For the men out there reading this (read:: all two of you – to include my dad) -maybe best to come back tomorrow. Hear me :: Bessie’s back and this post is going to be entirely about breast feeding.
(and with that they exit out)… ha.
But, I feel the need to share with all my imaginary internet friends – so here we go.
With Avery, I mentioned my breast-feeding journey multiple times. Remember?
We started here: where I aptly named myself Bessie and told you all about my introduction into the world of breastfeeding.
And updated here – as things continued to improved. Slightly. But improvement none the less.
And then again here… when I finally closed the book on breastfeeding Avery.
So why you ask has it been four months and relatively very little from me (or, Bessie, I mean?). Well, long and short… I didn’t want to jinx it. Which is funny actually, because I’m a Christian and dont really believe that luck or lucky charms, or knocking on wood, or any of those funny fables have anything to do with it. But, I’ve been fighting the good fight, and I guess, well, have had my head down and working in the trenches, and haven’t had much time to look up from the pastures to report back to the farm. Get it?
Here are a few important things I’ve learned:
- It’s not for quitters. Breastfeeding is NO JOKE. It’s hard. Really hard. Like, one of the hardest things i’ve had to do – kind of hard. It takes SERIOUS commitment. It means you are the ONLY one that can feed the baby (although through much sleep depravation I might have once or maybe even *twice* suggested that the hubby just TRY – this once- and feed her). Ha. It takes time- every two/three hours its you, and only you, for 30 minutes.
- It’s a marathon. I think breastfeeding is JUST like running a marathon. You can’t just get out there and start running. To do it right, you need to prepare. I wasn’t prepared (enough) with Avery. I didn’t take classes, I didn’t set up a support network in advance, and I didn’t have what I needed. I just put my shoes on and though I could get out there and run 20+ miles. Well, it’s no joke – you’ve got to be ready, be knowledgeable, and even as important – work yourself into the mental space where you push through it. It’s a physical game, but also very much a mental one too.
- Each kid is (completely) different. I was thinking with a second child that it wouldn’t hurt – clearly, we’ve done this before. I was hoping the “ladies” knew what to do and would just perform. No.SIR-RIE.BOB. Hurts like hell. For 30 MINUTES. EVERY.TWO.HOURS. But it’s like running. If you get through it – you CAN push through to the
runnersmilkers high. Okay. That’s a little far, but needless to say there is lightmilk at the end of the tunnel.
- It takes 6 (me) weeks. That’s right. I’ve learned that FOR ME, it always takes 6 weeks to ‘get through’ the hard part. I start to see the sunlight at week 5. But it’s week 6 where the rewards start to roll in. The pain goes away, the baby knows how to feed, you get into a rhythm, and the REAL bonding starts to begin. And six weeks is no joke when you’re tired and just want a little gimme. But it takes me six weeks. Make it through it – and you’re in the glory milk land.
- It takes other heifers. A village. Or a herd. EVERY time it’s taken strong girl friends to push me through it. For me, I’ve needed my girl friends EACH time to help me push through. Those first 6 weeks are tough, and it takes others who’ve been through it – and survived- to help you keep going.
- It’s SO worth it. My first few points might have been to say that it’s hard. But the reward is truly worth the work. Taylor (and Avery) are (thank God) very healthy. I think the breastfeeding sets them up with a baseline of immunities and benefits that go a long way in helping keep them healthy when they’re teeny.. and giving them a good foundation for when they’re older.
- The first two weeks are key. As I trained for my marathon with Taylor, I learned from this BOOK – that the first two weeks are key. The first two weeks your whole goal is to get into the rythm of breastfeeding and help your baby learn how to latch right, drink, and get into a schedule. And the key to success? FEED.FEED.FEED. TOO many people offered me advice. Some said feed every 2 hours, some said 3, some said when she’s cries, and some said go by the clock. THIS BOOK was my guide this time – and boy did it help. Here’s what I found best for us – those first two weeks – KEEP feeding her. Literally. I didn’t wait for the clock to ding three hours, I feed her as much as I though, when I though, she needed it. Sometimes every two hours, sometimes every hour. Whenever. I couldn’t feed her enough. But here’s what happened – my supply went up, and my milk came in. This was a miracle considering that with Avery I never made enough and always had to supplement with formula. I was proud that Avery got mostly breast milk, but it was such a job having to do both – time consuming, costly, messy, and frustrating.
- It’s magic milk. As I said, with Avery I had to supplement with formula. And *drum roll* with Taylor – i’ve not given her one drop of formula. **Please note, I dont mean to say here that formula is the ‘enemy’ or not a totally workable and healthy solution. I mean to say is, that I am SO proud that weeks of work has finally paid off for us, and what works for us, and that Taylor hasn’t had to be supplemented. I feel as though I deserve an award for this (post pending – ha). Anyway, long story short – while the kids themselves are different, I attribute some of their changes to the magic milk. Taylor is far less fussy. Seems far more content after feedings, is a far better feeder, has never had diaper rash, and has far more hair. Do I think this is ALL because of breastmilk? Probably not. But, God sure did have a great blueprint when creating breast milk, and i’m sure it’s got to play a contributing factor in at least a few of those.
- Post 6 weeks – it’s SO much easier. Read:: After the 6 week breakthrough, breastfeeding seems to be the best solution – ever. Think about this: no bottles to clean, no formula to buy, and very little waste. Did I mention no bottles to clean.. ugh… I despise cleaning bottles.
- It’s humbling. The commercial has it right – something clicks baby 2. You dont have time to be shy – you’ve got to get the job done while you’ve got other little ones climbing the walls and trying your dwindling patience and non-existant sanity. With Avery I was a nervous wreck to breastfeed out in public. I didn’t even want to SAY the word “breast”feeding, much less do something in public. And now? Well, got to feed the baby. Granted, I’m still not comfortable. But i’m more assertive in my choice, and the benefit for our baby. Granted, it helps that Nordstrom has these really great nursing rooms in each of their stores (thank you Nordy’s), but still. Gotta-do whattcha gotta do. Stuck in difficult situation, I even once had to nurse (covered) in an open restaurant in Georgetown. Was I beat red the entire time – and confident that EVERYONE was staring and judging? Absolutely. But, I got it done.
- The bonding makes it all worth it. It’s a journey and a serious commitment, but the benefits far outweigh it all. It’s given Taylor and I, and Avery and I, some pretty special quiet time together that will last with me forever.
So those are my thoughts 4 months in. I can boldly tell all of you imaginary friends that I am so incredibly proud of myself, and baby girl, for having made it this far. I have no clue what the future holds – and how far we will continue
running… err.. milking. But Bessie is one proud cow. It takes a herd though. A big thank you to some of my favorite cows. He may not have udders (haha), but handy hubby was one supportive bull. He kept pushing me even when I wanted to give up. And I sure do have a supportive bunch of heifers… splitty, Amber, Megan, and all my other soro friends… each of you played a big role in cheering me on into the all-you-can-eat milk buffet. (ha).
More updates from Bessie to come. I promise I wont be TOO much of a quiet cow. But thought it best for you to know that we’re still out to pasture and still milking with the best-of-em.
Peace, love, and whole milk.