Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Liquid Gold: My Breastfeeding Journey

     I always knew i would breastfeed my children. Even before i gave birth, i was already reading up on the subject and trying to learn about it as much as possible. I even picked a hospital that supported breastfeeding. So i thought i was prepared.

     When i gave birth to River, the nurses immediately placed her on my breasts for her first latch. Our breastfeeding journey started. 

River"s first latch..
     Let me say it now. It hurt like hell. Every time River latched, i winced in pain. My nipples were so sore and cracked that sometimes droplets of blood came out. I tried hand expressing milk and even then, i was only able to get a few drops. You know the saying "crying over spilled milk"? Well there was a time Jim spilled half an ounce of my milk and i completely lost it. 

     There were moments when i doubted myself and my ability to feed and nourish my baby. She wanted to latch every hour so yeah, i didn't get any sleep and i literally felt drained. Sometimes i felt that my milk was not enough because she always seemed hungry and wanted more.  But i waved those thoughts away and i soldiered on. I knew that this was the best thing for my baby and i was determined to give it to her. 

     And then my milk came. I was able to meet River's needs. For a time i was happy because she was happy. She was well fed and i couldn't have asked for more. But then  because i had so much milk, i experienced blocked ducts. It hurt so bad. I had fevers and chills. My doctor prescribed medicine and gave me strict instructions to stop breastfeeding for a week. I looked for other options. I couldn't imagine not being able to feed my baby and giving her formula. I sought advice from other moms. I did my research. And after a few excruciating days, i was able to get it in control. All without stopping breastfeeding and without taking medicine.  

milk drunk
     After a while, it became easier.  She was gaining weight and getting chubbier. She was sleeping more so i was sleeping more too. :) My sister in law gave me a Medela double electric breastpump and things became even better. After feeding River, i pumped. Every two to three hours, i pumped. I was able to store enough milk to last for weeks. Jim was able to feed her so i can rest. We were able to go out and leave her because we knew she wouldn't get hungry. Date nights at last!  I did have a few snafus when it came to storing my milk but more on that next time. :)

my lifesaver :)
    When River was six months old, she started eating solids so her milk intake lessened a bit. This meant that a bulk of my milk were stored AND took most of the freezer space. So i decided to donate. And i never looked back. I just kept a week's supply for River and the rest were shared. Up until River was weaned, we were able to donate more or less 2000 ounces.

organized  by the day it was pumped
first  milk donation..
sometimes i get nice surprises like this..
      It's funny. My original goal was to feed River until she was six months. Then it became a year. I finally stopped when River was a year and a five months old. And even then, i had enough stored milk to last her for the next three months. *humblebrag*

    Now it's Hunter's turn and I'm happy to say that, aside from a jaundice scare, it has been smooth sailing so far. My milk came in almost immediately and he always seemed satisfied after a feeding. He's two months old now and he has more than doubled his birth weight. I have also been able to donate about 500 ounces of milk already. Having seen the benefits of breastfeeding, this time around, i am hoping to breastfeed even longer.

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