Thursday, December 10, 2015

My Postpartum World: Breastfeeding

Little Dude is just under three months old now and I feel like things are starting to even out finally.
Postpartum was difficult in many ways (although, obviously totally worth it), and we still have a ways to go.

The day after LD was born we were sitting in our hospital room listening to the doctor's final instructions. I remember her saying "It took nine months to grow the kid and it'll take about that long for you to feel fully normal again too." I thought "Yikes!", no one had ever told me it would take that long. At this point, three months in, I think she was right. There are so many aspects of the postpartum experience that either we just don't talk about, nobody told me, or are just part of our individual family life.

The physical hurdles are obviously a part of postpartum. Pinterest is loaded with tips and tricks to "help you survive" (I might have even pinned some). It's not as dramatic as all that but it has definitely been a challenge for me. I won't share every detail because some are quite private but a few I'll give details on for the sake of sharing knowledge. 

Firstly, I'd like to apologize to any mother I've ever judged for having a "difficult breastfeeding experience". In times past I would think "Difficult?! Come on, suck it up, stick the kid on your boob and grit your teeth through the pain. It's what's best for your child." I know, soooo compassionate. Now I know the pain involved in early breastfeeding isn't the only difficult part. In fact I struggled so much our first night home, I ended up calling my friend Kristi (an L&D nurse) at about 5am and asking her to come help me because Little Dude WOULD NOT stay latched on. He screamed bloody murder for hours, squirming, and wiggling, taking only a few gulps before pulling off. My beautiful friend rushed to my rescue (as she has done before) and showed me a few different positions that helped immensely. Football hold has been a favorite lately. Finding a comfortable way to latch him on my right side has been challenging because of my hand too. That's an issue I kinda saw coming though. Just like with every two-handed skill I need to learn, it just takes time.

Our breastfeeding trials didn't completely end right there, but things sure got easier as far as latching went. Then I discovered I had an unusually aggressive let down. LD would be chugging away and then he'd suddenly start choking and coughing. It wasn't till I started pumping again (donating milk to another adoptive momma) that I noticed how fast my milk came out when it let down. At least 15-20 strong streams! Poor kid was getting sprayed in the back of the throat! At first I thought about switching him to bottles (only one stream instead of a dozen) and pumping exclusively, but after some research and thought, I decided it wasn't the right choice for us and I really wanted the connection and bonding that breastfeeding offers. Thankfully I noticed that my right side isn't nearly as strong as my left, so if I haven't felt a let down prior to feeding, I start him off on the right boob. Feeding in a reclined position also helps sometimes too, so the milk has to travel up stream a little. Little Dude also seems to be getting use to it as he grows too.

Squeaks has shown interest in brothers meal time too. She'll watch and ask inquisitively "Shoopie?" which is Squeaks-speak for smoothie (she gets one with breakfast every morning). We'll answer and say "Yep, brother is drinking his shoopie." Haha! I've even caught her trying to breastfeed her favorite stuffed animals. She's such a sweet little momma.

To be continued. Next up, COLIC!

As you can see from those beautiful chubby cheeks, he's definitely getting enough to eat.
Squeaks breastfeeding Ebola Bear (so named due to his disease like spots) boppy pillow and all.

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