Saturday, March 26, 2011


O.k. if there are any squeemish/sensitive guys or gals reading this - now is the time to go to another blog for a day or two:)


O.k. I never thought of myself as a hippie, or old fashioned or any of the other stereotypes that traditionally go along with breastfeeding. I don't think I had given it much thought until I had two friends who got pregnant at the same time - one who was going to breast feed and one who wasn't.

Now, I understand it's not for everyone and to be honest I almost think of it as being a fad kind of like knitting, that comes in and out of fashion as the years go by - but I personally think it's an important fad and one that I fully support and encourage.

Don't be scared - I don't mean la leche league encourage which is like, scary obsessed women who pretty much tell you you are a horrible parent if you don't breast feed - I mean I would like to share my 2 experiences with you and hopefully it will help you either be able to breast feed longer or make you consider it if you weren't going to consider it before.

When I had Katie, I was super surprised that I decided to try breast feeding. No one in my family had ever done it and I didn't realize it was so important to me. So, as soon as she was born the nursing began.

At the hospital, the nurses are quite hands on in both a good and bad way. When I say hands on, I mean I had never had so many people touch, manipulate, squeeze or contort my boob in my life. They all had different suggestions about the best way to hold her and how to get her to latch on properly. etc.... We also took a breast feeding class at the hospital which I HIGHLY suggest for anyone considering it as it really does explain a lot and is super helpful.

Unfortunately, Katie was not as enthusiastic about breast feeding as I was. She was LAZY. She would literally snack for about 4 - 5 minutes and then pass out for enough time that I would think it was safe to put her down and then she'd wake up and snack some more. I kid you not, I was feeding her about 20 times a day - do the math - it was RIDICULOUS!

But I persisted for 3 full weeks. Then I decided to try to pump and bottle feed the breast milk and lo and behold - she ate less frequently because it wasn't so much work to get the milk out.

It was great because I had found a way to limit the amount of times I had to feed her, but it was awful because that started 2 and a half months of me pumping full time with a SINGLE, MANUAL pump to get her enough milk to only have to feed her one or two formula bottles a day for supplementing.

I tried a hospital grade electric pump, but wasn't getting as much milk as I did with the manual - so I took it back and stuck with the manual. Had I known about different sized breast shields for the electric pump - I have a feeling my pumping ability would have been stretched out way longer than 3 months.

So, needless to say my breast feeding experience with Katie wasn't fabulous - but I was able to mostly breast feed her for 3 full months and as much work and effort as it was - I am glad I did.
There is no way to prove it - but my kid has only ever gotten colds - and in her 2 years of life - I would say she's had maybe 5. Period. No other sickness or ailments besides teething and I'd like to think part of that is because of the breast milk.

Now... fast forward to Ben. I had full intention of breast feeding and was expecting him to be like her. When he was first born, I realized how tiny and difficult it could be to get them to latch on at first - however he latched on in the first 5 minutes and nursed for about 45 minutes and we haven't looked back since. My milk came in the first night we were home and I swear to god I feel like Dolly Parton - but that will adjust itself and regulate once this little monster settles into a regular routine.

So far, he is eating about 10 - 12 times a day - which is what it should be. I haven't had much discomfort because I started using Lansinoh Lanolin to rub on my nipples in the hospital and it works wonders. A nurse in the hospital also told me I could use Olive Oil and it would help a lot too - so I have tried that as well.

No chapped, hurting nipples here!

Now, Ben has started cluster feeding which means he will go a long period without eating (luckily at night for about 3 - 4.5 hours) but then he will wake up so hungry that he will eat for what feels like 2 hours. Which I will happily deal with so that I can get the sleep at night.

He is also going through a growth spurt - so I think that's why he's eating so much at the moment.

Thank god for my husband who is taking care of Katie full time during the day for me so that I can concentrate on getting Ben on schedule. Katie is also doing very well and not getting jealous, or ANYTHING and handles me breast feeding very well. So, it's going to be a long few weeks but after we get settled in a routine, I will be able to go out and about and not have to worry about formula or carrying water around or finding a place to warm a bottle and I can't WAIT!

