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PAIL: Breastfeeding

So this month’s topic for PAIL is breastfeeding.  I am planning on breastfeeding, but I’m sad to say that I am still a little ignorant about the whole thing.  I mean, I get the basics.  Nipple + baby mouth = breastfeeding.  I know that it’s not always that easy though.

I’m very lucky that the nurse at my fertility clinic is also a lactation consultant.  She actually just took a job at a local hospital to revamp their breastfeeding initiative.  Apparently only less than 20% of all the new moms leaving the hospital are breastfeeding.  It seems like it’s a vicious cycle of moms frustrated and unknowing what to do, and nurses pushing formula because they want the baby to eat NOW.  More reasons I hope our home birth works out.  I’m surprised by the low number though.  I don’t know why more mother’s wouldn’t want to breastfeed if they are able.

“Just put in your mind now that you are never going to use formula,” she said to me when I started chatting her up yesterday.  I told her that was the plan, and although I’m really looking forward to it I’m still not sure what to expect.

“I mean, it’s just weird.  Nothing’s ever come out of these things.  No one teaches you about this.  This sound’s really stupid, but does like a hole appear and it comes out of that, or does it come out of multiple holes,” I asked her.  I told you I was painfully ignorant.

Bless her, she said it wasn’t a stupid question (sure) but that it does come out of about 10 holes called “lactation pores”.  She also said not to get discouraged right away because the milk doesn’t really come in well until about 3 days after birth.  She then asked me how far along I was (half way on Thursday!), and said, “Oh, great.  20 weeks is typically when you start to see Colostrum, and you may start leaking!”  Awesome….

It wasn’t until later that night at home that I began thinking about my breasts.  They did get a little fuller looking at the beginning of the pregnancy, but they really haven’t gotten any bigger.  I’m still in my normal bras.  I wonder if I should be worrying about this yet?  Is it kind of normal until I get later in the pregnancy?  Is everything working like it should in there?

I won’t worry about it until I ask her next time I see her.  Plus, we’ll be taking a childbirth class in June, and I hope to get more information there.  I just feel really blessed that I’ve somehow lucked out to get so many helpful people in my life when I moved cross country less than a year ago.  Its really taken so much stress out of this pregnancy.

In other boobie news, I have started putting some breastfeeding necessities on our registry (yes, we actually started one!  More on that later).  So far I’ve got the Medela Swing pump, Medela storage solution, nipple pads, breast lotion, Tommee Tippie bottles, Boppy pillow, and nursing wrap.  Is there anything else I need?  Ok, it’s probably already a lot anyway, but this is our first and probably only child and I think I can go a little crazy ;).

Well, I apologize that I’m not more knowledgeable on this topic, but I look forward to learning from the ladies who have been through this.  I’m excited about the experience though, having that bond with my baby.  Wish me luck!


About babyandthegeeks

I'm just a 28 year old neurotic hippie/geek, and I'm just doing my thing.

18 responses »

  1. Can’t wait to read the comments. I’m wondering the same thing. One friend did tell me to get lifefactory bottles over tt. I’m still trying to decide….

    • Hmm, I haven’t heard about Lifefactory, but I had a friend who used the Avent and told me to use the TTs. I guess it comes down to personal preference. We’ll just have to try them out and see.

      • You may only want to buy a few bottles. My sister had to try several before her baby decided to like a certain type. I didn’t take her advice, stocked up on 30 bottles – and my baby refuses them. This is OK because I’m a SAHM (I got 30 bottles because I never even considered staying home prior to M being born) – but it would be a big issue if he needed bottles at daycare.

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  3. You’re doing the absolute best thing…educating yourself. Making use of the LC’s is the best advocate for your breastfeeding success. I would recommend the Medela Pump in Style as it is a double pump and cuts down on your pumping time should you need to use it. Here’s hoping you have a fabulous ability to latch your baby right away.

    Continue to educate yourself and don’t give up. I am unable to nurse, but I have found a way to give my baby breast milk. Congratulations on almost half way in your pregnancy journey. Enjoy it!

    • Thank you, momma! This raises another question I have that hopefully more moms can put their two cents in. My Baby Bargains book suggests that I use the Medela Swing over the Pump in Style because I’d be a stay at home mom and would not need to spend more money on a heftier model. Do you think that the Swing will be enough, or should I hope that someone is willing to shell out the $300 for the better pump on my registry?

