Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Breast Is Best- A Follow Up Post

Yyuuuummmmmm, this crow tastes a lot like breast milk delicious. Yep, friends, this momma is eating her words over and over again.

To get a better understanding of the exact words that I am eating daily, please take a few minutes and glance over my original Breast Is Best post a few months ago here . Man, how quickly times have changed in our casa.

Before the arrival of our handsome bundle of joy, I teetered between the mindset of "no way, no how" on breastfeeding to "okay, I'll give this thing a shot" based on the alleged benefits. To better prepare ourselves for the BF'ing journey, we suffered through a class as discussed in detail in the above listed blog post. Holy awkward is what still comes to my mind when reminiscing about that evening. I never wanted to discuss BF'ing again after walking out of that classroom. I'd knew I'd give it a go, but I shall not talk about it from that day forward. BF'ing a private journey and I shall be just fine powering through on my own. Or so I thought.

Fast forward 2 months and you would've thought I was running for council member of La Leche League International. I swear, anytime I opened Google, my phone would automatically insert the word "breast". Slightly creepy on many levels. Chances are, if you're a mom and interacted AT ALL with me within the first 4 weeks of my son's life, I inquired about your lovely lady humps. True story. My apologies to any female who stopped by to meet Nash. I promise to no longer ask such personal questions anymore. I've got that on lock now, I swear.

The poor Hubs heard more about boobs in those first few weeks as he had in his whole existence (hopefully. If not, that might be another topic for another day). I was confused, lost, struggling, worried and exhausted and I wanted some daggum answers to this so called "natural" endeavor, man. Nothing. Was. Working. Right.

For the first 36 hours after Nash arrived, he would not eat. Not even one sip. It was beyond scary for this new mom and added a layer of stress to my already weary and overwhelmed spirit. Nurses were literally coming in every two hours throughout the night to try to get this baby to latch. Keep in mind, I had been awake for 42 hours at this point and was feeling anything but 100% by the second night in the hospital. It was awkward and tiring and stressful to say the least. At any given moment you could find this desperate new momma tirelessly praying for the latch that I had shrugged off for years before. For the love of all things holy, give me a latch.

After about 3 different nurses had man-handled Nash and me, a God-send of a lactation consultant came in and within in 10 minutes I could've shouted from the rooftops "Houston, we have a latch"! Insert Rocky theme song here as I mentally ran up and down those famous stairs in victory. I don't know that I've ever taken a deeper breath in my life. And you know what, that dang latch was stinkin beautiful. I'd compare to it a sunset stretching out over your favorite beach. It was THAT beautiful. And thus came my first taste of crow.

In that moment, I learned what no amount of awkward class time or pamphlet can teach you:

  • Breast feeding, although natural, is one of the most unnatural activities for so many of us. There's zero ways to practice until your baby is in your arms and hungry. And at that point, it's sink or swim and I pretty much felt as though there was an anchor strapped to my nursing bra.
  • BF'ing is not for the faint of heart and the modest of women like myself. You can power through it, but you're going to have to throw your modesty out the window along with your hooter hider. Nurses have no issue grabbing "you" if push comes to shove.
  • Hooter Hiders suck. Seriously, who designed these capes of torture? How in the world am I supposed to be able to see under there? I'm now 3 months in and I still cannot work that "simple" cloak of agony. The baby and I both end up sweating bullets and fumbling around like Steve Wonder in an apple bobbing contest. There has to be another way. It's just not right.
  • When your baby latches, I swear you can hear a choir of angels singing somewhere off in the distance. You feel victorious and as though you have found your purpose in this ever confusing momma world. If I didn't need both hands in those first few weeks, I would given myself a round of applause and fist pump at every single feeding.
  • Nursing makes you feel as though you were just rescued from the Sahara. Seriously, WHY do you get SO thirsty? Future, new mommas, skip the wipe warmer on your registry and go straight for the Camelback. You're welcome.
    • Three cheers for the hospital mugs, aka buckets-O-water, that they give you in recovery. I pounded those mugs none stop and was still parched. New moms, DO NOT LEAVE THOSE MUGS IN THE HOSPITAL. They are yours and you're a dang fool if you leave it behind. You will never love a mug as much in your lifetime. Case in point, I still carry my mug everywhere. This was my desk yesterday. I heart you, giant mug of mine.

