I thought I’d update the blog on how breastfeeding is going with sweet Lucy. I went to exclusively pumping starting when Lucy was 3 weeks old due to issues with latching, and lots of choking and crying (mostly Lucy doing the choking and me doing the crying). Then I gradually tried adding back in one breastfeeding session at a time. For many reasons, pumping is a lot more difficult than good ol’ fashioned nursing. First of all, there are lots of parts. The nipple shields. The membranes. The tubes. Bottles. Storage bags. Cleaning wipes. Etc. And in you want to keep your supply up, that means putting all those parts together in the middle of the night. In case you were wondering, motor skills for pump assembly are not at their peak at 3 AM. And of course, all those parts need to be sterilized after being used! Whit and I dreaded the task every night of bottle and pump cleaning, and prepping bottles for night feedings. If anyone does find themselves in this predicament, we found the easiest thing to do was to prep bottles before going to bed and put them in a cooler by baby’s crib. That way when sweet baby wakes up hungry, you’re ready to go! We are lucky that Lucy is not particular about the temperature of her milk. Straight out of the fridge is fine with her. Anyway, that’s how we did night feedings for a few months. Each time Lucy would wake up hungry, Whit would give her a bottle and I would pump. Truthfully, it sucked. On several levels. I felt pretty worthless having to pump while my husband fed my daughter. However, it was better than the alternative of being completely unsuccessful at having a peaceful feeding. This is where I stop myself and remember I am actually very thankful for my pump. We have a love/hate relationship I suppose. But I digress.
So after I started gradually adding in more nursing sessions (starting with bath tub feedings before bed then working my way up to daytime feedings), Lucy eventually just figured it out! For the last 6 weeks or so, I have just been pumping for what she needs at daycare, and nursing the rest of the time! Woot woot! Over spring break, I pumped one time in 9 days. It was wonderful! That little bebe has become quite a champion nurser, I must say!
And here’s a little secret about pumping at work, ladies. There is no law that says you can’t pump while you drive. Just get yourself a hands-free pump bra (I like mine by Pumpease), and voila! Make milk while getting to your next destination! I probably shouldn’t admit it but I do this twice a day. Aren’t we moms supposed to be good at multi-tasking?
Here are some other nursing tidbits that are working for me:
– Try out different positions. Lucy’s favorite is when I lie on my side. It keeps the milk from coming out so fast (gravity!) so she can drink more slowly.
– When baby doesn’t want to nurse, wait until she’s sleepy or asleep. When Lucy is teething, eating quickly becomes a big ol’ mess. Sometimes I give her her pacifier, rock her until she’s good and drowsy, and try again. This has done the trick many times.
– Shiny objects work wonders. When Lucy hit 4 mos old, she started seeing, literally, a whole new world. She can be super distracted while eating, and not get much down. If I wear a shiny necklace or even just hold a mirror or picture up above her head, it helps her to stay latched. I swear she does the best when it’s a picture of her. That little diva!
– Sometimes babies choose sides. Early on, for a few weeks, Lucy only wanted to nurse on the left side. She’s quite particular! I learned that this is normal, and quite common, and the worst thing that can happen is your supply can go down on the less-preferred side, and you might be a bit lopsided. I mostly just kept trying. I’d start and finish on the nonpreferred side, to keep trying to get her to change her mind. Apparently you can make the problem worse because the milk in the underused breast gets salty to the taste. Several times, I did pump the other side to be sure my milk didn’t become like ocean water, and to keep up my supply. Eventually, Lucy learned to be an equal-opportunity nurser and got over her side preference.
I suppose that’s enough on nursing for one post. Time to go do Lucy’s “dream feed!”