How I Became a Proud Nursin’ Mama

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This post has been in the back of my mind for the past few weeks, and I am finally getting up the nerves to post it. It seems really silly, but I wondered if I should share that I am nursing our son. Sometimes when I am on Twitter, I wonder if I should tweet about nursing struggles or accomplishments (do I really want the local radio DJs to hear about that?). But you know what? I quickly got over it. Nursing is a natural, beautiful thing. It is saving us money, and Evan is very healthy because of it. I have now joined the ranks of proud breastfeeding mamas! I am proud that Evan has been solely fed with my milk. I am proud that it is going to continue when I go back to work in a week. And I am proud that I am able to share my ups and downs with other moms who are going through the same things we did.

We overcame a lot in the past ~ 8 weeks, giving me even more reason to want to share. Unfortunately, Ari wasn’t nursed. Ok, I tried for 4 weeks, but the hospital had given her supplements and she is lactose intolerant. It was a rough 4 weeks for me…and I didn’t have the support I needed. She would projectile vomit and diarehha. It was awful, and I felt like a failure. Looking back, I am glad I tried, even though it was not the easiest thing for us. Now with Evan, I feel empowered and proud because this is what works for us, this time around. It’s not been an easy road; however.

First, he has an incredible sucking complex–when he was about a week old, all he wanted to do was suck on EVERYTHING. This was making his feedings last over an hour, and 50 minutes later, he’d be ready to go again. Feeling dehydrated, cracked, and bleeding, I hit bottom. I had a breakdown in the middle of the night (early Christmas Eve morning, in fact) and luckily a fellow new Mama was up feeding her twins and a good friend was there to listen to my struggles (Greg was sleeping away…and seriously, I don’t expect a man to understand how much cracked nipples really hurt). Later in the morning, I texted my cousin to let her know I wanted to give up. She promptly told me not to give up and delivered “The Baby Bible” (a great read for new moms–but it is a little bit scattered), muffins, and Lanolin. I bucked up, and decided to keep going for Evan’s sake. This meant I started to feed him on one side, every three hours for 15 minutes. After he was done, I would pump the other (oh, and my Playtex pump had seen better days–one piece had deteriorated and so I could only pump with one side, also, it was ready to go to the pump cemetary). He would take the bottle from the previous feeding while I pumped. This lasted three days until I was healed and ready to do 15 minutes on each side.

Coincidently, Evan also started to lose weight, although he was focusing steady for the 15 minutes and then getting about 3 ounces in a bottle. His weight had gone from 9 lbs. 1 oz at birth to 8 lbs. 7 oz. at discharge to 8 lbs. 4 oz. at 1 week. That meant he lost 13 ounces when he should’ve been gaining. When I talked to the doctor about my issues, she didn’t seem to think that was the cause of his loss–the mere fact he was getting at the least 3 pumped ounces was huge for a baby his age. For some reason, the kid (like my husband and daughter), has an incredible metabolism. So, it was off to more scheduled (3 hours on the DOT) feedings for 4 days and then a return visit. In those four days, he gained back his weight and was back to 9 lbs. 1 oz. We are still not sure what was going on, but are very glad he’s back on the up.

Since then, I have been proudly feeding him. Thanks to a great nursing cover (you know a Top 10 is coming), I have been able to feed him in the mall, in the car (while stopped–I was waiting for Greg to go in a store), and at family events. Other than shopping, we haven’t really ventured out, but I know that feedings at the zoo, amusement parks, and museums are definitely in my future.

Of course, I have had bad nights (who really thinks waking up at 4 am and feeding a kid for over 30 minutes is a good time?). This time around; however, I have had great support. While my mom, MIL, and cousin have been there for me (they are all experienced), my GREATEST support has come from fellow breastfeeding moms on Twitter. It seems like all I had to do when I was down was throw up a Tweet with the hashtag #bfing and there was someone to talk to me and cheer me on. It has been a great experience, and if you are a breastfeeding mama, you need to make yourself a list of fellow tweeps who are there for you. It is a great resource, and there are occasionally chats where you can meet up with other moms and talk (and win prizes–last week I won a nursing support pillow from My Brest Friend). And you can find other great goodies for nrusing mamas (my Top 10 is coming, I promise again!). Seriously, I love my in person supports, but having someone who is also up at 4 AM cheering you on or sharing your dying pump struggles means alot.

The ups of nursing are quite abundant. It means alot to know that I am the one person that can truly calm my child. Our bond is incredible–his beautiful blue eyes looking into mine just melts my heart. Plus, my lil man is very much on a routine (he gets that from me and Ari), so he makes my life predictable. Saving money is a huge game in our house, so not buying formula adds to our savings. I never have to worry about having a warm bottle when we are out somewhere and he’s losing his mind (although this week we are trying to see what life when I go back to work will be like, so he is taking 2-3 bottles during the day, sad times for mama). Having a baby and a toddler (with allergies), we have so much to carry with us, that not having to tote a cooler and bottles around is awesome, too. And sterilizing? I never knew how much time I was saving until another friend with twins came for a visit and had to spend alot of time in the kitchen getting bottles ready for her boys. Phew, that is not something I miss (but much props to you CH, you’re a super mama too!). And it’s nice to know that I am also able to have extra food prepared for him if he’d go to his grandparents’ for a night (we have about 10 bottles in the freezer, not bad for my pump issues).

Oh, and my pump? Although it didn’t truly meet it’s final death, it was about 2 pumps away from smoking. Since Playtex doesn’t offer a similar pump, I had to give in and get a new one (but you’re going to have to wait for my Top 10 list to see!).

Hopefully in a week I will still be a proud nursin’ mama. I go back to work on Monday and really hope I can maintain my strength, schedule, and pumpin’ power. Wish me luck–and in the meantime, if you need me at 4 AM, I’ll be there! 🙂

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