Fed is Fed. My Journey With Pumping and Breastfeeding

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Fed is Fed. My Journey With Pumping and Breastfeeding

29 Nov, 2018
JoAnne
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Hey everybody! Let me warn you: this post will be long. Sorry but a tis true! It’s been awhile since I posted real content and this content I hold dear to my heart so #sorrynotsorry

Let me preface this blog by giving y’all some backdrop. I am a mom to now TEN children ages TWELVE and under. My youngest is two months but we will get to him in more detail later. I have ALWAYS nursed my babies since day 1. I have never had latch issues. If I have supplemented with formula – which I have done with all of my other nine children – it is because either they were hungry after I nursed, they slept longer stretches at night with formula or I just needed a break (or all of the aforementioned!). I always weaned when I wanted to and mostly I have always done it around the time that either my supply is very low and/or they start discovering the world around them and no longer want to focus on the task at hand: feeding. Thanks be to God I have never felt guilt about weaning because my babies adapted fine to it. And thank God up until now I have never experienced the issues I have with my tenth kid…

With all of that said the joke is that this baby will be my last baby because he has given me such a run for my money! I don’t know if people believe that or they are just saying it so I will stop spawning already! Either way they could be on to something because, golly gee! – it has been an interesting two months for sure!

Our beloved Christian entered the world a week before his due date. You would think the kid would just pop out by now but no, not the case. My body can handle a lot of stress and so, as with my other seven children, I had to be induced (my twinkies I went naturally but I was gigantic so I went into labor naturally and they were a planned C-section anyways so…). After a very exhausting thirteen hours (which is not too bad at all in hindsight) the baby came and once again, thanks be to God, he was perfect. I was utterly exhausted and it was by far my worst and scariest labor and delivery but he was here and perfect! He latched to the breast right away and for a good amount of time. He did that about three times within the first 24 hours of life and then the dude freaking gave up on the boob!

I honestly have no clue what happened. What did I do? I did the same thing I always did…I sent the baby only at night to the nursey the two nights I stayed at the hospital and I allowed them to supplement. After the first night I nearly fainted when I saw that the night shift nurse gave baby 50 ccs of formula IN ONE SITTING! WTH?! For those of you who don’t know – normally when a baby is first born and formula is given to them they only require 10-20 ccs at a time
so you can imagine my HORROR! I called them out on it and the one nurse was shocked. So that did NOT happen again. I am not saying that is why baby did not latch but if I were a little guy given four times the amount of food I needed I don’t think I would wanna do anything but sleep. #justsayin

I went home hoping the kid would eventually re-latch. I was wrong. Dead wrong. I was not sure why and I was getting depressed the longer this went on. The only reason I do not think I got PPD (postpartum depression) again with this kid is because I proactively went on progesterone pills from the moment I delivered as that is what saved me with severe PPD with baby number nine. I kept waiting for my anxiety and depression to peak so bad that panic attacks and the black pit of depression starred at me in the face but it didn’t. Thank God it didn’t.

I never had to pump before unless it was because I was engorged or because I was away from baby for work or a night away with my husband so the relationship with my pump, so to speak, was totally new. I had known that insurance companies now pay for pumps. I was blessed in that my job paid for my first pump which I still have but because that beauty was almost thirteen years old I ordered a new pump through my insurance. It was the same brand but so tiny. I was spoiled – the one I had was a backpack with many areas for pumping “stuff”. However, I was happy to have this new pump because I could keep one upstairs and one downstairs or one in the car at all times.

And so…I became, much to my demise, a perpetual pumper or what many moms call exclusively pumping. I tried every day to get the baby to latch but he wouldn’t. Some days he would for a minute or less and that was it. One day he would for a couple minutes but only one side and only one time in the whole 24 hours. And then something crazy happened; I found out the poor lad had viral meningitis! He ended up being in the hospital for a few days and thank God he got over it but this explains why he slept so much and why maybe he didn’t latch since this was his first weeks of life. While at the hospital, by the grace of God I remembered about tongue tied kids so I was sure before he was discharged to have the pediatrician look at his tongue and sure enough he was tongue tied! She sent me a referral to a lactation consultant who was also a Doctor who specialized in tongue tied children. I went after a few days of being home and I am glad I did.

I sat there in the office first time in my life having someone else other than my OBGYN look at and fully examine my nipples and breasts! OH MY! They did not warn me of this! Thank God my modesty was thrown out the window A LONG TIME AGO and, let’s be real – it didn’t hurt that she told me breasts were, “amazing like they are saying TADA together in unison!” Ah, the things that make you happy when you are over 40! lol. Anyways, she clipped the little guy’s tie and then placed him on my breast. I sat there for a good thirty minutes. EUREKA! SHEER JOY! I finally felt like a mother! I know that sounds totally ridiculous but when you have nursed nine other babies (two at once with my twinnies) you feel like an utter failure for not nursing. At any rate, she gave me some tips and sent me on my merry way. At this point I thought for sure baby would latch on like a champ without issues but NOPE. I got home and he would not latch to save his life. I was back to square one and starring at my new arch enemy the pump with anger and yet appreciation. So I pumped and pumped and FREAKING PUMPED like Forest Gump ran and ran and ran and I did not give up. I would not give up. In my mind my new goal was to get that baby to eventually latch! And latch he eventually did!

