Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Bottle Feeding My First Taught Me About Breastfeeding My Second

I was given samples of Dr. Brown's products prior to writing this post. All opinions and experience are 100% my own.


My first breastfeeding experience was nothing short of a disaster. I nursed a screaming baby every 45 minutes for the first four weeks of her life. I was exhausted, in constant pain from sore nipples, but proud. I was doing it, even though it was hard. I felt felt exhilarated by my accomplishment right up until the moment that my daughter's pediatrician told me when she was four weeks old that I was starving her to death. I remember feeling like I had been punched in the stomach. I had no idea it wasn't working. I had no idea she wasn't getting enough. She was screaming all the time because she was hungry. I remember watching the nurse bring in cans of special formula for our very sick baby and stacking them on the exam table. It felt like a monument to my failure.

Fast forward to my second pregnancy five years later. People would ask if I was scared to go through labor again and I would laugh and say no, because I wasn't. Breastfeeding was what made me break out in a cold sweat. I analyzed my first experience over and over again looking for signs I missed that she was struggling and I read everything I could find on nursing. Now four months in, I can honestly say my little one and I have an incredible breastfeeding relationship. I look forward to the time I spend with just her every day and there is a part of me that is grateful for my first experience because it taught me how to succeed the second time around. I just want to take a second and say that one of my girls was formula fed and one is breastfed and  both my daughters are wonderful, sweet, happy girls. I am not condemning one way or another, I am just sharing my experience. Here is what I learned from my first experience that helped me this time.

1. Make breastfeeding part of your birth plan. I explained to my nurses when I was in labor that my number one goal besides a healthy baby was to establish a breastfeeding relationship as fast as possible. They were so supportive of me and I had my newborn in my arms seconds after she was born. We focused a lot on skin to skin contact and nursing before they had even wheeled me into the recovery room.

2. It hurts, but it gets better. Every thing I read told me that if the baby was latched right then nursing shouldn't be painful. So why did it feel like I was being seared with a branding iron every time she latched on? One nurse said it best when I asked, "You haven't had anything constantly tugging on your nipples before. Of course it is going to hurt, but it will get better." It hurt for awhile, but eventually the pain went completely away, until then I used a lanolin free cream and hard sided breast shields to keep my clothes from rubbing against me.

3. Use cream before you are sore. I picked up cream with my first and started using it once things were sore. With my second I started using it right away to prevent soreness. It was way easier to prevent it then it was to treat it. With my first I used a lanolin based cream but I hated that it stained my clothes and sometimes left greasy spots on other clothes in that same load of laundry. Dr. Brown's formula is non greasy and there is no need to wash it off before feeding.


4. Nurses are not lactation consultants. Most nurses have taken classes and can give you basic help, but what you really need is a lactation consultant. Ask to see one while you are still in the hospital and don't be afraid to go back to one later if you need to. I attribute the great breastfeeding relationship I have with my baby to a wonderful lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are also like doctors, sometimes you need to shop around and find one that fits your personality. The first one I ever saw was bound and determined to get me to use a nursing hold I wasn't comfortable with which just made me more frustrated in the end. I found another one that was more willing to work around what I was comfortable with and it has been wonderful.

5. It is OK to be cautious. With all of the weight issues with my first, I started bringing my second baby in for weight checks on my own when she was about three weeks old. We were able to catch a problem she was having eating while it was still a small problem before it became a huge issue. Most doctor's office or lactation clinics will let you weigh your baby for free. Call around if yours won't.

6. Pumping is not an good indication of how much milk you make. Watch your baby's diaper output very carefully in the first few weeks. If they are gaining weight and having a normal amount of diapers, you are doing fine. If you are still worried about it, most lactation clinics have an appointment where you come in, weigh your baby, feed the baby and then weight them again to see exactly how much they are taking in. I am so grateful for my pump, because it has allowed me to build up a wonderful freezer supply, but it is not what I use to measure how much my baby is getting.

7. Get the right kind of nursing pillow. I tried out several kinds of nursing pillows before I found one I loved. The Dr. Brown's pillow is fuller than others I have tried, so I don't end up shoving extra pillows underneath it or with a sore back.

8. Reusable nursing pads are way softer and more comfortable than disposable ones. While I love disposable nursing pads for some things, nothing beats the soft feeling of the reusable Dr. Brown's pads. I absolutely love them and recommend them to be people as my absolutely number 1 nursing must have. They are soft even against sore nipples.


