While breastfeeding, when did your cycle return?

Did you milk it for all it was worth? (breastfed or pumped)

Monday, June 30, 2008

It Doesn’t Hurt So Much

I’m posting this information as much for myself as I am for anyone else—so that with future children I can remember that there is relief from teething.

Par has been BF 24/7 for the past week (well, it seems like that anyway) because of his teething. I’m happy to say that after many days of being very sore—I finally have relief. They are bottom teeth, so I can’t even tell while feeding them—but sticking my finger in his mouth, they are sharp!

His constant BF has definitely been for comfort and not because he was hungry—I actually am able to tell the difference—it surprised me that I could. Anyway, I was afraid that a week of constant BF would start some new “habits”—but if it did, today definitely broke them!

We had to take an emergency road trip (check out FoR in the next few days for the full story) and of course, Par had to come along with us! Being strapped in—the mommy buffet wasn’t very accessible and although he cried some—it definitely was because he just didn’t want to be in his carseat anymore or because he was so tired. So hopefully, we are back to normal—still on demand feeding, but with actual “full hours” between feedings!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

You have a baby...in a bar

I know most everyone has seen Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon—a funny part is when she (Reese) shows up at a bar and sees her high school friend and says, “you have a baby…..in a bar.”
I laughed at how ridiculous that is—I’d never do that (would I?).

Yet, just a few weeks ago—Rusty and I strolled down to Crestline Village to grab dinner with friends. We decided on Otey’s—great little eatery with famous grilled chicken sandwiches—but it is…..a bar. Of course we eat outside and I would never take Par there for a late dinner—but Otey’s seems to attract and early crowd of families---all with toddlers and babies in tow. Par decided he wanted to eat too—so I snuck away and “hid” on the other side of Bug’s Boys and fed him while standing up. If you know the area, you know there isn’t really a place to hide next to Bug’s Boys—but there weren’t many people coming and going—and you honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell that I was even BF. It just looked like I was rocking my baby to sleep—thanks to one of my favorite BF tops!

But—at the end of the day—I basically breastfed my baby while eating dinner at Oteys—so did I BF my baby at a bar?

The best part of the story— I was coming back to the table with a very full, calm and happy baby. I loved how nice it was not to have to worry about measuring, scooping, shaking, and cleaning each time Par is hungry. Sometimes I put us (Par and me) in a situation that doesn’t lend itself easily to BF him—but I can say without a doubt—BF is never an inconvenience—it actually makes life TONS easier because of it being SO convenient—perfect temp, perfect amount, perfect taste—everytime!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The First Time

I love staring at my baby. I still don't fully comprehend the miracle of this precious child. His little teeth are slowly but surely creeping in—the bottom two—at the same time! Thursday was another fulltime nursing day—I thank God that I am able to respond to his needs.

I recently had a conversation with a BFF about our birth stories. Ours were very different—she was able to deliver naturally. I delivered via c-section—it wasn't by choice—but in the end, it was the best for Par.

One thing I missed out on during my son's birth was nursing him immediately after (this has more to do with my son than with the c-section). I have heard so many people talk about how incredible it is—and that the bond is amazing—sort of like the perfect ending to the journey of giving birth and the perfect beginning of the mother/baby relationship all rolled into one.

I pray that I will have a chance at some point to share this type of experience with another child. About 2 hours after delivering Par I was hooked-up to my yellow mistress—the Medela Symphony. Then began the "pump, walk milk down to NICU, clean off machine parts, visit Par, pump, walk bottles down to NICU, clean off machine parts, etc" ritual. (They had me up and walking 6 hours after my c-section—but going to see my baby was all the encouragement I needed and I would have gone much sooner had they let me). Much like a mother will start to leak if she hears a baby cry, I would start to leak if I saw a Medela Symphony—and they were all over the hospital!

A lot of people are misinformed about being able to BF their baby immediately after delivery. They also are misinformed about their rights as mothers to decline supplements (formula, sugar water) for their baby. Although your milk doesn't come in for a few days—our bodies are designed to provide enough nourishment for our babies until it does come in. Additionally, most healthy babies are designed to only need the little bit of colostrum from his mother's breast. This decision should be made ahead of time and made very clear with the people who will be caring for you and your baby once you deliver.
Also, there is usually no reason that you must be separated from your baby during a healthy delivery—but you'll need to check your hospital protocol.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

UPS and breastfeeding?

