My Mommyology

What I’ve Learned About Breastfeeding

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My Mommyology Milk Mama Diaries

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (February). For this month, we focus on back to basics. Participants will share advice – either the best breastfeeding advice they received OR/AND the best breastfeeding advice they can give to new moms.  Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.

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There are two words that come to mind when I think about breastfeeding advice:  INFORMATION OVERLOAD.

How to prepare.  The proper latch.  What to do with engorged breasts.  Which breastpump is best.  The pros and cons.  What to eat, what not to do.  What happens if I can’t breastfeed… the list goes on and makes your head spin (and mine too, quite honestly).

As a first time mom I found it so overwhelming.  I was glad to have all that information on hand, but seriously it was a lot to take in also.  And after two baby girls, 9,000 diaper changes and 25 months (cumulative) of breastfeeding, I decided to just name the top three bits of information I’ve gathered from this ongoing breastfeeding experience.

Breastfeeding is hard.  You know that saying, Life is Hard but Good?  I find that breastfeeding is a lot like that.  Now when I first started out, no one really told me that it was hard.  Well, who would right?  I mean let’s face it — as a first time mom –  that’s not something you want to hear amidst all the anxiety and excitement and apprehension you’re already feeling.  A lot of people like to focus on the unparalleled benefits, and while those are all true and I agree with them all 500%, it also doesn’t remove the fact that it is physically and emotionally difficult.  In my case – after I gave birth and the pain medicines wore off, I felt like I had been hit by a truck.  I was aching, exhausted and sleep deprived, and yet I had to provide someone all the sustenance that they’d ever known.  Talk about pressure!

On top of which, each feeding session would last 30-45 minutes and would re-occur in 90 – 120 minute intervals, 24/7.  My nipples were extremely sore and painful, and didn’t have much time to recover between feedings (My girls refused the bottle).  Of course there was also the occasional engorgement and blocked milk duct and relieving yourself of them is a painful process too!

Now take a breath, because my intention is not to scare you in any way!  All I’m saying is that it is a process that doesn’t magically happen and things are all nice and peachy.  I believe (and feel) that you have to constantly work at it to be able to do it for as long as you hope to (or maybe even longer.  You may surprise yourself!).   It takes time, patience, willpower and a kind of strength and determination that you never knew you had in you (and believe me, you have it in you.  All moms do!).  I think in the end, that’s what makes it a worthwhile experience to even just go through.

Breastfeeding requires a balance of planning and flexibility.  I guess I figured that for as long as I had my “plan”, I could work towards it and we’d all be fine.  Things would be easier.

Holy Cow (pardon the pun)!

As it turned out, following the plan was more of the exception than the rule.  For someone like me who likes order and knowing what comes next, it was quite frustrating a lot of the time.  As breastfeeding is very time consuming, you can imagine how many times I had to make a plan B — or C or D — because I could not accurately plan how the day would turn out.  It was all highly dependent on how our feeding sessions went.  Both my girls refused to take expressed milk from the bottle and chose to cry for hours on end until they got their milk from me (Yes, they are strong-willed, a trait I’m told they inherit from me.  Go figure), so I also couldn’t leave for prolonged periods of time.

My husband would reason with me especially when I was on the verge of tears, that they’re not robots and won’t always stick to a strict schedule.  I realized that is true.  In their first year babies go through a lot of growth spurts and major physiological changes that throw you and your routine for a loop.  A little cold, the emergence of a tooth, travel plans — it affects any routine you’re trying to establish.  Babies don’t have any concept of time; they will go by what they need when they feel they need it and as the milk wagon in their life, you’ve no choice but to follow their lead.

Of course I still believe (even for our sanity’s sake) that we should still have a routine that we aspire for and work towards.  Children benefit from consistency (or the semblance of it anyway).  If it makes any sense though (and for sanity’s sake as well), being flexible is also part of the daily routine.  Don’t drive yourself crazy if things don’t pan out in the time frame or order that you intended.  There’s always the next day to try it out again.

Breastfeeding is unique to every mom and child.  Let me explain.

If you’re anything like me, then you’d have already read up on all the literature you could get your hands on, and talked to all the breastfeeding moms in your circle.  You’ve attended the classes, prepped and bought all the gear — the works.  You know what to expect; in theory you’re set and ready.

