Breastfeeding Tales

As more and more people that I know are having kids, I thought I'd share my story about breastfeeding. I think it's important to share because I feel that breastfeeding is always a comes and goes in popular opinion and I feel like right it is more "in" than it has been. I also want to share because for every mom that has an easy time with breastfeeding there is also a mom who is having an extremely hard time. And the last reason I want to share is because there are probably women who don't know much about breastfeeding and/or are on the fence about making a decision in regards to breastfeeding. I also follow a blog that has shared several different breastfeeding stories and I have enjoyed reading them as well. For the women that have issues with breastfeeding, they try any and everything they can to get it to work out and for some it doesn't. They move on to formula which is also ok. You have to do what is best for you and your baby!

Hello Parker!
  First let me say that I am in no way a professional! Everything I have to say is from personal experience. I may have attended many breastfeeding support group sessions, read quite a bit of information, and have spoken to several lactation consultants but I am not trained in this area. I would love to hear your questions and comments as well but obviously seek out a lactation consultant if you have important questions or need more information.

meeting my little baby boy
Parker was born April 16th, 2013. You may have already read how he entered our lives in a very punctual manner but I didn't go into any details about my decision to breastfeed. Before entering the final stages of labor I discussed with my labor nurse that I wanted our little baby as soon as he was cleaned up and checked out (which he first had to be checked out by a respiratory doctor due to emptying his bowels before delivery...luckily he was a ok!). I was handed our precious little angel and he snuggled up to me right away! It was such a wonderful moment! We lived in this moment for a little while and then I let dad snuggle his new little baby for a while as well. By this time the doctors and nurses were pretty much getting on their way except the one nurse that was assigned to us. Previously the lactation consultant had stopped by to let me know that her shift was ending but that she would check back first thing tomorrow morning. I was a little panicked when she told me that because our little boy wasn't here yet and I had no idea how to breastfeed! So once our little guy arrived I made sure to let the nurse know that I needed help! Our initial attempt at getting Parker to latch didn't really work out. He wasn't quite interested but the nurse wasn't alarmed. She said that sometimes it takes them a little while. So we laid there and snuggled and I just marveled at our little baby for about a half an hour. I decided to give it another try with Parker. This time he was interested and latched right on. The nurses were extremely busy that night due to a full house but after our nurse came back I shared this info and asked the nurse how everything looked. She helped get us adjusted a little bit but Parker seemed to be getting right along! I had no idea what to expect that very first time but I had been expecting it to hurt. Well, it hurt but not that much. We spent a little time nursing on one side and then switched to the other pretty easily.

daddy and his little boy
I fed Parker about every two hours that evening. Around 1am Parker went to the nursery so we could get just a couple hours of sleep. Well I thought they'd bring him back after a couple hours because he would be hungry but when I woke up after 3 or 4 hours of sleep Parker wasn't back! Clint went to get him and he was still sleeping! I wasn't sure what to do so I picked him up out of his bassinet to try to feed him but he was so sleepy! I tried to feed him a couple of times but he just wouldn't wake up. So I laid him back down and a nurse came in not too long after. She reassured me that all was well! Once he finally woke up we started our two hour rotation of feeding. He spent about 15 minutes feeding on each side. By the middle of the first day I started getting sore. Every time a nurse came in while I was feeding him I asked if everything looked right. They reassured me every time that it looked good. This definitely helped my confidence! The lactation consultant came in that morning like she promised and we talked about the whole process and checked his latch. I was feeling pretty good about how we were doing. She reminded me to use the lanolin cream which helped with the soreness! The second day after Parker was born was pretty much the same as the first. Everything was going well and I always asked the nurses how it looked! I didn't want to be doing anything wrong!

