Warning: This is a post about Breastfeeding – Men: read at your own risk!
!@(nursingsmall.jpg popimg: “Nursing”)Picture Of The Day: Sierra drinking her “milkies”.
When I was pregnant, I really wanted to give nursing a “try”. I was going to give it a my best shot, but if it didn’t work out, so be it – my baby could thrive from formula too. Then I lost my job, and Sierra was born a month premature (mostly because of the stress of losing my job). I felt really guilty that my body kicked her out early, depriving her of the safety of my womb in which to do her final bits of growing and developing. Crazy, I know ’cause she was completely fine, just a bit on the small side (4 lbs 13 oz on the day we took her home), and a bit jaundiced, but that also happens to full term babies. Nevertheless, I felt horrible ’cause I was supposed to be this perfect mom – one with a good job, who gave her child the best possible start in life, including eating healthy, getting moderate excercise during my pregnancy, carrying to term etc…
We worked really hard to nurse in those early days – using a lactation aid*, nipple shield* and pumping after a feed to get milkies to use with the lactation aid for the next feed. After a week of each feed taking 90 minutes (8 times a day) I was exhausted and decided to do the next best thing… I pumped, expressed, whatever you want to call it, milkies for her and we bottle fed. We did that for three weeks, but Sierra’s Dr wasn’t convinced that she couldn’t nurse. Strangely enough, he is also a Dr. Newman – not THE Dr. Newman, but he worked with him at North York General. He encouraged me to keep trying her on the breast, without the shield, without the lact aid :shock:. So I tried – three afternoons in a row, when I was rested, and PATIENT. I tried her before she was screaming in hunger. The third day she got it! She only took one breast – so I was concerned, and pumped the second. She took the next breast that evening, and on we went. My goal was to make it to our next Dr’s appointment for her weigh-in, a week away. We made it – and her weight gain was exactly the same rate as with the bottle! Throughout the whole summer I kept saying to myself we’ll keep going until the next Dr’s appointment – I don’t want to face Dr Newman and tell him that “I give up”. I’m not a quitter. One appointment 3 weeks into nursing I went to him in tears – I thought my milk supply had dried up. I was no longer feeling “full” between nursing – because of the early pumping I didn’t know that was normal.
Fast forward to now – Sierra will be 7 months old in 3 days. She’s not interested in food, or bottles, or sippy cups. Just mother’s milk. I’ve had a hard time accepting this, despite our rocky start – I’ve been mourning my old life – when I could just go out to the store, ALONE, without worrying how long I was gone and getting home in time to feed her. I could run hard, and not worry that over training would affect milk supply. I want to do a 1/2 marathon in the spring – but Sierra won’t allow me a 2-3 hour window to do a long run on the weekends (she feeds every 2 hours). I’ve often thought of weaning her – my early goal was 6 months and we’re well past that.
I’ve been a member since our early EP’ing days of a Yahoo! Group for mom’s who EP (Exclusively Pump) because they can’t nurse for various legitimate reasons (Preemies, babies with a Cleft Palate, babies with strong oral aversions that need to be fed with a Naso-gastric feeding tube, etc…). Reading their posts has reminded me of how sad I was when Sierra and I didn’t have that nursing relationship. It’s because of them that I’ve finally come to terms – I FINALLY enjoy nursing Sierra! I’m not scared that she’s not getting enough! I don’t care if I have to hide in a bedroom at my in-laws place to nurse her! I’m not shy about whipping out my boob in public to feed her (though I do it discreetly). And guess what? I’m going to nurse her until she weans herself! I’m not going to set a time limit – I’m not cutting her off at 9 months, a year etc… My 1/2 marathons can wait. I have come to terms with this – I am woman! Watch me nurse!
!@(lact_aid1.jpg popimg: “Lactation Aid”)*Lactation Aid = A lactation aid is a device that allows a breastfeeding mother to supplement her baby with expressed breastmilk, formula, glucose water with added colostrum or glucose water without using an artificial nipple. The early use of an artificial nipple may result in the baby becoming “bottle spoiled” or “nipple confused” because it interferes with the way a baby latches on to the breast.
!@(ContactNippleShield1.jpg popimg: “Nipple Shield”)*Nipple Shield = Nipple shields are often recommended to help premature babies breastfeed during the final part of the hospital stay and the first weeks at home. A nipple shield is a small, ultra-thin silicone device that fits over the nipple and areola (the darkened part of the breast), and is used during breastfeeding. It is not the same thing as a breast shell , which is worn during pregnancy or between breastfeedings in order to gradually make the nipple longer and easier for babies to grasp. Nipple shields have been tested with premature babies, and the results show that the babies take more milk with the shields than without them during the early weeks of breastfeeding.