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An Update on Breastfeeding.

Welcome once again to TMI Land.  Please forgive me in advance for anything I share that might make your eyebrows shoot up into your hairline. (And if you are Doctor Honeydew, that's quite a journey.)

BSparl has been part of our family for twelve weeks, and we've come a long way in the breastfeeding journey.  When I wrote about breastfeeding before, we were only about a month into BSparl's life, and everything was challenging.  Just waking up to feed her several times a night was turning us into Zombie Parents.  And breastfeeding, though something I was determined to do, was hard.  I thought the milk letting down was painful.  The nipple soreness was uncomfortable.  And latching on was something BSparl did with such a vengeance sometimes that I was afraid she was a baby land shark.  (Different from a building shark.)  But the first few weeks were definitely the hardest.

Now, twelve weeks into the whole adventure, feeding her is easier. My milk isn't coming in at random times, but instead seems to have magically timed itself to come in when the baby is due to eat.  It's an amazing thing, how my body has adjusted to provide my child with exactly what she needs.  Low blood sugars after I feed her are still a little bit of a problem, but not nearly as much of an issue as in the first few weeks.  (I'm blaming some of those on my body's adjustment to post-pregnancy life.) Latching on is better, especially now that she can hold her head up a little better, and the actual pain has been soothed by the constant use of these gel pads from Lansinoh.  And no, that's not a paid product placement.  The pads are just plain awesome.  Using Lanolin gel on my nipples when they're particularly sore also helps a lot. (Holy freaking TMI.  But whatever. I'm not much on shame these days.)

For about ten weeks, she was fed breastmilk exclusively, save for a bottle of formula at the hospital after she was born.  But at the ten week mark, my work schedule started to shift a bit, causing me to want to incorporate a bottle of formula here and there.  Yes, I pumped and yes, I had a good stash of milk going, but keeping that stash ... stashed was harder and harder as BSparl ate more at each feeding.  When she moved from 2.5 oz up to closer to 3.5 oz per feeding, I had trouble keeping up.  In order to ensure that she was fed breastmilk exclusively, I had to either pump all the time or just never, ever leave the house.  Siah shouldn't be allowed to  breast pump.  And I shouldn't be allowed near Photoshop anymore.

This was the point where I had to make a decision based on what worked for MY life, not one based on the recommendations of others.  For me, I didn't want to have to pump while passengering in the car on our way to simple places like the movies or the grocery store. (My apologies to everyone on the road in our town - sorry if I flashed you.)  I felt like I was actually a cow, and debated chewing cud instead of bubble gum.  I even used this crazy ass device (the Pump Ease Hands-Free Breast Pumping Support Band ... in Bel Aire Blue) because I was desperate to reclaim a little bit of my work life.  (And for the record, that support band worked like a charm but looked so bizarre that Chris and I were constantly collapsing into peals of laughter because, come on - there's nothing hotter than your wife working diligently on her laptop with bottles attached to her breasts.  Wicked hot.)

After ten weeks of constant pumping and feeding, I needed more flexibility.  So we decided, as a family, to work in a little formula.

Currently, I feed the baby first thing in the morning (around 8:30 am) and then throughout the day as needed.  Sometimes, if we go out to dinner or visit family and friends in the evening, we'll give her a bottle of formula.  For the most part, BSparl is breastfeeding the majority of the time, with maybe one bottle a day.  But there's something about just knowing I have options makes me feel less stressed.  Because I was bugging out for a while.

There's a lot of guilt when it comes to breastfeeding, particularly as a type 1 diabetic.  Aside from hearing from The Mysterious THEY (you know what THEY say - THEY say way too freaking much) about the benefits of breastfeeding your baby, I know that breastfeeding can help keep a type 1 diabetes diagnosis at bay for the BSparl.  And the guilt gnaws at me a little, every time I mix up a formula bottle, because I don't ever want to be able to point the finger at something I didn't do to protect her.  (That's a whole different post, though.  More on that later.) 

I'm trying to do my best. 

And now that there's a little more flexibility in my feeding options, I'm really enjoying the breastfeeding experience.  I love the mornings with BSparl the best, because she wakes up all scrunchy-faced, kicking her tiny feet into the air and saying what sounds almost exactly like "Hi!"  We change her diaper, I open the bedroom door to let the cats in, and then snuggle into bed for her breakfast.  Despite the fact that Siah believes this ritual should also include her furry self, I love these intimate moments with my daughter.  While I'm already thinking about the weaning process and looking forward to completely reclaiming my body, I will miss these moments. 

