Breastes?

I previously wrote an article after my first daughter was born that was more or less my realization that breastfeeding was hard times. At that point, becoming a mother was so new to me and I just felt like I was running behind the struggle bus just trying to get on. Now that I’m two months postpartum with my second daughter, I’m captain of the struggle bus and here to give you all the tricks and trades of breastfeeding that I’ve learned in my nursing years.

Breastfeeding is like meditation, it’s something you have to work for incessantly to hopefully achieve the all and mighty great supply (I’m talking overstocked freezer-considering donating your stash, hindmilk rich supply milk). I haven’t gotten there myself, but it seems to me that it usually comes to the mother’s that a) don’t stress about it or b) don’t care about it, which I’m neither.

I.

The most important rule in breastfeeding is DIET. Oh gawd, I thought I’d get some slack with my second child since my first was super colicky, but nooope. Her intolerance was almost immediate. After two days of consecutive witching hours, I gave up dairy* I was stubborn and kept my splash of creamer in my morning coffee. However, the joke was on me–less than one ounce of creamer in my coffee caused about 2 hours of constant crying/screaming during the evening. Since eliminating these foods, I have given up caffeine, tomatoes (mostly cooked tomatoes like pasta sauce) and dairy (raw, not cooked-ie. milk, cheeses, etc). I’ve also tried to stick to whole foods and limit sugars as much as possible. Somehow I’m still one of the lucky ones to hold on to my pregnancy weight while breastfeeding even though my diet is on point (wahhh).

II.

Water. I can’t ever seem to keep myself hydrated so I try to cheat as often as possible. I started by hydration journey by adding Liquid IV to my water once a day but realized my sugar intake was high so I switched to Nunn tablets. Both are sold on Amazon, Nunn comes in tablet form and is 10 calories per tablet/5 grams of sugar where liquid IV is a powder form and has 50 calories./11 grams of sugar . Nunn is also gluten free and is made with plant based ingredients and has 13 flavors to chose from where Liquid IV comes with 3 flavors and has a new hydration technology that also includes daily vitamins. I order them subscription from Amazon for a discount. Liquid IV is also sold at Costco (major convenience).  Or you know, you can just drink water like a normal person. Momming two girls has me cutting every shortcut possible since I can never find where my water cup is or I’m stuck with a sleeping baby in my arms and don’t have access to any nearby water supply.

III.

Community. Sign up for a mom forum (Facebook has hundreds of groups) or get breast friends. Literally nothing has helped me more than bouncing my problems off another breast feeder. Am I producing enough? Why is her poop green this week? When and how much do I pump? Is birth control going to rid my supply? Do I have a clogged duct? Is this product worth it? Gah, the ladies who have shared their TMI stories, advice and problems-you rock. I whole heartedly thank you. My best, unsolicited advice is to find that breast friend, and if you don’t have one-I’m here for you.

IV.

Legendairy Milk. Thanks to my friend, Rebecca, for introducing them to me (hay girl). Can we talk about how amazing their product line is? I admit, it’s overwhelming at first, I lied, it’s still overwhelming to nail which product(s) are right for you, but there is nothing more gratifying than building a freezer stash. I have a 15 lb/2 month old child currently, for new moms out there, my second child is the same size as my first child was at her 4 month appointment. I can somehow continue to grow her AND produce enough for my freezer stash. I have about 60 oz from 10 minute pumping sessions 1-2 times a day from the past month. I started with their popular bundle (liquid gold, pump princess and milkapoolaza) then ordered their tea (tea-tas) when I was convinced my hormonal IUD was going to diminish my supply. I just got their Lecithin and I’m planning on ordering the pump princess and cash cow bundle and lactivist to bump up my hind milk supply (just take all my money). I’m determined to have a solid milk supply. Plus their orders come with a ton of helpful hints on breastfeeding and their Instagram handle is my absolute favorite right now. Promise me, you will at least follow them if you’re planning on nursing.

V.

 Haakaa. I wasn’t sure I needed this at first but then my friend told me how much she saved from her leaky boob in two months, and I had ordered it before she could finish the conversation. I don’t know if she would want to be named in this article considering I just told you she had a leaky boob, but I ordered this and I plop it on my other boob while I nurse if I begin to leak and I’ve saved up to 5 oz in one cluster feeding sesh alone. Best of all, it’s like $13 dollars on Amazon and is the perfect tool to help get out a clogged duct, if you end up getting one. I consider a clogged duct to be a breast feeding badge of honor, so better to plan ahead IMO.

VI.

Learn your pump. I got the Spectra and tbh I had no idea what I was doing. I finally got my groove down, apparently you’re supposed to change the suction and duration during the feedings? I had no idea. I also didn’t know that you can pay the difference from the health insurance covered Spectra for the cordless Spectra (which is like a difference of $30.00), wish I knew that earlier. I have the Medela pump from my first pregnancy but I heard the suction was better on the Spectra, and so far I’m a fan. The plan I follow for my pump sessions is what I got off Legendairy Milk’s IG:

70 cycle for 3 mins

54 cycle for 6-7 vacuum 

38 cycle for 7 vaccum for 3-4 minutes, or until milk runs out

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I also just ordered the Willow pump, so I’ll let you know how that pans out in a later post. I was stressed out about how I would find the time to pump before/during work and find time to take care of the kids, nurse and find time to work out since my maternity leave is running out. It’s a wireless pump that will allow me to pump in the car and at my desk and I’m hoping this will change my life, but as most baby products you buy, it’s like a 50/50 shot, ha. If I can pump 3x a day at work or during work hours plus work out on my lunch since I’m not leaving my desk 2x a day for 40 minutes, it should be a total game changer.

