My nursing journey with my daughter Arya has been far from easy. She was born November 9th 2012. We started off doing really well. No latching problems. She was eating often even though she had lost a lot of her birth weight and the Dr wanted me at 3 days to start supplementing with formula, I just waited it out. Within her first week she was back on track. Then the cluster feeding began! I felt like I was nursing her non stop. Then around week 2.5 the colic started. No one could have prepared me for the colic. Arya’s colic started around 2-4pm until 10-11pm 5-6 times a week. Nothing we could do to calm her down. When I called her Dr, one of their recommendations was to attend the breastfeeding support group. This was the best decision I have made! The girls were amazing and I loved the lactation consultant. They met every Wednesday! Unfortunately, I was only to attend 3 of the groups but they have a facebook page and I can still get help and support on anything!
At this point I still did not have a pump so we did give her a bottle or 2 of formula just so I could get a moment to breath. My husband and I we going out for an evening for his work Holiday party so I finally got a pump. I got the Medela Freestyle. I loved the portability of it! The day before and day of I pumped a little after a few nursing sessions. After the holiday party I continued to try to pump a little after some nursing sessions. Normally before 2pm since after that she would be too fussy.
Our next struggle was she started to refuse the bottle, breastmilk or formula. We tried about 10 different bottles. I once again felt lost and stuck. Even if I would have just fed her, I did not feel comfortable leaving her since I didn't know if she would want to eat while I was gone.
Arya, also refused to nurse if anyone was talking. She also hated to be covered up. So while nursing, if other people were over I would go and sit in my room. If we were out and about I could normally get her to eat a little bit while covered but I would have to try to find a pretty quiet area! She also was a pretty active eater. She would scratch, pull, kick and hit me. If she had teeth, I am sure she would have bitten me.
At about 6 weeks she started sleeping from 10-11pm until 6:30am! It was awesome. I did not want to have to set an alarm to wake up and pump in the middle of the night. So what worked for us, was to pump right after her first nursing session. I also would pump right before I went to bed. Even if she just finished eating. Around this time I bought the Medla Hands Free Bra which was well worth it! I was able to still attend to Arya while pumping.
At 12 weeks, I sadly had to return to work. With the pumping I was doing, I already had about a 2 week supply built up. She was still refusing a bottle but everyone (including our daycare lady) said not to worry, she will eat when shes hungry. Well, week one went by and she only ate a few ounces. Week 2 started and she was still refusing the bottle. By Wednesday, I had enough! I could not handling knowing how stressed and hungry she must be. So I first called the Dr office. They said “she will eat when she’s hungry”. Well, I was tired of hearing that. So I turned to my breastfeeding support group. One of them recommended the lansinoh mOmma bottles. I thought why would this bottle work and the other 10 did not! Well my mom ran out for me and found one a Babies r Us and brought it over to us! They next day at daycare she took the bottle with no issues!
When I returned to work, I was given an empty office to pump in. Which was great because in the morning I was able to drop off my stuff and leave it there the whole day! Because I had the hands free bra, I also brought knitting/crocheting projects. (I think this is why I was able to pump for so long) I work from 7am-4:30pm. While at work I pump around 9am, 12pm, and 3pm. Also, on work days I pump at home after her first feeding and right before bed. Also, if she just ate at daycare and was not hungry right when we get home I would pump then as well. On work days I pump 5 times a day plus nursing Arya 3 times. On weekends, I would still pump morning and night. I would nurse on demand and pump after nursing if I felt like she did not eat enough.
Arya had about 2 months where she was waking up at night, once, twice or every hour! Even with her eating more I still continued to pump at my normal times!
Around 6 months she was sleeping from 8pm-5:20am on work days and 8pm-6:30am on weekends.
Also around 6 months, I had made it to my first goal. I had been breastfeeding for 6 months! With all of our struggles, I made it. I only half nursed my son for 4 months. I did not have the support or knowledge that I do now! Around this time I had realized that if I continued to keep on track with my pumping times that I should have enough stored up to stop nursing/pumping around 10 months and she would be on breastmilk until 1. This was an awesome feeling because I was getting to the point of being done. I was so tired of being tied to my pump.
Breastfeeding is an amazing and beautiful thing but it is a real time commitment on mom. You have to be dedicated. It has caused many tears. But I am so glad I was able to continue for so long. I think nursing for 10 months and on breastmilk for a year is pretty darn good!
Here are a few of my tips-
Pump often-it helps your supply. Even if you only get an ounce, it is telling your body to make more. Also, that is an ounce you now have in your stash.
If returning to work come up with a schedule and try to stick to it as best as possible.
I store my milk in bottles in the fridge/cooler until I get 4oz. Then I transfer into a bag. Its easier to judge how many oz.
I always leave a few oz in the fridge before freezing. That way if something unexpected comes up and I have to leave or I don't get home in time, my husband does not have to quickly thaw out milk.
Lay your bags flat to freeze. Then you can stand up in a box.
When you take your milk out to de-frost, place in a ziploc baggie. Sometimes the milk bags leak.
I generally used the lansinoh bags but I have tried most of the brands. It did not really matter to me. My stores just have the lansinoh for a better price.
At work, I store my pump parts in my cooler bag so I don’t have to wash after each pump
Buy extra pump parts. I have 2 sets and it is wonderful.
Week 1 I reduced the time I pumped
weekend 1 only pumped after morning and night sessions. did not pump any other time. I also tried to space out nursing sessions as much as possible.
week 2 down to 3 pumps a day, morning and night and once at work and nursing twice morning and night.
weekend 2 cut night pump, cut out mid day nursing. (One morning I was in a lot of pain when I woke up. Nursed/pumped. did not have any pain after that.)
Cut morning pump.
week 3-only nursing morning and night.
I only had the one morning of pain. All the other times I could tell I was a little engorged but not painful.
Weekend 3 dropped morning and night feedings!
About a week of pain and being engorged. Some moments were more painful than others. The most pain I felt was if one of my kids pushed up against my chest.
Here are pictures of my stash as right after my last time pumping. It is a total of 17 boxes. Each box hold about 30-35 bags. Each bag has 4oz. Approx 2, 250oz.