Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Breastfeeding 101 (my experience)

   I would like to start off by saying that breastfeeding is completely a personal choice for any family whether choosing to breastfeed or formula feed. I am not a breastfeeding fanatic to where I say "FORMULA, NO!" "BREAST ALL THE WAY". No. I know alot of women who breastfeed or formula feed advocate it as being preferencial to one or the other and that is completely fine. I am not here to tell you what to do, only to offer my advice and my personal experience with breastfeeding.

 Ok, Now on to the beginning. :)

   Before the birth of my son and infact years ago, I was so curious as to what breastfeeding was, what it benefited, and why women did it. I began to do research and found alot of interesting facts that led me to the decision that was the best decision I would be making years later.[now]
After reading that breastfeeding not only would benefit my baby in many ways now and Post breastfeeding, but it would also benefit ME in many ways as well! I thought to myself "hmmm. your telling me its free, readily available at all times, and benefits me and my baby?" Please tell me more. oh and I will. before moving along with my experience, 

Here are some ways it can benefit the mother.

  • Always clean - fresh - convenient - the right temperature - ready to use ... and it's free!
  • Makes uterus contract after birth - stops excess bleeding at birth - less blood loss for mother
  • Mother gets back in shape sooner -- loses weight faster after birth while nursing from 3 to 12 months
  • Prevents mothers' periods, if baby is completely breastfed -- saves mom's strength from blood loss
  • Prevents pregnancy while baby is 'breastfeeding only'
  • Protects baby from illness -- Saves money on doctor/hospital bills
  • Feeding often - skin to skin - connects mom and baby.  Mother gains confidence in herself as a mother
  • Immune protection:  Mother kisses baby who was exposed to others' germs -- breast makes antibodies to those viruses and germs, and are in mothers blood protecting her too. 
  • Working mothers miss less time from work with a healthier baby
  • Breastfeeding takes less time than bottlefeeding, no cleaning or heating.  More time for mother to spend with baby and other children, and to rest.
  • Less risk for mother:  Urinary tract infections, Ovarian Cancer, Osteoporosis, Pre and Post Menopausal Breast Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease.

Pretty awesome right?

Here are some benefits for the baby.

  • Research shows that breastfed infants have fewer and shorter episodes of illness.
  • Breastfeeding is the most natural and nutritious way to encourage your baby’s optimal development.
  • Colostrum (the first milk) is a gentle, natural laxative that helps clear baby’s intestine, decreasing the chance for jaundice to occur.
  • The superior nutrition provided by breastmilk benefits your baby’s IQ.
  • Breastfeeding is a gentle way for newborns to transition to the world outside the womb.
  • The skin-to-skin contact encouraged by breastfeeding offers babies greater emotional security and enhances bonding.
  • The activity of sucking at the breast enhances development of baby’s oral muscles, facial bones, and aids in optimal dental development.
  • Breastfeeding appears to reduce the risk of obesity and hypertension.
  • Breastfeeding delays the onset of hereditary allergic disease, and lowers the risk of developing allergic disease.
  • Breastfeeding helps the baby’s immune system mature, protecting the baby in the meantime from viral, bacteria, and parasitic infections.
  • Breastfeeding increases the effectiveness of immunizations, increasing the protection against polio, tetanus, and diphtheria vaccines.
  • Breastfeeding protects against developing chronic diseases such as: celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and childhood cancers.
So moving along with my experience. 
I chose to breastfeed and Once my son was born I got to experience it at first hand. and The comments I get most are " is it painful?" and "I tried but I didnt get milk." 

For me, It wasnt painful. after 25 hours of natural labor, I dont think nipple sensitivity could have beat that anyways. LOL.. (TMI sorry) It was not easy at first, Ill be honest. but the one thing about breastfeeding is that you have no milk at first. Milk production is based on supply and demand. Basically, the more frequently and effectively the baby nurses, the more milk will be made. During the first few days of lactation, the breast produces colostrum, which is the baby's first milk. It has a yellowish tint and it is thick, rich and filled with all essential nutrients and immunity properties. Keep in mind that it is only teaspoons worth, but it is all the baby needs at this stage. The baby will feed very frequently in the colostrum stage, but this is very normal and will only help to establish a good supply. Don't worry that the colostrum isn't enough. The baby's body will accept more volume as the mother's supply increases over the next few days. It's a gradual process. The baby's stomach is only the size of a marble on
      Day 1. By Day 3, it's grown to the size of a shooter marble and by Day 10, the size of a ping-pong ball. The baby's feeding patterns teaches the body how much to produce and milk supply will adjust to his or her demands. So dont worry that your baby isnt getting enough. Another big concern for moms is " the baby isnt latching, or is having trouble latching."

