Thursday, September 4, 2014

Breastfeeding Done Right (Michelle's Journey) Part II

With my second kid, things have been completely different.  My breastfeeding goal is one year this time around.  I feel a lot more confident too.  Since I had my oldest, I have a lot more support since we have so many more friends that have kids now.  (We were some of the first with kids in our group of friends).  I have been much calmer this time around too.  I knew that if it didn’t click right away that it would eventually.  

I had a similar hospital experience with my second.  He came out and breastfed right away.  It went ok in the hospital.  From the get-go this baby ate a lot faster than my oldest.  He would eat a lot for like 10 minutes as opposed to his brother’s 40 minutes.  It was awesome! 

When we got home from the hospital things were totally different.  I couldn’t disappear every time the baby needed to eat since I had a toddler running around that I also needed to watch.  I just fed the baby on the couch in the family room.  Depending on who was at the house at the time, I either used a cover or I didn’t.  I got the baby used to the cover immediately.  It was much easier the second time around as I was a lot more comfortable with breastfeeding as a whole. 

After a few weeks I started to get the feeling that there was something a little different with how my son was eating compared to my oldest.  He was gaining weight, but he was making this weird clicking noise when he ate.  I also noticed that he didn’t stick his tongue out very far.  It’s not something that a “first-time mom” would have picked up on as even being an issue.  I started googling things and eventually I self-diagnosed that he had a slight tongue-tie.  A tongue-tie means that the lingual frenum is short (I suggest googling a picture as there are various degrees of this) and it was making it hard for him to keep his latch when eating.  I figured it was a minor case, but I was concerned that it was making him take in a lot of air when he ate.  I wasn’t sure what to do so after some advice from some family members I called a lactation consultant.  My sister tried to get me to call one with my oldest before I gave up breastfeeding, but I refused.   I’m not one to ask for help, but I really didn’t want to stop breastfeeding at only 5 weeks postpartum, so I called my insurance company to see if it was covered.  My insurance told me 5 visits were covered at 100%, but I could pay $100 out of pocket to have the consultant come to my house.  I decided to call and they were able to come to my house two days later.  This was by far the BEST $100 I have ever spent.  I now regret not calling with my oldest.  The woman who came to the door turned out to be the same woman who taught my breastfeeding class a few years earlier.  It made me a little more comfortable knowing that it wasn’t a complete stranger that I was about to whip my boob out in front of.  She stayed for 2 hours and we went around the house and I fed the baby in front of her in all the rooms/chairs I typically fed him in.  She did this to see if she could assist with things I was complaining about, my back hurting, my milk coming out too fast and the baby being unable to handle it, etc.  She gave me great tips that no book or website had told me about.  She explained how things like the breastfeeding pillows I had been using were a big cause of my back aches, something I never would have thought since I had the best items on the market and everyone I know used them.  The whole experience was seriously life-changing in regards to my breastfeeding journey.  She weighed him before and after he ate to make sure he was getting milk.  At the end of the appointment she did confirm a slight tongue-tie, but didn’t think it was a big deal as he was getting a lot of milk, but to check with the pediatrician at his next appointment.   (Dr. also confirmed slight tongue-tie, but didn’t think a small surgical procedure was necessary and sure enough within a few weeks the baby stopped making the noise).

My baby is now 8 ½ months old and up until this week was still not sleeping through the night.  This is where I drastically changed the way I did things from my oldest.  With my oldest I sort of sleep trained him and had him sleeping 12 hours a night by 4 months.  With my youngest I didn’t sleep train him, because I could tell he was still hungry during the night.  Through seven months he would wake up numerous times a night to eat.  I would continue to feed him and not let him cry-it-out until he had 2-3 nights in a row when he would wake at a specific time and only snack for a minute and then pass out again.  Once he did that I would drop whatever feeding that was.  It’s been tough and I’ve been exhausted for almost 9 months, but it’s been worth it. 

All-in-all Breastfeeding is going well.  I’m pumping a few times a day at work and sometimes I add an extra session at home if I need to trigger my body to make more.  I’ve been much more relaxed this time around.  I don’t feel as anxious and stressed.  I don’t rush the baby to hurry up and eat so I can go do something around the house.  I try to sit calmly and figure that whatever needs to be done can wait until he’s done eating.  My house isn’t always clean and sometimes dinner is bought instead of cooked, but I’m okay with that.  I’ve had to miss some weekends away for things like bachelorette parties and my husband and I have put off a vacation without the kids, because I’ve decided that I’m breastfeeding for a year and I don’t have enough milk in storage to leave the baby overnight.  I’ve noticed many people don’t understand this.   It’s typically female friends and relatives that don’t have kids that say anything at all to me about still breastfeeding at almost 9 months postpartum.  Their logic is that formula is always there and so much easier, but I don’t want to supplement since breastfeeding is going so well. 

This brings me to my little rant about support for breastfeeding…It’s weird how in the news it is almost always another woman who makes a breastfeeding mother move when in a store or somewhere else in public feeding her baby.  It’s really sad.  Woman should be supportive, but many aren’t.  I actually don’t get it.  I mean I can see how someone nursing without a cover could be a little uncomfortable, but think how the mom feels.  Nobody wants to whip out their boobs in public, but some kids refuse to eat under a cover.  The world Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for 2 years.    What are you supposed to do, never leave your house the whole time you are breastfeeding?  Luckily, I’ve never been made to feel bad when feeding my child in public, which by the way with my second child I’ve done a lot (with a cover due to my own modesty).  I’ve done it at friends’ houses, birthday parties, baseball games, the pool and many other places. My mentality nowadays is if anyone has a problem with my breastfeeding my child in public, well that’s just it, their problem. 

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