HI! I BREASTFEED 47 TIMES A DAY EVERY DAY!
I mean…let’s just be real here. Breastfeeding…
So, my name is Karli and I blog over at September FARM. You know, just a little blog about my farmer, my two best gals, and me. Sometimes I write about how my farmer and I broke into an old woman’s house on our wedding night. Sometimes I write about that one time I thought it was a super idea to try and compete in a local beauty pageant.
Spoiler – Neither turned out how I wanted. Go figure.
But mostly I write about life as a new mom. I had my first little gal in 2012 and wrote all about that horrific breastfeeding journey for The Breastfeeding Diaries way back when (December, 2013).
Now I’m back to share my round two experience, and let me tell you…it’s taken a complete 180º.
I had my sweet sweet Sawyer-muffin on October 24th, 2014. And when I say sweet sweet I mean sickeningly sweet. Not only has breastfeeding her been completely different, but she is completely different from her sister. Her older sister, Kaye, was recently given the loving nickname by some friends – Hurri-Kaye. You know, like a hurricane. So you can imagine what I deal with on the daily.
If you popped into Julie’s archives, you know that I had to overcome a medical issue called a galactocele with Kaye. I ended up with a severely diminished milk supply in my left breast and literally thought I was starving my Kaye, regardless of what the scale said (which let us know she was steadily gaining weight). But let’s be real…breastfeeding can be a constant mind-game of is my baby getting enough? I’m here to tell you that you can, indeed, breastfeed from one breast. The body is an amazing vessel, and it just compensated. I’m not going to pretend I understand how that happened, but it did.
Regardless, I nursed Kaye for 13 months and disliked it the majority of the time. This is a fact, people. Not all moms feel that breastfeeding is this super magical experience bonding you to your child. I don’t want you to think that I’m not absolutely in love with Kaye, but breastfeeding her wasn’t my most favorite thing…especially the teeth at three months and the biting that followed. She’s a pistol.
But back to my sweet sweet Sawyer and our breastfeeding experience – My Sawyer breastfeeding journey has been substantially different. Not only did I not experience the galactocele, but girlfriend still hasn’t gotten any teeth…thank god.
We are currently almost four months into our breastfeeding journey, and girlfriend receives breastmilk exclusively. But since we’re in a safe, honest place…I can’t pretend that my farmer and I haven’t had the conversation of quitting breastfeeding. Let’s face it – Breastfeeding is a huge commitment. Before I even had Sawyer I was already entertaining the idea of only breastfeeding until six months. I’m still entertaining that idea, and that’s okay. I think, just like any good business plan, a fluid plan is the best plan. As of now, I’m committed to nursing Sawyer to six months. If at six months I feel like, for my sanity, I don’t want to do it anymore, I’ll stop. But if at six months girlfriend starts her solids just fine and my nursing gets cut down from 47 times a day to six times a day…well then, I may just reconsider and reassess our game plan at eight months.
Some stats at nearly four months – My Sawyer is put down for the night around 8 o’clock. I wake her at 10 pm for one final nursing session before I call it a night. She has her first nursing session at around 3 am. and will wake again around 7 am for another round. This means I only have to wake up once…and that is glorious. After her 7 am session she’ll sleep until about 9 am, and I’ll try to feed her again. Sometimes she’s into it…sometimes she’s not. This go-round I’m far less maniacal about an “every three hours” schedule. I mean, I have to be. I have a two year old running my life, basically.
Sawyer will then nurse every three to four hours for the rest of the day. In total, she nurses between seven to nine times in a 24 hour period.
The hardest part about nursing Sawyer has been dealing with big sister. Kaye really really loves 200% of everyone’s attention. This has resulted in me turning the TV on for her FAR more than I’d like to admit. But guess what…if this is what I have to do so that I can successfully, calmly, relaxingly nurse my Sawyer…I’m going to do it. No apologies. Do what you gotta do.
To date, I’ve enjoyed nursing Sawyer, if only because it’s been substantially easier than nursing Kaye. I certainly don’t feel as idiotic. I still don’t feel comfortable nursing in public, or even in front of friends and family. I’ll just excuse myself and find a quiet space to tuck into. I think Sawyer and I both prefer it that way.
When it comes to nursing I fall back on some advice a friend gave me in a completely unrelated situation – “You do you.” And I was like, “You’re right! I’ll do me!” Meaning…I’m going to do exactly what I’m comfortable with in each situation. If I need to stay in the car for an extra 15 minutes to nurse Sawyer…I’m going to do that. If I need to ask a friend to use a bedroom to nurse Sawyer…I’m going to do that. But if I get a wild hair and want to get crazy at a restaurant…I’ll do that too. That’s not to say I think it’s wrong to breastfeed in public…because it’s not. I think it’s incredibly natural. I’m just so damn awkward I can’t.
I encourage all expecting moms to do their research. Read read read. Know what to expect when it comes to breastfeeding, because sometimes…it’s not as natural as one would expect. I also want to encourage expecting moms to establish a strong milk supply from the start. Latch that baby on every chance you get! Not only will it establish a strong milk supply, but your nipples will become accustomed to the latch more quickly. Your baby will learn quickly too! I brought Sawyer to my breast any chance I got in those first two weeks, and it relieved the engorgement, ensured I never got a galactocele, kept my ducts clear (no mastitis)…and all in all…I was much happier.
I also strongly recommend icepacks for swelling and pumping for when your little one is too full to relieve you.
Thank you thank you for letting me share my experience with breastfeeding. If you have any questions about anything I’ve discussed during either experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me…I’m an open book!
(And thank you to Julie. What a wonderful compilation of stories, and a wealth of knowledge. I can honestly say that because of The Breastfeeding Diaries I was motivated to continue to breastfeed Kaye through our struggles…and I’m so happy I did.)