Thank you all for letting me share some notes from our breastfeeding journey thus far. I am April and I blog at A. Liz Adventures. The "A. Liz" comes from my name April Elizabeth, and although I dropped my middle name when I married my husband, I have now passed it down to our sweet Camille Elizabeth, who we call Camille ... or a myriad of nicknames. Millie, The Millster, Pea Pod, Pea, Peabody, PeaPo, The Littlest Pea, The Littlest, The Smallest, The Tallest -- poor thing is going to have an identity crisis.
We live in Charlotte, NC and Camille is now 4.5 months old. Breastmilk is her jam.
When I was pregnant, I was surprised how many people -- strangers -- asked me if I planned to breastfeed. Often times I was really caught off guard, like when I was receiving a full body pat-down by a burly airport security woman. And I mean FULL BODY. Never did I expect to find myself in such candid conversations about my tatas. But I got used to it, and I think that helped me view breastfeeding as something completely natural. But isn't that part about the full body pat-down strange?
So, Camille was born Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 and her birth story is here. I was really hoping to breastfeed her if possible for the health benefits, but I kept an open mind to the fact that it may not work. She did latch on not long after birth, and with the help of my doula and the hospital nurses, I was able to get a pretty good feel as to what nursing was all about.
We were discharged from the hospital Friday and I remember thinking Saturday that my milk had probably come in. Ha. Nope, it came in with a vengeance Sunday in the wee hours of the morning (so technically Monday, I guess). I was changing her diaper at zero dark thirty when I felt large droplets hitting the tops of my feet. I actually looked up at the ceiling thinking our roof was leaking. Yep, I did that.
Let me go ahead here and say that nursing pads are vital objects. And I am really in love with a few pair of washable and reusable waterproof pads that I bought from Etsy. A "greener" option, much more comfortable, and cute to boot. I just toss them in a laundry bag and then air-dry. Yes, more work than the disposables, but less expensive as well.
Our first pediatrician's appointment was the Monday after her birth, when she was five days old. I was having no major issues with nursing at that point, but I did request an appointment with the lactation consultant as soon as possible, and they fit me in two days later. By scheduling this appointment when Camille was just one week old, I was hoping to start any good practices as early as possible but also break any bad habits as early as possible, too. I'd recommend an appointment with an LC to anyone who wants to breastfeed!
The LC told me that it was not too early to break out my pump (Medela Pump In Style Advanced) and pump once a day, not long after the first morning feeding. I started freezing some of this milk and have built up a little freezer stash, mainly to ensure that if my supply does ever dwindle or stop all together before I'm ready, I can continue giving her breastmilk for a little bit longer. I also addressed my two main concerns with the LC, which were that Camille often fell asleep during the middle of the night feedings (tickle those toes, rub that head) and that when she did spit up, which was rare, it would come out of her nose (totally normal for newborns). At four weeks we felt like we were ready for her to try her first bottle of pumped milk, and she did great. My husband gave her the bottle right before she went to bed, and that was a sweet moment to witness.
During my maternity leave, I attended a La Leche League meeting which is a good resource for nursing mamas.Their local chapter Facebook page and KellyMom.com have been great sources of information, as is The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins which sits right beside my rocking chair.
I went back to work when Camille was 12 weeks old but transitioned from working in an office to working at home because my office didn't have an area fit for pumping. I enjoy working from my little home office now, and I take 15-20 minute breaks during the same times that Camille is eating at daycare (usually 12pm and 4pm nowadays) to pump. Sometimes I get caught up in a call or need to go in the office for a few hours and I'll have a delayed or missed pumping session. I get pretty paranoid that I'm doing harm to my supply but I just try to make up for it and then stay on schedule better the next day.
My goal is to nurse Camille for a year. With that said, I'm staying flexible and knowing all I can do is give it my best, and let the pieces fall as they will.
Biggest piece of advice? Have an arsenal of fellow mamas that you can text or call for quick advice. I feel like I'm always learning from fellow mothers. Thanks sweet Julie for letting us share our journey thus far!