... and I will also miss Photoshopping Siah into inappropriate situations.  

Comments

Holy crap the picture is freaking hilarious!!!

It sounds to me like you are doing the right thing for you and your family. That is what matters. You are such a great mom!

Not that I'm sitting here picturing you with the support band thing-a-ma-bob, but I....sort of am. And I'm lauging my ass off at the silliness of the fact that it comes in such snazzy colors & patterns! HA!

omgwtfbbq re: Siah.

Do what's right for you and your family. Happy, healthy babies come from happy, healthy parents.

(I used to be more judgmental about birth/nursing/etc due to several influences in my life, but since I decided that I will never go through it myself, I've let go of that. After all, if anyone knows the impact stress can have on a person and those around them, it's me.)

You're doing great, Kerri! Breastfeeding IS hard. REALLY hard. Just take things as they come and make decisions as you need to. There's no right or perfect way to do anything. And no need to think about weaning yet. You have enough to think about. Motherhood has really taught me how to only do/think about what you have to at any given time. I ended up nursing 22 months and weaning was so gradual it was like it didn't even happen. I NEVER thought I'd go that long. Keep holding onto the joy!

Sounds like you're really getting your motherhood sea legs and deciding what's right for you guys. That's the ONLY way to do it. :)

There will always be those who figure they know best and feel you should be doing what they do. What really matters is what is best FOR YOU. Good for you for doing what works best for your situation and ignoring the ‘know-it-alls’.

Btw, I remember being shocked at how much the let down hurt during breast feeding, especially in the first couple of months after giving birth. My sister described it best when she said that it feels as if lightning bolts are shooting out your nipples. I was like, OMG TOTALLY!

Ah motherhood...such a magical time. ;)

I will dig up the picture of me nursing my son while my cat, Tiger, also lounged *on* me. He was quite the jealous kitty after No. 1 showed up.

Oh Kerri you are doing a fabulous job and welcome to the world of motherhood - if someone's not being constantly criticized then we all must be doing something wrong. It's wicked nasty, the comments from other mothers. I think we all find what works for each of our families, in our own time. Don't feel guilty over any of it. Not one bit. You are doing a fantastic job and BSparl is a beauty!

Well said, well said. THEY can go do it their own way; it looks like your way is working just fine! I mean, LOOK at her... can't beat that precious baby, right?

This would be a perfect post for FFF Friday guest posts. Please consider, and I will be suggesting the same thing to her. Thank you!!!

http://fearlessformulafeeder.blogspot.com/

Love how you compare the baby to a shark. :) I'm seriously considering breastfeeding the next child we adopt---and I've just started looking into this in detail this week. And then you post this. Thanks, K!

It's funny how after childbirth our modesty is kicked to the curb! Do what works for you and ignore what THEY say. Luv it

I love, love, love this. Sara recommended it to me (see comment above) and as she said, it would make a PERFECT "FFF Friday" post - that's where women come on and post about their experiences with breastfeeding/formula feeding on my site every Friday. I am really trying to incorporate more "happy endings", and this would really be perfect. If you're willing to let me repost (with a link to your site, of course), email me at formulafeeders@gmail.com.

And thanks for writing such a fabulous post. You sound like an amazing mother and woman and I'm so glad you found a solution that works for your family.

I didn't drink a drop of formula as a baby and got the boob until I was 2.5 or something like that and... diabetes at age 10. So, even if, g-d forbid, BSparl does wind up developing diabetes, it probably will have absolutely nothing to do with having a few bottles of formula. Besides, there'll be a cure by then, right?

I've been thinking a lot about the whole Type 1/breastfeeding issue. I hope I can breastfeed for a while when the time comes, but have heard lots of people say it's good to give yourself some flexibility with formula occasionally. Thanks for your insight on the issue!

Ok... first.... love the Siah picture! :)

Second.... Breastfeeding or no breastfeeding, BSparl will grow up to be a beautiful, healthy and loved little girl. There is too much guilt put out there on Moms today, and it isn't fair. You and Chris are doing the best you can, and going above and beyond even (seriously! the support band!)

You know what works for you. Please ignore what THEY say.

