Thursday, February 19, 2015

Breastfeeding - Six Months In

Hi there!

This is a post I've been wanting to write.  As a new mama I found these types of posts very informative.  I had no set plans for breastfeeding when Sage was born, just that I knew I wanted to, but I had no idea how it would go, how it would work with going back to work, and all the other details involved so I just went with the flow, and for me that has been working fantastically.  It's a different journey for every mama, so keep in mind this is just my experience.  

In the hospital - We were in the hospital after Sage was born for close to three days.  He took to breastfeeding effortlessly.  I had no idea what I was doing, but he seemed to know what to do right from the beginning.  I worked with a lactation consultant at the hospital who showed me how to hold Sage and I was told to nurse him every two hours while there. 

Sage spit up from the beginning and it became apparent that something was up as soon as we got home from the hospital.  I would nurse Sage and he would spit up A LOT.  Within 24 hours of being home, we were rushed back to the hospital because we did not know if something was seriously wrong.  It turned out (after hours of testing, time in the ER, and x-rays on our 3 day old baby boy) that he just had severe reflux.  Scary as a first time mama, but actually quite common I learned.  This changed everything on how I needed to nurse Sage...

Month One - Because of Sage's reflux, for the first two weeks I was told I needed to feed Sage every two hours (because he could not eat a lot at one time) and then I had to hold him up on my chest for 30 minutes after each nursing session so the milk could gently settle in his stomach.  When I say I spent the first month on the couch essentially just nursing Sage around the clock, I'm not exaggerating.  We nursed, cuddled, he slept, and then we did it all again.  I hardly slept and I don't even remember that time very clearly anymore.  It was a quite a blur.

Month Two to Four - Sage's reflux improved greatly.  I continued to nurse him in a football hold where he was sitting up as much as possible.  During this time I stopped needing to hold Sage up for 30 minutes after each feeding.  He tended to fall asleep in my lap though after each nursing session, so again, we spent a lot of time on the couch together all day long.  I cherished the days home on maternity leave and I honestly loved those quiet moments with him.  As we approached month four though, I started working with Sage on him napping in his crib (opposed to him just falling asleep on my lap after nursing).  I should also mention that Sage refused the bottle until he was about 4 months old, so I nursed exclusively until that point.

 Month Five - I went back to work when Sage was 4.5 months old.  This was the first month that Sage drank more from a bottle (breast milk still) than he nursed.  The transition was quite smooth which was a huge relief as I was back at the office full-time.

Month Six & Now - I pump more than I nurse at this point.  I've developed a true pumping schedule and I tend to even keep with it on the weekends and just nurse when Sage wakes up in the morning and before he goes to bed at night (and during the night on demand).  During the workweek he takes bottles of breast milk from the sitter and on the weekend days he takes bottles from my husband and I.  At 5.5 months we started giving Sage rice cereal as well which we mix with breast milk.  He eats rice cereal (and trying different fruits and veggies) at lunch and we give him oatmeal at dinner time.  

Pumping at work - I pump at 10:45AM and 1:45PM at work (or within 30 minutes of these times).  I've been doing this for close to 8 weeks now and it's a good schedule.  It takes me 15-25 minutes at each pumping session and I pump between 10-15 oz. at work.

Pumping at home - I pump in the early morning before I go to work around 7AM, between 5-10 oz. depending on if I've nursed Sage prior and how much I've nursed during the night.  On the weekends, I follow my work pumping schedule.  I also pump right after Sage goes to sleep around 7:15PM, generally 3-6 oz.  

Overall, at this point I pump 4 times a day and nurse 2 times (plus the middle of the night feedings which we are working on cutting back on).  Last night was just once, but sometimes it's 2 or 3 times.  My baby boy keeps me guessing with this new teething business.  

That pretty much sums up my breastfeeding experience so far.  I'm not sure how much longer I plan to.  I guess if I have a goal I'd say a year, but I'm going with the flow.  I know it will continue to change as Sage eats more solids.  

I've been incredibly happy with my experience and I feel lucky that I've had such a good one. 

Any questions?  Feel free to ask!

1 comment:

  1. I am SO glad you wrote this. Obviously your story is not without a few hiccups and does certainly sound like a lot of work, but it sounds like it's at least working! I have been very discouraged from all the horror stories I read. I feel like people only write about breastfeeding if it went badly! I am definitely going to share my story, whatever that is, but I really hope it can be a positive one like this to encourage moms to breastfeed.

    I am not sure how long I want to either (assuming it works for me). My husband is all for a year+, but that sounds kind of crazy to me. I also know we'll be trying for another baby not too long after this one, so the thought of being a legit milk machine for a LONG time does not sound appealing and I might want a break. Selfish, I know, but we'll see what happens.