Holy moly, Arlie is 6 months old! The time has literally flown by and I am in awe of her and all the amazing things she can do now. And just as important: We’re still breastfeeding! Yay! I set a goal of 6 months for myself when I was pregnant and now that I am at 6 months, I’m thinking… Why not 12 months? Or longer?
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I was sincerely worried that my body would not cooperate, what with all the stupid crap it pulls all the time. But I was wrong and apparently breastfeeding is the ONE thing that my body can excel at.
It hasn’t been easy and at times it wasn’t very fun. I’d say at around three months, we really hit our groove and now I really enjoy the time with Arlie. It is not all sunshine and rainbows however. I still pump twice a day to get milk for the next day and I have around 120 ounces saved in my freezer for when I don’t produce enough. In total honesty, pumping stresses me out a little and the stress I put on myself to make sure that Arlie doesn’t have to have formula is pretty intense. I know it would not be the end of the world if she had to have formula, but I really don’t want to do that. I do love being able to bond with her and being able to feed her wherever though. I especially love when she nurses at night and is sleepy. She’s just so sweet sometimes, it kills me.
As she gets older and bigger, nursing has become a little more interesting. She is so enthralled by everything around her that she often pulls off the boob to take a look at what is around her. This causes a milk fountain to spray everywhere and that’s pretty annoying, but I can usually get her to latch back on pretty quickly. She also has two teeth on the bottom and is starting to cut two on the top and that has been rather interesting. For the first week after she got the two bottom teeth, she bit me a few times a day and it was rough, but she stopped doing that and it’s been easy since then.
I am still wearing breast pads at night because I’m a leaking machine at night, but I’ve graduated to not having to wear them during the day, so that’s nice. Overall, I’d say that so far my breast feeding experience has been very positive.
My tips for new mommies who want to breastfeed:
1. Go to a lactation consultant before you give birth. I met with two different ladies and although it was kind of weird, I also learned a lot and had some strategies in place prior to giving birth. They both checked the shape and size of my nipples and helped me practice holds. I felt semi-prepared when Arlie got here and even though I forgot most of what I learned for the first we were home and settled, I remembered some of the tips they suggested and it made it a lot easier. Also, bring your husband if you can and if he is willing. M was very helpful after birth in reminding me what we learned.
2. Use lanolin after every feed for the first couple of weeks. I will bring mine to the hospital the next time I am giving birth and I will use it religiously. I fully believe not using it this time was a huge mistake and could account for most of the pain I was feeling.
3. At your weight check a couple of days after birth, your baby will have lost some weight. Do not freak out when the doctor tells you this! Just keep nursing and trying. If there is truly an issue with the latch or with your boobs, you will find out soon and you can address it. But for most women, your milk hasn’t come in yet and it is totally normal for the baby to have lost the weight. No one told me this and I literally lost my mind after that first weight check.
4. Get milkies, soothies, and a pump. If you are not going back to work, ignore the pump unless you plan on being away from your baby. The milkies are these rad little cups that you can put on the opposite boob you are nursing from. It catches the leaking milk and you can use it later. Soothies are these awesome pads that you can freeze or just put in the fridge for your boobs. Lifesavers. It was the best feeling ever to grab a soothie (or one of my boobie ice pack thingys) and slap it onto the boobs. My pump and I have a love hate relationship. I appreciate the fact that it makes it possible for me to feed Arlie while I am away from her but I truly hate pumping. However, I have the Medela Pump-In-style Advanced and it is awesome. My insurance provided it to me for free and I could not be more grateful. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and it does a good job.
5. Don’t buy one kind of bottle if you plan to use them. Try a few different ones. We were lucky in that Arlie liked the one brand that we bought (Playtex drop in’s) but we only bought three of them to try out. My sister gave us a few other ones to try and Arlie just happened to like the Playtex ones the best. Honestly, these bottles are pretty sweet and I recommend them. They are easy to use and clean, plus the drop in helps to prevent the baby gulping a bunch of air while they feed, which is awesome.
6. Almost everyone will tell you how to do it. Ignore them and go with your instincts. Don’t feel like a failure if you have to switch to formula. It’s your baby and your body, so do what works best for you.
We have been on solids for about ten days now so I’ll have to do a post about that as well. It’s been an interesting ride so far. 🙂