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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Let's Talk: Post-Pregnancy Issue 1 - Breast AND Bottle Feeding

There are a lot of women out there with strong feelings one way or another on breastfeeding.  I'd like to think I am not one of those women.  Honestly, I think other people's opinions and judgements about breastfeeding are better left unsaid, because more often than not, they end up stressing a new mom out more than actually helping!

I do, however, feel strongly that there doesn't have to be a right or wrong, all-or-nothing answer when it comes to feeding your newborn.  The "right" answer is whatever works best for both you and baby... and the rest of the family... and maybe even your social life because, let's face it, an unhappy mom = unhappy household.

I am certainly not the most cuddly, sit-around-all-day-and-look-at-the-baby type moms.... but I do enjoy the special closeness that comes with nursing.  The hubby and I tried to keep our lives as similar to pre-baby as possible when we had Connor, and with our second baby, things haven't been any different... and that makes nursing a pain (pun intended a little bit ;)  Slipping off to a quiet room, alone, for 30 or more minutes, to nurse, isn't exactly my idea of a great time.  Again, love the bonding with baby, but it sucks when you feel like you are missing out on other things because of it.

So am I nursing?  Yes.  Do I love it? Yes ... and No.  Let me explain.

I would not trade the nursing experience for anything.  The first time he latches, the little milk mustache, the bonding, the coy eye-contact while feeding, and the sense of providing for your own baby.  Wow - that's cool.  What else is cool?  I love not having to wear a padded bra in order to have boobs right now ... plus I can still eat like I'm preggers because nursing burns so many calories.  There are so many other benefits for you and baby - I think most of us are aware... these are just my personal faves!

HOWEVER (and this is important), breastfeeding is not like a lot of lactation-pushers would suggest.  Does it hurt at first?  Yes.  Your nipples will feel as if you took a wad of sandpaper and went to town on them.... for a short time, that is.  I honestly don't think anything can prepare you for that, but it does get better - quickly if the latch is correct.  To be completely honest, for me, the pain of nursing is really a non-issue.  Uh, I just gave birth. this is nothing!

Now for THE 2 BIGGIES!!

1.)  Daddy (or other helpers you might have enlisted) CANNOT nurse for you.  Nope, he can't.  And, having him give a breast milk bottle once a night so you can sleep doesn't really work either because you still have to get up and pump.  Bummer.  By the second night home from the hospital, this reality sets in hard-core!

2.) No matter what any lactation-pusher tells you, it has been my experience, the experience of my friends, and confirmed by hospital nurses, that babies tend to go longer between feedings when they are on formula.  Yes.  That's right.  4 hours instead of 2 hours at night?  That's a big freakin' deal!

Nursing?  Easier?  I wouldn't say easier.  Cheaper - sure.  Are there benefits - of course... but formula is also great... and not evil!

So here is what I have worked out that makes sense for me and our family.  Feel free to steal this idea!  In fact, I recommend it!

My little punkin' gets to nurse anytime between 7AM and 7 PM.  Between 7 PM and 7 AM, he is hittin' the bottle.  He gets anywhere from 2-4 bottles right now, which are half breast milk and half Enfamil Gentlease formula.  That is just until his little system gets more developed and used to the formula, then it's going to be all formula at night and I'll use my stored-up pumped breast milk for day-time bottle feedings when I'm not home, etc...

Right now, I still pump a couple of times between the dinner time breastfeeding and going to bed ... that's just to keep up my supply, which is crucial when cutting out several feedings and supplementing with bottles/ formula. (Now, this is where I screwed up with my first son - you MUST keep pumping or feeding regularly in the beginning and not get lazy!!!)   I think at about 6-8 weeks, my milk supply will be established enough where I'm not having to pump anymore unless I miss a day-time feeding.  I also happen to enjoy the Mother's Milk tea, so I have a cup or two of that a day... not sure it helps, but I figure what the hell?

