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September 12, 2010

Nursing Series Part One

So I am declaring this nursing week here at cloth diaper addiction. I will also be the first to admit that I am in no way a nursing pro. I was always undecided about whether or not I really wanted to nurse any of my babies. I knew it was the best thing for them and that it was also free but with being a plus sized mommy I wasn't completely comfortable with the whole idea of it. No one in my family nursed except for my mom and that was only with me, her 4th and final child. She nursed me for about 4 months before weaning and switching to formula. My mother-in-law nursed her children (all 6 of them), and was a huge advocate for nursing. I have two sisters both who have children, neither of them nurse but one of them wanted to. After her daughter ended up in the NICU for a month she pumped for a while but eventually switched to formula. On my husbands side only one of his siblings has kids and they were not nursed either. So as you can see nursing isn't really something that happens very often around me and my family, its not discouraged or encouraged.

Then there is me. Unsure of what I wanted to do and about to have our first child. After 22 hours of pitocen induced labor I ended up with a c-section and had to wait an hour in recovery before being able to hold my little guy. After being brought back up to my room and finally being able to hold him I started nursing him. It was hard and it hurt. Luckily I had wonderful nurses who I was comfortable asking questions to and comfortable with them helping me get a good latch for my son. However, he had different things in mind. He liked to keep his tongue on the top of his mouth which is not the best thing for feeding. We found a way to fix that problem...with a pacifier...we were hoping to not use one but ended up doing it anyways and we thought it had helped. We also had tried a nipple shield to help him get the hang of nursing. After leaving the hospital I continued to nurse. I became so engorged it hurt like crazy so I pumped which only made things worse. I also cracked from not getting a good latch. I used lanolin cream. It was a great friend and helped me to feel better but it didn't solve my problem. Nursing just wasn't working for me. I didn't have anyone to ask questions to, my son wasn't not gaining any weight and even my pediatrician who is very pro nursing suggested I supplement with formula to help get his weight up. Finally by six weeks he was gaining weight with the formula and breast feeding was basically over. And it was a hard 'over.' The one person related to me that had breast fed was not making it easy for me. Yes, I knew it was the best for my child but when my child is loosing so much weight that even the doctor says to change what I'm doing, I'm going to. Even my husband was telling me I should continue to nurse even though I knew it wasn't working for me.

Then my second baby came. I was going to give it another shot. What could it hurt really. Plus, I had an incentive. If I nursed I could save more money which would help me to be able to become a stay at home mommy. We went in for our c-section and welcomed our second little guy into the world. I got to see him for a quick second then he went up with the nurse and my hubby to get weight and all that good stuff and I went off to recovery for an hour. When I finally was able to go back up stairs I got to my room and waited for the nurse to bring me my little guy. I waited and waited and then in walked my Husband and our pediatrician. I knew something was wrong. The Dr. told me that my baby was born with wet lungs, typically when a baby is born naturally the fluids are squeezed out of them but with c-sections that doesn't happen because they are not pushed through the birth canal. He had to be on oxygen and she didn't know for how long. It took a lot of work for him to breath so bringing him down for me to see wasn't going to happen for a while, let alone nurse him. Periodically a nurse would come in and give me an update and I would ask each time 'when can I nurse,' 'should I pump?'. I didn't know. But they said to just wait a little bit and see what happens. After a few hours they tube fed him some milk, after a few more they gave him a bottle to see if he could handle breathing while drinking. Finally I was able to have my little guy in my arms. By then all my family had left and it was just my husband and I, and it was finally time to nurse. He took to it like a champ! He had a great latch and a big appetite. Nursing was a success! And completely new for me. I yet again had no idea what I was doing. How often should I nurse, is he getting enough, to much? I had no idea but after that one week weight check and seeing that he had GAINED weight I knew I was on the right track. Then week two came as well as major engorgement. I stood in the shower just crying because it hurt so much. I wanted to stop and be done right then and there. But I continued. I pumped but just a little to relieve pressure and it worked. At three weeks old we both were in sync with each other, he was sleeping 8-9 hours a night and nursing couldn't be better. Except in public. I didn't like nursing when I was out, it was that self confidence sneaking up on me again. I would go lock myself away in a room and nurse while my family and friends were out together having a good time. I missed out on great conversation with ADULTS! Finally I said to myself, you just have to do it. So I slowly did. I would sit in the corner of the room to nurse and use a nursing cover, and then before I knew it I was sitting at the table eating dinner and feeding my son. He did not have his first bottle until he was 4 months old and we were at a friends wedding. I felt proud that I was able to truly EBF my little guy.

How long did I want to nurse for? I had always said if I nurse it would only be for 6 months then I would switch to formula. Giving my son a bottle kind of pulled on my heart a little. It was hard to have him drink from a bottle and not me. I have been going back and forth with whether I want to stop nursing or not and have come to a decision that is right for me and my family. I will start weaning my son soon. I am happy for that decision and know that I have provided him with a great start and I'm proud of myself for being able to do what I have up to this point. I also am thinking that I might nurse my next one even longer. I've been reading what others have been saying on facebook about nursing for long periods of time and all of you ladies are truly inspiring! Thank you!

So for this week I hope to provide you with information about great products for nursing and also have a giveaway or two. I also have a couple of mother inspirational moms who are going to share with you as well. And for the moms who haven't nursed your little ones...your still wonderful moms!