Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Breastfeeding Challenges

I'm hoping by sharing my challenges, successes, and failures with breastfeeding other moms will see they're not alone. I planned on exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months, introducing solids gradually, and weaning at one year. Those grand plans have flown out the window. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of our breastfeeding journey, including our decision to supplement with formula.

Latch Issues
Emma is 7 months old and she nurses like a champ on the left side, but we've struggled from day 1 with the right side. We never got a good latch in the hospital, but thankfully have had great lactation consultants who helped get us on the right track. The football hold was a life saver until recently.  Now she's long, squirms all over the place and is super distracted. We are semi successful when we nurse lounging in bed. 

To Cover or Not to Cover
I never cover when I'm at home, but when I'm out and about I do. Emma's easily distracted and keeping her covered means she nurses faster and we can get our to-do list done. The dilemma of to cover or not to cover only comes into play when we are visiting family either at their house or if they are at our house. Emma didn't mind the cover until about 2 months ago. Now she's constantly tugging at him, tries to uncover and will flat out refuse to nurse with it.  Should I cover at home just because other people are uncomfortable? What about when we are visiting family, should I cover there? I flat out refuse to cover at home, if you don't like seeing her nurse then go in another room until we are done. I'm not leaving the room. When we are at Robert's parents' home, I usually just go into the spare bedroom, but sometimes she wants to nurse while we are watching a movie. I have learned to cover her but let her head peak through a little so she doesn't feel completely covered, but I'm not showing anything that makes anyone uncomfortable. Really the decision to cover or not to cover comes down to what makes nursing easier.

Emma wasn't growing as quickly as she should have. There was a 4 week period that she only gained 2 ounces. After trying more frequent nursing sessions, including throughout the night and making strict changes to my diet, we finally came to the conclusion that we needed to try supplementing with formula. It was a tough decision, but I'm glad I agreed to it. Emma is supposed to receive 2 ounces after each feeding, but she doesn't like taking formula from mommy, so she gets formula from daddy when he's home from work and before bed. She's been steadily gaining weight since we started this. Her specialist says that if she continues to gain weight, we will be able to back off on the amount of formula she receives and she can just get breast milk again. 

I started pumping in October to build up a stash of milk for Emma to have when Robert and I got married. I pumped every morning when Robert left for work, once during the day and once or twice in the evening. It was so much work and totally inconvenient. I stuck with pumping after the wedding just not as often. I only pump once a day now because it's all I have time for. I really should pump a second time during the day when Robert is giving Emma a bottle, but I'm busy during that time. Sometimes I feel like if I pumped as frequently as I should to build a stash I would either have Emma attached to the boob or my pump attached to the boob. I really don't understand why some people say that pumping is easier for them, but just like all other parenting decisions, what works for one doesn't always work for others.

She Likes Formula Just Stop Breastfeeding
If someone says this or something like this to me again, I'm going to scream. Yes, Emma likes formula. She also likes food, but I'm not going to just give her food. Formula is a pain in the butt, in my opinion. It takes time to get the bottle ready when she's ready to eat, it takes less than 5 seconds to pull out the boob and let her have breast milk. Breastfeeding is only inconvenient to others because they want to feed her, but there are plenty of other things they can do to spend quality time with her.

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