I am an OB nurse and work at a Baby Friendly Hospital, where we are supposed to encourage exclusive breastfeeding. I also breastfed my 2 kids until they weaned themselves, at 1 and 3+ years, respectively. I believe in breastfeeding. BUT----and here's the big but (I can never resist that pun)----I could never keep enough pumped breastmilk in the fridge for my kids once I went back to work. I never let down well enough to the pump and they were, frankly, hungry. You do what you have to do. The first kid, who got more formula, does not have Type 1 and the second kid, who got way less bottles, does. Maybe it's because I'm in my mid-50's and have let a lot of the guilt go, but, kiddo, what matters is that you give them plenty of love, not that you breastfeed exclusively! We are all proud of you and support your decisions.

I love the perspective that you are bringing to this!
My mom breastfed me exclusively for 18 months, and I ended up with Type 1 at age 4. Genetics are genetics - there is nothing you or Bsparl can really do to become or not become a diabetic IMHO. Do what works for you! (The band thing is hilarious! Particularly the high heels!)

O never had formula & was breastfed for 13 months, so it's not a fail safe. It is good for them, of course, because you really can't over feed them but it's also time consuming and does make you feel like you still don't have your body to yourself. That said, I loved nursing and was sad to ween my last baby when I did (although she was 18 months at the time). I loved the snuggles and closeness of it. Once I got over the initial phase of bleeding nips and mastitis and such.

Try to ignore what THEY say. Who made THEM the experts anyway?

I was the only breastfed kiddo out of the three Morrone children, yet I'm the only type 1 diabetic. Genetics are a total crap shoot ... but I'm still glad I chose to breastfeed because I won't guilt myself if something happens. (And you all know how much I love guilt. Guilt, guilt, guilt.)

I know how you feel. I just about killed myself pumping for 45 minutes every 3 hours round the clock for MONTHS trying to give my twins the almighty breastmilk. It was the craziest thing I ever did (because I never slept and went a bit nutso) BUT, I also didn't want to deal with any possible guilt so...sighh...I just get what you're saying. lol Nice picture by the way, I spewed out some coffee when I saw it!

Congratulations on your little cutie. I, too, used the occasional bottle of formula. By giving myself the flexibility I ended up nursing for a long time. I might have stopped sooner if it felt like a burden. I nursed both my girls for a year. My youngest (9) is type 1.

I hear you, Kerri! I remember the freedom of adding in that formula, even though it was mixed with a healthy dose of guilt. The freedom of weaning was even better, even though it was a bit sad too. Good for you for doing what's best for you and your little one. If there's one thing I've learned in the past year, it's that Momma knows best. Don't forget that.

It IS wicked HOT! LOL
I just loved how a bottle of formula before bed made my babies sleep better [through the night]. Breakmilk seemed to go right through them... hence the every three hours feeding. :/ LOL

You have to do what's best for you! My mother only breastfed me, and I lucked out with Type 1 anyway. I've read so many articles that put you in the age bracket where your kid is just as likely as a non-diabetic's kid to develop diabetes. I don't think the same is true for male diabetics, though.

Keep up the awesomeness that you are doing in life! I love this blog!

Congratulations on all the nursing you *are* doing. It is tough sometimes. Do you know other nursing moms or tried La Leche League? If it's something you want to keep doing for a while, having support and positive role models around helps. As always, I appreciate how much you share with us.

I breastfeed only and Hunter was Dx at 14 months
so dont feel guilty about an occasional formula bottle

You are doing a great job!

I did varying degrees of breastmilk and formula for both of my kids for differing amounts of time.

You have to do what's right for you and your family at the given time.

Just having the option can be so freeing.

I was breastfed too and still developed type 1 diabetes at age 9... I'm also 30 weeks pregnant & hoping to breastfeed my baby but will probably also supplement with formula at some point. Do you have any thoughts on which formula would be best for a type 1's baby? Would you mind sharing which brand(s) you use?

I breast fed both of my kids exclusively for six months, and then continued to breastfeed them for 18 months. My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 at age ll, with no history of it in the family. If supplementing with formula makes you more sane, then go for it. Even nursing SOME is better than most kids are getting these days. Good luck!

I am sure that this is echoed above and not sure if you read all comments...but want you to know as a mother of a babe with t1d that the breastfeeding has nothing to do with it. Sister, if I may call you that, let the guilt about it go...my son has nursed exclusively for 28 months and nine months ago was diagnosed with type 1. As I search for the answers I find that it doesn't matter. So, relax. Do what's best. Enjoy life and your beautiful babe knowing that giving her all your love is truly what is best for her!

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