  • Friends, where was my head's up on the breast pad situation? I ain't mad at ya, but come on. You gotta tell a sister that when her baby cries, or someone else's baby for that matter, you're going to turn into a fountain of milk. I learned this the hard way. Our first visitors to stop by got to see this lovely phenomenon first hand when their baby cried in our living room. Awesome. Just awesome. I already look like a swollen, fat faced chicken who waddles like a duck and now I have my husband signaling to me from across the room with horror on this face to check the front of my shirt as I'm sitting 2 feet away from our guests. Let me tell you, there is no chance of slyly or gracefully excusing yourself when each waddle step you take is painful and extremely slow. You just gotta laugh it off when you really feel like crying.
  • Being solely responsible for the nourishment of your infant can seem overwhelming and isolating. If you feel like that, trust me, you're not as alone as you may feel, especially at 3am. Somewhere there's another momma who is nursing their tiny one and praying for one of those beautiful latches too.
  • When in doubt, grab the nipple shield and don't look back (yep, I just wrote about nipples. This is what my life has come to).  Your lactation consultant may not be proud of you, and other mom's on the Baby Center message boards may shame you, but that's okay. There is hope for weaning from it and living to tell the tale. Do what you gotta do, momma. Ain't no shame in our game. Nipple shield for the win!
  • Be prepared for the fear that sets in when one of your BFF's nonchalantly asks "have you reached the stage when it feels like your being stabbed by a thousands knives when he feeds yet?" Umm, W.H.A.T?! Knives?? Thousands of knives? Where was that in my BF'ing handbook???? When I responded with "uh, maybe." She laughed and said "Then, no, you haven't. You'll know when it happens." Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!
  • And lastly, although you may think that BF'ing is going to an uber private matter for you and you'd rather be caught dead than to nurse in public, you may just find yourself feeding with the best of them in a conference room at a BF'ing support group. True story. As I sat there, trying not to look around the room at the other 6 or so new moms fumbling through this oh so natural way to nurish your baby, I've never been more thankful for the opportunity to whip it out in a room full of strangers. There we were, united by our endless questions and tired eyes, banding together to struggle through this new normal. We'd cheer when someone else's newborn would burp (yet, in about 3 years, we'll spend hours reprimanding our kiddos for those same public displays of gasiness), we'd feel a twinge of jealously as someone else shared victory stories of the ease at which their latches came about, and we'd leave that room feeling a little more relief then we had when we entered. We were a band of sisters, tied together by the fabric of our nursing bra elastic and breast pads. We alone were ready to sustain our babies once again! At least for another week. Day by day, week by week, we'd stagger through this journey together and our babies would thrive because of our commitment and perseverance. Natural or not, awkward or not, we'd get through this together and live to blog about it.


sydney said...

Hi there! My sister (Landon) turned me on to your blog and I've been loving these little glimpses into your world. Our son is 3.5 months old so most of the time I feel like you're writing about us, too. I want to say thank you for this BF'ing post. After struggling through it myself, I have decided that we womenfolk simply do not talk about it enough. IT IS HARD! I went into it with completely unrealistic expectations (it's nature's perfect food, how hard can it be? sigh). Then, when it wasn't working perfectly, I felt so isolated b/c I had no idea just how common all of the problems we were experiencing really are. Once I started talking to my girlfriends about it I was stunned to learn that not only had just about all of them experienced the same issues, but many of them had given up completely. Not that there is any shame in that - their formula-fed littl'uns are all as healthy and happy as can be. But so many of them felt like failures and were even reluctant to admit that they had turned to formula. I hate that we put that kind of pressure on ourselves as new mothers, which is why I appreciate you posting your story. I'm back at work now, pumping (ugh), and still working through some occasional BF'ing hiccups here and there - some new, some recurring. And I have to say that I'm the opposite of modest - whatever shred of modesty I might have had before giving birth has completely dissolved - and I've struggled with the mechanics of doing it in public, too. So thanks for putting this out there and congrats on Nash - he's so stinkin' cute. Also, the nipple shield saved our lives and was the best $13 I ever spent!

Just A Work In Progress said...

This. Is. Great. You're right on every point. That latch is a beautiful thing...every time it happens :) I think it's awesome that you're pressing on!! Keep it up Momma!

Brittany F. said...

Thanks for stopping by my corner of the internet, Sydney! Congratulations on your son! I'm so glad my humble, and sometimes over-sharing, words resonated with you. BF'ing has been anything but easy for me, but it's been so worth it to see our son thrive. Luckily he didn't give up on me as I staggered through the process. And nipple shields? I agree with you 100%. Best money ever spent! Thank YOU for sharing you experience with me too. Often times, after I hit "post" on my posts, I wonder if I'm alone in my thoughts. Anytime I receive a response that shares my struggles makes this world wide web feel so much smaller and more like a community than a big, black hole. Plus, it helps me feel less crazy;) Thanks again and we shall power forward together!

Ashley, thanks so much for the encouragement! We're 3 months strong now and charging ahead. Hugs!

mbagessler3 said...

Another great post Britt! Especially lmao at the Stevie Wonder comment! :)