Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Breastfeeding-Bourbon Edition

I would post a picture of myself nursing but thought you would prefer this

I realize this post is not about the latest from Boden or a review of Lonny, but I feel it is such an important topic and I really want to tell my story.

Before I had Ford I read lots of blog posts on the subject of breastfeeding; some horror stories, some extremely militant, and some that painted a magical booby world. I feared for the worst but didn't make the smart decision to take the class.

Before I headed to the hospital I made sure I had an artillery of products to make me prepared for this task: bras, lotions, tank tops, easy to wear shirts, brestfriend, pump, pump parts, dark beer...etc. And as soon as the first nurse asked, are you planning to breastfeed? I emphatically said YES!

I will save my birth story for another day but my water broke at 2:45am and Ford was delivered at 2:36pm. Epidural-yes, Pitocin-yes, Bourbon afterwards?-yes. All joking aside I had a wonderful birth process and really thank the nurses at CMC Main for the amazing job they did.

After consuming the entire room service menu they brought Ford to me around 3:30pm to try to nurse. This was highly unsuccessful.**Too much information alert. I don't have good ole eraser nipples. There I said it. So he didn't have a good surface to latch on to. This was slightly frustrating. A very nice stranger is forcing your crying new baby onto your huge swollen tatas and he can't latch, your husband is watching slightly confused..and you are exhausted. This goes on for awhile before my lactation consultant tried a Nipple Shield. And BAM, it worked. Now he was only getting colostrum so poor guy was sucking hard forever for a drop, but I guess that is what is supposed to happen. What nobody told me is once they nurse you get HORRIBLE cramps. Just like menstrual cramps but much worse. Thanks for the heads up! Luckily my nurse walked in with an Ibu800 and I was fine for a bit.
My 2nd night in the hospital was absolutely dreadful. I should have taken a class b/c nobody told me how long to nurse. And being worken up every 2 hours (a first for a new mom) was jolting and awful. So I let him nurse for 40 minutes on each side..insanely painful. Finally my Dr. came to see me on my checkout day and said, heck no, give him a pacifier..and all was good.
They load you up with lots of Formula samples at the hospital and again at the pediatrician so we put them away in the pantry because I was superbreastfeeding mom. But his first night home was a disaster. I was still only producing colustrum and he was HUNGRY. Queue up Enfamil 2 oz lifesavers. I had to do it. He was starving and I had nothing and had already fed him the syringe full of colostrum i had pumped at the hospital. I have to admit there was a fleeting moment where I was like..okay, milk don't come in. Let's just do this formula thing, anyone can feed you and I won't have to suffer. We went to the Pediatrician the next day (He was 5 lbs 7 oz when we brought him home so they had to monitor his weight) and they sent me over to the Lactation GODDESS. (If you live in CLT and want to know her info, email me!) She watched me breastfeed and pump and then gave me a million tips on both.
Once we got home I was sitting on the couch pumping out my 1 mm of colustrum an amazing thing happened..my milk came in. I looked down at the snapable and it was FULL of light yellow/white liquid gold. I cried I was so relieved! And then my boobs expanded into another zip code...
Ford was a one side eater, he wanted nothing to do with the other side so I would nurse on the left and pump out the right, etc. My advice to all new moms is pump early and often. I know it will make you produce a little too much but I wish I had double the freezer stash I ended up with.
In a little shamless self promotion, I tracked all of this through a handy Iphone app my husband wrote. You can find it here. **Disclaimer, it is not fancy and has some bugs..but works for what I need it to do.

Milk Coma nap on the Brestfriend

And that is how my breastfeeding story began. Fast forward to when I had to go to work. I would pack up pump, pump parts, bags..etc. and walk through Uptown Charlotte. You have to go to the "Mother's Room" on the 13th floor of my building with all this gear and get leary side eye from all the men in the building. I did this three times a day..it was miserable. And I was not pumping nearly enough compared to what he could put down in a day. I love how Tina Fey calls this thing a "Williams Sonoma Tit Juicer" b/c that is exactly what it feels like. And I hated it. I felt I was always pumping. At the beach I had to go disappear to pump, when we had company over I had to go pump..I was pumping all the time.

My setup. Yes, I borrowed an old pump. Get over it. They cost more than Tory Burch flats.

Seriously? 3.5 oz?

My supply had already dwindled due to Mastitis (awful) and now it was dropping due to stress/using the pump so much. At 5 months he would nurse in the morning and I would pump the rest of the day (6 times) and only produce 2 bottles. I had made a promise to last 6 months breastfeeding and well...here we are.

