Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Breastfeeding Journey so Far

I have been breastfeeding my little girl for almost 8 months. I have gone through ups and downs but have really tried to stick it out. I am proud of how far I have come, it is a really hard thing to do! I remember when I first started I said, "I feel like I need a support group!" Only to learn they actually really have those!

When Zoey was born the plan was to nurse from the beginning. She latched on well and soon started having diapers and I was very happy it was going well. I was in the hospital for 3 days and on a lot of medications and she started to not stay latched because the meds were effecting me. A lactation specialist came in and put what they call a 'shield' on me. This basically makes it like a bottle tip, its hard and firm for them to suck on. I thought it was the greatest thing until I got home and realized one of the reasons I wanted to nurse was because it would be easy, well not if I always had to put this thing on! Then my milk came in... and by this I mean it flooded in. I had so much milk it was uncontainable. The shield became really messy and annoying so after a few days of working with her I got her off of it and said good riddance!

My milk came in really heavy, but I did not think to store any of it. Shame on me. The second week was the most painful and hardest to get through. I remember being told "just stick it out it gets better!" And it did after a few weeks the pain subsides and it becomes second nature. I also did not want to use a pacifier on her or try a bottle so she would continue to take me instead of needing the shield. Well after a few months we tried a bottle and no go. She would not take a pacifier or a bottle and to this day has never had either.  The pacifier was hard to not have when she was crying, it would have been nice. The positive is we don't have to get her off of it later. No bottle was fine at first but now that we like to go out and do things it's really hard. I am shy about feeding her in public and she does not like the cover.. she is an opinionated girl!

When she was about 2 months old we noticed she would squirm and cry a lot and seemed to have tummy issues. The pediatrician just said it was gas and to use gas drops. After doing my own research I read that a lot of babies have a problem with dairy and a few other things. So I decided to try to eliminate it and see if it helped. I cut out all dairy from my diet and she was a different baby. I also noticed if I had eggs her stomach hurt all over again so I had to stop eating eggs. I am a huge egg and cheese lover so this diet, which I am still on, has been the hardest thing for me. I have learned to use substitute for everything. I use vegan mayo, vegan butter, almond milk and my diet is totally different than before. I cannot eat out hardly at all, but we enjoy eating at home anyways. My meals are pretty plain I have a lot of chicken and veggies. Oh how I miss pizza... and omelets...and grilled cheese.. and ice cream..and lasagna... and I should stop I am just getting hungry for things I cannot have.

I am 10 pounds lighter than before I got pregnant and I think it is because of my diet. A few times I tried to sneak in some cheese and its stomach pains, gas, and up all night for Zoey. So it is not worth it.

I go through these little 'ruts' in breastfeeding where it hurts, it's inconvenient, and I am annoyed and just want to give up. Then I remind myself that I really do not want to give her formula. My goal is no formula. If I can do a full year and just go into milk (not going to start on what kind of milk in this blog but I am already thinking not dairy) I will be very happy. I also have to remind myself that I am lucky to be able to still be nursing her!

It is a rough road. Some mom's choose to breastfeed and it comes with ease, some struggle, some cannot, and some do not want to. Whatever you choose it is what is best for your baby and your family and I do not judge any mom for the choices they make. Some people are shocked when they hear I still nurse my baby. I am proud that I am doing what is best for my baby and my family. I am fortunate to have been able to do this for so long and am still able to. Even though it is hard, and even though I want to give up sometimes I am still grateful. I am grateful I get to bond with my baby in this special way and that I can provide for her. An entire year of no dairy or eggs seems and feels so long, but in the big picture it really is not and I can do it!
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