We returned from Gainesville around New Years—and since then, I’ve been camped out on the sofa in the den—most of the time with one of my breasts exposed—and sometimes both. For a while I was sitting there pumping with a baby beside me. Now—most of the time I am actually feeding the little monkey—if I’m not then I have fallen asleep—but I don’t actually “hang out” in the house topless on purpose. Now, I will get up to get something to drink, get the phone or sometimes go to the bathroom—all while BF Par—he’s heavier now, so it is a little difficult. Before I was unable to move around so freely because he was hooked up to oxygen—and so I would just sit there on the sofa for long periods of time.

Well, if you followed my Family of Riches blog you know that I developed an obsession for buying baby clothes on ebay. Because it is ebay—I never really knew when or how my items were being shipped to me. A lot of them were sent USPS and fit snuggly in my mailbox. But some were sent via UPS-and thus were brought to the door. At the same time, people were sending us baby presents—also arriving unannounced and via UPS (such delightful surprises!).
Just a tad more background and then I’ll get to the point…I run a small business out of my house and in the past I had told UPS & Fedex not to leave packages at my door—that someone needs to sign for it—no matter what. I’m sure you see where this is going.

So all these little packages start arriving via UPS and I’m camped out pumping or breastfeeding on the sofa—the only sofa that is in direct view of the front door. For the first month or so the UPS man would ring the bell—we’d make eye contact—he’d smile and wave a package not realizing my predicament. I’d try and motion to just leave it (but there isn’t a motion for “just leave it”) and so I’d get up, get dressed and hobble to the door with baby and oxygen tank in tow. We’d both apologize and he’d leave wondering why I couldn’t leave the baby on the sofa—and I wondered why he couldn’t just leave the package. I got better about getting to the door faster—until one day I answered the door with my bra-covered breast exposed in a nursing top—there is no discreet way to fix that. There have been a variety of other embarrassing moments with this particular UPS man—and I’m not sure when he ever realized what exactly is going on….but earlier this week I was expecting a package—I hadn’t seen our UPS man in a few weeks. I was sitting on the sofa fully clothed watching Par play. I saw someone at the door with there eyes covered with the box and an arm extended to the doorbell. I got up and approached the door. It was a different UPS man—obviously warned about what he might see. He never looked my way—I could have been topless—he never would have known. I thanked him for the delivery and he left—never having glanced my direction.
At first I was confused—and then I realized how sweet that was of our regular UPS guy.
How considerate that someone would take the time to warn them of a potentially awkward situation for all of us. Thanks UPS for going the extra mile!

On a side note, a well-meaning blog-reader commented to me that my new blog is nice and all but I seem to talk about breastfeeding all the time. Good point blog-reader—but this is a blog about breastfeeding.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Whiny Wednesday

Whiny Wednesday

Taking care of our children is hard work—sometimes the world is less than enthusiastic about the decisions we’ve made in raising them. Sometimes our family just isn’t understanding 100% of the time and sometimes our precious little baby is the cause of excruciating pain. Well, it is Wednesday—Whiny Wednesday that is!!! Feel free to share your feelings—get it out so you don’t give up!!!

How terrible is this!?! (thank you Cindy)
Officers tell woman to move to discreet spot while feeding baby at Rutherford County Judicial Building…

Okay…so Par was nursing tons the past few days because of teething…and then yesterday—he not only didn’t want to nurse as much—he just didn’t want to nurse at all! I ended up engorged and with a plugged duct-- it was so painful. My husband was so helpful—and finally—after Rusty had found our heating pad I tried once again to have Par fix my problem—and “pop”—it unplugged and Par was drowning in mommy milk…I was thankful it was over.
So this morning—my breast is SO SO SO sore. I’m surprised it isn’t bruised on the outside—and it still hurts to feed him—but the best thing you can do is keep feeding. Hopefully Par’s eating habits will be back to normal by the end of the day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

You are Extraordinary

Breastfeeding is an extraordinary gift. Don’t sell yourself short. If you are breastfeeding your child you are giving them nourishment that even science can’t duplicate. How amazing is that?

How amazing that the milk of your breast can sustain life (not to mention that you grew that baby inside you to begin with!) Even more amazing to me—the gift of milk to an adoptive mother—how cool is it that God would enable a mother to nourish a child not from her womb—but from her heart.

