Monday, January 30, 2012

80085

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This is a post about boobs. & not the type of boobs you would typically find on the internet, but the kind that make the milkies for the babies. Coincidentally, boobs fulfill both of those purposes, but one is apparently way more glamorous than the other in most people's eyes.

Having said that, if you fall into one of the following categories you may want to quietly exit the premises before you get all awkward and red faced:

1) If you are a male coworker of mine.
2) If you are a male family member of mine.
3) If you are a male.
4) If you are a female that hasn't had children yet and are skeeved out by breastfeeding.

Okay, is it just us now? Let's get down to business.

[I feel the need to share this breastfeeding journey because I have a feeling I'm going to forget all of the nitty gritty stuff about it by the time I go through this again and what better place to document it than on the public internets?]

Before I had Charley this was my stance on breastfeeding: If I am able to do it, great! I'll do it! And if not, no worries, I'll formula feed. Basically, I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment if things didn't go as I had planned and left my options open. My stance on this has slightly changed now, but we'll get to that later.

In the very beginning...

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Charley was born and laid on my chest for an hour directly after birth. I wanna say right after that the nurse suggested we try breastfeeding for the first time. (See, I'm already forgetting little details!) I am not someone who is, or will ever be, comfortable nursing in front of people [yet I have no problem talking about it in detail with the entire internet], but my sister was in the room and I had no problem doing it then. That may have been because I had just given birth and modesty had left the building for a while. Regardless, the first time went great. Charley latched right on on the very first try and she was satisfied with the colostrum I was giving her. Yay!

That night, Charley nursed for long periods of time and didn't give me any trouble at all. It was pretty awesome how my body was working! And by the third or fourth day when my milk came in, Charley was doing really great and gained her weight back really quickly.

What weren't doing great were my nipples. I told you all about that. I knew breastfeeding would hurt in the beginning, so I think since I was inexperienced I just thought the pain I was feeling was due to the natural hurtiness of it and not because we weren't doing something right. But when I was screaming in pain and curling my toes each time she latched on, I quickly realized our latch technique needed some work and I remedied that situation quicklike.

In the middle...

My nipples are healed. My milk has come in really great and Charley is still growing. It's working! So this period is what I like to call "The Era of Not Crying Over Spilt Milk". Because there was a lot of milk spilling going on.

It was during this time that my boobs were WAY overproducing. Your body doesn't adjust to the demand that your baby needs right away, so some people have a crazy supply for a while and I just so happened to be one of those people. I pumped extra milk and froze it to help with all of the leakiness. But it wasn't enough.

[Side note: Sure, I was pumping and freezing milk, but I didn't really think I'd ever need it. When I went back to work I knew I would pump enough on Monday for Tuesday, enough Tuesday for Wednesday, etc, so that I wasn't sure when or if I'd ever need any of the frozen. So I got lazy about it and I want to kick myself for that now!]

For example, I remember one day that I was getting ready to take a shower. So I take all of my clothes off except my bra because I know that once those puppies hit air, milk just starts to pour out. The water was on and was warm, so I took my bra off and began to get in the shower, dripping only a few times on my walk to the shower. When suddenly, I felt the urge to pee. No problem, the toilet is right beside the shower so I just took a little pit stop to pee before getting in the shower. Big mistake. I remember sitting there peeing being shocked at the amount of liquid POURing from my boobs. Puddles were forming on the floor and I was peeing just as fast as I could. Finally I jumped in the shower but not before surveying the spilt milk all over the floor. If I had been wearing my rain boots I could've splashed in the puddles, seriously.

milkpuddles
Please pay no attention the the scale of the toilet in this drawing...I do not in fact have a giant toilet in our bathroom.
So yes. Leaking while naked. Leaking while sleeping. Leaking while awake. I went through boxes and boxes of breast pads during this era.

Which brings us to now...

The leaking has stopped. The pain is long gone. The supply has regulated to match Charley's demand and I no longer get that overfull feeling (except in the mornings after going 10ish hours). I pump twice at work and can usually get just enough milk for the next day. Until, of course, Charley goes through a growth spurt and starts wanting more. And during those weeks I struggle to keep up.

So this is when still pregnant Lacey would have said, oh well, we are 3 ounces short for tomorrow so I'll just send a bottle of formula over to Aunt Christy's house to make up the difference. But no. My mindset has changed about this completely. It's a pride thing and an ego thing. My baby has only had breast milk for the first 5 months of her life and I want to keep it that way and so instead, even though Charley will sleep through the night I will get up in the middle of the night to pump so she has enough for the next day.

And on top of that, I'll start taking an herbal supplement that makes you smell like syrup so that I'll produce more. And when I'm not getting enough results from that, I'll spend hours on breastfeeding websites researching other herbal supplements that may work better for me. And I'm drowning myself in water. Because, I am Mama! Hear me roar! I can do this because Charley needs it!

makingmilk

So anyways, that's where we stand now. I have all of 15 ounces left in my freezer, and Charley has been draining her bottles this past week. I know I will adjust to her needs and as we introduce solids soon it may help as well. But that doesn't help me when I'm waking up to pump in the middle of the night as my baby snoozes peacefully. But, we do what we have to do to take care of our babies. And I know that I'm lucky that I've been able to do this for as long as I have and I'm very thankful for that. And finally, I'm also super grateful that I'm not:

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5 comments:

Meghan said...

So I read this all, and it took me to the very end when you posted the boobless picture on the calculator to realize that the very first picture said boobs, I never said I was fully awake, even though I've been awake for five hours. OY!

Jennifer said...

Wow, I'm so glad that I was not the only one. I was the same way right around when Kennedt was 5 months as well, but I was going to be damned if anyone gave her juice or formula. She was only getting boob milk dammit!!! Then my supply started to dwindle as well. I went to Earth Fare an they have a whole section of tea and supplements to increase the flow. It helped, but then I shattered my right wrist the day she turned 6 months old and I could not pump by myself. And two days of my mom and Ryan pumping my boobs made me go insane. So that was the end of my breast feeding era, but hey, u made it to 6 months. Keep going as long as you can, you go girl!!!!

The Beane's said...

I was the same way... but you're almost there!! I started Colin on rice cereal around 4.5 months, then when he was 6 months and started solids, I was down to breastfeeding only 4 times a day, so before my body regulated, I pumped in the mornings. I can remember waking up at midnight though - you do what you have to do =)
LOVE reading your posts by the way!

CJ said...

I love reading all this stuff Lacey. I mean...who would've thought (way back in high school) that this is what you'd be writing about!! Love it! Brings back memories of my own. I too had to smell like pancakes (heehee)and pump at very inopportune times. As a matter of fact I was had a male professor come in and "check" on me while I was pumping in his office. EWWWW! Keep up the good work! You can do it:)

Heather said...

Right there with you! Pancake sisters unite!

I can't believe you had that much milk in the beginning. My mom said the same thing happened to her way back when, but I thought she was exaggerating. That def wasn't/isn't the case for me.

For what's it worth, I started supplementing formula w/ the rice cereal feeding only for Tory and she doesn't seem to mind it. For some reason I don't feel guilty about giving her formula at that feeding and it helps me catch up because I can pump during that meal period.