3.24.2012

Let's all suppaht the mathah, okay?

Big changes here in the life of Ye Olde Online Nannye! But really, really good ones. Really good ones.

Nannying with Clara is going great. I'm beyond excited by how much more communicative she's gotten in the past two months! She went through a time period where her sign language exploded, and now her verbal words are too — it's so cool! (Plus, dude, I'm picking up German vocabulary like it's no big deal. Like, I know that "erbsen" means "pea." NBD, y'all.) My favorite thing is that she totally supports my caffeine addiction. Helping me make coffee is her favorite part of the day. When I walk in each morning, she drags me to the kitchen, stands below the coffee pot, and says "UP!" Then she proceeds to pull the grounds and filter out of the cabinet, and instruct me to fill the carafe with water ("AH! AH!"). Then we watch the coffee drip through together. Pure heaven.

Today Cait and I went to a looooong breastfeeding workshop as a part of our doula certifications. Our instructor was this great RN who had the absolute most stereotypical Boston accent ever. Like, the Pahk Yah Cah In Hahvahd Yahd kind of accent. It took every ounce of control I had not to giggle every time she mentioned "suppahting the mathah."

We had to read Dr. Jack Newman's "The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers" for the class. For the record, it's only slightly awkward to be reading it (and looking at pictures of BOOBS) on a crowded subway. I had really mixed feelings about the book over all. I mean, it had great advice in it in terms of helping babies latch, medication information, the importance of skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible, etc. But...he came off (in my opinion) a bit too fanatically.

I'm totally pro-breastfeeding, and I hope to nurse my kids until they want to stop, no matter how old they are. But I felt like Dr. Newman was merciless in making mothers feel awful if, for some reason, breastfeeding didn't work out for them (for WHATEVER the reason). I got really frustrated reading the book, and I know Cait did too. I really appreciated the workshop we went to today with an RN, because she's an internationally certified lactation consultant as well, and extremely pro-breastfeeding, but much more realistic about what kind of issues come up and how difficult it could/would be to overcome them.

One thing that made me really worried, though, was that we talked about breast surgeries potentially impairing breastfeeding, and our teacher mentioned biopsies. I had a biopsy done on my left breast a few years ago. Now I'm paranoid that the surgeon potentially cut milk ducts, which can cause a myriad of problems/infections. Hypochondriac? Me? NO!

Anyway. Bottom line, I'm even more excited by the idea of breastfeeding and helping mothers and babies have great breastfeeding relationships. I know that won't always work out, but I want to do everything I can to help people.

Can I be annoying and ask questions? Have any of you breastfed? How was your experience? Did it work out for you, or if it didn't, why not? (NO JUDGMENT ZONE HERE, fyi.)

11 comments:

Duchess said...

I breastfed both of my kiddos...though my son only actually nursed for about 6 weeks...then I pumped exclusively for him until he was 12 months old...its kind of a long story and one better done via email or something, lol...

My daughter on the other hand nursed exclusively, until she was nearly 2. Never agreed to take a bottle...I'm more than happy to talk to you all about my experiences...I LOOOOVED nursing...its the one thing about having a bay that I truly miss.

Leanne said...

I had my son 2.5 months ago with a CNM group at a large Texas hospital that is very pro breast feeding. I was thrilled to have time with our midwife in centering pregnancy classes prior to his birth to prepare me for the difficulties of breaatfeeding. I am also very excited our hospital promoted delayed cord cutting and immediate skin to skin contact. He has had nothing but breast milk (I went back to work 2 weeks ago and pump) and hopefully won't for as long as possible. It is harder than I ever thought but now that I am 2.5 months in I find it nothing but enjoyable. I am so thrilled to have been supported from before day 1. Our midwives and Bradley classes also prepared my spouse to support my choice to breast feed. He picked up lanisol, told me what a great job I was doing, and literally held me together those first few weeks. I love this post and would love to hear more about your training to become a doula!

Leanne said...

