I am working with one of the three mama’s; Zoe at the Think Baby blog on this post. After reading my post, go ahead and head to her post she did in collaboration with me. I especially like her post listing all the must-have third trimester items.
Before I had Scarlett, I knew there was a small chance that breastfeeding was not going to be in the cards for me. That’s always a possibility when going under the knife at nineteen to have a breast reduction. I have written about this in another blog I once had, but would be happy to re-write something to go into more detail about what I went through with that whole ordeal. I was told there would be a small chance that I would not be able to produce milk when I decided to have kids after having the procedure done. The doctor, in my opinion, downplayed it and made it seem like a very small chance this would be the case. Well, in my experience I should always take a small chance, as it will most likely happen to me. The reduction, followed by a traumatic c-section really affected my supply and me.
In most cases, a women’s actual milk supply does not come in right away. But, they do produce colostrum, which sustains the baby until they do start producing milk. We thought that was my case. After my first night in the hospital and feeling like I was constantly feeding, I had so many questions for the lactation specialist that was coming the next morning to meet with me. My big one being Scarlett never seemed satisfied. When I expressed my concerns and told her I didn’t think I was getting the hang out it, she decided to set me up with her pump and see how much I was producing. I sat there pumping for thirty-five minutes and not one drop of milk or colostrum came out. I wasn’t producing anything!
The next two days in the hospital, Scarlett was bottle fed, while I still tried to nurse. But I knew she wasn’t getting anything. After we got home, it took another two days before my milk supply finally came in. But at that point it was pretty much too late. I still tried my very hardest though, because I was going through so many “pregnancy blues”, I felt like a failure. Scarlett just never got the hang of actual breastfeeding. She was already used to a bottle nipple at this point, so when I did breastfeed, I had to use a nipple shield. Most of the time though, Scarlett would nurse to pacify herself to sleep.
I tried pumping as much as I could, but pumping is not fun or pleasant, and I would get really discouraged sitting in my Lazyboy for forty-five minutes and not evening pumping an ounce of milk. With recovering from an unexpected c-section, being a first time mom and having no clue about what was going on, and dealing with hormones and a little touch of postpartum depression I stopped trying somewhere around the five week mark.
I struggled so much with this decision, but I was struggling even more with my body not being able to do something that a majority of mothers are able to do. It was especially hard in the months to follow, when friends and family members started having babies and they were able to breastfeed. I felt so left out of conversations and just a lot of negative opinions about myself. I got asked why I didn’t breastfeed a lot and was told why it’s so beneficial. Something I didn’t need to be reminded of.
So this time around, I have already been doing so much research on ways to work up a supply. Even though my doctor didn’t recommend it, I talked to a lactation specialist and she suggested to start self-pumping a little everyday at about 34 weeks. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you talk to a professional. I take it easy on this because I have been getting a lot of contractions and pumping can cause contractions. I also am pinning a ton of lactation smoothies and tips on Pinterest to help when Charley is home. I am super dedicated, because I know what the outcome is if I don’t succeed; a ton of disappointment in myself and an astronomical amount of money spent in a year on formula (I would say the first 6 months we spent $120-150 a month and after that maybe $80-120)
I plan to set realistic goals for myself to not cause stress on myself. I am going to do a month-by-month system. I want to exclusively breastfeed for a month, after that month I will continue if I still have a good enough supply. I want to go as long as I can exclusively breastfeeding, and once I notice a drop in supply I still want to get every ounce I can and just supplement with formula. I would be so ecstatic if I did the first six months exclusively breastfeeding. If I accomplish this goal, I will definitely do an updated post of everything I did to help me keep my supply up. Until then wish me luck as I try to conquer this task with a newborn, c-section recovery, and a crazy toddler at home.