Breastfeeding So Far

18 Apr

Since nursing Emma takes up a lot of my time these days, I thought I’d talk about how things are going, what has worked well and what hasn’t.

As I mentioned before, Emma wasn’t interested in nursing right away due to all the air and amniotic fluid that she had ingested during birth. After we got that out, she was a lot more interested in nursing, and started nursing for about 20-45 minutes per breast the second day, and 10-30 minutes per breast the third day. She was still pretty sleepy so I was waking her up to eat every 2-3 hours, which was sometimes a little challenging.

Sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, my milk came in. I don’t think I experienced engorgement per se – I just noticed that my breasts were very full and hard, and I started leaking milk easily. Emma’s feedings started to last around 15 minutes per side (once she was able to get properly latched despite my fullness). Since Emma had low intermediate jaundice levels, I made sure to keep waking her about every 3 hours, even if she would’ve slept longer, because feeding and peeing/pooping helps clear jaundice up faster, and her weight loss had been mildly concerning (8.5% down).

At first, breastfeeding was very painful. Emma is a ‘barracuda baby’ with a very strong suck, and before she learned what to do, she wouldn’t open her mouth wide enough for me to get a proper latch. The lactation consultants didn’t work on Sunday, so I was flying blind all day Sunday and Sunday night. The next day, one of the nurses noticed that I had a couple of ‘hickies’ – places where Emma hadn’t latched correctly – which could turn into painful sores. I got a lot of help and advice on Monday in the hospital, which was great and very appreciated.

Emma latches like a pro now, and most breastfeeding sessions feel completely fine and not painful at all. But every once in a while, Emma latches on and it’s painful for the first 30 seconds or so, until my nipples get re-used to everything.

Emma hasn’t settled into a schedule yet – the time she goes between feedings and how long she feeds varies constantly. At first, I was setting an alarm clock so that I’d get up when I needed to feed Emma, but since I’ve been getting in at least 8 feedings per day, and Emma has plenty of wet and dirty diapers, I’ve started letting her determine when to feed during the night.

The night before last, she slept for 3 hours between feedings (4 hours from start to start), but then last night, she woke up every 2. Sometimes she nurses for 30 minutes on each side, other times just 10. The shorter she nurses during a session, the more frequently she wants to nurse. Today, I’ve been nursing her about every 2 hours (from start time to start time) because she’s only been nursing for about 10 minutes each side. But I’ve also noticed that the more she nurses during the day, the less frequent she nurses at night. So we’re still just figuring things out.

One of the most noticeable things about breastfeeding is how hungry it makes me. I swear, marathon training runger is nothing compared to this! My appetite is probably influenced by my being up at all hours of the day and night, but I am eating more now than I did during pregnancy, or during marathon training. I’m not complaining. 😉

Gear

Because nursing was so painful for the first few days, I was desperate for something to help. I tried the cold breast gel pads but they didn’t seem to help me much. My lifesaver has been Medela Tender Care Lanolin.

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I try to remember to apply this after every feeding, and after I shower – I can definitely tell when I’ve forgotten. I think it helps keep my nipples hydrated, so that it doesn’t hurt as much for them to be pulled on. Just a note that the lanolin does seem to leave a residue on bras, so I recommend using it in conjunction with nursing pads.

Speaking of which, I’ve been using the Lansinoh nursing pads and they have been working well.

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They have sticky pads on the back so that they stick to your bra, but if you didn’t want to use the sticky parts, you could just leave the paper on. Some nursing bras have little pockets built in to hold nursing pads, so the sticky parts aren’t as necessary.

Another thing that has been a huge help is the My Brest Friend pillow.

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Since my breasts have been pretty full while waiting for my breast pump to come, I have been nursing Emma pretty much exclusively using the football hold. This pillow works well for that, since the clip keeps it in place around my waist and it supports Emma. It’s also pretty firm, so it’s a good burping surface and doubles as a good pillow to rest my arm on (when it’s not around my waist) as I rock Emma to sleep.

The breast pump I ended up getting is the Ameda Purely Yours Ultra Double Electric Breast Pump – my insurance didn’t cover the Medela one I had wanted. The lactation consultant told me that the Ameda pump is a good pump, it just doesn’t last as long or stand up to as much use as the Medela does.

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The version I got didn’t come with a carry bag, but I found one that will work well for $11 at Walmart. It also only comes with 2 collection bottles, so I might look into getting a couple more, or I might just use regular bottles to store the expressed milk in.

I’ve used the pump twice so far, and been able to express 2 oz total – about 1 feeding for Emma at this point. We’ve also tried to introduce bottles, but so far have been pretty unsuccessful. Emma isn’t that sure about the rubber nipple, and any milk that she has ingested has promptly been spit back up in massive quantities. I think she’s swallowing too much air, so we might be on the hunt for a different bottle style (we have been using the Tommee Tippee bottles).

