The Breastfeeding Diaries: Jenny from Growing Up Jacobson

March 6, 2013

I don't know about you, but I am LOVING these breastfeeding diaries guests posts. It is so nice to hear different perspectives on breastfeeding and learn from other moms. Thank you again for all the support! Keep it coming ladies!

This next guest post is from my friend Jenny....she is one of the first people I met when I moved to Michigan! Now she has a beautiful 10 month old baby girl. Enjoy!
Hello! My name is Jenny. I’m attempting to become a blogger over at Growing up Jacobson. I know Julie from our time together at Michigan State! I’m so excited to be a part of this series. I’m married to John and mother to Caroline “Callie”. I am currently a stay at home momma. I don’t think I could do it any other way with my hubby’s travel schedule but let’s be honest being a mom is hard no matter how you do it. Callie will be 10 months old next week and we are still breastfeeding! Wow, just writing that I can’t believe it! I never thought, especially in the beginning, we’d make it this far and looking back I’m so glad we have. It really has been worth all the struggles.

Even before I got pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed but honestly I don’t really know why, I just did. Neither my mother nor my sister had been able to successfully breastfed and most of the moms I knew hadn’t been able to either (for a variety of reasons). Given my family history I was concerned that maybe there was a real reason and I wouldn’t be able to. I did a LOT of research on breastfeeding, pumping, supply building, etc. I took a women’s only breastfeeding class, read several books to get different perspectives, researched local support in terms of a lactation consultant and support groups. I also looked into what was available while I was in the hospital and their policies.

Not only was I glad I did all this research to be prepared for breastfeeding but it turned out we did need a lot of help in the beginning. I was very fortunate that other than being very overweight I had a normal and healthy pregnancy. Big babies run in our family and Callie measured big all along. A decision was made to go ahead and schedule an induction. The day I went in (on her due date) for my induction, with no warning signs, I developed very serve preeclampsia that turned into HELLP syndrome.

With several medications things got under control the induction moved along but the birth ultimately became a C-section delivery. I will skip the details but in short in turned into a very traumatic delivery. The stressful delivery affected two things: Callie ended up in the NICU for a week and the medicine I was on delayed my milk coming in a good two days. I didn’t even get to see her (other than right after delivery) for 24 hours because I couldn’t get out of bed. It was not at all the birth we had planned or hoped for.

I met with lactation consultants in the hospital who helped me learn how to pump to get my supply going and helped me with latching while she was on oxygen. They helped me develop a feeding plan to meet my goal of breastfeeding but still getting her the nutrients she needed. The first two weeks I was pumping around the clock every two-three hours. About half the time I could get her to latch to nurse. After two weeks of back and forth between bottles and nursing I had enough and I scheduled an in-home lactation consultant. It was worth EVERY SINGLE CENT and was the best help I received! In looking back I wish I had just called and scheduled it for the day after Callie got to come home. She helped with a few simple latch ideas that I’d never heard of before and we were all set! It was amazing how quickly it fell into place with such a small change. I still struggled to get to her to latch on one side on occasion because I had a HUGE supply difference and by 6 months gave up and just nursed on one side – which will still do today!

These days breastfeeding is the quickest and easiest thing both of us do all day. Crazy to think that when I look back at our start. Since Callie turned seven months she was down to nursing about every 3-5 hours during the day and very occasionally at night. We are on what I call a good night sleep streak that I don’t want to jinx by calling it anything else! I still pump religiously twice a day during naps and occasionally first thing in the morning before she is up. I like knowing I always have breast milk ready for her if someone else needs to feed her and I appreciate the flexibility this affords me.

The most rewarding part besides just being able to breastfed (for me that was a huge reward in itself) was being able to quickly and easily soothe my baby. Callie was a very fussy and unhappy little baby (she had really bad reflux which I believe was a result of birth complications) and breastfeeding was a huge help. Seriously it would be easier to tell you the things she liked prior to six months than what she didn’t like because she hated just about everything. Even things babies were supposed to love. I was lucky she took a pacifier easily, had no issues going between bottle and breast so I never worried about soothing her with breastfeeding. I didn’t want to create a situation where she saw me as her pacifier. I know many moms have no issues with using breastfeeding for all types of soothing but that is just not that mom I am or wanted to be.

What has surprised me the most is that I’m still doing it! I am very happy and proud to say that she hasn’t had any formula since leaving the NICU! There were so many times I really didn’t think I could keep breastfeeding. I kept setting small goals until about she was about four months and then I just said I’m going to do this until we are ready to stop. I really thought for sure teeth would stop us. We have also been lucky that teeth have not been an issue and she’s already got seven!

Tips for new moms:  
  • Pump right away. Seriously from the very beginning. Even if you have enough of a supply for your baby without supplement you may not have a great pump response. After about the first eight weeks if Callie got a bottle and I pumped I NEVER got as much from pumping as she took in the bottle. I do not have a good pump response and I know a lot of women with this issue. Most pumping sessions I get about 2oz regardless if this is a missed feeding or just pumping for extra milk. This is why any good lactation consultant will tell you your pumping output does not mean you have a supply issue. I have more than enough milk for Callie to be satisfied at the breast I just don’t get a lot pumping. This is why it’s so important to pump early and build up a freezer stash. I advocate for a freezer stash for any breastfeeding mom – not just if you are returning to work. You never know what can happen and that freezer stash gave me calmness. I know that formula is good way to feed your baby and I mean nothing against it. I just didn’t want to use formula. I also knew I wanted there to be other ways for Callie to be fed and so I could have breaks. So far we haven’t had any emergencies to have to dip into my freezer stash and the pay off for us is next month the hubby and I are going to Las Vegas for five days for his annual work meeting. While we are gone Callie is staying home with my mom and I have more than enough milk frozen to cover this!
  • Don’t be afraid to do things differently. We started solid foods at four months to help manage Callie’s reflux and WHAT a difference it made! So glad we did it! It not only helped manage her reflux but also made a huge improvement in her mood (I’m sure from helping her tummy feel better).
  • Have help lined up. You might think you’re fine but you will be amazed at how much professional advice – even small – can make a HUGE difference! I am still in regular contact with the consultant who helped us!
  • Let go of expectations and trust your gut. I really struggled a lot with the first six months. I got tired of hearing what seemed like “everyone” tell me to love it and it goes so fast, etc. I couldn’t wait for an older baby. You know what? I LOVE my grown up trying to be a toddler baby! I found this quote and it has helped me be comfortable with the mom I am:
“I see so many people reinforcing unrealistic expectations of motherhood. Delivery and early parenting are hard for everyone, and you’re not a failure if you find it a struggle and not very rewarding. The ‘glories’ are small and take a long time to realize, and that’s okay.”

Do you have a special or unique breastfeeding journey that you would like to share? Send me an email (located under "contact" at the top)

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3 Comments »

3 Responses to “The Breastfeeding Diaries: Jenny from Growing Up Jacobson”

  1. Great advice Jenny! SO glad you were able to overcome all the early struggles! :)

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  2. This is great advice!!

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  3. This is Julie from Team Patterson (Stephanie's SIL). I'm loving this series... it is definitely helping me get prepared for breast feeding when my 3 bundles of joy arrive in May/June. I was wondering if you or you know of anyone that has advice for breastfeeding multiples. Any tips for breast feeding 3 babies at once that are most likely going to be premies would be very appreciated.

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