9. Dressing in nursing friendly clothes doesn't have to be hard. With my first baby, I always used a cover and couldn't for the life of me figure out why you would nurse with out one. Then I had my second, right before summer. The poor little thing hated the hot nursing cover and would scream and refuse to eat anytime I had it on and I can't say I blamed her. For my own comfort in nursing without a cover I began wearing a long tank and a shirt. I would pull the shirt up and the tank down so I could nurse pretty much anywhere with nobody even looking twice. H&M makes absolutely hands down my favorite tanks for nursing and they are usually 2 for $10!

10. Relax. You are doing great. As women we compare ourselves to others way to much. When I formula fed I was convinced everyone was judging me and I would tell any stranger who watched me bottle fed my baby the entire story of why I was bottle feeding her. After my second baby refused to nurse with a cover, I would tell anyone who would listen the saga of why I couldn't cover. In the end I realized it really didn't matter what anybody else thought. I was feeding my baby and that was all that mattered.

Breastfeeding has been both the hardest thing I have ever done and one of the best. It didn't work out for my first, no matter how much I wanted it to, but I am thrilled that this time around it is working. When it comes down to it. We are all good moms just trying to do the best we can.

I was lucky enough to be able to try some of the nursing products by Dr. Brown's. I have found some of my absolute go to products in their line. I will never use another kind of nursing pad, their breast milk storage bags are so easy to use and I LOVE my Gia nursing pillow.
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43 comments:

Travis and Jenny said...

Best baby advice I've got is Relax. Enjoy you're baby. I was always so worried with my first that I was doing thing right, it took a while for me to realize I was a good Mom and doing just fine.

Kristin Burkholder said...

Best advice in regards to breastfeeding is that it's hard at first but gets better! My lil man will be 4 months tomorrow and some days it's still hard but we are doing so much better than those first couple of weeks ;)

Stacey - Seattle Mom Blog said...

Great post. I had a friend that had terrible nursing problems. She ended up having to get some sort of thing that went over her nipple to allow the baby to latch on properly. For something so natural, it sure can be difficult!

Katie said...

Nursing is so different with each baby. I thought it would be so easy with my second because I had experience from my first, but it was hard in a whole new way.

Masshole Mommy said...

I bottle fed both of my boys from day one.

Courtnay said...

This definitely helped me feel better about if I'm not able to breastfeed my little girl when she's born, but I still have full hope that I'll be able to make it work!(:

Lahunha Borie said...

I understand how you feel! With my first one I also had major breastfeeding issues. I tried and tried at the hospital and she just wouldn't latch. The nurses brought in formula for her at the hospital because she had jaundice. It wasn't horrible but enough that if we gave her a bottle with formula it would fix it. I tried at home to breastfeed and saw many lactation specialist, had the people from WIC come out to help nothing seemed to work. I cried every day because my child was starving and I wanted to help her. I knew that bottle feeding was the only thing that I could do. It broke my heart. I am currently 8.5 weeks pregnant and am bound and determined to make it work! I am hoping and praying that this time around things will work out for me but I also know my limits and will be cautious just the same as us.

TrueBliss said...

It's nice to be reminded how each baby is different and you can have completely different experiences with every child you have. Good post!

Felicia Franceschelli said...

This is great information, but I is a little difficult for me to relate but I do not have any children yet! I would love to try and brestfead if possible though.

Sierra Burnett said...

I don't have any kids yet, but as a post-partum nurse and soon to be IBCLC (lactation consultant), the advice I give my struggling mom's is "feed the baby". If that means breastfeeding, great, I'll help all I can. If it means breastfeeding with supplementation, I will help you with options, if it means bottle feeding with pumped milk or formula, that's fine too...what is important I'd that the baby is getting fed and you are spending quality time (not frustrated, crying time) with your baby.

Anonymous said...

Sleep when baby sleeps. You don't have to be the perfect parent. Set boundaries and standards when they are young.

Vicki Laursen said...

The best advice I got was definitely to relax. With my first it was terrible and I think a lot of it was because I was so stressed out about it all the time. This time around I'm trying much more to he relaxed and it's going much better!

Tor R said...

Breastfeeding is incredibly hard! I honestly didn't ever grow to love it all the time, but I'm so glad I stuck with it. I think the breast pads could make a huge difference with the next kiddo. I only used disposable before, but softer would be better in so many ways.