I bought a couple of nursing bras from The Nursing Nook shop at the hospital. One of the bras was pretty expensive ($60) and I’m not completely sold on it, so I think I’m going to return it and keep looking. But nursing bras are definitely the way to go – it’s so easy to just pull up your shirt, unhook the clasp and fold down the front! I’ll probably get some nursing tanks once I go back to work as well. Unfortunately, my breasts have grown yet another cup size, which means I’ll most likely have to buy bigger sports bras too. Bras are so expensive!

Last but not least, I’ve used my nursing cover a few times, but it is definitely tricky to do so without showing what I’m trying to keep covered. It’s also a little tricky to see what I’m doing – I think it’ll be easier with an older child who has better neck control and needs less assistance from mommy.

Anyway, that’s my breastfeeding experience so far. It’s exhausting, but going well. I know that a lot of women have challenging experiences with nursing, so I’m definitely very blessed.

7 Responses to “Breastfeeding So Far”

  1. birminghambell April 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    YAY FOR YOU!!!! I must share some things I loved! The nursing “honker holder” as I call it from medela. It’s like a tube bra with 2 holes in it to hold your suckers (?) up on your boobs so that you don’t have to hold them there with your hands! It’s a life saver for me because I like to play games on my phone to make time pass faster during pumping! The other thing is on bottles. We LOVE lansicosh “momma” bottles. They’re shaped like boobs and ironically come in packs of 2 lol! They have a vent in the nipple to prevent as much air swallowing and they are so wide that babies will hold them on their own sooner. It’s harder for them to grasp the skinny bottles at first. Here’s what they look like : http://www.target.com/p/lansinoh-feeding-bottles-8-4floz-2-count/-/A-14009928?ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001&AFID=Google_PLA_df&LNM=%7C14009928&CPNG=Baby&kpid=14009928&LID=PA&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=14009928 Anywho, good work! Breastfeeding is hard work most of the times, don’t even let anyone try to convince you to stop, only stop if it’s your own decision or your body’s decision!

  2. blm2397 April 18, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    I swear by Dr. Brown’s bottles!! Glad to hear its going well!!

  3. mborrell April 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Dr. Browns bottles help a ton with the air and gassy problem causing her to spit up.
    Does the breast friend pillow seem better then a boppy? I have registered for both. Also, I was told to get the Lansinoh nipple cream. I have heard its the only cream safe to breastfeed WITH it on. Great job! I hope I have just as good of luck with breast feeding once our little one is here.

  4. Mackenzie Gress April 19, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    Way to go momma! Breastfeeding is such a wonderful journey! I love the lansinoh breast pads, they work so much petter than the medela ones, which are -unfortunately- the only ones i can find in my area. My experience with the breastfeeding cover was that i was able to start using it around the 3rd or 4th week (when we both had a better grasp on what we were doing) However, now my daughter is five months and is starting to squirm around so much that its becoming difficult again! Just this week i found myself nursing in public without the cover (something i NEVER thought i would do) and i actually got far fewer stares than i do when my daughter is squirming around under a big breast feeding cover as i fight to get her to latch!
    Good luck on your journey! Breastfeeding is an incredible experience.
    Side note: i also swear by Dr. Brown bottles, they are the only ones my daughter will latch to.

  5. specialkkluthe April 19, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Thanks ladies for the bottle recs. I’ll check them out.

    @mborrell – FWIW, the hospital gave me the medela lanolin and said it was safe to leave on while breastfeeding. I didn’t try out the boppy pillow but chose the my brest friend based on reviews that said it was better for large-chested women and stayed in place better than the boppy. I’ve been really pleased so far. The only thing is that it doesn’t double as an infant ‘recliner’ as well as the boppy.

  6. monthsbeforeyou April 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, I’m definitely nervous about the breastfeeding part – it seems like so much to figure out! One of the classes I went to also recommended using your own breast milk to put on your nipples to help them not be sore. Said it was a natural healing agent and better than any over the counter lotion, etc. I thought that was interesting! Obviously, my little one isn’t here yet so i have no clue – just passing along info a lactation consultant told me!

    I have the my brest friend pillow, too – I’ve had several of my mommy friends recommend it!

  7. Dorsa @ Running Thoughts April 22, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    Get these bottles.. http://www.amazon.com/Philips-Avent-Pack-4oz-Bottles/dp/B000056JND

    It flows the milk out slower than other bottles I’ve used and that really helps Liam..

    My nipples would hurt a lot in the beginning but now Liam is a pro eater and they don’t hurt at all. I used to put some this nipple cream on after he fed, http://www.amazon.com/Lansinoh-Lanolin-Breastfeeding-Mothers-Grams/dp/B005MI648C/ref=sr_1_3?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1366638885&sr=1-3&keywords=nipple+cream

    🙂

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