    Ryland, didnt latch at first, but I wasnt concerned as I read it was normal. My lactation consultant wasnt the best and I actually preferred not having one. I was a big girl and with all the research i had done, I was confident that I can do this by myself. Trust me, I know the feeling of thinking " am i starving my baby, or I cant do this." Dont think like that. if your consistent, persistent, and POSITIVE, then you will know your baby WILL survive. During the first few days you have plenty of time to practice and practice. You and baby are both tired from labor so itll come naturally in time. I had the yellow colostrum as stated above and not alot of it. I decided to use their electric pump they provided just to get my breast a "headstart" to producing more milk. During our stay at the hospital, every few hours I'd wake up, try breastfeeding my son, and if it wasnt successful, I would pull him completely away and try again. after he fell asleep, I'd begin pumping with the electric pump even if I didnt get anything out. (like I said its just a headstart to producing milk until it actually came in) and I pretty much did that around the clock until we left the hospital. Keep in mind I did have staff helping me with latching and giving advice etc. but I was determined to do it on my own. Im stubborn. lol but I was grateful for all the help they offered! 

Our first day home was a relief, yet nerve wrecking at the same time. I was excited to be home with our baby boy finally. In our own bed, no people around just surrounded by my bundle of joy. And then it came time for feeding. I was worried that something would go wrong and there wouldnt be anyone to turn too. But I pulled that sucker out and helped him latch on and he did great! I know your probably thinking " you got lucky" or "it wasnt that easy for me".

  It may be harder for some babies and youll need to work at it. But remember it is a natural thing that God intended for mother and baby so NO worries. :) And if you absolutely have trouble and you talk to your Doctor and you simply cant and have to bottle feed that is ok too. Atleast you know you gave it your best. But I encourage everyone to not give up and stay consistent. Anyways, the second morning I was home. OMG.. My breast looked as if I had a triple D Silicone implant surgery! and it was OH so painful!!

I will tell you why...

When I was in the hospital I pumped every few hours to give myself a "headstart" and Boy I gave myself a headstart alright! My breast must have thought  I had Quintuplets!! so first time Mom mistake I learned the hard way. DONNOT over pump. lol. It was ok with me though because atleast I knew I was able to produce that much so quickly! It took my milk from birth to about 4 days to fully come in. From colostrum to full on milk. I was excited despite the pain I endured! But no worries, the good thing about nature is it catches on quick!! Your milk produces according to your babies feeding schedule so once he/she starts eating regularily then your milk suppy will even out and go to normal. 

It has pretty much been an easy decision for me. I never have to leave my bed. He has been Cosleeping with us since birth so thats a perk to breastfeeding. I turn over and its there for him. So best on both ends :) 

As far as public breast feeding- 

   I started out Pumping and feeding shortly after his birth. I am a stay at home mom, so I never really had to pump much, I did it just to store extra. However, I decided that I no longer wanted to pump and really wanted to just feed on demand and that is just what i did. I purchased a breast feeding cover and I used it when we were out in public. And yes at first I was modest about public feeding which Is why i pumped. But modesty goes out the window when you realize its natural thing. The first time I ever used my cover noone noticed. So I felt more and more comfortable and now its second nature to me. 

How often does he feed?
   I feed on demand. My son will eat when he is hungry and when he is not. He will want to "comfort nurse" when he hurts himself, when he is sad, happy, and in any mood. Babies wont eat necessarily just when they are hungry but in any emotion, which makes the bond that much stronger. :)

My weightloss-
Prepregnancy I was a pretty regular when it came to a fitness regimen. I was 128lbs before I got pregnant, 159lbs at fullterm, and post [now] I am at 110lbs. I can honestly say that I attribute my 18 lbs loss extra to breastfeeding. Breast feeding burns MAD calories and around 500-800 a day to be exact. sometimes more sometimes less. I was not on any diet and I did keep up a light fitness routine but nothing to hardcore. I feel the best i have ever felt and I think breastfeeding has something to do with it. So keep that in mind! :)

My son was born on October 12, 2013 at 11;16 a.m. weighing 7.5 lbs and was 21 inches long. My sweet baby boy is now 9 months old and we are still going strong today. People ask "how long do you plan to breastfeed". and Honestly I dont know. I absolutely love it, every second I get to spend with him eating and yanking my hair and pinching my arm pit. lol. Its a feeling like no other and I can say I will probably be an extended breastfeeder. (past a year) Maybe 2 will be my cut off limit who knows. We shall see! 

 I Hope this Blog helped you in anyway if you are an expectant mother who fears or has questions or concerns and are looking for personal experiences. Its not as bad as you think, Keep at it and You'll be great! I hope the best for you and your Beautiful Baby! 

Please share this blog with others! 

 God Bless, 


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