Breastfeeding Sucks, Mama
Gasp! What did she say?! Blasphemy I tell ya!
Yep, you read it correctly. Breastfeeding sucks.
To be honest, I actually love breastfeeding and that is partially why it sucks. Breastfeeding has been extremely difficult for me with both of my kids. The first time was due to my ignorance. I had no idea how much diet played into milk production. Caffeine is a huge no-no and I was drinking Rockstars before we even left the hospital-- I just didn't know. I was oh-so tired and wasn’t sure know how to cope without my beloved energy drinks. I had gone nine months, I did my time. So, needless to say I only lasted two weeks, if that, and started him on formula. Formula had its own issues since Mr. Feefs had a dairy intolerance. He would projectile vomit everywhere and it was awful. We tried a few different formulas until we landed on soy and he began thriving. I felt bad that I wasn't able to breastfeed him but I did not feel guilty. I did what I had to do, but that feeling changed the second time around.
When Little Miss came, I knew I was going to breastfeed. I just knew it. I was informed and felt confident that as soon as she was born, we would start. I was mistaken, yet again. She had a horrible latch. I knew there was a problem because it hurt. It is not supposed to hurt. If someone tells you it does, they are misinformed. It is uncomfortable and it will take time for your nipples to get used to the constant 24/7 sucking that your baby will do. However, it should not hurt. You should not wince or hold your breath while you are breastfeeding. Oh, but I was. Before I even left the hospital, my nipples were cracked and bleeding. The lactation consultants told me she was doing great, all.three.of.them.
Little Miss must have been putting on a show because I found out later that she had an extremely tight jaw that was keeping her from latching correctly. The first week home was horrible, she was chewing me up! I did not want to give up, not this time. So I kept going, pushing through the excruciating pain. My milk took 6 days to come in due to my c-section and her poor latch. Little Miss was quite hungry. It was a vicious cycle and I was dying. One night my husband came to my rescue yet again. “Give her a bottle and go to bed”, he said. In that moment, I was so thankful for the sample box of Similac I had tucked away in the pantry. I made a bottle and she downed it! Three hours later, we both woke up refreshed and ready to try again. I knew that if we were going to be successful this time around I needed backup. I found a local lactation consultant that came to the house. She was my breastfeeding ‘fairy godmother’ and after only two visits, completely changed my breastfeeding experience. While we were finally able to get a good latch, I was still struggling with my supply. Little Miss wasn't gaining as much weight as she should. I decided to continue supplementing with formula... and I cried. A lot. I wanted so desperately to exclusively breastfeed.
Why was this so hard for me? I felt so alone because #breastisbest. In order to increase my supply, I fed on demand. When I wasn't feeding, I was pumping. I had to eat/drink every lactation food known to man. Steel-cut oatmeal and chia bars were life. I was finally making a decent amount of milk and Little Miss seemed to be more content. She still wasn't gaining the way we had hoped so I decided to continue supplementing. My life revolved around breastfeeding. Now, 2 months in, I am pumping and mixing breastmilk with her formula. We still nurse but those seem more like snacks than her meals. I am okay with that because she is thriving. This has been a roller coaster ride. It is a daily battle but I feel like we are winning. Once we got the latch down and supply up, I fell in love with breastfeeding. I never knew how emotional I would be. I have not given up on my dream to breastfeed, I adjusted it so it would be more realistic to our situation. She may not get 100% breastmilk but she is getting enough to reap the benefits.
Here is what worked for me to increase and maintain a good supply. Please contact your doctor before trying any herbal remedies.
They are not FDA approved and may or may not work for you.
1.Steel Cut Oatmeal - flax seeds, chia seeds, and brewer's yeast. (Brewers Yeast in powder form is dis-gust-ing...so i don't use that often)
2.Mothers More Milk Plus tabs - 2 pills 3x a day (that's the dose for ppl over 175lbs, I am not)
3.Chia Bars - These are amazing
4.Cliff Bars - sparingly bc they are so dense
5.Nuts - almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds
6.Mothers Milk Tea- double steep. This tea is great when it's hot, once it cools down it's pretty unbearable
7.Sandwiches with Oatmeal bread and spinach
8.Hummus w flaxseed crackers
9.Lactation cookies/protein balls
10.Spinach and kale
11.Fruits and veggies
12.Quinoa and brown rice
14.Beer- one a night and my choice has been dos xx amber.
15.Water, Water, Water (I am so thirsty right now -_-)
16.Hot washcloths on my breast before pumping
17.Pumping, after she eats
18.Sleep - may seem counterproductive but I pump more milk after a nap than when I am tired. I will take it!