Cindy Gordon said...

Looks like some great gear!! Thanks for sharing!

Uniquely Yours said...

Sleep when your baby sleeps!!!!!

Sarah Clark said...

The best advice anyone has given me is that it's OKAY that my house is a disaster in those first few weeks after delivery:) Haha! I'm always so embarrassed when I can't have it all together right afterwards, but hearing people say, "That's just how it is. Mine was, too. Don't even worry." made me feel a tiny bit better. :)

jen temcio @dapperhouse said...

I did not know that H&M made clothes that women could wear. Thought it was a teen store. But I did know that Dr. Browns is like the most trusted name in nursing! Congrats on your darling children.

Caitlin Fore said...

Wow!! i had nook idea there was so much involved with nursing a baby and would totally have felt the same way if i heard the news about my brand new baby like you did. but your tips from that experience is now helping so many others! THank you!

Heather Jones said...

I love your post and that you write in a way that is very supportive to those that are trying. I breastfed both my boys and believe it or not my second was hardest. Go figure. It was because he had a chin that would sink in when he latched and he couldn't stay latched. I had to try different feeding postions with him, like the football hold and "uphill" nursing. Not sure if you are familiar with those terms, but it was better for him because it helped him stay latched. Everyone's experience is different and every baby is different, but I agree with you on the lanolin and putting it on before there is a problem. Oh and hot compresses when you are engorged!!

Katrina Gehman said...

nursing is so time consuming but worth it. Also nothing wrong with formula feeding.

Elaine Isaacs said...

The best advice I recived after everyone said relax, is If you need advice Ask your Mother

Emily Ducatte said...

Best advice ...not to sweat the small stuff!

Maddi'sMommy said...

This is gread advice! I dont recall my best advice but relax is definitely a good one. Everything is fleeting so enjoy the moment. Easier said than done at 4am on 2 hours of sleep but try! :)

Mama to 5 said...

sounds similar to my story. Now 4 kids later I exclusively breastfeed and glad I stuck in there even when I wanted to give up.

Mariah Applegate said...

My advice is if you have a le leche league in your area - go to it! WHILE you are pregnant. You will get amazing support from women who have usually been in the same spot with the same problems that you are going through now.

Ashley Mertlich said...

Best advice I have "just keep swimming!"

Krystal Butherus said...

Dr Browns were always my favorite. I never had any issues!

Debi - Travel Blogger said...

It's really important to keep track of the baby's weight when breastfeeding. You're not alone. It's very easy to think the baby is doing fine, when really he or she is not getting adequate nutrition.

Anonymous said...

This is the best advice piece I've read so far as a soon to be first time mom who plans to breast feed!

Anonymous said...

Would love to try these products!

Anonymous said...

Im a breastfeeding mom of two. I would LOVE this!

Cristine Barger said...

The best advice I have received is to enjoy it, the time passes by way too fast.

Anel Winney said...

Best baby advice is to not compare your baby or yourself to other babies and other moms. Everyone will have a different opinion, but as long as you feel that you are doing your baby good, then it doesn't matter if other people didn't do it. Thanks!

Anel Winney said...

Best baby advice is to not compare your baby or yourself to other babies and other moms. Everyone will have a different opinion, but as long as you feel that you are doing your baby good, then it doesn't matter if other people didn't do it. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was told to do my own research and do what felt right to me. I would tell new mom's to not listen to all the negativity.

barneyn said...

Sleep when they sleep!

Kimberly said...

I think the best advice I got was when I was told there are no "right" answers. Do your research and choose what works best for your family.

Heather R said...

Take lots of pictures the first few months. They change so much in the first 6 months.

thransom

Rebecca Parsons said...

My mom told me to not stress and relax when trying to breast feed. If you are tense and not relaxed so will the baby be.

[Whatever U are, be a good one!] said...

For me, the good advice is "breastfeeding is the best! The more you breastfeed, the more milk your body produces!"

Thank You for the chance!

Fiona N

Dee said...

The best advice I got was to just breathe. You can stress yourself to death about every little thing, but generally if you love that baby and you're trying to do things right, they're going to be fine.

Nikki Davis said...

Babies need very little. Is the parents to who want all the frills!

Meagan and Ryan said...

Take it one day at a time.

 
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