I also have researched formula, too. I supplemented with my first when I went back to work but managed to still breast feed for 15 months. I confuse myself on why I’m so determined to breast feed, truly, since it 100% consumes my life. I just know it’s a miracle milk and if I’m one of the lucky moms that can do it, no reason why I shouldn’t? I just figure I have an extra year of pregnancy, because I’m counting down the days until I can use retinal, inject Botox, and have endless margaritas by a beach. Until then-I’m just sharing what I’ve learned since it’s the absolute most confusing part of motherhood minus the actual baby part.

Moms, feel free to contribute. Thanks for reading.

xx

 

Can we be Breast Friends?

When I found out I was pregnant, I pretty much knew what I was in for. Since I said sayonara to my teens, I have been exposed to pregnancy culture from various friends, family, film & reality television shows . I knew there was a possibility I could gain 100 lbs., get stretch marks all over my stomach, or any random thing that happened to a friend of a friend that conjured a fear & sort of stuck in my mind only to resurface once I saw that small second line on my pregnancy test.

Oh man, but boy does pregnancy take on a new life (pun intended). Once you begin to show (around 5 months or so), suddenly you’re an epicenter for unsolicited birth & baby advice. “Did you watch the Business of Being Born?” Yes. “Are you having an epidural, you know it drugs the baby, right?” Probably. The mommy advice never stops. So at some point, you’re spinning around in circles praying for it to stop, then suddenly you find yourself in my position.

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Why doesn’t anyone talk about how hard it is to breastfeed?

Obviously I knew the first couple of weeks would be tough while your nips get accustomed to a newborn feeding on them every two hours, that’s common knowledge. But what happens if your baby, like mine, wants to feed for five hours straight? FIVE HOURS. I thought it was a joke the first time it happened. Nope, P was a cluster feeder and she continued this pattern for 2 months straight.  Imagine feeding her at seven pm and sitting on the couch for five hours with just enough time to change and burp her, and maybe she’d end up taking a nap or two–but she’s asleep in your arms. Your day will fly by, and you won’t accomplish a single thing.

Oh, and food allergies? Your baby has them. Their sweet sterile stomach isn’t capable of breaking down certain foods, so currently I’m on a dairy (especially cheese), chocolate, caffeine, peanut and alcohol free diet. Jealous? Thought so.

Then there’s the whole nipple confusion/milk supply dilemma. You can’t introduce a bottle too soon otherwise you’ll confuse the little one on how to latch properly so your breastfeeding her every time. Oh and two hours? Lies. I have a snacker. Girlfriend feeds every hour or so, still pretty consistent at snacking hourly even at 3 months. “She’ll start to go longer between feeding” they say.

Oh, & you have to constantly worry about your milk supply. I worry more about this on a regular basis then I do about the recent measles outbreak, Russian politics, American Sniper celebrated as a war hero, and my finances COMBINED. As if I wasn’t already sleep deprived, I’m probably losing more sleep on it. Oh, if you pump too much before your milk stabilizes then you’ll over produce which you’ll a) have to keep up with (pump and store–but who has time for that?) or b) you’ll lose your supply because he/she won’t eat enough. For the first month & half, I was her bottle and had to stop, drop and feed at her command & I can’t tell you how many hours I spent feeding her in the backseat of my car because she wanted to be fed at the most inopportune times (like a graduation ceremony).

So then, praise Jesus, you begin to pump. Now you have to introduce the bottle. “If your baby is hungry enough, she’ll eat.” Lies. The first time we tried the bottle at home, she took it like a champ. So for my boyfriend’s 30th, we went out to a nice restaurant & after I had my first glass of wine postpartum it was like she never saw a bottle in her lifetime as she screamed her head off in hunger pains. We went through over $100 in various bottle systems and suffice to say we’ve finally gotten that down (ILY, Dr. Brown). But even so, it’s still a pain–like you are on this endless search for hot water (to warm the bottle), or  you accidentally pack the wrong nipple flow, or you forget to refridge the bottle when you get home therefore you throw out a full bottle.

No matter how many ounces, it hurts me to waste breastmilk.

So then comes the “Is she sleeping through the night?” questions that haunt me every day, and it’s like “no, she breastfeeds and it metabolizes at lightening speed.” Hell,  I’m happy with 4 hour intervals. Leave me alone, judger.

So am I bitter? Probably. It’s like everyone told me how their sister’s birth was the WORST ever, or that if I got stretch marks as a teen I’d get them again during pregnancy making me inspect every indent from clothing under a microscope to make sure it wasn’t one, or tell me I’ll never wear my beloved shoes again because my feet grow with pregnancy, BUT did anyone tell me that breastfeeding was going to be the hardest thing ever?!? No, and I could have used the unsolicited advice.

But here I am. 3 months postpartum and things are finally getting easier & I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

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