So breastfeeding, the second time around…I have to say, at three months, it’s not so bad. Gasp! (right?)
If you don’t remember my last post about it, here it is: Breastfeeding Sucks (Period). With a title like that, I’m sure you can imagine my sentiments. Even when I was ending the whole experience I wasn’t that heartbroken. I was disappointed that it didn’t go as planned and a little forlorn that I wouldn’t ever get the warm fuzzies over it. The biggest thing is though…even, to this day, how angry I was that no one expressed how hard it could be and how painful it is at the beginning.
This time around it was still painful, but I was almost expecting it to be. I went in with high hopes that it was going to be so much better than the last time. Probably too high of hopes, because it wasn’t as easy as I’d planned. However, this time I was prepared, but still not quite ready to take on the pain. I still think something is amiss. I mean, if wild animals have that kind of pain when their young wants to feed, I’m fairly certain they would kick them off. Don’t you think? (This does make me chuckle a little when I picture it, in a cartoon fashion).
Since Cecito has had some medical hurdles it was a bit of a rocky start, but we persevered. I started pumping, almost immediately to help with my supply. Ended up with two extra pumping sessions, a day, starting around 3 weeks. Also started taking Fenugreek around 5 weeks. Then, started eating a bowl of oatmeal a day at about 7 weeks.
I’m still taking Fenugreek. Only pumping once a day and eating oatmeal about 3x a week since a week and a half ago. The pumping helped me see how much I was producing and to save some for the weekend I went away mid-September. This weekend also showed us exactly how much Cecito was taking in and how much I could exclusively pump, on my own. After all that, I was more secure in my supply. Not to mention, his attitude didn’t change during that weekend. He was still a screaming banshee for part of the evening. Which meant that my supply wasn’t the reason he was so upset. We had started a bottle at night when he was 6 weeks old of expressed milk thinking that he just needed more than I could offer. It didn’t help then, nor the weekend he got full 4 oz feedings in each bottle, all day.
Now, I’m not worried. It feels really nice to just feed the babe whenever he needs it. Also to know that there’s enough for him. I never thought this would happen for me. It’s a huge relief. It’s awful to say, but I feel like I graduated into being a better Mother. Which has nothing to do with anything other than the expectation that’s put on moms to breastfeed. I know it’s the best and yadi-yada-yada but it’s also not always possible. I say, if you want to breastfeed go for it, but try not to let it rule your life, like I did. Even this second time around I was constantly worried and stressed about there being enough. Am I drinking enough water? Am I eating the right things? Is my body just not cut out for this? What if I’m not trying hard enough? What if I just can’t stick it out through the pain?
The stress and grief makes me cower just writing this. However, now I can actually say, I am an exclusively breastfeeding Momma. I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SAY THAT, EVER! It’s an accomplishment and I have to say it feels amazing. An accomplishment I had, almost, given up on.
I’m not completely pain free when I nurse, but the letdown pain is manageable. Sometimes I wince. For me, this is just how it’s gonna be. Plus, the little shocks I get in my breasts inbetween feedings still happen, occasionally. I found out that’s my milk building back up (who knew!?). I can even handle that, as it’s a good sign, and it’s slowly dissipating.
Lastly, I must thank a few people. I still go to the same breastfeeding support group I did last time (but not the hospital one). They are a huge help. If you are in San Diego, go here. Robin Kaplan is a wealth of information and support. When I first met her all I wanted to do was put her in my pocket and be her best friend. Seriously, hit her up. The next person is Nicole (Gordon Stover), an old friend who used to be a Le Leche League Leader. I hadn’t spoken to her since we were teenagers, but she reached out several times to help me through. It was amazing to talk to her and feel like I was heard; plus, given great advice that was applicable to me. I’m thankful to have had the support.
Thank you, all. I made it to the other side and it’s actually sunny over here.
Oh, aaaaand…that magical weight loss everyone raves about…well, it didn’t happen to me. I was reminded of this when I read over the comments from my last breastfeeding post. (My friend, Leigh, mentioned it and I thought it was a good addition for this one.) At one point I was about 5 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight, but now I’m 9. Which is not all that bad. Right now I just love food. It feels like the one daily celebration I get to myself, so I will eat that cupcake without guilt. The weight will come off in time.