I wish I could say that each time I feed Par it is an amazing religious experience—but it is not. Sometimes I feel rushed, sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m chatting on the phone about The Bacholerette and how I think DeAnna should choose Jesse, sometimes I’m reading, sometimes the tv is on…but sometimes…sometimes I’m still and I can take in this amazing moment between mother and child—this moment can be so powerful. In this one moment I feel so in love with my child, I feel “right” with the world, I am in awe of my miracle—undeserving of him. And then, if I let myself get totally carried away with the moment and there isn’t a telephone ringing or tv blaring—I find myself imagining a most beautiful image—the Virgin Mary breastfeeding the Christ Child.
I love pondering this—such an amazing sight I can only imagine. Here, God has sent His Son so that we may have life—and the Christ Child’s own life is being sustained by the milk of his mother. Wow.
We know she breastfed Him…how do we know? Well, she was poor—so she obviously couldn’t afford Similac and they didn’t have Sam’s club to save money when you buy formula in bulk—right? We know she did because this was the only option.

So I wonder…

What day did Mary’s milk come in? Did she count the amount of times Jesus wet to know he was getting enough? Did He dive for her breast like my own son does when he is hungry (and this only happens when I’m talking to people in a public setting)? Did he fall asleep while nursing and Mary had to just sit there knowing that a hundred things needed to get done before her husband came home? Was Mary ever engorged? How long did Jesus nurse? And my most curious question…Did Mary cry when Jesus weaned?

I feel it is so important to be able to identify with other mothers—that is why I think supporting each other in breastfeeding is doing much more than we probably realize. Society is more understanding of the breastfeeding mothers than they were even 10 years ago—so there is progress. But please encourage your friends in BF—share your intimate nursing moments with each other to help remind yourself that BF is far more than nourishing your baby with the best stuff out there—but BF your baby nourishes both of your souls. Praise God for His amazing design of mother and child.

Now go give that baby some mommy milk!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hot Mommy {Milk}

Looks like Mommy Knows Breast was created just in time!
Why, you ask?
Because World Breastfeeding Week 2008 is August 1-7—and that is just around the corner!
I’m so excited! I’m thinking I might do a virtual nurse-a-thon and see if we can have someone nursing/pumping every hour from August 1 through August 7th—that would be pretty cool. I’m working on plans right now!

Today my perfect husband was game for one of my fun outing ideas. I really wanted to go swimming somewhere—so we packed up the car and headed to Oak Mountain State Park.
I thought this would be great—I’d get to swim, spend fun times with my family and get to practice BIF (because I knew we wouldn’t know a soul). Well, this happy outing didn’t start out so well. I opened my fat mouth and started telling my husband that he wasn’t going the way I would go (note, I didn’t tell him he was going the wrong way). The happy husband wasn’t so happy—and after 27 miles of driving and just as we were 3 miles from the park--we ran out of gas. I immediately started laughing. Of course, we were in my car, so that would have been my responsibility—but I was so excited about swimming—anyway—we were out of gas. Did I mention that I kept telling my husband how to drive and insisted he go through the road block that said “No Thru Traffic”? So here we are, out of gas on a road with no thru traffic! It was priceless.
Onstar to the rescue! I can’t tell you enough how great Onstar is and how I will never own another car without it. They brought us gas and we were on the road in no time to swim—well, about 45 minutes later…but still, not too bad.
What’s the point? The point is that we were stranded and just like I am so thankful that our car had Onstar, I am so glad that we are still breastfeeding—because almost on cue, Par woke up and was miserable. He was hot and uncomfortable—but BF him calmed him immediately and he was fine. And, I got to BF in front of people! I’m sort of kidding—I was already wearing a strapless bathing suit with a strapless cover-up—so feeding Par was easy—but these two 14 year old-ish boys walked up to my window while I was feeding Par and asked us if we needed help. As soon as Par heard the voice he popped off and up to see who was there. Thankfully it didn’t seem like the boy even noticed (which is shocking to me since he was maybe 2 feet away from me)–or maybe he comes from a BF family and knows it is totally natural and normal and he was just being mature about it. I prefer to think the latter.
So I’ve learned something today: I really need to just let my husband be in charge when he is driving—that way the gas thing could have been all of his fault. And I learned that it doesn’t matter how hot it is outside, mommy milk is always refreshing.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Babe is Teething

So here I am, writing the fourth post in a row…do I really have this much to say about breastfeeding? Wow…I am sure my husband is glad I’ve started this blog so he doesn’t have to listen to me anymore…fyi-I’ll take Sundays off.