Well, I thought I was.  But then with each of my girls, I still “encountered” a lot of surprises and a lot of moments where I found myself thinking, “Hey hang on, that’s not what the book said…”

I suppose all I’m trying to say, is that I wish that I spent time listening to my gut versus trying to work towards what the book or someone else had said worked for them.  With Sam, I lost a lot of sleep (and I wasn’t getting that much sleep to begin with) thinking, wondering, or trying to “fix” what was wrong, based on what I’d read or heard.  With Jamie (the second time around), I had no choice but to go with my instinct — between Sam and the chores, I had neither the time or patience to re-visit the books.  I found it easier because there was less pressure on myself and my only gauge was whether or not Jamie was thriving or getting what she needed.

It is definitely always good to stay abreast (no pun intended) on the latest developments on breastfeeding.  But ultimately though I feel that the “best method” comes from the personal, actual experience you have with your baby.  It’s a learn-and-adapt-as-we-go-along kind of thing.  Isn’t that after all, the essence of motherhood?

Hopefully with everything that you know now about breastfeeding (from all the resources available to you), you can pick and choose what you feel you need to get you started.  Just breathe!  It will all come to you when you need it to.  Good luck, and enjoy!  :)

 

Visit the other Carnvial Entries here:

The Articulate Pen’s Breastfeeding needs Patience
Diapers and Stethoscope’s Back to Basic
Ms. Masungit’s From One Mom To Another
The Odyssey of Dinna’s Breastfeeding Words of Wisdom
Mrs. Bry126′s We’re All in this Together
I Am Clarice’s Paying it Forward
My Mommy Kwentos’ Sharing My Favorite Breastfeeding Advice
Planet Marsy’s Better Than None
Mommy {T} Coach’s Saved by the Nursing Mommas
Mama Drama’s Patience and Breast-friends
Adventures on Planet Mom’s Stubborn Me! Sure Glad I didn’t give up
Nanaystrip’s Eat Malunggay, Say “I Have Milk” and Love your Baby
Starting at Twenty-Five’s My Husband’s Best Breastfeeding Advice
Nanay *Loves* Purple’s Why Attend Breastfeeding Class/Seminars
Truly Rich Mom’s My Top 5 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Legally Mama’s Take it from the non-expert!
Mommy Mama Rat’s My Breastfeeding Mantra
Mr. Jacob’s Mom’s Breastfeeding Tips from a Non-Breastfed Mommy
Hybrid Rasta Mama’s Breastfeeding Lists, Advice, Links and More
Apples and Dumplings’ One Word of Breastfeeding Advice
Touring Kitty’s Just Do It
EthanMama’s Only the Best for My Baby
the canDIshhh tales’ My Breastfeeding Advice
Mec as Mom’s Enough is Enough
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom’s On Breastfeeding Number Two – Redux

Author: mymommyology

I am the mom that I am because of my two wonderful little girls. They teach me everyday.

38 Comments

  1. Whats great din is that you discover things about yourself. You found out how strong you are in overcoming the obstacles kasi its not as easy as you think.

  2. Oh my goodness… I so can relate with every word! Haha :-)

  3. Pingback: Breastfeeding needs Patience | The Articulate Pen

  4. indeed, breastfeeding is hard but good. i can so relate, too!

  5. ha! and i second the motion! :) what i’ve learned is that when you have a breastfed baby, the plan is to *not have* a plan. =p

  6. Pingback: We’re all in this together! « Mrs.Bry126

  7. How true!! I definitely agree that you’ve just gotta go with your gut much of the time…which can be hard as a “by the book” person like me.

  8. Pingback: Only the best for my baby! « Ethanmama

  9. yes, I do have my OC moments. but thanks to breastfeeding, it just breaks into this sickness and teaches me how to adapt and be flexible. of course with my baby’s needs on top of all my daily schedules and other mom/wife stuff.

    i can also relate to the info overload thing. i had this OC moment when I felt I needed to read and know by heart the process of pumping and storing milk before I do it. this really delayed my pumping experience that up to now i’m still in the process of getting used to this very necessary part of breastfeeding.

