Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From the Boob to the Pump and Back Again.....

Yes, this is another breast feeding article! I get so many emails and twitters about it I decided to do an update on that whole topic!  Before I get started, let me say that I am by no means an expert, but I do make enough milk to feed a small village ( basically 2 ounces every hour, so if I pump every 3 hours = 6 ounces, speaking conservatively) so maybe that qualifies me in some sort of way to be informative.
Anyway, I told you all about how I was almost exclusively pumping for the first 6 weeks. That started out because of my boob injuries and then I continued to do it so mom and bubs could help me feed him, and so we could monitor how much he was eating at each feeding.
When we were at the beach, my mom suggested to me that I try to primarily nurse him again and so I started working on that the week we were there. I made some beautiful discoveries when I went back to boobs only,  so thank you momma for your advice!

- nursing really is ALOT easier. Getting up to feed him in the middle of the night was easier b.c I went to sleep when he was done, instead of feeding him, pumping, washing parts and putting away labeled milk. Also easier when you go out because all you need is a nursing shawl instead of bottles and freezer packs, and you are always prepared.

- When they say pumping does not fully empty the breast, that ain't no joke! When I first read that, I was like, how do you know if your "breast is empty" well, trust me, you know. Basically it goes from being rock hard to flappy. I was always huge and uncomfortable when pumping and they filled up MUCH faster and it hurt SO BAD when my milk came in, each and every time. I really had to pump every 3 hours to avoid being uncomfortable and leaking. I never slept well either because of all that. They feel much better now that PB does the pumping.

- PB sleeps better after nursing because he has to work harder to get food, as opposed to the bottle which comes out faster/easier and sometimes he would get full and then look at me all bright eyed at 3 am like  " What should we do next mom?" ... well now with the boob he is asleep IMMEDIATELY after eating, sometimes while eating.

I am still pumping at least once a day, depending on circumstances so that I can share feedings with daddy. In fact, bubs took the night shift both nights this weekend and let me sleep. That is the MOST sleep I have gotten since PB was born!  It was fabulous!  I also wanna keep my milk stash current in case I need it.

I have had some emails asking about how or why I produce so much milk. I don't know the scientific answer but if you were asking for advice from me I would tell you, Say what you will about the pump ( mean lactation nurse lady!) but I think that is why I have such fruitful boobies! I think all that pumping got everything started and I drink a ton of water.
I also followed that book I read about breast feeding that suggested I keep my baby with me after birth so my body and hormones would get all the right messages to start milk production and I attempted to nurse him often during that time. 
Maybe that stuff helps, maybe it doesn't, but it works for me. Another thing I read, and has been true for me is that beer increases breast milk. So if you are struggling maybe have a beer. Obvi I am not talking about a 6 pack or anything, but one beer is not gonna hurt baby.

I got an email today asking me about any pain with breast feeding and another email about clogged ducts etc so to answer those questions:
It does not hurt. The only time it hurt was when I first started because I was doing it wrong. After a few days your boobs get used to all the work and adjust to it so they are much tougher. It helps to use lanolin RELIGIOUSLY during this time. I recommend the Medela brand. It also helps to balance out that frequent use by pumping and makes it all much more tolerable. I use the Medela Pump N Style and I REALLY like it.
I have no experience with clogged ducts yet, but I have some friends who know all about that and maybe they will write a guest post for me? I am pretty sure they told me that stopped happening once they started massaging the boobs before feeding/pumping. Stay tuned.

I have some future plans of blogging about the storing of breast milk, I am still researching that for now and I also plan to do a review of  "Milkies".  I laughed when I first read about those ( and watched that silly video on their website)  but now I can see the need for them! Nursing makes the ladies MUCH more trigger happy than pumping did. One night at like 2am i was nursing and checking twitter on my iphone and my iphone kept looking blurry, I was so sleepy it took me a minute to realize my un-used breast was dousing my phone in milk! gross!  Enter milkies... I'll let you all know how that goes.


Robyn and Paul Nielsen said...

So much useful info!! I feel like I am going to need to read all these entries again when baby nielsen arrives!
wow! Much love and thanks!

Lindsey said...

Between the 3 kiddos, I've nursed for almost 3 years. It is a most rewarding experience. I did not even plan on nursing my first but for 6 weeks and ended up pumping at work for months. Thankfully staying at home with the next 2 made it so much easier for me! Oh and to ease a clogged duct, you need to nurse in a different position than you normally do (i.e. if you normally nurse cradle position, try football hold or even lie down beside the baby). If nursing is hurting, then the baby might have thrush therefore giving it to mom as well. So glad it is working for you!!!

Josh and Beth said...

You are right...nursing is SOOOO much easier and super convenient! I am so glad it is going so well for you and Fenn!! I wish I would have known about the milkies before....they sound awesome! I think I may have to order some!!

The Pepper. said...

Hello! Recently a new follower, love you're blog:D & Congratulations on you're son, he's such a handsome little fella!:D

I decided to solely breastfeed Adrienne so quite a few reasons, but I definitely agree with you on how much easier it is compared to bottle.

I don't know if I would have the time or patience to heat every bottle just right and whatnot, when I could just pull out one of my breasts and ta-da!

However, Adrienne's two bottom front teeth came in a few weeks ago and it sure can be painful at time breastfeeding her when she gets excited and accidentally bites me.
Definitely something to think about when you're little one's teeth come in, I'm still sticking too it but I might just have to switch to bottles if anymore teeth come in soon.

Julie Bray said...

Julie Bray Here's what I think of pumping.... I had choice but to pump at first and have not stopped pumping as the primary way to feed Ben. My lactation nurse insisted that I rent the hospital grade Medela Symphony pump. She said it was stronger & better than the other smaller motors and since I had to pump it would get my milk in better & better supply. I did as she said and I can definitely tell a difference from when i pump with it vs the Medela Free Style I have. I use the Symphony whenever I'm home and use the Free Style when I'm out. I get almost double the milk with the Symphony and feel the emptiness you talked about. Right now I get 6 oz every 3-4 hrs with it.

Anonymous said...

I think you are doing such a great thing and you will be so glad you did. Not only is good for immunities but breastfed babies have a higher IQ , and the benefits for mom are great too . I breastfed all 3 of mine for a total of 6 years and would not trade a minute.


grizaham said...

Glad to hear that the little one sleeps better after the boob... "
War Eagle That!

Tracey said...

I love that you shared this. I can't wait to reference back to it once our little baby is born. You know you might be getting emails from me late at night once the baby arrives :)

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