Sunday, March 27, 2011

My breastfeeding journey

Okay, so with a blog entitled "Trapped Under a Milk Dud", I probably should blog a little more about breastfeeding.... So here goes my experience...

Breastfeeding did not come naturally to me. I am adopted and was not breastfed. I don't remember seeing anyone breastfeed until I was 28 years old and my friend Jen was nursing her daughter at a table when we went out to lunch one day. I never even really thought about it until I was pregnant with Squirty.

I have a degree in food science and human nutrition and another in biology. I know that breast milk is full of all kinds of immune boosting factors and that breastfeeding can help keep your baby from getting sick or having allergies. A large chunk of your immune system is based in the intestinal tract. When I was working, my last job actually involved studying the immune response when formula had probiotics in it.

When I got pregnant with Squirty, I decided that I would at least try to breastfeed. My friend Julie is a dietitian and I knew she would want me to at least try. I took a breastfeeding class that I found to be a complete waste of time and money. The instructor was this creepy old lady and it kind of was weird to try and breastfeed a doll that didn't wiggle and move.

Unfortunately, I got very sick with HELLP syndrome and ended up having Squirty at 33-weeks 5-days. He went straight to the NICU and I don't remember really seeing him for 36 hours. I was under the influence of magnesium sulfate and in a total daze for 24 hours. I do remember that I insisted on seeing a lactation consultant to teach me how to pump. I couldn't do it much the first day... healing from the c-section and being loopy. I did start doing it every 3 hours as soon as I was able to get out of the bed. You'd think without having a baby in my room that I'd want to sleep, but I didn't. I wanted to do EVERYTHING I could to help my little 4-lb guy's immune system.

He was so tiny and needed to gain weight to go home, so we bottle fed him expressed milk at the hospital. At 13 days, he was able to come home. I figured I'd work on nursing when it was just him and me. It sucked. I HATE the pump. I tried so many times to get him to latch and just nurse. I tried a nipple shield. I tried pumping a little to get the milk going. Nothing worked.

Then he was diagnosed with reflux. Poor little guy couldn't keep anything down. He would arch away from his bottles and throw up all over me. The put him on Zantac and later Prevacid. That worked in keeping him from throwing up all the time.

I went back to work for 4 weeks. During that time, I would pump in the morning before leaving and a few times at work. My mom came to stay with us during that time. She would hold him off until I got home and I would try and nurse him then. I honestly think that was the best thing for us. He wanted to snuggle up to me and nurse. He got to the point where he wouldn't take a bottle if I was around. It was a lot of work, but about 3-4 months after he came home, I was able to just breastfeed him. I nursed him until he was 17-months old and I was in my second trimester with Milk Dud.

Milk Dud was easy. He latched on right away and nursed like 8 times in his first day. He still likes to snuggle and nurse all the time. I went out a couple of weeks ago and he would only take one bottle for his dad before throwing a fit until I came home.

My breastfeeding journey is far from over. I'm not sure when I will stop with Milk Dud... I'm hoping for 18+ months. I hope everyone who reads this will be inspired by the adversity over which I was able to come.

1 comment:

  1. I am inspired. I worry about having trouble nursing, because it just seems like so many women do, and having the determination and strength to keep going. It seems easy to think that I will now, but I am sure that things will be much different when the time comes. So yes, knowing that other mothers face difficulties nursing is very inspirational.