Saturday, May 12, 2012

Adventures of Breastfeeding

Before I had Grant, I took a breastfeeding class.  I was made fun for wasting my money on taking a breastfeeding class. But I felt completely clueless in how to breastfeed, that I figured taking a class would help me out. I learned quite a bit in the class. I learned position techniques, and got made fun of by the instructor. We were suppose to bring a teddy bear or baby doll to go over different positions to hold the baby. I didn't have either, so I borrow a stuff giraffe from work. The instructor said, "I never seen anyone bring a giraffe before, this is new." Yep that is me, always the one that has to be different. But anyways I thought this class was worth my money and time. Though now that I actually know and understand how breastfeeding works, I felt completely misled to what I would be expecting.

The instructor pretty much spent the entire time class talking about the benefits of breastfeeding and some misconceptions, and that is just about it. Which I find kind of odd considering, most people there pretty much made the conscious decision already to breastfeed, so they don't need any more persuasion, just guidance on what to expect. And boy, was I completely blindsided on what to expect.

First I didn't get to breastfeed Grant right away, like most mothers who have their baby they get to bond with their babies by breastfeeding them right away. And it's know that you will have better success with breastfeeding if you could do it within a hour of the baby being born. But because of my circumstances, (which I won't bore most of you again, because you heard about it probably a hundred times already) I didn't get to even hold Grant and breastfeed him until about 20 hours later. I thought breastfeeding would come naturally, but I was having troubles to get him to latch good. He kept falling asleep while I nursed him. With the support of family and friends who visited, they really were helpful with every tip and trick in the book to help get Grant to latch. I will stay though, the first couple of days I was frusturated and didn't realize how frusurtating nursing could be.

Then when Grant was in the hospital at 5 days old for having jaundice. He was at 5 pounds and 13 oz at birth and he ended up at 5 pounds and 1oz. Because of the jaundice and his weight loss, the nurse weighed him before and after I nursed him. He ended up not gaining any weight, which means he didn't get anything from me. So then I had to supplement with formula. I think because Grant was so tiny, his suck wasn't strong enough. Looking back I would have fought harder to not use formula. But I found myself in a position where I felt like I had to listen to what the doctors said. There really was no choice in the matter. Or at least that is the way they made it seem.

Luckily the I didn't have to supplement with formula too long. By his two week appointment, he was back to birth weight, and I quit supplementing. I then pumped for a little while just to make sure he was getting enough. And then I stopped with that and exclusively breastfed him. By two months Grant was 10 pounds and 11 oz. I was so proud of Grant for growing and myself for sticking with breastfeeding. It was so wonderful to know that it was all me that helped Grant nearly double his body weight.

I'm mad the instructor never told me how time consuming breastfeeding is, and how you have to tie yourself to the baby for long periods of time. I really had no idea how time consuming it is. At first I would have nursing sessions with Grant that lasted 45 minutes to a hour. I thought if its like this all the time, I'm going to lose my mind. But with reassurance from others, I realize it did get better. Once Grant's suck got stronger, most breast feeding sessions are more like 15-20 minutes.

And I'm mad the instructor never went into how painful breast feeding can be. At first breastfeeding was absolutely painful. I will spare you the details but there were times when I would put icepack in my bra. Though over time, it got easier, and no longer painful.

Breastfeeding was rough in the first month, there were times where I just wonder if I should just give up and give formula but once I got the hang of it, I realized I could do this. Breastfeeding is no walk in the park, but the benefits of it are worth all the pain, hard work, time.

Now that I'm going back to work I have a new element to add to my breastfeeding adventures. Pumping. I would love to not have to pump and just exclusively breastfeed. But unfortunately since I'm working I have to pump. I've been back to work for three weeks now, and while it is a challenge, I'm making it work. I'm hoping to never quit doing it, because I want to breastfeed for awhile. But finding the time to pump during the work day is so hard. And then I feel guilty leaving a meeting or something else for about 20 minutes or so to pump. I feel like my co-workers are probably judging me and wondering why I keep disappearing. Though I know it is required by law to allow employees to pump, and they can't fire them for it or not let them not have any breaks for it. Though I feel like I'm less productive and spend so much time in the work day pumping. And the set up of it is such a pain in the ass. There are so many pieces, and then I have to clean the pieces, and sterilize them. While pumping is so annoying, I'm so proud of myself, that I'm making it work. I hope to continue to make it work, though I need to probably find another time during the work day to pump, because usually I pump about 3 bags of milk, and Grant is starting to drink 4 bags!

I know breastfeeding is not for everyone. But I'm so happy I'm making it work in my life. I just wish I would have know what to expect. I thought it would be really easy, but boy didn't I know all the challenges that I would come across. When I look at how big Grant it getting, I smile, because my hard work is paying off. :)

Look at me I'm growing!

1 comment:

  1. This is exactly why I don't want to enroll up for BF class. Don't get me wrong; I am sure that the class can be good for people who are curious and want to learn about it. I've already made up my mind that I am planning on breastfeeding my baby once he's born. I feel that I already got information I need from my friends, who have had babies, and know all gritty nitty bits about breastfeeding (nipple shields, pain, frustration of not latching on properly, etc and sticking out as long as possible before giving up).

    This is why I have somewhat of an ambivalent attitude to my childbirth class and take everything with grain of salt. ;)

    Grant is getting big and adorable!!!!