Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Boob Chat.

I am so excited!
Today I am guest posting over at Julie's blog, the girl in the red shoes!
Julie's darling son Hudson is two months older than Kenley and it has been so wonderful for me to follow along with Julie during her pregnancy and now during her new mama adventures.

Recently, Julie did a series on her experience with breastfeeding.

Part 1: Getting Started
Part 2: First Days
Part 3: Getting Established
Part 4: Pumping and Working
Part 5: Moving Forward

These posts are so personal and informative and relatable, which is why I'm thrilled to tears to be able to share part of my story on her blog today! If you are breastfeeding or someday plan to, you NEED to check out her posts!

Now head on over there to read my post! Then come back here to read my breastfeeding tips!


If you did as you were told and read my post on Julie's blog, then you know that breastfeeding was a little hard for me to start. I stuck with it and made it work and using the following tips, tricks and methods I now consider myself a successful breastfeeder. 

*Engorgement is no joke. It's a little shocking when it first happens and you suddenly look like a porn star. A porn star that wears a bath robe with sweatpants and has mascara all over her face from crying over nothing.

*Engorgement doesn't have to hurt as bad as they say. If you don't get those boobies completely drained you continue to get engorged and getting engorged on top of being engorged on top of being engorged for days will hurt so bad that you will be certain there's a tumor in your boob. Is this a little irrational? Yes. But when your boobs hurt that bad and you haven't slept for weeks, all rationality is out the window. TIP: When you are super engorged (or have a plugged duct) it works wonders to massage the breast where it hurts while feeding.

*Keep water on hand! I'd heard a million times..."drink lots of water if you're breastfeeding." What people don't tell you is that you have no choice.  I would literally get so thirsty while nursing that I'd have to yell for Jason to fill up my water because if I didn't drink something that instant I was surely going to shrivel up and die. Note--it's been almost 5 months and this still happens.

*Use what you've got! If your baby is part piranha (like mine) your nipples will crack and they will bleed. If your nipples crack and bleed breastfeeding will hurt really bad. I tried two different nipple creams (Meleda & Lanolin) but found that using expressed breast milk made them heal quicker and feel better faster.

*Get help! I met with a lactation consultant in the hospital, who told me I was doing everything right and that Kenley's latch was perfect. 4 weeks later when I was at my wits end and ready to throw in the towel, I went and saw the lactation consultant at our pediatrician who also told me I was doing everything right and that Kenley's latch was perfect. Well then why the hell does it still hurt so bad? The LC told me that my nipples were still healing from being so cracked, she told me it would get better, that I was taking amazing care of my baby, my baby was gaining weight just as she should be and was doing wonderfully. It was exactly what I needed to hear. 

*Nipple confusion is a crock of shit (at least for us it was). Kenley HAD to have a bottle at 8 days old because I had to have an MRI with contrast dye and therefore could not breastfeed for 24 hours. She took to the bottle no problem. She went back to the boob no problem. She's also had a pacifier from almost the start and, again, has had no confusion. In fact, the pacifier & bottle have been life savers because they give my poor nips a break (again, my baby is a piranha).

*Have formula on hand. GASP! I know, I know...everything you read in support of breastfeeding makes formula out to be the devil. But guess what, tons and tons and tons of babies have survived on solely formula and have turned out JUST FINE. No matter how passionate you are about exclusively breastfeeding your baby there may come a time when you need to supplement... because you get sick and your supply decreases (guilty), because you have a medical situation where you can't nurse (guilty) or because you desperately, desperately, desperately need a break (guilty). It is NOT going to hurt your baby if you supplement fact, I believe it helps make them more adaptable (but I'm not a doctor). If you are going to supplement, just make sure you are still breastfeeding/pumping consistently so that you don't mess with your supply.

One more thing to add, so people don't get their feathers all rustled -- I am pretty passionate about the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby which is why I stuck with it, BUT, I have absolutely no judgement against those who decide not to nurse. This mom business is tough stuff and getting judged and criticized for your decisions is NOT cool -- as long as that baby is getting fed, it doesn't matter if it's from a boob or a bottle!

I'm definitely not an expert, but I went through a lot trying to get established as a successful breastfeeder, so if you ever have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! 


P!nky said...

piranha-esque baby?!?!?! Reason number 23048203483 why i'm scared to be a mom!

Sorry it was so stressful for you, but so glad kenley is still chugging [hahah get it] along!


Kate said...

What's "expressed breast milk"... you referenced it when talking about nipple creme's... I'm planning on breastfeeding (planning is the key word) and need all of the tips I can get. Thanks love!

Bridget said...

Please keep an eye out for my emails in early June ;) Great tips and I am glad it all worked out for you...even with the speed bumps in there!

Kari said...

Perhaps it's because I'm preggers and hormonal but I just about cried reading your posts today! I LOVE your honesty. Expect a few calls in October... I'm so thankful everything worked out for you and Kenley. You are an amazing mom!! Kenley is one lucky lady!

Whitney Tomlin said...

Found you from Julie's page! Thanks for sharing :) I love reading other peoples stories/opinions. Our baby girl will be here in 13 weeks!

Allison Boutwell said...

I love your post. Breastfeeding is SO hard. I do the same thing with water, but have gotten better to drink before, during and after so I don't feel so dehydrated.

Valerie Griffin said...

loved this. i've been stressing about giving M a pacifier on occasion. you have made me feel better :) thanks for sharing!

Suzy JoyIsAtHome said...

I just found your blog today & I love this post! I agree with it all! Also I gave my now 9 month old a bottle & paci because I wanted to be able to pump & bottle feed and around 5 months old he completely REFUSED bottle & paci. Umm nipple confusion? I think not. What I wouldn't give to be able to feed him a bottle or use a paci at times!

PS I'm from MN too!

Celeste said...

Love you and your honesty in this post. My little man will be here in the next 2-3 weeks (hopefully sooner) and I am planning on exclusively breastfeeding...and I'm so nervous that I have no idea what I'm doing! So glad you did this post, and so glad it led me to Julie's blog. So much great advice from you ladies!

Kristen said...

thanks for sharing so much! i loved your guest post too. i'm hoping to breast feed for a year if possible and i had heard how hard it could be, but never knew the extent or what worked/didn't work for women.

Angela said...

I love all your tips here! The water thing, like you said, is no joke! I nursed my first, Ainsley, for the first 3 months with no real trouble. However, with Harper, I had a much more difficult time! She wasn't a piranha, more of a sucker fish, where she basically inhaled without really opening her mouth creating not the best latch and VERY sore nips! I also thought it was hilarious that you referred to your engorged boobs as porn star boobs b/c that is how I always described them when that happened!