• hamillwhitney

BREASTFEEDING: A TALE OF TWO TITTIES (PART II: This is Harder Than it Looks)

NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ACT OF NURSING ITSELF:

Where to even begin?

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The good news is, your baby is frickin' cute and smells amazing.

The bad news is, they are a pain in the @$$ and only want to sleep all day long.

This was by far the biggest challenge for us in the beginning.

I mean it's like they are born with a large dose of Ambien in their system and it takes 2-4 weeks for it to even start wearing off.

Because, and I kid you not, it will take you at least an hour to feed that cute little pain in the boob baby of yours for even a mere 5 full minutes on each side.

But Whitney.

5 minutes + 5 minutes is only 10 minutes total.

Oh Honey. That's how time worked before you had a baby.

That perfect baby of yours doesn't give a flying meconium (💩) about your timetable.

So an hour minimum it is.

How? I'm glad you asked.

Your baby will open it's cute little eyes, open it's cute little mouth, and move it's cute little head from side to side. This is called rooting and it's your first clue that he or she is hungry.

So you'll sit in your comfy chair (because a human baby just came tearing through your insides), set up your handy nursing pillow (because you are tired and weak AF those first couple of days), and lay down a towel or burp rag (because your milk has finally come in and it wants everyone to know it. Sort of like a dog marking it's territory on everything within a 2 mile radius. It can get messy, is what I'm trying to say). After this extensive routine, you will pick up your bouncing (screaming) baby boy or girl, and offer them your breast, just like the nice people at the hospital or birthing center showed you. And then your baby will fall asleep.

And you'll wonder if a newborn baby can die of crying or for being hungry for 30 seconds. Because in that short half a minute, your baby is somehow already sleeping like it is either dead to the world or a month and a half into hibernation.


So you'll use all the nifty tips and tricks you've heard about or read about or used in the hospital. You'll tickle their feet or back, put a cold rag on their head, massage their lips and mouth with your nipple, express a little drop of milk into their mouth, undress them, try skin to skin, you'll probably even resort to flicking their heels while holding back tears as you think of that mean nurse at the hospital telling you to do it to wake them up.

(You'll do this for a while.)


Then one of two things will happen.


ONE: you will cry (in frustration, in stress, in desperation)

Sorry. Three things will happen.


[You'll definitely do number one]


TWO: You will keep this up for 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes or more until baby wakes up. You will anxiously stuff your mighty milkers into that little mouth and pray for them to latch. They will, causing you to cry out in relief and enjoy their sweet 5 minutes of suckling before this comforts them enough that they doze back off.

DAMMIT.

Then you will start the process all over again on the other side. You'll look up at the clock to find that it's been an hour and half and you'll say to yourself: "Huh. Whitney's math really checks out after all."

[Cue the waterworks] 😭😭😭


OR THREE: You will give up until baby wakes up and starts rooting again. (This wasn't an option for us either time as both of our babies were born early with a low birth weight and were not allowed to skip feedings.

More good news (I'm lying, it's terrible news):

Most newborns need to eat around every 3 hours. And guess what? That 3 hour clock starts at the beginning of each feeding, NOT the end. Which means when you are an hour and a half into trying to get your baby to eat for 10 full minutes, you have less than 2 hours before you have to do this all over again.

This would break anyone.

I don't care how strong you are. It's exhausting.

Need I remind you, you just had a baby!

(you are not doing too hot physically.)

(You are barely getting any sleep.)

(Your spouse/partner and family can only help so much.)

(You are currently shedding hormones like a sheep in summer.)

(You are in pain.)


(You are overwhelmed with trying to figure out this whole 'baby' thing.)

(And you are stressed about how much food your baby is getting to eat because, unlike a bottle, there are no handy dandy lines on your boob telling you how much milk has been consumed.)


Not to mention the fact THIS BREASTFEEDING THING IS ALL NEW TO YOU TOO, even if it is is supposedly "the most natural thing" you can do.

*eye roll*

B U T.

If you can grit your teeth through those first couple of weeks, when the dust and the hormones settle, and the cracks on your chest raisins have healed, then you, my milk-making friend, are well on your way to breastfeeding glory because I am her to tell you that after that, it gets so much better.

With that, let's move on to what (in my inconsequential opinion) is great about breastfeeding.


BENEFITS, BABY:

Once again, I'd like to point out that there are pros and cons to breast feeding, bottle feeding, and formula feeding your baby.

[I'm not trying to sell anyone on anything.]

Your Baby. Your Boobs. Your decision.

Everything written here is MY personal experience. [So don't take any of it personally.]

Here's what I've loved about my nursing experiences:

💛 - Bonding with the baby. I can't speak for others, but some of the best bonding moments I've had with my babies have been while nursing them. Occasionally massive waves of euphoria or surges of whatever hormone it is that makes you love your human sanity-destroyer have swept over me when I nurse. Not all the time, and I can't put words to the feeling, but it happens and it's incredible.

💛- I feel powerful when I nurse. It never ceases to amaze me that my body is capable of doing this. It comforts me to know that I am my baby's safe place and comforter in this new world. That I have been blessed with the ability to nourish and soothe my child on demand. It's kind of spectacular.

💛- Breast milk is literal magic. The fact that your body makes exactly everything that a newborn baby needs is insane. Seriously. I kid you not, my oldest daughter did not get sick with a virus until I stopped breastfeeding (a little after she turned 1). I've used it on, and seen it heal, everything from diaper rash to chapped nipples, to cold sores. MA-GIC.

💛- It's relatively carefree. Less bottles to wash. Less to pack when you are on out in public or on vacation. All you gotta do is whip it out and boom, dinner is served.


💛- Cost. From what Google just told me, the average cost of one year of baby formula ranges from $1,700 - $2,000. That's a lot of extra scratch for an already expensive little munchkin. Breast milk and an insurance-supplied breast pump on the other hand: $Free.90-Free


💛- Last, but selfishly not least, all this tit-mutilation is not all just for baby. They gotta throw in at least something for us too (okay, no they don't, we'd all probably still do it even if there was NOTHING in it for us). Breast feeding benefits mom directly in that it stimulates the release of hormones prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin is responsible for telling your body how much milk to make. It can also help you to feel more relaxed. Oxytocin, does 2 things: 1) it kickstarts contractions to shrink your uterus back down to normal size and 2) It creates new pathways and receptors in your brain that basically make you capable of insane amounts of love and euphoria. So put that in your pipe and smoke it because apparently it's just as effective as drugs at producing a "high".

**Added bonus is that it burns A LOT of calories. Around 500 extra calories are needed daily to produce breast milk. So it might shed some of those extra pregnancy pounds. Keep in mind, without approval from your doctor, this is definitely not a time to cut calories and try to lose weight. Be patient. Your body just went through some amazing, albeit crazy, stuff. I said 500 extra calories. This means you need to consume 500 more calories than what you normally eat. Even then, you'll probably still shed some weight because mommy-ing is the best workout, diet, or routine you'll ever have.


There are a TON of benefits, even beyond the ones listed here, but that doesn't mean that if you don't breastfeed that you won't experience tons of similar benefits and even a few added ones that nursing moms miss out on.


Breastfeeding? Formula Feeding? Supplemental Feeding? Pumping/Bottle Feeding? Wet Nurse?(?!)


[It's all good, girl.]


Want to read some of my favorite tips for nursing?

☞ Check out the third (and final) part in this series on breastfeeding here! ☜



K.LOVE.YOU.BYE

♡ - WHITNEY

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