I think my wake up call about how stressed having enough milk makes me came when someone at work punctured my cooler and my milk bag burst. I cried and lost my sh*t. And I had to step back and say....a happy mom is worth more than a milk crazed psycho mom. I now only pump enough for 1 bottle and that has caused me to use up my freezer supply. I have filled my birth control and am staring at the package not wanting to admit what is next. I'm not sure it is me having a hard time giving up breastfeeding, or is it me not wanting my baby boy to be in the next stage of his life. He used to just gaze up at me and nurse so calmly but now he is alert and curious and wants to look around the room. He is sitting up and cutting a tooth and I know it is time to hang the boobs up to dry. **I know you pro-nursers out there will tell me to continue but to pump all day and make one bottle is hardly worth it. And yes, I took Fenugreek, it was great...I smelled like pancakes. Its just that breast milk is so easy to deal with. I can sit out for hours and you can pre-make bottles and freeze it and it smells better and I could go on and on and on. And not to mention the health benefits for baby.

How do I get past this guilt that I am stopping something so healthy and free and loving? I'm having a hard time. But I have promised my pump to a friend and I believe that is a blessing in disguise. **Yes, sharing pumps is a no-no...but you buy new parts so please don't lecture me. If they really wanted all women to breastfeed they would make pumps cheaper!

That is all...sorry for my lengthy personal ramblings but I have loved breasfteeding (although it is a pain in the ass) and I just need some kinds words to make saying goodbye easier. (just took the birth control).



  1. I am so proud of you for doing it for 6 months!!! That is a long time! Every stage is so much fun- the best is yet to come, I promise. Having him run to you with his arms open saying "Mama mama" will make you forget about b'feeding altogether.

  2. Hi Katherine - blogstalker here.

    It is a HUGE accomplishment to have been able to breastfeed for six whole months, I have friends who gave up after three weeks!

    I can't say that you won't feel that same pain again as you watch him move through different stages of his life...I am just going to put it out there that the first day of kindergarten absolutely blew...but Sarah is right, the best is yet to come.

    You are not alone and he is a beautiful boy!!!

  3. Thank you both so much! I specifically blogged about this to "fish for compliments" so I could get over this guilt. THANK YOU!!

  4. Girl you rock for making it as long as you did! I made it 3.5 months and same deal I was only pumping maybe 8 oz all day so I had to supplement with formula. It was so frustrating nursing and not knowing if he was still hungry and that god awful noise the pump makes still gives me nightmares. Anyways I felt guilty too for about a week, but then I realized how fabulous my life was not having to nurse or pump. I felt like myself again and now I look back and feel no guilt or dissappointment that I couldn't nurse longer. The guilt will pass quickly and think how glad you will be to say adios to that pump!

  5. You will be fine! And he will still look at you with those big grateful eyes even when you are giving him formula. Im on my second little boy and feel SO much less guilty of splitting his feedings between breastmilk and formula. I just dont have the patience or desire to pump anymore. My ped even told me not to worry about.. the formulas have controlled vitamins in them that are beneficial for baby too (and breastmilk varies since its dependant on what you eat!). So dont you worry, He is still going to be a happy and healthy baby!

  6. Awesome job Katherine!! I too had a hard time and wish I would have been a better pumper. My milk took 5 days to come in, so I know your pain. Once I started back to work, my boobs could just not keep up. I had to add extra pumping sessions to make up the difference and had no where near enough freezer stash. Luckily, my little girl was not a big eater, or I would not have made it as long as I did. She also went on a nursing strike at 6 months, and from there, it was pretty much over for me. I continued pumping as much as I could and started supplementing. I told myself when I was only getting enough milk for one bottle a day, I was going to be done. That happened at about 8.5 months. I do miss it some, but I do not miss the dreaded pump. I am a much better mom now with that stress off of me too. Congrats and enjoy what is to come!

  7. First of al...I LOVE you Kat!
    Secondly, to make it to 6 months regardless of how much BM he is getting is quite an accomplishment NOT to mention the fact that you are NOT a SAHM! I commend you!
    Lastly, go have a glass of bourbon, take your pill, and make Ford a big 'ole bottle...while you're at it throw some rice cereal in there! He's a growing boy and you are a fantastic mommy!

    PS-I borrowed a pump too (the exact one pictured) and its all a ploy to get more women to buy the pump. They use the same machines at the hospital or the ones you rent. Tubing is what matters so tell those naysayers to hush!

  8. love ya kat!! teeth hurt, so don't feel bad moving on!!

  9. Katharine, read your post about breastfeeding and totally could relate. Your story is almost indentical to mine. Congrats on making it 6 months, breastfeeding is hard, demanding and you have to give up a lot to do it. I cried when I had to stop with both of my girls, partly because my body just wasn't producing enough for me to feed them and that made me sad and the other part just because that part of being a mom was over. You did a great thing for your baby for the 6 months you did it.

    You'll find you'll enjoy the next stage too and will also enjoy the freedom that comes with it!