My little baby is teething now and the last few days have been—hmmmm—let’s just say I’ve been nursing so much that I have been able to catch up on a lot of Law & Order and Without A Trace episodes. All he wants to do is nurse. Par is already a high needs baby and nurses quite often (because of his CDH he will always breathe rapidly and expends calories much quicker, thus needing to refuel more often)—so picking up a few more nursing sessions basically holds me hostage to the sofa or the bed. I feel so bad for him—he looks at me with these pursed little lips almost to say, “Mama! Make me feel better” and then he’ll take a few sips and then pop up and start smacking his lips like it worked and he is ready to go play—then he’ll realize he still hurts and it starts all over. I noticed his tooth creeping in on Monday—and then I noticed another one yesterday—they seem to be taking their time—hovering at the edge as if they might change their mind retract back into his gum line.

I do wonder what is going to happen once he starts to feel better—do I have a few days of uncomfortable fullness ahead of me before I’m back to normal?

As I mentioned before, after pumping exclusively for so long, I did a dramatic switch to exclusive breastfeeding which Par handled beautifully. It wasn’t until this did I realize that being full when you are pumping and full when you are breastfeeding feel very different—even if you are “emptying” your breast the same amount of times each day. Since breastfeeding, I have only felt I was going to explode a few times—and those times were after marathon breastfeeding stints like the one I’m going through now. But with pumping, almost daily I had this feeling at some point—and thank goodness for breast pads or I would have been in big trouble. I rarely wear them anymore now.

While pumping I was engorged many times. It is so painful—but what I think intensified the pain was my inability to relieve the engorgement quickly. I tried everything—hot compress, cold compress, pumping for hours, showers, crying—you name it I tried it. Usually after attempting all of this I would finally find some relief (hours later)—but with so much stimulation, the next day I would be lopsided and fearful of another engorgement. Thankfully that doesn’t happen as much with breastfeeding.

Pumping is hard. Breastfeeding is hard too—but it has a more immediate reward and so psychologically I feel it is easier if your baby latches on well. Pumping doesn’t have this immediate reward and most often you are separated from your child while you are doing it which only makes it more difficult. I am in awe of those moms (working or not) who pump for their babes. I have a DF who pumped for a year while working full time—I don’t know how she did it (Way to go B!)

As I wrap this up, my little one is latched on soothing his sore gums again and I know I’m in for another day like yesterday (and the day before)—except there aren’t 5 showings of Law & Order on Saturday like during the week….oh, the woes of a WAHM!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Not So Easy

I was walking with a friend who I thought was a DF (dry friend—aka-former breastfeeder) the other day. We hadn’t really talked in about a week and she had since returned to work since giving birth to her precious baby earlier this year. I had assumed that she was a DF because, well—she already supplemented with formula and it just seemed like that was the direction it was headed. At the end of our walk I asked her how breastfeeding was going (because we actually had never talked about her plan for feeding when she returned to work). She replied, “I’ve been afraid to tell you.”

Oh! The pit in my stomach!!!! So let me interrupt myself to say this—I know I am passionate about breastfeeding. And when I am passionate about something, I go overboard and talk about it all the time and start blogs and stuff. For someone who doesn’t get it or doesn’t care—it seems obnoxious. But for me, it just seems normal and natural to be excited about something and want to share it with others. But I’m not the BF police and I would never intentionally make someone feel bad about their choice…

Anyway, she said that she tried pumping at work but the accommodations did not lend themselves easily to a comfortable setting, so she is not going to pump—but she is still going to BF mornings and nights.

(cue angel chorus)

How wonderful!!!! I commend her for doing what she can! Maybe one day each home and office and McDonalds will have a lactation room for pumping and feeding—but until then, I applaud those who make the effort to continue feeding their baby breastmilk in some capacity—even it is just once a day! Her plans exceeded my expectations—and I do hope that she will enjoy her mornings and nights with her baby for many more months. But as she has said, it is all day by day. That being said, I hope she enjoys breastfeeding her baby tomorrow morning and night.

