8 weeks early and I KNEW I wanted to breastfeed this time. They wanted to just give him the bottle but I said I'd be up to the NICU as many times as needed to breastfeed. He did need to take the bottle sometimes, as he wasn't strong enough to exclusively breastfeed. But I pumped every 2-3 hours and he got my milk in his bottle when I couldn't nurse and after 2 months I was breastfeeding and not having to pump or give the bottle anymore. It felt like such a huge accomplishment! I hated pumping, but I'm SO glad I did because I am loving every single minute of breastfeeding my baby and I am cherishing the fact that I am able to give this gift to my baby. I hope I can nursing him til he's ready for a cup and cow's milk!

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