Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Jenna-Mae and Ol' Bessie

A couple of weeks back Jenn over at SomethingClever2point0 propsed a great topic for Theme Thursdays. If you haven’t read her before or linked up in Theme Thursday I suggest you do both…NOW!

Back to topic! Breastfeeding. After an interesting Twitter conversation between Jenn and I(that's me!) (see those links…its twitter…move there…now!) she thought it’d make an interesting theme. Sadly I was on my Social Media Fast when she posted this.

However, I couldn’t pass up a great opportunity so I tucked it away in my blogger folder and vowed I’d get something out there even if it wasn’t linked up!

Oh the world of breastfeeding and the heated debates and doomy death glares that come with it.

There is a part of me that thinks deeply believes that if I still lived in the States I wouldn’t have even considered breastfeeding. To be honest, breasts have always been such a sexual symbol and my lack thereof has always caused me to spend ridiculous amounts of money on pushup bras that I don’t imagine know without a doubt I would not have been comfortable with it.

I am so happy to see that so many of my friends back home have taken on this mountainous feat.

When I became pregnant with Lil Mister, EVERYONE regardless of whether they had children or not or had or not had breastfed…well they all had opinions. They proposed their opinions in such a way that it was fact being presented.

From the word go, I was bombarded with the idea of what if you can’t breastfeed!?!? It was as if it was known before we even knew the sex of our little that I would not be able to do it. I ‘mentally prepared’ myself for this fact as my grandmother had been unable to breastfeed. Between all the opinions and statements, I set myself up for failure before I even started.

When Lil Mister was born, he latched quickly in the hospital. For the first week, everything went perfectly. There were NO problems and he slept great. Then one day hit and he ate constantly….like the entire day. That night he cried himself to sleep. During this time, Hubby Dearest and MIL were insistant that my milk wasn’t enough and that he was hungry and that he needed formula. When we couldn’t wake him for his bath that night (jeeze the little guy had been awake the whole day!) I freaked and MIL went to find formula at a cafĂ©. It was then decided that I could not breast feed and he would be on formula.

I cried myself to sleep. I cried the next day. I cried for the next two weeks every time my son searched for my breast when I held him. I felt that we had been neglected that experience. I felt I was a failure. I felt I’d given up.

I went back to work when my son was 6 weeks old and felt the world of judgement upon me. So many women judged me for allowing my son to take formula and others acted as if it figured that I wasn’t ‘strong enough’ to breastfeed. Some blamed it on my upbringing while others said it was my lifestyle. I constantly felt as if I was defending my feeding my child!

When I found out I was pregnant with LJ, I swore I wouldn’t breastfeed. But slowly that desire came back. Most were judgemental again. They questioned why I would even try a second time. I mean I couldn’t do it the first. However, I was already a mom and had started building up my resistant to everyone’s ‘advice.’

At first I thought I would pump from the very beginning. That way if I couldn’t do it this time around then I wouldn’t feel that sense of failure again because I wouldn’t have created that bond. But I had created a bond with Lil Mister even though I didn’t breastfeed and refused to believe that my bond with LJ would be determined by such facts.

So I thought I’d try for the first week and then switch to formula. At least he’d get the colostrum.

Then I won a pump through Advent and Living and Loving. I knew then that it was a sign from God that I needed to hold strong and do what I felt was best for my child.

I knew then that I would WOULD breastfeed until I returned to work. Then I’d pump milk during the day and breastfeed at night.

The first feed LJ had after birth was perfect! He latched and it was like it was natural…duh. Then he didn’t eat for 6 hours! I was so worried I couldn’t sleep. I asked the nurses constantly why he wasn’t eating. They assured me that he would eat when he was hungry.

Sure enough after 6 hours he ate again. Then he slept another 6 hours and ate again. Jeeze…this was great.

Then…..he started and wouldn’t stop. After 3 hours of constant feeding I got him to sleep 30 minutes. Then he started again. 3 hours and 30 minutes sleep. Finally on the second day at midnight I went to the nurses station crying, completely exhausted. I couldn’t do it. My milk wasn’t good enough. He was so hungry all the time!

I’d failed….or so I thought.

The amazing nurse came to my room. She checked the latch and my flow. Everything was perfect. LJ however was FULL of winds. She took him for a while. They got all the winds out and he was hungry. I latched again and we went for another 2 hours. I couldn’t keep up.

She suggested we supplement him. I wasn’t sure what she meant other than that I knew it meant formula. I fought. I resisted. I explained I didn’t want to give up. I cried…again.

Calmly she smiled and assured me it wasn’t giving up. She would mix some formula and give it through a syringe. That way he still took to the breast. It would fill him up and give us both some rest. I agreed. She sat in my room next to the bed and gave him 20ml.

Afterwards she convinced me to let her take him to the nursery for a few hours so that I could rest and sleep. 6 hours later they brought him back to me. He latched perfectly. He fed for an hour and then slept. Two hours later we did it again.

I stayed in the hospital an extra night because I wanted to make sure I had this down.

When we got home, he continued to feed slowly every two hours for the first 4 weeks. I continued to supplement once a day to give us both rest. We’ve had no problems.

But now has come the tricky part. I’m returning to work and LJ will be remaining home with our domestic worker F. Therefore we’ve slowly been switching him over to drinking from a bottle in the day and continuing from the breast at night. He has had a few hiccups but has taken to the bottles easily.

I, however, am not adjusting to pumping so well. It does go tremendously quicker than actually feeding him and it isn’t painful like everyone said it would be. Because I’m pumping more often than I’d normally feed and continuing to feed at night my supply is staying consistent. Here’s the thing though….

I can’t help but feel like a cow! Literally, as I’m pumping I only imagine pictures of amish girls sitting at the foot of a cow and pumping into a can! I can actually hear the sound of the milk hitting the bottom of a metal pale. It is ridiculous. Sometimes this makes me laugh…other times I want to cry because how did I become an animal!

Dutifully I felt it was only proper to name my milker. My pump is officially dubbed Jenna-Mae while I remain old Bessie.

**I am still on a mission to keep pumping! And poor Jenna-Mae is a-callin'. Till next time folks! ;-)

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