sleepy newborn
Once we got home we continued our pattern of feeding about every two hours. The second night we were home my boobs started getting a little sore and by the night time, engorgement hit me! The actual milk had come in...before this you are just feeding your little babe colostrum which is just as important! Out of the whole breastfeeding journey so far, the engorgement phase was the worst. From late that night until the next evening I wore an ice pack in my shirt except when feeding Parker. I was blessed with a small chest but let's just say I went up at least two bra sizes when the milk came in! Wow! No wonder I was in so much pain! In addition to the pain from engorgement, I was started to experience more pain every time he initially latched. Once he started drinking it didn't really hurt but boy did I hold my breath every time he started! The nurses had told me that it would hurt just a little at the beginning but I didn't know if that much pain was normal. 

milk face and milk coma
We came home on a Thursday night and our first doctor's appointment was the next Tuesday. For those several days leading up to our first doctor's visit it seemed as most things were going well, other than the initialing latching pain. My mom was staying with us and she breastfed my two sisters so it was really nice to have her here for help and advice. When we went to the doctor Parker had lost a little more weight than he should have. She wanted us to come back that Friday to weigh him again. If he continued to lose weight we would have to talk about next steps. However the doctor wasn't too worried and said to not feel guilty, which then did make me feel guilty (mixed with hormones!) so I cried all the way home. Once we were home I made a plan to go to the breastfeeding support group at my hospital the next day. At the group the lactation specialist checked out his latch and showed me where the problem was. His latch was too shallow. He basically needed to get more boob in his mouth! Nice imagery huh? The best way to train him to do this every time was once he opened his mouth, shove him onto the boob! It was a little much but it was pretty much pain-free when I did that and I could instantly tell the difference! We weighed him before feeding him and after just to see how much he had eaten because with breastfeeding you never actually know how much they're getting. I left the support group feeling much better! That Friday when we weighed him he had gained 8 ounces! The doctor approved of his weight and was glad I utilized the support group.

Lucy likes to snuggle a little too much sometimes!
Since then we pretty much haven't looked back! Parker is now 15 weeks old and for the last few weeks he has been going longer between feedings and he is also more efficient. He was a pretty consistent 30 minute-eater....feeding for 15 minutes on each side almost every time. Lately though he only takes about 15 minutes total to eat and goes anywhere from 2 to 3.5 hours between feedings. Additionally he sleeps from 8-10.5 hours at night. 

My little cutie pie!
A couple tips that I want to share based on my experiences:
*If you are eventually going to need to feed them with a bottle, start having someone feed them with a bottle a couple times a week starting around 4-6 weeks old.
*If everything is going pretty well, try not to pump until your baby is 4-6 weeks old. You don't want to mess with your milk supply before then because your body is trying to figure out how much milk is needed and when. 
*When you are engorged (at the very beginning when your milk comes in or when your baby starts to sleep longer at night) pump only for comfort! Don't pump until you are empty. Your body will mistake this for thinking you needed this milk to feed your baby. If you pump just enough to relieve the discomfort you won't start to oversupply. Getting up at 4 and 5 in the morning to  pump for 5 minutes wasn't fun but it helped me go back to sleep until Parker woke up. Otherwise I laid there in pain from being so full...and being overly full can cause clogged ducts and infections. This also helped me start my freezer supply!
*Wear breast pads to sleep even if you don't need them during the day! Waking up with a soaked shirt is not fun.
*Utilize a lactation consultant or better yet, a breastfeeding support group! I usually go every week...even if I don't have issues. They have scales so you can weigh your precious peach and it's nice to chat with other new moms.
*I didn't have many problems with this but I have read and heard from other women who have...don't let the nurses make your decisions for you in the hospital! If you feel strongly about something stick with it! I am so glad the nurse didn't freak out when he didn't latch the first try. I've heard stories about how nurses persuade women into using a nipple shield or formula just because they didn't latch initially. Obviously problems arise but go with your gut! You're the mom!

Well this was way longer than I had planned but hopefully it is helpful for at least one person! Feel free to leave any comments/questions/love!


  1. Great post! Even though it doesn't apply to me (and likely never will) it was still interesting and fun to read! You sound like a great breast feeding advocate :)

  2. You and Ashley will have plenty of stories to share when ever we get together as she had a lot of these same experiences