So... here are my suggestions for breastfeeding success/happiness!

  • Good nursing bras/tanks - you will need to have access to your breasts full time, especially the first few days so tight or long shirts are out of the question.

  • Drink lots of fluids and eat plenty of snacks (I'm a thirsty, hungry breast during the day and still have lost 15 pounds already which is amazing as I swear each of my boobs must way 5 pounds on their own) My best friends doctor once told her husband to feed her every time the baby was eating - when asked what he should feed her the doc said - a sandwich - now that's a bit ridiculous and extreme but - I do think you should drink water EVERY TIME you feed and you should have healthy easy to eat snacks available within reach.
  • Get yourself a nice cover up so that you feel comfortable feeding in front of guests. I have the BE BE AU LAIT cover and it's AWESOME - because it has a special band at the top which makes it bow out so you can actually see and watch the baby the whole time you are feeding - unlike regular covers that are like draping a blanket over you and the baby which I feel are suffocating and which don't allow you to see what's going on.
  • Get fitted for your breast pump properly. I had no idea with Katie that I had to get fitted for the breastshields that go over your boob. All pumps come with Medium Sized breast shields - here is a picture of what it's supposed to look like.
    I just figured out I need an XXL (TMI - sorry)- which is QUITE a difference from the medium and which is making a huge difference in my comfort and amount of milk I am able to pump. So, check it out and make sure yours are the right size.

  • If breastfeeding in front of guests is uncomfortable even with a cover at first, I vote you limit your guests for the first few weeks so that you can ensure you establish proper latch, etc.... you will be glad you did when you can pop your kid onto your boob with one hand under your super chic cover and feed with no effort at all in any situation at a moments notice:)
  • Have a breast feeding kit handy for night time feedings. I have a special table next to the chair I typically feed in that holds the remotes to the tv, a bottle of water, a snack, (currently cheddar cheese combos - not the most nutritious I know) my lansinoh, some diapers and wipes, burp cloths and hand sanitizer. and my ipod which is where I track all my feedings.

  • I keep it all in a basket and can just grab the basket for any chair I choose to sit in so I have everything I need right there and it makes my nighttime feedings SO MUCH MORE pleasant.
I realize not everyone can breast feed successfully and I realize not everyone wants to and I think that's perfectly ok. Like I said - I just wanted to offer some support in case it's something your thinking about. But definitely research it because breast milk does amazing stuff and has incredible health benefits for you and baby not to mention your wallet... Sure you will be spending more money on healthy, foods for you - but that's WIN WIN - especially if you want to lose your pregnancy weight quickly.

However, I do think that even if you are 100% set on bottle feeding, that you consider at least nursing while you are in the hospital so the baby can get the colostrum which is supposed to be SUPER packed with immunity boosting goodness, and important vitamins for them. Especially since you have nothing to do while you are at the hospital but enjoy your baby and get spoiled by nurses - so take advantage and try to give your baby a boost and who knows you might decide you love it and decide to continue or you might decide it's definitely not for you and not have any guilt over making that decision.

I'll tell you this. Once I started breastfeeding Katie and made the decision to add formula - I had SERIOUS GUILT - like catholic level guilt (which is funny) especially when every time I picked up a bottle of formula, I read BREASTMILK IS BEST - so it delayed our introducing formula by days because I just couldn't pull the plug and ignore the message. So if you think you're going to feel guilty too... give it a try and then you will know you made the right decision for you and baby!

I hope this helps at least one person out there who is lost in the breastfeeding world of constant feeding the first 4 weeks. Just know that it should get better after the 4th week. Meaning you should be able to feed the baby between 8 and 12 times a day and they should eat more efficiently which means they won't eat for 45 mins at a time. And I promise the ability to feed your baby anywhere, at any time, with nothing but a cover will be well worth it.
Once you get established, you can also pump bottles for your husband to help out at night and it won't mess with your supply and then hubby can be more involved and you can get more sleep - win win!

Happy Saturday!