I had my son 2.5 months ago with a CNM group at a large Texas hospital that is very pro breast feeding. I was thrilled to have time with our midwife in centering pregnancy classes prior to his birth to prepare me for the difficulties of breaatfeeding. I am also very excited our hospital promoted delayed cord cutting and immediate skin to skin contact. He has had nothing but breast milk (I went back to work 2 weeks ago and pump) and hopefully won't for as long as possible. It is harder than I ever thought but now that I am 2.5 months in I find it nothing but enjoyable. I am so thrilled to have been supported from before day 1. Our midwives and Bradley classes also prepared my spouse to support my choice to breast feed. He picked up lanisol, told me what a great job I was doing, and literally held me together those first few weeks. I love this post and would love to hear more about your training to become a doula!

Debbie said...

I breastfed all 4 kids for at least a year or more. I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have. I have that whole twin breastfeeding thing down as well. ;) You have my email, soot me a note if you want to talk. Miss you!!

Angelle said...

I breastfed my 3 kids for their first 6 months. I am pro-breastfeeding but not a huge fan in practice. I always looked at it as my job and that's it. I didn't really enjoy it. My kids all took bottles fine and when they did have a bottle on occasion, it was formula. I did not pump at all. At about 6 months each time, I just had an overwhelming desire to be done. I was tired of feeling tied down and tired of not knowing exactly how much they were eating (type A personality). That last fact just about drove me nuts every time and is probably the primary reason I really loathe the possibility of breastfeeding again (if we decide to have another). I will do it because that's my "job" and I can, but I feel so much stress because of it.

Just another perspective for you, the future lactation consultant. :)

The Hoodies said...

We have three kids, and I nursed/am nursing the third still. I nursed our first for 22 months--I would have nursed longer, but I was on medication in order to keep our second born in my tummy and avoid m/c so I had to stop. I nursed our second for almost 3 years. The youngest is 18m and I am still nursing her with plans to continue as long as it works for both of us.

The first time with nursing was a definite learning curve, but we had a great nursing relationship. I honestly wouldn't have made it in the early weeks had it not been for my husband. He got up with me around the clock (as he has with the other babies!) and encouraged me to stick with it. I never felt pressured, but he was the cheerleader I needed.

Nursing is a learning curve with each new baby in my opinion. It takes time to adjust to your new little one and them to you. Even though I had nursed two babies before our third was a new challenge and it was rough the first several weeks. She would nurse for a few minutes then scream for 10+ (thanks over active letdown!) so it took feeding her every hour on the hour to have us both adjust and get to know what worked and didn't.

I have had mastitis, plugged ducts, and cracked nipples, but we have made it through it all. I am a big fan of nursing on demand and not scheduled feedings (unless the situation calls for it--third baby!). We co-sleep and night nurse still at 18m.

I know that nursing is so individual and personal, and we do what works for us.

I learned that you just have to let go and you can (and should) nurse whenever and wherever. I wish nursing was considered more acceptable by our society, but we can change that one boob at a time ;)

Thanks for posting about this! I love talking all things babies!

Nico said...

I also breastfed both my boys and plan to with Truffle as well. I was pretty lucky in that I had a generous supply of milk (too much the first time around!) so after getting through the first two weeks (which are painful no matter how much milk you have / how good your baby is at drinking) it was pretty straightforward. I added in some formula at 8-9mo b/c of a supply drop, and weaned at a year - we were both ready by that point. (i started feeling really claustrophobic while nursing towards the end, no idea what was going on there!)

i have a friend who ended up nursing her daughter until 27 months. They had a *really* rough start, she basically gained no weight for the first three months, but A stuck with BFing and eventually the got it figured out. This was through a combo of a supplemental nursing system, and about 100oz of frozen milk that I gave her because T wouldn't drink it after it was thawed.

Happy to answer any other questions you have!

And I love that you're in training to be a doula. You're going to be so awesome at it!!

Sue said...

I breastfed all three of my girls and am a huge bf advocate. I do understand when things don't work out, but have a hard time understanding why people often choose not to. It was an absolutely amazing experience and I am so happy that I did it and was able gto do it for so long. My oldest self weaned around 18 months, my middle one bf until 20 months same as the third.

Knowing that I will not have any more babies makes me a little sad, especially when I know I will never nurse another baby. I hated pumping for them, but there is nothing as amazing as nursing. it really creates a special bond between mom and baby that cannot be replicated by a bottle.

One crazed mommy said...

