Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Quick Weaning Update

Instead of a Walk of Shame this week, I am going to post a small mommy brag!

As I mentioned before, Becca is s-l-o-w-l-y weaning in fits and starts. One of the hardest things I have struggled with is soothing Becca without nursing her particularly when she is requesting to nurse. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to hug her close, rub her belly and sing softly in her ear. However, I struggle when that isn’t working, she is requesting a breast and I KNOW that will resolve the situation in an instant. This is especially difficult when I am occupied with something else or when I am awoken in the middle of the night.

Well, last night I managed to do it.

Becca woke at 12:30 a.m. crying in pain. I was still up trying to finish up a few things. When I got up there, it was clear that was having gas pain. So I picked her up and did the usual soothing ritual. Becca began to root for a breast and I fended her off continuing to rub her back. This went on for a few minutes so my resolve began to break down (she was in pain, the nursing will quiet and soothe her instantly). Just when I was getting ready to nurse her, I found myself wondering: What would I do if I COULDN’T nurse her? So I employed some of the techniques that I had learned from The Happiest Baby on the Block (holding her tight, swinging her, shushing her) and alternated it will a quick jog in place and a lullaby or two. After a minute or two more (and a few farts), Becca slowly relaxed into sleep and I placed her back in her crib. I think I am slowly weaning myself off my reliance on nursing as the ultimate panacea.

This may have been a small moment but I believe it is a real turning point in our weaning process. I say, “our” because I realized that I am as attached to nursing as Becca is just for different reasons.
Sometimes it is these little moments that can make the biggest impact!

Mary Kate

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Weaning

Since I’ve been so tired there has been a lot that has happened in the last few months that I have neglected to blog about. So I’m going to try to catch up a little. One big thing that happened is that I weaned John Patrick.

Since every baby and every mom are different, Mary Kate thought it would be a good idea to share my experience in case it helps anyone else out there in the blogosphere. Great idea!

A little background: Since John Patrick was a preemie, he was introduced to the bottle before the breast. It took him two months to get the hang of breastfeeding – remember that? So I did a lot of pumping at first. But once he finally clicked with breastfeeding, it was all downhill – for awhile.

Introducing formula: At three months I decided to slowly introduce formula. I knew that I would be going back to work in another four weeks and I wanted him to get used to eating formula with me, in case he had any kind of bad reaction to it. I knew that he would probably have to take some formula at his nursery. He clicked with it really easily. It almost seemed as if he didn’t even notice a difference. (I decided not to take that personally.)

Going back to work: Now I should preface this by saying that going back to work was EXTREMELY difficult for me. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to leave him (although that was a part of it). But it was mostly because my boss decided to punish me for a couple of months for having a baby and my work environment was unbearably stressful. This was the point in the last 8 months that I almost had a nervous breakdown. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right, in any part of my life. It was really horrible.

Through all this stress my milk supply consistently decreased everyday. No matter what I did (pumped more, drank special teas, breastfed more at home) it didn’t matter. First I went down to 50% breast milk and 50% formula at his nursery. Then it went down to only one bottle a day. I felt guilty because at this point John Patrick was only 5 months old. I had it in my mind that I would definitely breastfeed for a full 6 months.

Then I finally realized that the stress of breastfeeding was also making me crazy. I was literally trying to be EVERYTHING to EVERYBODY (nurturer / nourisher to my son, the model employee for my boss, organizer / household manager for my husband). I finally just snapped. And I realized that I just couldn’t do it all.

Just letting go: Once I decided that it was ok for John Patrick to take formula and that I had done the best I could (I did last 5 months with a preemie who originally had no intention of ever breastfeeding), things just happened naturally. My body produced less and less everyday. John Patrick became less and less interested in breastfeeding. Till finally the only nursing I was doing was before bedtime. I don’t even remember the last time I nursed him but at some point he stopped wanting to be nursed then too. And my body stopped producing about the same time.

For me, I didn’t have hormonal issues or engorgement. My issues were more psychological. But as I soon as I stopped putting so much pressure on myself, it just happened naturally. And he’s a big chunky healthy boy so I’m over feeling “guilty”.

Everyone experiences something different when weaning (if you decided to breastfeed). I guess my only advice is don’t be your own worst enemy. It’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen.

Good Luck!

Jen

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Filed under Baby, Breastfeeding, Daycare, Mom Issue, Take a Moment, Work

S-L-O-W-L-Y Weaning

When I look back on my first few hours of breastfeeding, it is hard to believe that I have been breastfeeding for 22 months and counting. I remember in the early days I was taken it one day at a time and before I knew it, I had been breastfeeding for 3 weeks, then 3 months, then 6 months. All of a sudden I was approaching a year and found myself beginning to think about weaning.

The thought of weaning felt really overwhelming. I had grown accustomed to my “secret weapon” of nursing. Becca having trouble sleeping? Whip out a boob! Not sure that Becca had enough to eat tonight? Whip out the boob? Becca fell and skinned her knee? Whip out the boob? Becca just feeling cranky and annoyed? Whip out the boob!

I hadn’t realized how much I had grown to rely on nursing until I began to think about not having it anymore. How the heck was I going to deal with all of the situations above without nursing? It was the ultimate panacea and I didn’t have any reliable back-ups.