  10. Pingback: My It’s-Not-All-Be-All Breastfeeding Mantra « Mommy Mama RAT

  11. I especially love the part about having PLAN A, B, C, D hehe …. with the excitement of having a little one in the house, you’ll never know what’s going to happen next! I salute moms like you who juggle more that one kid. I want to have another one but I’m still imagining how I can divide my time, I guess I’ll just know when the time comes, huh? Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you! Yes, two girls is proving to be a scheduling / planning challenge. But as for dividing time between them, somehow it just happens as needed. They’ve learned (I hope) that they need to live with one another or “take turns” with mom, if that makes sense. I’m sure when the time comes you’ll know exactly what to do (mother’s instinct!). Good luck! And PS – if you think of a Plan E, please let me know! ;)

  12. I remember preparing everything for my baby girl- supplies, clothes etc. I also prepared myself to breastfeed her- proper latch etc.
    When D-day came and went, I was stuck with a baby who refuses to let go and who was basically attached to me 24/7.
    I already knew about the “no time to sleep”, how come nobody told me about “no time to eat, drink, pee or shower?”

    Hahha those were the good days..

    • That’s right! No one talks about the no time to eat-drink-pee-or-shower! I felt like I had to do all of those things all at the same time (if at all possible – or in my sleep!) Haha!

  13. Maybe accepting the fact that breastfedding would be hard worked on me because then I pursued to be better at it! Challenge lang! And as Abby Yabot said in Breastfeeding 101, it would be really uncomfortable at first! And your right, patience and perseverance will get you through the first latching sessions!
    I can relate with having back up plans also! I’m not too OC on schedules anymore!
    I’m learning a lot from your blog! Thank you!

    • Aww thank you! I’m glad that you do (learn a lot)! That’s true, some people are motivated more when they know it’s a challenge that they need to overcome. I guess realistically though, while breastfeeding is supposedly a great, worthwhile thing, moms need to know that to get to that point, you’ve to surpass the trials that come with it first. I guess that’s what makes it all the more worthwhile ey? ;)

  14. I left a comment earlier, but I’m not sure if it went through. Anyway, I’m posting it again,

    I’ve learned a lot from your post. At the beginning I was also a strict-feeding-schedule mother. And it always frustrates me when my little boy would not want to nurse when it’s time, or would nurse at very short intervals. For first time mothers, it’s really hard to let go and relax and believe that everything’s going to be okay. I guess maternal instincts are not there for nothing, so we really should believe in our guts more than anything else!

  15. Breastfeeding is definitely unique to each mom and dad, I agree, but I can relate to how plans can go so awry when you have a breastfeeding baby! My firstborn also refused the bottle when we first attempted it at 2 months… but he finally gave in when I was away for practically a day at his 6th month. Now I haven’t attempted the bottle with my secondborn… I’m enjoying direct breastfeeding. Maybe I’ll just go straight to the cup… bottles are a lot of work!

    Good luck to all of us breastfeeding mothers! :)

  16. I realized that a number of the carnival participants focused on breastfeeding being hard AT FIRST. Hahaha! Breastfeeding moms really do think alike! :) And I so agree, breastfeeding is unique to every mom/child. :)

  17. I’ve always thought breastfeeding was easy. Nobody told me breastfeeding would take time and effort from me. But it did gave me and my kids the unbreakable bond.

  18. Pingback: EAT malunggay, SAY “I have milk!” and LOVE your baby « nanaystrip

  19. with N, I was unprepared. with E, I was a peer counselor, and like you read all the literature, watched all the videos, attended several talks, classes, etc. gave talks and classes myself BUT did I have it easy? Hell NO! Yes life is hard but difficulties CAN BE overcome. i think one reason why moms give up is because of easy access to formula milk but if you knew that your baby will starve, then i think you will stick to breastfeeding despite the hardships and all.

  20. I can relate so much to your post, esp. the part where you said we should trust our instincts more. I remember, with Tim, I also lost more sleep and worried more than I did with Rysse. ;-) I hope for our next child (God-willing!) I’ll trust my instincts and God’s leading even more! ;-) God bless you and your family!

  21. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a great deal about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I feel which you could do with several pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A terrific read. I’ll certainly be back.

  22. Pingback: Breastfeeding Tips from a Non-Breastfed Mommy - Mr. Jacob's Mom - Mommy Roxi

  23. Pingback: Saved By The Nursing Mommas

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