An Update on my Breastfeeding Journey

I am sorry that I have not written in a while. I think that a combinations of things keeps me from doing it –

1) I have an active 10 month old
2) I don’t make it a priority
3) Sometimes, I think, why am I writing this anyway because I don’t think I have anything different or special to add to what’s already out there but I keep getting a pull to write, even if only to get the thoughts out of my head, so I’m just going to do it

I’m going to try to start writing more consistently so my goal is twice a week. I have gained a lot of experience so I’ve got lots to say, I just need to make it a priority!

I wanted to give an update on my breastfeeding journey as it’s been very interesting. If you’ve read my blog before, you know we had lots of issues from the beginning. Food allergies, latch problems, etc etc. It didn’t start easily at all. And while it’s gotten easier on some regards, there have been other “challenges” as time has gone on.

Things that have improved:

  • Latch – she latches like a champ now. We basically had two months of using the Nipple Shield and since the, she hasn’t had any issues.
  • Food allergies – Around 7-8 months, her reactions to my diet weren’t as sensitive so I’ve been able to incorporate some stuff back in. I’ve began eating wheat a little more, although for my own health, I haven’t eaten too much. I become bloated and my face breaks out, so I need to keep that at a minimum for my own health. She still has to be careful what she eats directly, and I can’t just outright drink a cup of milk, but if something has trace elements of milk or soy, it probably won’t bother her. I ate a Krispy Kreme donut the other day because I just couldn’t resist, and she threw up the next morning, but only once and that was it.
  • Night Wakings – she still wakes up 1-2 times a night to nurse, but between 4-8 months, it was more like 3-5 times a night. Whew! I’ll tell you below why I feel night feedings are still very important but they’ve been reduced in the last couple of months unless she’s teething.

 

What’s been difficult:

  • Getting her to eat: I know that sounds weird, but as she’s gotten older, getting her to sit still long enough to stay at the breast and eat is very challenging. I have to go to a quiet place, our bedroom, where there aren’t any distractions. I don’t know how people nurse in public because my baby would be looking everywhere if we did that. I do feed in bathrooms and my car when I’ve had to, but it always needs to be as quiet and distraction free as possible. 
  • Frequency: See above – Because I can’t seem to get her to sit still long enough, she’ll sometimes go for 6 hours without eating. The reason that’s a challenge is that she’s not getting enough food and she’ll make up for it in night feedings. That means, she’ll eat one or two times more than she did previously because she’s not getting her calories in during the day. I will ALWAYS feed her at night if she wants because 1) she is getting the nutrients she needs from my breast milk 2) it helps my supply.  I know there are moms that breastfeed on a schedule and don’t do night feedings but I don’t see how they keep their supply up because sometimes, I feel like the only way we keep it going is through night feeds. 
  • Letdown: sometimes, especially in my right breast, the milk just doesn’t want to let down. It’ll take a full 1-2 minutes and for an impatient baby, that’s an eternity. It can be super frustrating. I have tried a couple of different things, but in reality, I just have to relax and keep switching sides until it happens. It usually works itself out in a couple of days. It’s in her little “nursing strikes” (again, see above) that it usually happens, and then we get back to normal once she’s feeding regularly. 
  • Exercise: I had some plans of running and wanting to train for a marathon, but due to the supply/letdown issues, I’ve laid that to rest. I’d rather not run and be able to breastfeed long term. I think if I was able to eat lots and lots of calories, it wouldnt’ be an issue but because my diet is restricted, and getting a large amount of calories in during the day is hard, I don’t want to do any major activity that will hinder that and long distance running would do so. So I’m sticking to yoga, which is plenty, but it makes me regret buying that jogging stroller 🙂

All in all, it’s been an interesting journey. I have a couple more months of breast being the #1 source of nutrition for her and then, solids are supposed to take over. It’ll be interesting to see how that shifts. Right now, I typically breastfeed her 5-6 times a day and 1-2 times at night. Then she eats 3 meals a day and 1-2 snacks. I don’t know how that will shift after 1. I am guessing my pediatrician will let me know. I am planning on “extended” breastfeeding meaning, she will wean when she’s ready, or I dry up. With that in mind, it’ll be interesting to see how her “schedule” changes when eating more solids. 

 

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