Saturday, February 25, 2012

::breast feeding::

Two day old Lily - first time mom.  Nervous as hell.
Baby Quinn - fourth time mom.  Calm and rejoicing. 
I have seen both sides of breast feeding.  I have breast fed three of my own babies, hell one is breast feeding right this second.  Easy buddy, those suckers are attached.  I have also been a nurse at ground zero trying to teach a first time mom who is still a little gorked out on meds how to feed her little bundle of joy.  Often the babies are a little hung over too so it doesn't go well the first time.  We have lactation consultants at work but they are not always available, and sometimes a NICU nurse has to help the mamas. 


It hurts at first.  Like crazy.  Take a vacuum hose and attach it to your nipple.  That's the feeling.  I think - I haven't actual field tested that theory.  But the pain goes away - I promise.  For me the first 20 seconds hurts like hell but then it gets better.  By about week two it doesn't hurt at all.  But you have to get past the pain.  Anyone who tries to make you think that it doesn't hurt is lying or has forgotten.  

Sometimes breast feeding makes you self isolate.  It depends on how willing you are to flash a little too much skin as too how isolated you are.  With Lily I would sneak off to the back room to breast feed if any one was over.  Almost ten years later I am willing to pull out a boob just about anywhere.  For the record - I am over dramatizing.  But I don't leave the room any more, that is true.  I still cover up, but I refuse to sneak away.  If you are uncomfortable you can leave.  I say that all tough like, but I didn't have the guts to feed Quinn at Emma' swim meet the other day.  Teenage boys and these luscious boobs of mine is just a little too odd for me.  Even if they just get a little flash, I didn't want to embarrass Emma.   

Its a pain in the ass to pump at work.  Even at my nurse job that has a nice pumping room with a high quality pump, it is still difficult.  People sometimes treat you like you are going on a smoke break or you are getting an extra lunch break.  I try to pair up with another milking mom so we can cover for each other.  I have worked jobs before were I had to sneak off to the bathroom to pump.  Gross and not fun.  Now that I think about it, I have had a different job with each baby.  I found that if I was just really honest with them about wanting to pump and needing a place to do it they supported me.  At my Lily Era job I used to make company follow up phone calls while pumping.  Then at least I was still getting some work done.     

Baby Max.  Just because the other kids are here. 
Its the best snuggle you will ever have.  Ever.  For sure.  Can I express this any more clearly?  That warm soft perfect little creature is going to be a wiggly toddler who only sleeps on you after you take them swimming for four hours and wear them the crunk out (MAX!).  Enjoy them.  I keep Quinn stripped down to only a diaper as often as possible because that soft little creature needs to be enjoyed.  Some how when ever Josh is home he always seems to have a beard burn on his soft little skin.  We both can't get enough of snuggle time with babies.   

Its important.  You know this already.  You have heard it.  I don't need to drill it into your head.  Breast milk has many benefits that formula just can't perfectly replicate.  Enough said.   

BUT!!!!  Big-I-am-not-joking-around-here BUT - don't let it add more guilt to your shoulders if breast feeding isn't right for you.   Don't feel like you failed if you can't make enough milk, or your baby is a crappy eater, or you just don't stinking want to breast feed.  Do what is right for your family.  I only breast fed Max for 5 months.  By then he had five teeth and he had chewed up his entire crib.  I was literally terrified of his teeth.  I had about three months worth of extra milk stored so he got breast milk for a while longer, but I just didn't want to breast feed him with that vampire mouth.  I am really trying this time to make it an entire year with the Q monster, but if his crib looks like we are keeping a tiger in it we will see. 

My biggest tip about breast feeding is this - get a contact number for lactation before you leave the hospital.  All the area hospitals have lactation consultants on staff.  No one wants you to be more successful at breast feeding than a lactation consultant.  Have lots of appointments with them in the hospital, request them four times a day if you want them.  Make sure you know how to contact them before you leave.  You may get home and things will start to fall apart and these ladies can be extremely helpful.   


  1. Great post! I breast fed all four of my kids . My first child was only breast fed two weeks before I switched to formula. It was a matter of self preservation. I was a single mom with no support and my own mother mooing at me while I tried to nurse or pump. The other three were nursed for 6months and they just weaned themselves. I found that I could not pump with the hand pumps. I needed the hospital grade electric pump. By the fourth kid I was a pro and the nurses teased me horribly because I was pumping out 7 ounces by day three.(we were there for a week because he had meconium in his lungs). They called me Golden Gert...I guess this time being referred to as a cow didn't upset me as I was an isolated nursing mom. I have huge boobs(large watermelons that could have won a blue ribbon at the county fair) and I was terrified I would suffocate my little darlings so I was always uncovered so I could see! My niece is due any time now and she is seriously thinking about nursing because the cost of formula is $15 a can! I believe it's best but also believe that each mom has to do what she needs to do, we have enough guilt in all other areas!

  2. As a parent we are confronted by so many confusing choices. I believe that the ONLY cut and dry parenting decision is that of breastfeeding. There is no debate as to whether breastfeeding is better or formula. It is the easiest decision any parent can make. I feel sorry for babies who moms choose not to breast feed. Making a decision not to breastfeed is making a decision to give your baby second best and disadvantage them. sad. There I said it on behalf of the babies who cant speak for themselves....breastmilk damn it...give your babies breastmilk(there are few exceptions to this rule)

  3. Brooke- thanks for this post- and thanks for your call today... I"m going to have to study your back issues of your blog as I prepare to be a mom! (Nat)



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