I breastfed both my babies, but also supplemented with formula, because I couldn't pump...I tried, different types, but no matter what I did, nothing would come out. So, I breastfed as long as I could, but upon returning to work fulltime after maternity leave, I started to dry up some...I lasted around 5 months with each of them. I would have loved to continue longer, but it just didn't work out for me. I was a formula fed baby myself, and I know formula has come a long way since then. My babies got the benefit of the breast milk, but supplementing them with formula made it easier to transition when my body just wouldn't allow it anymore. So...I feel badly for the mother's who don't have ability to enjoy the bonding that goes along with breastfeeding - at the same time I am also one of those moms who is not judgmental when it comes to how you feed your baby - breastfeeding is not for everyone. So...I had a great experience, I LOVED the feeling of nurturing my babies, and I wish I could have pumped. Anywho - I'm long winded so I'm going to hush now. :) Oh one more thing - downside...I did get mastitis, and that just plain sucked...it hurts, I cried, but I found a wet, warm washcloth was the most comforting thing to help the milk let down right before the baby attached...it hurt, bad, but was worth the pain.

Peggy said...

I don't know that I've ever commented on your blog, but I was going to on this post, even before you asked the question!

I am a mom of 3 girls. I assumed that I would breastfeed -- I was educated about the benefits. I knew that it would make my baby smarter and healthier, etc. I had my first daughter, started breastfeeding in the hospital and went home and waited for my milk to come in. And waited. I talked to a woman working at a local breastfeeding group while purchasing a nursing bra when my daughter was 4 days old. (OMG. I just realized that it was 10 years ago TODAY! I know because today is my hubby's bday.) That person told me it can take up to 10 days and to give it time. That night (hubby's birthday -- fun) we ended up in the ER with a baby who would not stop crying. Turns out she was starving because my milk never came in.

The next day, our pediatrician sent us to a wonderful lactation consultant. She helped me pump and calmly told me that I could keep trying, but I was just not going to produce milk. She could not tell me why -- no accidents or surgeries in my history -- that sometimes it just doesn't happen. Now, 10 years later, I still tear up thinking about sitting in her office, sobbing and feeling like an utter failure. I had a 5 day old baby and I had already failed her. I put my career on the back burner so I could give her the best care, but I could not give her what I had been told was the best food for her. I was heartbroken and confused and guilty and VERY hormonal. My poor husband didn't know what to do with me. Home we went, with a stop along the way to buy formula.

The local group that had told me to give it 10 days called to check on me and was very aggressive about that not being a final answer, I should keep trying, breastfeeding was best for my baby, etc. They were not sympathetic or understanding at all. They just could not accept what I had to accept -- I could not breastfeed my daughter.

When my next two daughters were born, the same thing happened with my milk, but I was a lot better at accepting it then. Still had feelings of guilt and failure, but was better prepared.

And you know what? My girls are and always have been very healthy. I can count on one hand the number of ear infections the three of them combined have ever had. They are bright and do well in school and have not suffered for having been formula babies. My mom and my husband preferred it because they could better bond with them over feeding them bottles.

So, here is my plea to you and Cait: Yes, breatfeeding is a good thing and yes it should be the first choice and you should promote it and educate women about it. But it is not the only choice and not even a choice for some of us. We need to have qualified professionals telling us that it's OK, and our babies will be fine. I experienced that with the lacation consultant I saw. I experienced the opposite with the local group (who, by the way, saw me in the hospital after both other girls were born and still pushed the issue, despite me telling them the backstory). I still shudder to think what would have happened if I had given my daughter 10 days like they had told me to do. So, I guess I'm just saying you need to be an advocate for healthy moms and babies first, breastfeeding second.

Sorry for the long post -- even 10 years later, it's obviously a sore point for me!

Bethany said...

I breastfed my son for 11 months. I went back to work when he was 6 weeks and pumped three times a day. During the morning, evening and weekends I would nurse him, but while at work I had to keep pumping. I HATED pumping but I kept up with it because it was important to me since I COULD.

I did have a lot of trouble in the beginning but refused to give up and thankfully everything worked out - after mutliple lactation visits, lots and lots of pain, and a nipple shield for the first few weeks...he finally got the hang of it.