Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Wow. Breastfeeding. Where do I begin?

I told my sister about this post. And I said, "It's pretty long and drawn out, but it kind of needs to be, because breastfeeding is long and drawn out." I know reading about someone's breastfeeding story may be the most bizarre, uninteresting thing you can think of, but I know I enjoyed reading people's stories when preparing for Sawyer to arrive. So if you're interested... here we go! If not, go ahead and skip this post. No hard feelings. :)

Before Sawyer was born I knew I was going to breastfeed. It was never really an option for me. People told me it would be hard, but it was something I just knew I wanted to do for my baby. 

In the hospital Sawyer started rooting, and looking for food, before I even got to hold him, so right when I first got to hold him we nursed and he latched right on. 

While we were still in the hospital a lactation specialist came in to watch me nurse, she helped with some positioning and made things a little more comfortable, but then was gone. Every time I would nurse my mom or my Ama would try to help me position him the way the specialist had shown me, and help him to get a better latch. It seemed like a multiple person job to keep his little head supported, hold my boob the way I was supposed to and get his tiny little mouth latched on the right way. I remember thinking, how am I ever going to do this alone?

The first couple of weeks home from the hospital were hard. I wrote a post 4 weeks out. That explained some of how I was feeing. But the breastfeeding was so much harder than I ever imagined it would be. When my milk came in, my breasts were so engorged that they were literally rock hard. It was so painful. And when Sawyer would try to latch on with my breasts that full, milk would seriously come spraying out. It would be all over the place. Squirting him in the face, all over my clothes, the couch, my hands. I was a sticky mess. There were so many middle of the night feedings that I would be crying and praying for strength and patience to get through this for my baby.

It may seem dramatic, but in the middle of the night, when your baby is hungry and you are sleep deprived and emotional, it seems like the hardest thing in the world. Maybe it's one of those things that maybe you won't understand unless you've been there. Maybe it was just me.

Finally after the first month things got easier. We started to get the hang of it. My nipples weren't quite as raw, my milk didn't come squirting out, and I even felt comfortable enough to venture out and nurse in public. (Teaching Sawyer to nurse under the nursing cover, was a whole other battle.)

In December when Sawyer was about 9 weeks old we introduced the bottle. It was a little stressful for me, but he took to it right away. We wanted to get him comfortable with a bottle because I would be going back to work when he was 12 weeks old. We decided to go to with the Avent Natural bottles for monetary reasons, reviews, and the fact that it was recommended for breastfeeding babies. Well, what they warn you about was exactly what happened to us. Sawyer would still nurse, but it became a battle. He wasn't getting the milk as quickly as he could if he were drinking from a bottle, and he was sure to let me know how he felt about it. By un-latching (is that a word?) and screaming at me. He would latch back on for a few minutes, and then un-latch again and scream. It became so stressful and I would dread nursing.

After a few weeks of this I decided to try switching Sawyer to a bottle permanently and to pump instead. Although this took up more time, and involved doing many more dishes. It was what worked for us. I started to enjoy feeding Sawyer a lot more, and he enjoyed the feedings more too. Justin got to start feeding him and taking some of the shifts, and I could actually keep track of how much Sawyer was eating per day (which was good to know, since he's always been a skinny little guy). I would pump about 6 times a day, and with Sawyer eating 5 bottles per day, I created quite the freezer supply.

When I went back to work I would get up and pump while I was getting ready, during my lunch break, once I got home from work, and then right before bed. My supply was pretty good, and I was able to keep up with how much Sawyer needed, I only had to dip into my freezer supply every now and then.

As Sawyer got a little older and a little bigger, he needed more milk but I wasn't quite keeping up, if anything it seemed my supply was declining a little. I had to use about one of my frozen bags per day to keep up. As we approached his 4 month appointment my freezer supply was almost gone, and as you may have read, I needed to up his ounces in order to try to bulk him up a little! Well the time came where my freezer supply was gone, and we had to start using a little bit of formula. Thank goodness Sawyer is the most easy going baby and took to the formula just fine. That made it much less stressful for me.

And that's where we are now! And I'm good with it. There are still some hard parts. Pumping 4 times a day is kind of a pain in the butt, my nipples look like sad little stretched out raspberries, and they hurt. But Sawyer is still getting breastmilk every day. And he is a growing happy little baby. Which is the most important thing.

My goal was to breastfeed until he was 6 months old. I've still got a little bit to go until then, and I'm not sure where we'll be in this journey at that point, but I'm taking it as it comes, and it's working out pretty well for us. Even though it's been hard, I'm glad that I am able to provide this for him, and I know it's worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Hate pumping!! And breastfeeding is so hard I agree! That's such a fear of mine with this second baby. I remember crying because it hurts so bad! Once they get teeth its a whole other battle so I pumped too. It was hard and don't blame you for doing formula. I read somewhere about how breastfeeding is so good for them and easy/cheaper... But a mothers sanity is also important so to do what works best for you :)