Since Becca’s 1st birthday, we have been s-l-o-w-l-y working on weaning. A month after her birthday, she went 24 hours without nursing. I thought for sure that it was just a matter of days before Becca would be finished nursing. I felt conflicted at the thought but also excited about truly getting my body back. Instead, it was as if Becca had her own freak-out about losing her panacea and increased her nursing significantly.

For the past 10 months, Becca has continued to decrease and increase her nursing. During this time, she has gone as long as 72 hours without nursing. Just when I am getting ready to pack in my nursing bras, Becca will begin to nurse again. Apparently, she is as conflicted as I am.

Mary Kate

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The T.V. Walk of Shame

I can truthfully say that until about 15 months, Becca didn’t know who Dora was, couldn’t name any of the Backyardigans and had never been exposed to Barney. HOWEVER, she could bob her head to the theme song of Ellen, knew the Desperate Housewives and had her own theories on LOST.

Yep, I admit it. When I nurse Becca, I tend to watch one of “my” t.v. programs (Top Chef, Medium, Law and Order) and we even upgraded to a DVR to increase the likelihood I would have something to watch. Until recently, I figured she was oblivious and had no idea what was going on behind her.

More recently, I have noticed that she will ‘pop-off’ to look behind her and see what is going on. I have also noticed that when she wants to nurse she will say, “teeeee veeee” and ask for “arriba” (upstairs) because that is where I nurse her (upstairs, in front of the t.v.). So I think she may be over the oblivious phase and I may need to be just a little bit more careful about what I watch in front (or behind) her.

As always, please share your current walk of shame via the comments or by posting a link to your own blog.

Mary Kate

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Breastfeeding a Preemie – UPDATE

Well, it finally happened this weekend………

John Patrick has finally taken to the breast!

I decided to give it one more sincere try and it just clicked with him. Today John Patrick is 2 months old (2 weeks past due date) and our whole world has changed. Here’s how……

  • No more pumping sessions that involve bouncing a bouncy seat with one foot while singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” while John Patrick cries to be held.
  • No more constant math work of “how many ounces have I pumped and will he eat for the rest of the day?”
  • No more frantic feeling of “Oh my God! I only have one bottle left – pump alert, pump alert”.
  • No more excusing myself while dad feeds John Patrick and I sit lonely in a room listening to the “shshshsh shshshsh” sound of the pumping machine.

And Oh! how much easier it is to just feed him right on demand. Hey, I’m holding him anyway. Might as well feed him while we’re cuddling.

In my mind there’s two ways to feed that are both perfectly wonderful – breastfeeding and formula/bottle feeding. But constant pumping and feeding is a nightmare. Although I guess I’m glad I hung in there. Oh the things we do for our children.

And guess what. I’m NOT off to the pump…..

Jen

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Breastfeeding a Preemie

My son, John Patrick was born 7 weeks premature. Before he was born, I had every intention of breastfeeding and even went to breastfeeding classes in order to be totally prepared. After he was born, he spent the first seven days of his life in NICU and the first 3 days on feeding tubes. Once he learned how to “suck” they immediately put him on a bottle so that they could monitor exactly how much he was eating.

So began the pumping.

I was lucky that my milk came in pretty fast and I had a good strong supply. I kept pumping every three hours and storing up all that milk for his bottles. At the same time I was doing “kangaroo care” and I would literally drop his tiny body into my hospital gown and have direct skin on skin contact as long as possible. (Side note – I do believe this is how he got so strong so fast and was able to leave the hospital so soon.)

I wouldn’t do any of those things differently, and honestly I didn’t have a choice either way. But here is the result of that first week experience……. My son still doesn’t breastfeed and prefers, no actually demands, the bottle. So here I am 8 weeks later, still pumping.

People love to give me advice about it, “try harder”, “call a lactation consultant”, “don’t give up”, “don’t give formula”. And hey, I love advice, so I’ve tried all those things. But as you may remember from my first post, my son was quick to show me he’s the one calling all the shots.

I’ve heard of lots of mothers who had no problem breastfeeding their premature baby. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been my experience and now I am forced to pump as much as possible and supplement with formula. It’s definitely challenging but I am trying to give him as much breastmilk as possible.

I guess another thing I’ve learned through my experience is that premature babies come with their own challenges. You just have to put aside all your expectations and go with the flow (so to speak).

And on that note, I’m off to the pump……..

Jen

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My Brest Friend

I would like to recommend the “My Brest Friend” nursing pillow. I know; the name of the product leaves something to be desired. However, I definitely attribute some of my success with breast feeding to this pillow.

My Brest Friend in Use

 

  • It easily raised my daughter into the correct nursing position.
    • With other nursing pillows, I found that I still need to place my arms between my baby and the pillow. Or else, I would use other pillows to prop underneath the other pillow.
    • As she grew, it was easy for me to adjust the nursing pillow to the height I needed it at.
  • It provides a nice flat surface for my baby to lie flat on.
    • With other nursing pillows, I found that half her body was hanging off the pillow.
  • If necessary, I can lean forward or backward without disturbing the nursing session.
    • I am able to nurse my daughter and lean forward to grab the telephone or remote without disturbing the nursing session.

M. Kate

 

 

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