I need to post E's 8 month letter, which is written, but I haven't put in the photos yet, so hopefully sometime this week. In the meantime, my brain is spinning with all things breastfeeding, so that's what I'm going to write about.
I've been blessed from the beginning with breastfeeding. Emersyn was born and within an hour was rooting around, wanting to eat. The first few days were difficult, because she obviously wasn't getting much and was very sleepy (how ironic), and of course, my boobs had some major adjusting to do, but looking back, it really went well. She's always had a good latch, and was a very efficient nurser, for which I'm extremely thankful.
Our biggest problem in the beginning was actually overactive letdown and reflux. E would latch, and would soon be sputtering and spewing because she couldn't handle the force of my milk. Sounds like a great problem to have, but there were lots of desperate phone calls to my sister in law worrying about why my baby was having projectile spit up, lots of painful gas, crying and struggling at the breast, etc. I cut out several foods, worried about milk allergies, even thought about quitting because I felt like all her pain was tied to my breast milk. Mom guilt at its finest.
On top of this, even when breastfeeding goes perfectly, there's still that whole thing of being solely responsible for this little human. Blake couldn't get up with her at night and feed her. I couldn't be away from her for longer than a couple of hours (even less than that those first few weeks because we didn't want to introduce a pacifier too early and girlfriend had a need to suck). I honestly found myself wishing she would refuse to nurse so I would have an excuse to give it up. This coming from the girl whose top 5 fears before birth included not being able to breastfeed.
I was leaking breast milk all the time, covered in spit up most of the time, and dealing with conflicting body temps 24/7 which led to sweating, eww. Of course that's not the only thing coming out of your body those first few weeks after having a baby, eww. I felt gross and dirty all.the.time.
Thankfully, my sister in law gave me permission to give Emersyn a pacifier, and she gave me some tips on controlling my letdown. I can say with 100% certainty, if I had not had her as a resource, I would have given up. Our doctor gave us permission to lengthen the time between E's feedings, we got medication for her reflux, and around 6 weeks, things just seemed to click. I had a lot of encouragement from Blake and my family to stick with nursing, but thankfully no pressure to do so, because I was putting enough pressure on myself.
Looking back, I'm SO GLAD I stuck with it, because I love breastfeeding her now. I love the bond we have, I love that I can give her what she needs, and I love knowing I've saved us a lot of money. I can pump a bottle here and there to get a break when needed, and now that she's stretched her feedings out further, we have a lot more flexibility in getting out of the house.
What I still do not love- always questioning if I'm producing enough. Still having night feedings 8 months in, and wondering if her sleep issues are tied to my breast milk. Pumping, in general. Hats off to you ladies that pump each and every day, multiple times a day, I really think I would have given up if I had to do so. I'm still not completely comfortable nursing in public. There are days I'm ready to have my body back and not have to either nurse or pump every few hours. E is starting to be very distracted when she nurses, and it can be a struggle to get her to eat, which is frustrating. However, the good far outweigh the bad for our family right now.
I'm not an expert, this is just my experience, with my child, 8 months into our breastfeeding journey. My first goal was 3 months. My second was 6 months. Now, I hope to go a full year, an wean somewhere between there and 18 months. However, I'm flexible. If my supply tanks, if my narcolepsy symptoms increase, or if I have to go on any kind of medication that isn't safe with breastfeeding, I have no problems giving E formula. At this point, I'm still trying to manage my supply and the balance between breastfeeding and solids.