...My Breast Milk that is (and yes, "Breast Milk" deserves to be in capital letters). The journey breastfeeding has been an interesting one...for me.
While pregnant my midwife told me straight off the bat that I wouldn't be able to breast feed because of a reduction I had when I was 20. The foolish things we do with youth and too much money (and because of insecurities...how they seem so silly now. Especially since my boobs just grew right back). Needless to say, this information left me heart broken. I cried and cried and then did what all modern day people do, started googling and finding out whatever information I could. I also relied on a wonderful support system I have online that also provided lots of links to information.
A few months, maybe 2, before Oscar arrived I finally saw the tiniest bit of boob juice when pinching my nipples. This was HUGE for me. I went streaking thru the house, yelling for Griff to come and look what was coming out of my breasts. He was like "IS THAT!?!?!?" to my enthusiastic "YES!!!" and then we did a happy dance and lots of hugging. This was a GOOD sign. I don't have TONS of sensation in my nipples or aureolas, but this was proof that if manually expressed, something could come out. All my inner tissues weren't severed, something was working.
Because of said operation being listed in my notes, during my pregnancy my midwife never talked to me about breastfeeding or gave me the free DVD that all moms-to-be are supposed to receive. And when Oscar finally arrived, the midwives in the hospital were very negative about my ability to adequately nourish him. I breastfed him what I could, but because of my nerves as to whether or not I was making enough, we gave him top-ups with formula. With all the emotions that come along with childbirth, this one for me really broke my heart.
In the days that followed of us finally being home (he was born Sunday evening, we were discharged Wednesday evening)we continued topping him up with formula until I started pumping. There was one morning where I could not stop crying because I felt like I was failing him. I always knew there was a real possibility that I wouldn't be able to feed him. I thought I had made peace with that and I would try my best, but if need be, just move on. It's the full tummy that matters, yes? So the Medela Swing pump came out, along with my copy of Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding and we started a very tiring process.
I would feed Oscar for 20 minutes on each breast and then about half an hour after feeding him I would pump. Slowly, the days started turning out results with more and more milk. By day 3 of us being home, we were no long using formula because I was feeding him and pumping regularly, and with the milk expressed Griff could help me out and feed him so I could get an extra couple hours sleep in the morning. The first sitting where I pumped 5 ounces, there were high fives to be shared. I love that Griff gets excited with the more that is produced and is a constant encouragement. Because believe me, some days it so easy to want to NOT pump.
In addition to pumping, there is a LOT of water drinking, sometimes a couple cups of raspberry leaf tea and taking my placenta caps (for those of you scratching your heads, there will be a whole separate post on that topic soon.). Since my mom has left, it's been a lot more difficult to find time to pump; if I'm lucky I'll have 2 opportunities.
I also have NO sensation in my breasts. That whole let down reflex? Yeah, don't have it. Tingly when Oscar is crying? Nope. Nothing. Nada. I know my breast are full only because they are hard. In the last week I have started leaking, but I only know it's happened because all of a sudden I am soaking wet. This is frustrating, as there is no warning and a lot of my clothes are getting milk stained. Ah well, tho. THEY WORK, so I'm not complaining. Also, Oscar has a great latch and the discomfort level has been minimal, so I am one of those people that other women hate for saying that breastfeeding isn't painful. Sorry.
Oscar is a growing boy. He barely dropped any in birth weight and has increased at a good pace. I am going to breastfeed as long as possible, and if it comes to a point where it's not going to work anymore (or have to supplement), I will be sad but I am so thankful and fortunate to have had this chance.
I absolutely love to cuddle with him while he is feeding (most of our feeds are still lying down. I can't lie, it's more comfy for both of us and I can read.). I love to watch him get all excited when my boob is coming at him and how when he decides it's time to come off, he will stretch his little neck and then settle back onto my breast like it's a perfectly made little pillow just for him.
Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go pump some Mommy Milk before this Little Man wakes up and wants nom-noms....