March 18, 2015

My breastfeeding journey...

So, when I had Felix, I tried breastfeeding. I fed him exclusively breast milk the first three days in the hospital. He wanted to be on me constantly....I remember feeding him for 12 hours straight in the hospital while my milk was coming in (so basically he wasn't feeding, more trying to get my milk to come in at that point). I was exhausted. Once we got home with him, it was the same (even after my milk came in)....constantly on me. I couldn't cope. We started supplementing with formula. With Felix I did a combination of breast milk and formula up until he was 3 months old, then exclusively formula fed him. That is what I needed to do to keep myself sane at the can read this post to get a better idea of what I was going through at that time.

I would like to mention at this point that I am pro feeding....breast, bottle, formula etc....whatever works best for you and yours! Let's just feed these babies!

This time around...I am exclusively breastfeeding (is it still called that when we also give her bottles of breast milk?)! It has been an interesting journey so far. 
I did supplement with formula about 7 different times in the first 3 weeks, but that is it. I had always read about "getting over" that initial hard bump of constant feeding and getting your supply established and not supplementing (because it can mess with your initial supply) etc... They say once you hit day 40, you will have established your supply (that will last throughout the entire breastfeeding journey). This actually happened for me! I stuck it out....I think it helped that Justin works nights, so I HAD to get up and feed Uli no matter what....Justin wasn't there to feed her a bottle of formula (and at that time I hadn't started pumping yet, or had enough to pump yet so no breast milk to bottle feed either). It was easier to have her on me when I knew I had no choice....I did have samples of formula in the house, and that is what I used in those first 3 weeks when I was literally weeping from exhaustion (and my midwife suggested it a couple of times when Uli hadn't pooped in a few days at the very beginning). It was definitely exhausting, and I was so sick of having someone on me constantly, but I am happy I stuck to is very easy now that my supply is established and that she only gets up once or twice a night now.

I think it was easier for me to deal with this time around because well, I wasn't dealing with post partum depression this time and I knew what to expect more (the constant feeding at the very beginning).

I am still not that comfortable breastfeeding out and about...I prefer to be covered and have privacy....just my judgement either way....we should all be able to do what is comfortable for us :)

Some things I found really useful to have around me those first 40 days (and now too) were snacks (easy to eat with one hand works best), lots of water, a phone/computer/book etc....some kind of entertainment for hours....lots of pillows to prop yourself up well and your don't want a sore back...and believe me, you will spend a long time sitting in one spot. A nursing pillow is super helpful!

 Pumping also helps bring up your supply in those early days...and helps you be able to build a supply for your freezer for later use etc... I bought the above....I got it on sale at Target for $ is just a single manual pump....and it works great for me. I had a super expensive double electric pump when I had also worked great. I didn't want to spend that kind of money this time around because I wasn't sure how long I would be breastfeeding for etc... This works well for me, I pump twice a day now purely for storage in the freezer for when I go back to work in September and will have to stop breastfeeding. I pump about 2 hours after Uli has gone to bed for her big sleep at night....she falls asleep around 8pm or 9pm and on a good night wakes around 4:30am. I pump around 10:30pm or 11pm both sides....I usually get about 5oz by pumping each side about 8-10 minutes.... after I feed her from one side at 4:30am for example, I will then pump the opposite side (and sometimes the one she just fed off of as well if she didn't feed a lot) \after I have gotten her back asleep. I pump for about 10 minutes and once again get about 5oz. I could technically pump after each feed the opposite side, but I prefer just to do this. They say early mornings are best for pumping large amounts.
My advice is to drink a ton of water always, this helps. I also made up a batch of lactation can find a ton of recipes online....main ingredient to look for is brewer's yeast....that helps with supply.

These are the freezer bags I use...very handy to have!

Nursing bras are important for your comfort and easy access for your little one! I found MilkFace to be a great shop for nursing bras. I bought both of mine there when I had Felix and I am using them again this time around.

 You will definitely want some cream on hand to help with soreness...especially at the very beginning when you are figuring out latch etc... I had a lot of pain and bleeding until I figured out how to get a better latch from Uli with the help of my midwife...she also prescribed what I believe might have been Dr. Jack Newman's ointment....which worked wonders!!! I used that and the above cream and they helped so much with pain etc.

 Some resources I found helpful: and

The point of all this was to just share my experience....and it is just mine....yours might be similar or completely different....and that is okay! I just wanted to show and honest look into the whole breastfeeding thing :)
Uli is just over 4 months now....I am not sure how long I will go with breastfeeding...maybe until 6 months, maybe right up until August (I go back to work in September)...we shall see!

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