Fast forward and baby is now ten weeks this week and when he is awake he is exclusively nursing! I have to say I am so thankful for Facebook forums for giving me new information and giving me HOPE that my baby would latch. For the first time in my life I joined a breastfeeding forum and read from other women there that miraculously there child started nursing after X amount of time. Some of them it was a month, others two or more but the kid came around and figured it out! I knew my baby slept a lot so I kept thinking that if he just REALLY wakes up to the world he will get it and around eight weeks that is just what he did – and the funny part is there were no issues – he just got it immediately just like he did the first time I met him!

It has been such a journey for me with him these first two months and I have to call out on all the mons who exclusively pump! I DO NOT know how you do it. I mean I NOW know how you do it but gosh I do not know how you do it! Pumping every 2-3 hours round the clock, all the bottles, all the sterilizing, freezing, freezer bags, sore nipples and etc. I just COMMEND YOU! I SALUTE YOU!

Now that I only pump when I need to or because baby sleeps I have to say that looking back I would have kept going. Pumping became a part of life for me. It was so routine to me like taking a shower or etc. You just did it. Every two effin hours in car, train, plane, bus, home YOU DID IT! And because I was so amazed at how much milk my body produced – even under the amount of stress I was under from not nursing – I would have kept going because it was a very rewarding feeling. To see my baby almost thirteen pounds and say to myself, “Wow, I DID THAT! Just me. No formula (except a bottle here and there when we were too lazy to defrost milk). Just wow!” And to look at my freezer so full with EXTRA milk – man that can make you feel like a boss fo sho! It’s as if all of my baby phat is now really baby fat! lol

One thing I am SO GRATEFUL for is how much I learned during this journey. I would like to share it with you. This is what I did NOT know about pumping:

1. I did not know that the size of your flange matters! I mean, this is a game changer! Size really does matter after all. LMAO! After weeks and weeks of pumping I upped my flange from a 27 to 31 and BOOM I was producing more milk!

2. I did not know what the little button the pump was for. It’s for let downs! And my lactation consultant told me to press it twice to get two let downs in one 20 minute sitting which again meant more milk production! Genius!

3. I did not know that the dial on the pump didn’t really matter. I thought I had to jack that baby up to full speed to get the most milk output but nope my lactation consultant said, “You don’t have to hurt JoAnne to produce!” REALLY? OMG! I’m just, like…so used to PAIN since I have started spawning!

4. I did not know that you have to remove and clean the faceplate of your pump. 13 years no cleaning…dang. #mybad

5. I did not know that you are supposed to leave your pump on a few minutes after you pump in order to get the condensation out of the tubes! Here I was just blowing on it. #duh

6. I did not know that there is such a thing that exists called nipple vasospasm when your nipples turn white (and consequently hurt like a mo fo!) because of the wrong flange size! #lessonlearnedthehardway (literally)

7. I did not know the tips and tricks of breast milk bags. For example, the reason most bags have a “u” shape on the ends is so that when you pour the milk into the bottle it acts like a spout so you don’t get milk everywhere! #nomorecryingoverspiltmilk

8. I did not know that they now have wireless pumps! Or that they have bags that attach to your pumps too so you do not have to use bottles! Have I been living under a rock for thirteen years?!

9. I totally did not know that the extra material in the amazon purchased nursing bras or tanks were to hold your flanges so you can pump hands-free. I just thought I got the crappy made in China version! #amirite

10. What the heck is a nipple shield and what is it for? Absolutely amazing how this little device can help moms get babies to latch even if for just a little while like it helped me with baby!

And there are a million other things I am still learning thanks to all of the women around the globe that share their stories. GO YOU MAMMAS!

There were nights were I would cry myself to sleep thinking I’ll never bond with baby. I’ll never be able to comfort nurse him when he cries. I remember being in the hospital with him when he had the meningitis thinking how I failed him because I could not just put him to the breast. I should have just  reminded myself that freaking FED IS FED and that I was giving him my milk. He has had my milk all along.

Now that we are over the hump I am just taking it all in. All the good hormones are in place now because, at least for me, there is NOTHING like nursing your baby. NOTHING LIKE IT IN THE WORLD. He’s bored I nurse him. He’s cranky I nurse him. He’s hungry I nurse him. He’s tired but fighting sleep I nurse him! The best part to me -and it is something that I was dying for- was just being able to not have to get up in the middle of the night and make bottles but instead just pick him up and lay next to him and nurse him. There are many days when the kids go to school and that’s all we do – just lay in bed, nurse and dream together…

I am so grateful for my dang pump. I always wanted to divorce it but now I find myself on my own pumping 2-4 times a day just because I was so used to it and because yes, baby sometimes sleeps through feedings.

If I could say one thing out there to the mom who wants to nurse but can’t I would only say that if you really really want it like I did DO NOT give up! These warrior moms are out there putting me to shame by re-lactating after months of not nursing so trust me YOU CAN DO IT. #youvegotthis

If someone could have told me that I would be sitting up at night watching other women nurse their babies, look at their latch positions, studying how to get back to the art of nursing I would have said hell to the no! I mean come on, nipple binge watching! #nope But I am – every night, even now because there is never a time to stop growing, to stop learning from each other, to stop improving that which you think you know about (but even after nine babies clearly you DON’T). It’s like training for a marathon but with your tatas instead of your legs. lol So…anyways a huge shout out, a VERY BIG thank you Moms for helping me, for teaching me and most importantly for inspiring me and telling me not to give up! It is amazing what you can achieve when you set your mind on something and when you have legit an entire mom tribe routing you on!

God bless you all and rock on with your bad pumping and/or nursing selves and just remember: FED IS FED!

JoAnne

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