I'm certainly no expert, but I'm hoping that other moms out there who are looking for a little insight and support on breastfeeding and supplementing will find my experience helpful and comforting.  It doesn't have to be all or nothing!  It's whatever you want it to be!  The more enjoyable and flexible nursing is for you, the longer you will keep it up!  It's a win-win... Bonus!

Lot's more hot mommy topics coming soon!  Thanks for stopping by!


Susan said...


Thank you for your post. It was very insightful. The whole breastfeeding thing is so bewildering to me. I am definitely giving it a go, but my maternity leave is only 2 1/2 months, so I'm kind of freaking out about how I'm supposed to do it and work. I do have the luxury of working from home (I'm a piano teacher), but it's not like I can whip out my boobs in front of my students to pump, etc. Your bottle/breast planning is very clever. Hope you are doing great!

Lindsey Brodsky said...

Susan, Thanks for stopping by! I think it's best to go into breastfeeding with an open mind about how you are going to be able to make it work! If you can only do it while you are off work, great! I've also heard of people only nursing in the morning and right before bed... that could be an option for you once back to work - and do formula during the day! Good luck with everything!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post! I like your ideas! There is so much pressure on women to breastfeed these days. It's refreshing to hear someone who is not so black and white on the whole issue. When I had my first, I had a ton of pressure on me to breastfeed only. No formula and pumping wasn't working for me. It was tough. I wish I had someone around like you at the time haha! Now, I am considering another and am already thinking ahead about nursing. Thanks again for your thoughts. Congrats again!


The Marty Party said...

Hi Lindsay! Thanks for posting this. I'm expecting my second and third this fall (twins) and I was thinking of doing this too. With my daughter, my husband always offered to help but, like you said, it's pointless because then you have to get up to pump anyways!

So, my question is about logistics. You mentioned not to just stop the night feedings all at once, so how often are you pumping now and when can you start to taper off?


Lindsey Brodsky said...

anon (Kate): Us realistic moms have to stick together! Thanks for much for reading!

The Marty Party: As far as weaning, I've read the first 2-3 weeks are crucial in setting the tone for your body's milk supply. Meaning, if your babies are eating and you aren't actually nursing, you had better be pumping! Otherwise, things will just start shutting down. Boo. This sucks when you are trying to get a little sleep. So...

I started out pumping whenever the baby was eating at night the first week. Then, I skipped one of the feedings during the night (aka: bottle feeding, no pumping) I would then need to pump a little bit to ease engorement right before doing the next nursing session.... but in a week or so, my body adjusted and I no longer need to so that.... I'm full, but not too full for the baby to latch.

Right now, I pump once before heading to bed (whatever time that is) and skip 2 feedings and then nurse in the morning.

The KEY is not to cut out any feedings that you will want back because your body will stop making milk for that feeding. AND, I wouldn't start skipping any nursing/pumping sessions for at least 2 weeks!

Read as much as you can online - but beware of the biased websites! I'm obviously not an expert - but asking around to other moms really helps!

Congrats on the twins and thanks so much for reading!

Mommy Webb said...

Thank you for the honest post. Breastfeeding was soooooooooooooooooo hard for me. And don't get me started on pumping...I did it for 8 1/2 months, but I wanted to throw my pump under a truck by the time I was finished!!!! Congrats on TWO beautiful little boys:).

The Marty Party said...

Thanks so much, Lindsay! I think I'm going to try it out...I know BFing is great but I've got balance that with my sanity :)

Thanks again for the tips!

Deena Marie Fusco said...

I came accross your post and found it quite .....helpful? I'm a new mom of a 6 week old, my milk never came in fully, i had breast reduction surgery 10 years ago, so i take 12 pills a day of motilium, nurse at each feeding then give a bottle. I do pump sometimes. Although, at night time, its pure bottle, i get them all ready, put them in the mini fridge and we are set for the night. I wasn't devastated but i was a bit sad that i couldn't nurse totally..but i'm over it and we are surviving!

Nice to meet you,