Monday, April 1, 2013

One year of breastfeeding.

I wrote some thoughts on breastfeeding about 5 months ago, but with our journey nearing an end, I have a lot more to say about it.

One year.  We made it.  Sort of. 

Breastfeeding is hard.  Breastfeeding a preemie is nearly impossible.  But we did it.  That's not to say it was easy or painless.  It was hard.  And there were a lot of tears involved.

For the first two weeks of Skeeter's life, I exclusively pumped.  Due to her size, she was unable to successfully nurse.  After those two weeks, a lactaction consultant met me in the NICU to help us both learn how.  And things when pretty smoothly!

After she came home from the NICU, things went downhill quickly.  Her latch was so painful, I cried.  She frequently screamed because she couldn't get enough milk.  I attended a lactation support group at the hospital and the help they provided was invaluable.

We immediately started a process called Triple Feeding- First, I nursed Skeeter.  Then, I fed her a bottle of pumped milk to make sure she got enough food.  And last, I would pump to empty my breasts completely.  This was quite an ordeal, as it took about an hour to complete the cycle, all for it to start over again a couple hours later.

But eventually- we got it.  She nursed successfully and I pumped enough to keep a stockpile in the freezer.  And all was well.

Unfortunately, around six months, my cycle returned.  And with that, my supply decreased.  I went from pumping 8 oz per session to sometimes as little as 1 oz.  I spoke with two lactation consultants, and they both agreed that I should continue to nurse as long as I was with Skeeter, but I would have to supplement with formula during the day.

I had enough milk stockpiled to last a while without formula, but we did eventually have to add it in.  Currently, I nurse her in the morning and the evening and she receives formula during the day at daycare.  

Is the situation ideal?  No.  But I have come to terms with it.  I have done the best I can to provide the best for my baby.  She is happy and she is healthy- and that is all that matters.

I am so glad that I have the bond with her that I do.  And I have no doubt that if we're blessed with any more babies on down the road, I will breastfeed them as well.

I am very nervous about the weaning process- currently, if she wakes up during the night, nursing is the only way to get her back to sleep.  So if any of you experienced mommas have advice on that, please do share!


applesandglue said...

Obviously I don't have kids but I have read/known friends that have had varying degrees of success at nursing. I'm glad you've been able to make it work for you and your little one! :)

Hilary said...

You have done an amazing job! Now, of course, this comes from someone with no babies yet, but a whole year??? You should be super proud!

Joseph Kilbreth said...

Yay for the 1 year mark!!! I'm glad you've come to terms with her getting formula at daycare. I'd probably lose my marbles. Haha!

As far as nursing at night... Charlotte doesn't usually wake up at night anymore because we did the whole sleep training thing. BUT while we were helping her get through the night, I'd usually give her a pacifier or lovey and tell her it wasn't time to get up yet. But I'm not sure how that would go with an older baby. When we were adjusting to time zones, I'd nurse her if she woke up at night. So...I guess I'm not much help. =P

Sarah said...

P.S. The comment above was from me. My crazy husband logged into gmail on my computer and never logged out. *sigh*

Leslie said...

Congrats on making it a year!! Once my little man is here in the next 6 weeks my goal is 6-8 months but I am definitely nervous about it. We took a class at the hospital and the hospital has a really awesome lactation support group and consultants so hopefully all that will help :)

Meg O. said...

You are awesome, momma! Your story really shows that you worked very hard and you did everything you could for Skeeter. Obviously there are things that happen that are totally out of your control, but you gotta do what you gotta do! My supply diminished as well, so that's why I think weaning at 13.5 months went so quickly. You are an amazing mommy and I am so glad you made it pretty seamlessly!

Julie said...

You are doing great Momma! I have had several friends in the same, and different position as you. One friend couldn't breastfeed due to work obligations but she knew that it was for the best to not even try and they went straight to bottle. Another friend's almost 1 year old won't take anything but the breast and they are having a hard time getting her to start trying sippy cups, etc. Then my SIL was successful in breast feeding until they got home from the hospital with the first one and the baby just wouldn't latch on anymore and she couldn't with the 2nd one due to the baby's medical reasons.

You are doing the best you can and you are making it work :)

Jennifer said...

Congrats! I also will be breast feeding for a year on Wednesday! I am not sure what to do about night feedings either.

Dara said...

congrats on nursing for a year!
my advice on night nursing - or what worked for me is to send my husband in at night to comfort the baby. if I went in of course he'd want to nurse but he eventually learned to settle back down with my husband and therefore not nursing.

Shelley said...

We had a lot of issues for the first couple of months too. And Emily wasn't even a premie! You did GREAT!!

Jules said...

I’m glad the BF process seems to be going pretty good with you still. Keeping it up for an entire year is awesome! I personally don’t want to BF, but Bo and I have a deal that I will at least try it for 3 months. It is cheaper than formula, so why not?

Meghan said...

Congrats on making it to a year!

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