Monday, March 21, 2011

My Breastfeeding Story

The choice to breastfeed for me was pretty much a no-brainer.  It was just something that I always knew that I would do, but it's never something that I gave much thought to.  Before Lorelai was born, I got all of the stuff that I knew I would need: nursing bras, a pump, cream, etc. 

Right before she was born (as in a couple of weeks before), Matt and I talked about it and I told him that I wanted to nurse her very quickly after she was born; before we even let anyone back to see her.  I figured that it would be a great bonding time, that it would be something that would just come natural, and that it would set the right tone for her that this is what we were going to do. 

And that's exactly what we did!  After she got cleaned up, and I got stitched up, I got a nurse in the room to show me what to do.  Little LL was a pro!  She knew exactly what to do!  She latched on without any issues.

We stayed in the hospital for two days.  LL didn't sleep in the room with us, but she was brought to me during the night to feed.  When I say she knew what to do, I'm pretty dead on.  We didn't have many bumps in the road: she knew what to do, I figured out what I was unsure of pretty quickly, I was sore and it wasn't always comfortable, but I never had to deal with any of the "issues" that other women go through.  It was never horrible pain, I had minimal cracking/bleeding, but it was never anything to stress about. 

We came home from the hospital on a Saturday and when I woke up on Sunday morning, BOOM!  Milk was in!  Hello!  And when I got my milk, I got my milk.  And a ton of it.  I don't know if my body thought I had triplets, but I had more than enough for one small baby.  Because I had so much milk and LL was so efficient at getting it out, I didn't ever have to nurse much at a time.  They had told me in the hospital that I would probably nurse for about 20 minutes on each side per feeding.  Um, no.  I usually nursed for an average of 5-8 minutes on one side.  Total.  Never two sides.  I stressed and stressed that this wasn't enough, but LL was never fussy (which might have indicated that she wasn't getting enough), and she was growing and gaining weight at a perfect weight.  By 1 weeks old, she had surpassed her birth weight.  When we say we had no issues, I really mean it.  I would nurse her and then pump and STILL get 10oz.  Mostly just from the breast that she didn't use.  That's crazy!

But this isn't a "it was so easy, anyone can do it, breastfeeding is awesome" kinds of story.  Here was my reality: I was good at it.  She was good at it.  But I hated it.  I never enjoyed it.  In fact, I dreaded it most of the time.  It felt weird and awkward to me.  It didn't feel natural.  I was so frustrated that I was the only one who could feed her.  I felt like I never had a break.  There were night where she would cluster feed and I would literally be in my nursing chair for 4+ hours.  As soon as we would be done with a feeding, she would be ready for another one.  And I lost my mind.

I was a bit "crazy" every night at sunset.  It's a real thing called "sundowners".  I would loose it every night from right before the sun went down until after it was completely dark.  Crying, scared, hormonal, unhappy.  In my opinion, it was about as close to post partum depression as you can get without crossing over that line.  I think my overwhelming feeling of "I'm the only one who can do this" with breastfeeding contributed to that.  It wasn't all of it - most of it was hormones- but it was some of it. 

I stuck through it.  I nursed her exclusively for 4 weeks.  I nursed her 75% of the time for the next two weeks in preparation of going back to work.  After I went back to work, I tried to still nurse in the mornings and at night, but my supply wouldn't stay with that and I lost my milk pretty quickly.  Luckily, I had enough milk frozen so that she could make it to two months with at least some breast milk every day.  I will say that the day she had her last bottle of breast milk, I did get a little upset about it!

Nursing wasn't really "me", but I'm so glad that I did it for as long as I could for her.  And if my milk had kept up, I would have nursed her at night and in the morning for longer.  Unfortunately, that wasn't an option for me. 

So what happens with the next one?  I'll nurse again for as long as I can.  Because I don't do it for me, I do it for my baby.  But I am here to say that, even if it comes easy to you, but you don't "like" it - that's okay.  It's just not for everybody.  It's not for me, but I'll also do it anyway.  Who knows - I may love it next time!  I guess only time will tell!



Tiffany said...

You have an adorable little girl and while I didn't have an easy time with nursing (I never had enough) reading this made me feel better that I wasn't the only one who didn't make it to at least 6 months like most moms I know.

Unknown said...

I hope Preston is a pro like LL when he comes out! But I am nervous about being the ONLY one who can feed him.

Robyn said...

Tiffany - Thank you! I think it's SO important to hear other people's experiences so that we don't think that we're the only ones who feel a certain way.

Ashley - I'm sure you'll do fine! I had a LOT of other crazy hormonal issues going on, too. Most moms handle it fine!

Emily said...

so glad you shared your story!!! lorelai has changed SO much in 2 short years! I hope next time around is easier for you (and heck for me too!!!)