I asked Laura over at I have a few names but mostly I'm Mommy. She is a lot like me and I find myself relating to everything she writes. She is also a new mommy for the second time and is breastfeeding for the first time. Actually, she is exclusively pumping. Which is why she is writing a guest post for me on what that is like. On Friday or Saturday we will have another guest post from one of my dear friends about her experiance with pumping.
Why I Pump Milk To Feed My Little
Shortly after giving birth to my first child she was quickly swept away. I tried to see her over my knees as they yelled out her weight and length. Nurses ran around and I was somewhere on a cloudy high numbed from feeling the not so distant pains of labour but instead wondering why they took my baby away before I could hold her. The nurse who brought her back to me only said one thing, "have you decided if you're breast feeding?" I shook my head still unsure of the answer. " Well you have 3 hours to decide". I'm sure it was 3 hours but to me it felt like 5 minutes. This lead to the push of bottle feeding, and though I did try to breast feed my daughter the in and out of guests and nurses made it even more uncomfortable for me. I gave into the bottle and decided to try at home not knowing my child would not take to breast feeding easily after having a bottle for three days.
My failed attempt at breast feeding came from my lack of comfort with breast. I had become much like the rest of the world (wait maybe just America) and saw breast as accessories, toys of pleasure, something personal and all my own. A few years down the road, some child raising under my belt and good old aging had changed my idea of breast feeding. With my second child on the way I wondered if I could do it and succeed. Then I saw a photo of Orlando Bloom's beautiful wife breast feeding. She looked so comfortable and happy, the photo looked very personal like it had somehow leaked onto the net. It was beautiful. For the first time I didn't look away, instead I thought if a model can breast feed so can I! I didn't give myself the chance to give up this time.
I told the hospital I was breast feeding so they didn't offer me a bottle. I acted like I knew what I was doing and though I didn't take a class I read books on breast feeding and felt ready when the time came. Rhyley was in my arms skin to skin. Family came in and out and I decided to do the selfish thing and ask everyone to leave so I could work on breast feeding. I thought back to what I had read about latching and together like a little team we did so with success! I breast feed the whole hospital stay but halfway through something happened that changed my plans. Rhyley was using me not only to eat but to be comforted and hours of being latched on had taken an unexpected toll on my breast. My nipples swelled. I have large nipples but the swelling made them so large Rhyley could barely get them in her mouth. Every time she latched the pain was nearly unbearable. It was like she was cutting me with razors over and over. Still I sat there until the pain went down and I made it home breast feeding.
The lactation specialist came to help me and figured out that Rhyley's tongue was pushing up to much and causing the pain. It was as simple as pulling her bottom lip down and the pain was gone. Sadly keeping her bottom lip down was harder than I thought it would be. Finally I sat in my bed next to my husband breast feeding our child crying my eyes out from the pain...both physical and mental. The next night the swelling of my nipples stopped Rhyley from latching and we spent eight hours both crying, both frustrated, and both tired. I cried a lot to the hubby I couldn't believe I was about to fail already. I gave in and pumped.
Rhyley had trouble with the speed of the bottle nipple even though we purchased the slow nipples. Still she was receiving breast milk just in a different way. After a week my nipples went down and healed. I tried breast feeding again and she fought me all the way. I found she'd latch after having a bottle, basically making me into her human pippy. I was okay with that though because we still got to bond together and she was still getting the magic milk her body needed.
Now almost 4 weeks into her life I will tell you pumping isn't easy. You have to pump every two hours just like you were feeding the baby but you also have a baby to feed every two hours as well. You pretty much spend your day topless with a machine on your breast and child in your arm. This has been upsetting to my first child who feels it is unfair that all I do is feed her sister. Between her sibling and going back to work I've decided I'm going to try to pump only while I'm out of work. I definitely think it's possible to pump and work but in my case I'm walking into a bit of mess when I get back to work and instead of getting my hopes up and then crushed by failure I'm going to give up pumping, at least pumping outside of the evenings at home.
I have to say I feel good about being able to give her breast milk. I'm sad it didn't work out with my first child and of course disappointed things didn't go as planned this time but every time I look in my fridge I'm grateful that I gave her one of the best ways to be healthy. For me this is a big thing since I never thought I'd breast feed. I've had a few moments where I leaked through a shirt with company over or got covered in milk which by the way gets sticky and even so I feel really happy. I think if it makes you feel good then do it. For me pumping is the only way to give her breast milk now. I've sat over and over and tried to get her to latch but she screams and cries completely mad that I'm forcing her to work for her food.
If you really want to breast feed and not give your child a bottle try these things first. One the longer your baby breast feeds the better they get at it and down the road may not find it hard to switch from breast to bottle and back. If, like me, you need time to heal let your partner give the baby a bottle. I didn't know this but it helps prevent nipple confusion. This way they relate the bottle with that persons smell and not yours. This may help the baby find it easier to breast feed with you. Ask for help. Ask over and over until you get it right. Most lactation specialist will come to your home for free through state programs. Free help is wonderful. If you decide to pump still feed skin to skin if you can. The baby may be eating from a bottle but they get the comfort and bonding they would get while breast feeding. This is something I've found amazing. I can put my daughter up to my bare breast and she almost instantly passes out in my arms. My last bit of advice is look for support in your friends and family. I call my mom whenever I feel like giving up and she always helps me through it. Best of luck.
Tomorrow I will be posting about different types of pumps and my rules for pumping.