All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

PAIL – Breastfeeding Fun!

13 Comments

Oh, the wonderful topic of breastfeeding!  When we started TTC-ing, I was adamant – I would not breastfeed but I was interested in pumping exclusively.  The idea of a baby being attached to me (more specifically, by breasts) was uncomfortable, and I wanted nothing to do with it!  Well, time went by, and it went by, and it went by – without a baby – and I think that afforded me time to rethink the topic of breastfeeding.

By the time I was in my third trimester, I was signing up for every pre-birth class that our hospital offered.  The one that I was not going to sign up for was the one on breastfeeding.  At that point, I had decided I’d give it a try – so what was I thinking not signing up for the class?  My friend told me I should go so I went.  I am so glad I did!

I was one of the only a couple people there without their husbands, which struck me as odd.  But once the class got going, I realized that husbands have a role in breastfeeding as well – they need to know how hard it can be, they can help position the baby, and they can remember things from class that you may be too frustrated to remember when your baby refuses to latch on.  If I could do it all over again, I would most definitely invite my husband along with me (we didn’t know it was a coed class) and he would go.  He wishes he had had the opportunity.

I learned all about latching, lactation services at the hospital, what all can go wrong, and the different kinds of breast pumps.  I came out of that class convinced that I would not only TRY breastfeeding – but that I would DO it – for as long as possible.

It was not easy at first.  M did not latch correctly and it took a few visits with Lactation to get that resolved.  We even went back after two weeks at home with him because I was in so much pain and on the verge of quitting.  Marg, the consultant, put me at ease and got M to latch correctly every single time.  From that point forward, we were golden.  It took a while for my nipples to recover from almost three weeks of torture, but it worked out and we’ve been nursing exclusively ever since, with the exception of M’s 7 weeks in daycare before I quit to be a SAHM (and even then, he was only drinking expressed milk).

I find myself a little judgmental, at times, of mothers who don’t try nursing, which isn’t fair of me.  I just know that if I had stuck to what I had originally thought, I would have missed out on this wonderful bonding experience with my child.  If I would have believed that we couldn’t fix M’s latching problem, I would have quit.  I, too, would have said, “I just couldn’t do it.”  The truth is, I could do it, WE just needed some help.  M and I had to be taught how to work together.  If you don’t seek help, it’s very easy to quit.  I think breastfeeding is NOT something that comes naturally to many, many women – leading them to think that their body just can’t do it.

I am so pro-nursing that I own a hospital grade pump.  Why a hospital grade pump, you ask?  Because it’s stronger, it does a great job of getting your milk started, and it keeps it coming strong.  Seriously – I tried a consumer grade pump at first and it was doing me no good (or limited good).  The first time with the hospital grade pump produced almost twice as much as the consumer grade pump did the day before.  Here is a tip that no one shares with you.  When you go to nursing class at the hospital, they talk about renting the hospital grade pumps ($60 a month!) but they don’t say you can buy them.  But you can!

Yes, they are very expensive (4-5 times the cost of the consumer pump), but hear me out.  The consumer grade pumps aren’t as strong as the hospital grade ones – hence their lower prices.  However, in the US, you can use FSA (flexible spending account) money to purchase a breast pump – including a hospital grade pump.  You can then legitimately resell the hospital grade pump (because it’s a closed, sterile unit) for about 75% of the cost you paid for it once you’re done with it.  In fact – I spoke with Medela about this and they said absolutely resell it.  If you do the math, you save 30% up front by using FSA money, and then resell it for 75% of the what you paid.  At the end of the day – it truly is free.  When I resell my pump, I will likely sell it for more than I paid when you consider the tax benefit of using FSA money to purchase it.

I tell everyone who nurses to buy a hand/manual pump.  We keep mine in the car, with disinfecting wipes, and I have used it on the interstate, in restrooms at the airport, at my parents’ house, etc.  When M isn’t in the mood to eat, I can pump on the go.  I love it!  I never thought I would be the type to schedule my life around breastfeeding and pumping, but I am!

M was on a very set schedule from the start – I didn’t want to be a snack bar – so we got a schedule down within the first two weeks.  I think that’s important!  I don’t know that we would have stuck it out as long as we have if he was eating on demand and just snacking.

So how long have we been doing this?  Eight and a half months!  I cannot believe it!  Just last week, I said I wasn’t ready to start fertility treatments for baby #2 until after June so that M can be breastfed for a full year (mind you – I have 2 months of milk stored up in the freezer – so this is just me being emotional about it!).  However, he is starting to bite me and that hurts – and he’s also starting to get very distracted and disinterested in nursing during the day, so he may be weaning himself.  If we can get the biting under control, I’ll nurse him as long as he’ll let me up to his first birthday!

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Author: Courtney

Hi, there, I’m Courtney. I never planned to stay home with my kids, but I got sucked into motherhood when my first baby came into our lives after years of infertility and multiple rounds of IVF. His brother followed closely behind, something we didn’t plan on after having such a rough road with achieving parenthood the first time around. My boys are IVF cycle twins, conceived on the same day but born two years and one day apart (they were both transferred on the same day in October, but with two years between them). My boys are the best of friends and my husband is a terrific husband, father, and most importantly… friend. He fully supported my desire to stay home (“I just wanted it to be your idea and not mine, I totally want you to stay home and raise our kids!”) and encourages me in everything I do. I am a lover of projects, spreadsheets, fitness, healthy cooking and eating, crafts, selling my stuff on FB (HA!), and the outdoors. If I’m active, I’m pretty darn happy!

13 thoughts on “PAIL – Breastfeeding Fun!