  1. When I first read this post I dind't think I was going to have anything to say...I know imagine that, but then since my breastfeeding didn't got so well I thought I would share. I had full intentions of breastfeeding- as a small breasted woman I was excited about it for more than one reason. I was totally prepared- I had taken the class, bought the bras, the tanks, the expensive pump, the cover ups, etc. When JC was born I fed within the first hour of him being born. It took him forever to figure out how to latch. The consultant came in and we tried about 20 different positions. When we finally got him on he was more of a player than a latcher but I never gave up. When we went for his first doctor's appointment a few days after coming home we discovered that he had lost close to 2 lbs since we had left the hospital 3 days prior...yup I was starving my child. TALK ABOUT GUILT!!! So the doctor and the consultant suggested that I try putting JC to my breast for about 30 minutes and then feed him what ever I had pumped. So here is how things went for 2 weeks. JC would wake, I would get him to latch for about 30 minutes, then Gene would get up and feed him from the bottle while I pumped. Now the sad part is that I was only getting about an once total from both breasts so after about two weeks of JC needing to feed like every 2 hours since he was never getting enough food and the whole to breast pump process taking over an hour we were running on nothing. So when my husband looked over at me during our middle of the night feeding and said "You know we might just have a formula fed baby, " I was so happy I cried. I went to the kitchen made a bottle of a full 4 ounces and left Gene to feed JC who finished that bottle and slept for 6 HOURS STRAIGHT. I thought I died and went to baby heaven. At JC's 3 week appointment (we were a little out of wack in our appointments due to our weight issue) the doctor said the best thing in the world to me "This will not screw him up...what you do to him later in life now that is going to mess with him fovever. Plus I was a formula fed baby and heck I am doctor." So the question that lies is will I breast or formula feed when we have our next kid...I guess only time and life will tell.

  2. I'm transferring the FB Comments over in case anyone missed all the discussion:)

    Thank god I never did that!
    Sarah Leonard It sounds way to scarey and consuming...and I only took 2 weeks off from work with both boys!

    Annie Inigo-Metcalfe It's not scary at all!!! And I love the extra time I get with him now :). But I agree not everyone can give up so much time or it.

    Daniela Eaton You are so right that everybody needs to make the decision for themselves and that lactation consultants can be a little too pushy at times. That being said I did it for 9 months even though I went back to work after 8 weeks. Yes, it is hard if you have a baby that wants to be fed every 3 hours at night when you are working full time but it is the nicest bonding experience that nobody can take away from you. :-)

    Carolyn Lehman
    glad you are already having a better experience this time around. I didn't enjoy the 2 months I breastfed Madison but am going on 6 months of exclusive breast feeding with Katie and enjoyed it so much! I can't even believe it, I would have... never thought I would nurse this long but it's easier with the 2nd for sure and I was more relaxed. I am going to ween down now though to only morning and night and do bottles during the day to give me more flexibility this spring/summer when we are out and about, with not having to find a place to nurse/pump all the time.

    Jessica Murphy Payne I agree, the 2nd time around is SO much easier. Lucy is such a better and more efficient feeder than luke ever was or maybe it's that I kinda sorta know what I'm doing this time.!?!?

    Deb Garlet Douglas Ihad a dream last night u were streaming live feed of u breatfeeding... that was a dream, right??

    Julia Felleman Great post Annie! I was only slightly pressured from my sister and sister in law who nursed both of their kids for the first YEAR (note:both are slightly crazy!) I just finish weening this past week and my daughter is almost 8 months. I agree, its time consuming, exhausting, etc but great for the kid. My approach was always, if i can handle it and the kid takes to it, i'll do it, otherwise, no need to drive yourself crazy as there are clearly other things to worry about :)

    Heather Leahy What a great post. It's nice to read about other people's experience. Both my boys were super easy to breastfeed. I got lucky. I stopped with Connor when he was 9 months because he bit me really, really hard. I wanted to do the whole year. I'm still breastfeeding Brandon (he's 8 1/2 months) and I'm hoping I can make the full year.