On another note, for all you Queen Pumper Pumps-A-Lots out there—is your freezer overflowing with breastmilk and you are worried it may go to waste? Consider donating it to a milk bank. Or do you have a desire to pump a few extra times a day but you know your baby can’t drink it fast enough? Consider donating it to a milk bank. Or—the final scenario—do you need to pump off the foremilk to give your baby the hindmilk quicker (I had to do this for a little while). Don’t toss that foremilk! Consider donating it to a milk bank!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Breastfeeding in Public

It is almost a cliché that this would be an entry on a breastfeeding blog—some think it is so taboo and there are lots of strong women (and men) out there right now fighting for our rights to breastfeed ANYWHERE and ANYTIME
But that isn’t why I’m writing—I’m writing because law or no law, it takes nerve to whip out the boob to satiate a crying baby and for the newbie, this is a daunting task.
In the beginning of my exclusive breastfeeding—it was still quite the ordeal—my son was on oxygen (via nasal cannulas) and I used a nipple shield to assist with latching on. It was quite a production to say the least, but practice makes perfect—right?
So my BFF (breastfeeding friend, not best friend forever) and I scheduled a breastfeeding in public outing. We went to Homewood Park with the intention to breastfeed in public. We had the upper hand because we weren’t caught off guard with a hungry/needy baby—we were prepared and that helped to simmer the fear of public breastfeeding. It went pretty smooth--almost—my BFF had her baby in a sling and you couldn’t even tell she was doing anything. On the other hand, my baby was a bit older and was not used to being covered up by a blanket—so although he latched on quite well, he spent the entire feeding raising his arm up to knock the blanket off. I wasn’t prepared for this—needless to say, I was over exposed. But it wasn’t mortifying. Instead, I felt sorry for my son—he didn’t want the stupid blanket covering his head, he wanted to watch the trees, birds, airplanes. I learned and we have been able to adjust well together in public so he gets to see lots of things and I can remain discreet.
But sometimes public places offer a nice private alternative—or so I thought! I packed up Par and head to The Fitting Touch a wonderful lingerie store with a knack for getting that bra size just right! Anyway, I was in need of some nursing bras that were more supportive. The lady who helped me was great and gave me some bras to try. So there I was in the dressing room trying on bras one after another. And with each new bra the interim was met with baby grunts from Par. Yep—each time I unveiled the mommy milk makers, Par got excited and started grunting to be fed. At first I didn’t notice, until I heard people laughing—it was obvious to them I was playing mean game of Peek-A-BOOB! I had no choice but to take a break and give the boy what he wanted! It was a little weird, but they were so understanding that I think it may happen more often than I realize.
I’m not a BIP (breastfeeding in public) pro— except in my car—I do feed him A LOT in my car. But I would like to master the art of discreetly feeding my baby while enjoying dinner at a restaurant or even better, sitting through mass without having to get up because of a hungry baby. Any tips?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've Gone to Pump

My son was born in November 2007 with CDH (Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia) and required a lengthy NICU stay and ended up going home on oxygen for a few more months. My first days of motherhood I felt so useless--I was recovering from a c-section, trying to visit my son in critical condition and pumping frequently with not much milk to show for the effort.
As soon as my milk came in--I felt like I was finally doing something. Although I was unable to hold my son for the first 28 days-- I was able to pump milk that I knew he would enjoy at some point. Breastfeeding was something that I had always looked forward to and it was difficult not to experience this gift right away-- but I knew pumping would allow me to feed him once he was healthy enough--and I knew the breastmilk that he would eventually receive through his NG tube was the best thing for him.
During my son's stay in the NICU I kept family & friends (and a following of prayer warriors I have never met) updated through a my son's blog. Each day I would give them the gist of the day--adding in some comic relief when possible--but the gist of the day always included the many times I would have to pump--I mentioned it often. One of my well-meaning blog readers mentioned that I seemed to talk about pumping too much--almost to imply I was mentioning how many times I used the restroom. At first I was embarrassed--and then it occurred to me--this is what it is to be a mother. I was pumping my milk--and if I had been saying "I went to feed my baby" it wouldn't have seemed as crass--but I couldn't say that--my baby was on a ventilator--and the next best thing I could do was to pump. I was a proud pumper. I pumped for just about 3 months until one day I looked at my son and said--we can do this. I have been exclusively breastfeeding him ever since--which is a miracle in itself--CDH babies tend to have major oral adversions on top of reflux issues--I thank God for this gift of motherhood.
So what's up with this blog?
In a word--support. A breastfeeding mother needs support--and a pumping mother needs LOTS of encouragement to persevere--because there is nothing endearing about a breastpump staring at you at 3am.
I am not an expert--I am not a nurse or lactation consultant and I don't claim to have any sort of expertise in lactation or breastfeeding. But I do have a unique experience of pumping exclusively for 2 months for a critically ill child, transitioning to breastfeeding a special needs infant in the NICU and now breastfeeding exclusively for a high needs baby. All this to say--I can relate to a lot of different situations. If you have a question--post it in the comments section below each blog entry--if I don't have an answer, hopefully another blog reader will!