  1. That’s really interesting. I am also gladdened by the number of people who have said “good on you for the BF class” at first I thought- am I wasting my time? Now I feel powerful for making the decision.

    I haven’t purchased a pump yet but I am going to borrow one from a friend initially on a use to buy basis!

  2. Pingback: PAIL: March Theme Post–On Matters of the Boob | Yolk: A blog about eggs and sperm

  3. I wish I could use a hospital grade pump. I have to carry it on public transportation, so I can’t because it’s too heavy, but really, the consumer grade pumps are pretty weak and it makes me worry sometimes on the days I’m away all day. I’ve told my sister to do that instead of buying a consumer grade pump. I also definitely swear by having a hand pump as well. You can pull it out anywhere and mine, at least, does a pretty good job!

    • I think my hand pump is better than the consumer grade electric pump I used prior to the hospital pump. I LOVE the hand pump – so gentle and it’s very effective.

  4. Wow. I’m so jealous. 🙂 I thought I was going to be just like you, I really did. I guess that’s why I’m so hard on myself now. It seems just impossible that someone actually wouldn’t be able to succeed if they were really committed. With my first child, 28 hours of labor and a c-section… and a giant life threatening infection from the c-section were enough to completely zap my milk supply. I still worked with a lactation consultatant and took the meds to make milk, and I rented a hospital grade pump. Pumped around the clock for 3 months. Nada. And my son was never able to latch at all. No matter what we did. I felt like such a failure. And the looks from all the mommy’s happily nursing their babies at church, while I pulled out a bottle, just killed me. 2 years later we learned that he had an anatomical problem and couldn’t latch… because if he latched then he couldn’t breathe. Freaky. So I figured I’d try again. I thought it was just dumb freaky luck. I mean who gets that huge infection anyway? And who ever heard of a baby that can’t breathe when they’re latched? So with #2 I tried even again just determined to do everything that I possibly could to make it work. And I guess I did get through those first 2 months before the pediatrician told me to stop… but I still feel like a failure, and I still feel and see the judgement from other mothers who can breastfeed… those who don’t know my story… when they see me pull out that effing bottle. I dream of BF being easy the way I dream of getting/staying pregnant being easy. And feel a lot of the same isolation and “less than a woman” insecurities from it. But at the very least, I am SO grateful to live in a day and age when we do have formula.

    • No reason to feel like a failure – you did everything you could do! I can’t believe you made it 2 months the way you did.

      • Oh man – I wish we didn’t feel such pressure and judgment about bottles. It’s not like we’re feeding them White Russians out of those things. It could be formula or it could be expressed milk. Who cares?!? When I see a bottle, I try to give a look that’s like “You are feeding your child! That’s awesome! You rule. Good job mama!” I mean, Dads get that, why not Mums?

    • And let me just say – I know that I’m really lucky that it went as well as it did for us. Even with the issues we had, they’re nothing like some of the problems people can have (like what you described). I know that many gals have a much tougher BF road than I had!

  5. Wow… I’m impressed! And a bit in awe… (and a bit jealous, lol)

    I fully intended to breastfeed for at least 6 months. Sadly, my body worked against me (thank you insulin dependant GD!!), and even with all the herbs and rx meds to increase my supply, I just didn’t have the juice. I’m hoping that this time will be different (even tho I’ve been on insulin almost from the beginning of this pregnancy), but I know I won’t be as hard on myself if it doesn’t work.

    • We were lucky and only had latch problems to deal with – I know it could have been way harder! Breastfeeding is no walk in the park. I’m reading everyone’s posts right now and am realizing that I’m a pretty low producer compared to others. I always wondered if I was, but it’s pretty obvious from reading others’ experiences. If it’s not one thing, it’s another in the world of breastfeeding!

      So what RX do you get to increase supply? I’ve seen this a lot in the posts today and no one ever offered me any meds. My baby is 8.5 months old and after three hours or so, I’m still only pumping 3-5 ounces total. I should be getting 6-8 by now!

  6. Holy crap! 2 months of milk in the freezer? I’m *SO* jealous! The most I was ever up to was about 2 days, and now there isn’t a drop. I hate pumping more than anything in the world. Not because it hurts, I just hate sitting there doing it when I feel guilty for not doing things around the house since I’m “home all day”. I have a hospital grade pump too though, so I’m going to be quite happy to sell it. From what I gather, I can just sell the pump part and the new owner can get what I call “The Titty Juicers” – you know the suction cup cone thingies? Did I mention I hate pumping?

    We are all going through Daylight Nursing Strikes. I think it’s causing me to dry up honestly. Which, is fine I guess. I’m into on demand feeding and child-led weaning for the two of us, but if I’m being honest it’s ME that’s not ready to stop. Breastfeeding has been the only thing my body was able to do RIGHT on this whole baby-making journey through hell. I don’t want it to end!

    • You and I have discussed this before, and I’m the one in the M + C equation that doesn’t want to stop breastfeeding. I just really enjoy it. However, this biting is getting old. If anything’s going to make me stop, it’s that. We’re trying to resolve it and teach him not to do it, but he just really seems to like biting me. He smiles when he does it. Ugh.

      I was never an on-demand mom, but now that I can’t get him too interested during the day, I let him nurse whenever he wants. I try to get him to eat many times during the day, and if he even shows the slightest interest, it’s showtime! I nursed him in the car in the parking lot of a park today because he seemed clingy. He ate, for a few minutes, and I was happy 🙂

  7. So happy you stuck it out and you’re enojoying BFing! I’m sad about quitting to – my little man will be 1 yr in may and I’m sad (and a bit excited) about the end. Who knew it would be so emotional?

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