True story: This morning, I was at a momâ€™s group, sitting in a circle with four other women and their babies, when I reached down into my diaper bag to pull out a blanket. I stood up, shook it out, and out fell a bright blue thong.
Of course, I was mid-sentence so everyone was already looking at me. Ugh. Hello, my name is Caitlin, and Iâ€™m a sleep-deprived new momma. At least I do my laundry, right? I just apparently just canâ€™t sort itâ€¦
Henry had me up bright and early â€“ 5:15. We had breakfast on the deck (I had leftovers from dinner and a peach) and then kicked off our big day out.
We had a doctorâ€™s appointment at 8, which went well, and then we chilled at Earth Fare for an hour or so to kill some time before the momâ€™s group. Earth Fare is one of those places that I canâ€™t visit without spending at least $30 â€“ kind of like Target. Ah well.
Had lunch from the deli counter (veggies, potato salad, and edamame).
And then it was time for the momâ€™s group. The group was actually for breastfeeding mommas, and it was held at the hospital that Henry was delivered at. I was pretty excited for the meeting because I always feel like I have a million questions relating to breastfeeding.
Lots of people have asked for details on how breastfeeding is going, and everyone is SO different that I was hesitant to share my story, but I think Iâ€™ll go for itâ€¦ One of the things that Iâ€™ve realized about nursing is that is really can be difficult and trying (both physically and emotionally), as well as totally amazing, and it helps to hear other peopleâ€™s stories.
Crazy nursing eyes â€“ He never blinks
After 5 weeks of nursing, my
breast best piece of breastfeeding advice is reach out to local resources like a breastfeeding group or the La Leche League. The morning after Henry was born, I called a lactation consultant and scheduled an appointment for three days later. I scheduled the appointment for three days later because 1) in the hospital, they had lactation consultants on staff to help me, and I would be discharged from the hospital soon; and 2) I was pretty sure my milk would be in by then. I didnâ€™t know this before pregnancy, but your milk doesnâ€™t instantaneously appear after delivery (you do produce colostrum). I wasnâ€™t having any problems with nursing in the hospital when I made the appointment â€“ I made an appointment because every single woman that I had spoken to told me they had some problem with nursing. I considered the appointment my preemptive strike against nursing problems.
Turns out, by the time my consultant showed up on my doorstep, I was having issues! I was using a silicone nipple shield (which compensates for things like oversupply or inverted/flat nipples and helps with latching), grappling with what would become oversupply, and Henry was feeding for very short periods of time around the clock. I was very concerned about his short feeds; however, I realized within a week or so that it was just the way Henry wanted to feed â€“ he was healthy and gaining weight. Thankfully, his feeds have gotten longer and slightly more spaced out. Instead of eating every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours for 8 minutes at a time, heâ€™s now 2 hours apart and 15 minutes at a time (on average â€“ we still cluster feed back-to-back in the evening, and he goes longer in between feeds during the night). The consultant was so helpful on all fronts. Iâ€™m still using the shield because it really helps â€˜protectâ€™ Henry from my oversupply. Otherwise, he ends up choking on the milk (to put this in perspective for other nursing mommas, I can eaaasily pump out three ounces per side in five minutes or less after a feeding). So, although my issues havenâ€™t been entirely resolved, they are improvingâ€¦ slowly but surely.
One problem that I encountered last week was that Henry started to react negatively to what I was eating. This entire time, people have been asking me if heâ€™s bothered by my coffee, beans, broccoli, spicy foods, whatever â€“ and I could honestly say that nothing I consumed irritated him. It didnâ€™t seem to matter what I ate or drank, he was still happy and healthy and appropriately sleepy or alert. Then, about ten days ago, I could tell something was up â€“ his poop was suddenly not normal (greenish and spotted with blood). Of course, I was very concerned and called my pediatrician and the lactation consultant. They both agreed that the symptoms, while scary, werenâ€™t necessarily an emergency, and that the most likely culprit â€“ and the easiest thing to rule in or out â€“ was a food allergy. The most common one for little babies? Dairy. So I cut out all dairy and within four days, his symptoms went away totally. Whew! Then, I accidentally ate some butter, and his symptoms re-appeared in the next diaper, which confirmed his little tummy did NOT like my dairy consumption. This means that Iâ€™m currently not eating any dairy, which is very difficult for a gluten-free vegetarian but worth it. Iâ€™ve read most babies outgrow this allergy from three to six months, so weâ€™ll see what happens.
The even newer issue that Iâ€™m having is balancing nursing with exercise. Lots of my friends have told me they opt to pump immediately before exercise, as this removes a lot of the milk and makes exercise more physically comfortable. However, pumping when you have oversupply can be a double-edged sword because demand creates supply, and pumping can trick your body into thinking you need even more milk. I end up having to be very, very methodical about when I fed Henry, when I pump, and when I exercise â€“ itâ€™s a tremendous balancing act! Iâ€™d love to hear some advice about this topic from readers, actually, because Iâ€™m still trying to figure out how to wing it!
So, thatâ€™s my nursing story to date. Like I said, it has been challenging, but my experience has been overwhelmingly positive; I think nursing is really fun, and I enjoy it a lot. More than anything, I would just really recommend that mommas-to-be who are interested in nursing reaching out and get professional assistance (check with La Leche League) before a problem comes up. And go to things like breastfeeding meet-ups! It helps normalize breastfeeding and itâ€™s an awesome way to get advice.
What was your nursing experience like? Any highs or lows to share? How did you deal with exercising while nursing? Iâ€™d really love some feedback on that topic in particular!