      • I’m going to chime in here. If you’re staying home, then you won’t need to pump all that much. I would truly rent a hospital grade pump (or buy one – please see my PAIL post on reasons behind this) for the first month or two to get your milk in and then decide what to buy. The hospital grade pumps are far better than ANYTHING you can buy at the consumer level. It truly saved my milk supply.

  4. I’d heard good things about Dr. Brown’s, so I registered for a bunch of their stuff (Babies R Us had a bundle thing, where you can scan one bar code and it puts probably everything they make on the registry). And I was going to just rent a pump from the hospital, rather than register for one or buy one. But I really have no idea what to expect or how to make it work yet either – I keep looking to see if I leak or anything, but nothing…worries me a bit…which is probably not helpful either!

    • Not everyone leaks. I didn’t – and my OB said that was perfectly normal. We’ve been going strong for 8.5 months, solely breastfeeding. I also didn’t need bigger bras once I crossed into the second trimester. I bet you’ll be just fine. Don’t worry!!! 🙂

  5. I rented a pump rather than buy one, in hopes that I would only need it short term. Not the wisest move, but I didn’t anticipate all the troubles we had. One thing, at least for me… double pumping didn’t work. I didn’t have enough hands… 🙂

    When bf-ing wound down for us, and Ginny was in need of better bottles, we went with the Tommie Tippies. She really liked them, but every baby is different.

  6. You are a brave woman, asking all of us breastfeeding crazies for advice 😉

    Lansinoh makes the best storage bags – they freeze flat, thin, and uniform. The Medela bags make it hard to store lots of milk because they freeze thick, and thinner at the top than the bottom. Take it from someone who has over 1000 ounces in her deep freeze right now – you want the thinnest freezing bags possible.

    Breast pumps and accessories are FSA (flexible spending account) items in the US. I turn in my receipts for everything breast pump related including the storage bags, the connectors, the valves, membranes, shields, etc. FSA also covers pump rental.

    I tell everyone to also get a manual/hand pump. The Medela Harmony is a dream and I gift it to all of my friends. It has saved my life a hundred times!

    The best advice I got from the lactation consultants was to not say that I’m going to TRY breastfeeding. Say that you’re going to breastfeed – don’t give yourself the out. As Yoda says (I can’t believe I’m actually typing this), “there is no try – only do.”

    Good luck with the second half of your pregnancy! So exciting!!!!

    • LOL, you may be right, but all this advice has been fantastic! Thanks to you and all the other mommas who have been commenting. It’s very appreciated.

      Oh, and if anyone is going to appreciate a good Yoda quote, it’s this geek. 😉

  7. Wow, only 20%? That seems really low. There are definitely moments of anxiety and frustration exacerbated by exhaustion that makes that formula really attractive. Learning everything you can is a wise, wise move. Best advice ever.

    As for the, ahem, ‘ladies’… I was still in normal bras until about 24 weeks or so. Then I went up about 2 cup sizes in about week! About 6 weeks later I went up 2 cup sizes AGAIN, but my rib cage didn’t get bigger. I’m taking 34 DDD+. Try finding one of those! I had to go to Sears. Ugh. As for nursing bras, the ones with the click+peel style cups are compatible with pumps that have ‘hands free’ capabilities. I have a Medela double pump that I can strap on and walk around with…but I don’t, because I hate pumping. No reason, just hate it!

    Finally, some thoughts on gear. I thought I would want a feeding cover, but after ‘free-boobing’ it at home for a few weeks (and having a LOT of LC hands on my boobs that first week) I kind of just didn’t care anymore. I mean, I’m not whipping the out, but I’m comfortable feeding in public. Not sure how that came about. I also had one of those boomerang-style pillow and I HATED it. When HGB was really small, it would just slide away from me. No good. I ended up with the unfortunately named My Brest Friend and I love it. That sucker doesn’t move! And we rarely bottle feed, but I have the Medela Calma and it works great.


  8. I never leaked colustrum while pregnant, so don’t worry if you don’t! I could see some if I squeezed my nips late in my pregnancy, but never once leaked.

    Umm, yea, pumping sucks. Is the Medela swing the one that only does one boob at a time? Definitely make sure you one that does both boobies at once. We have the tommee tippee bottles and those worked well for us. And I second the Lansinoh bags! They’re the best. Be sure to lay them flat to freeze so they thaw faster.

  9. oh…and good luck!! I hope it goes smoothly for you!

  10. I am seconding the suggestion for not buying tons of bottles in advance, as you really need to figure out what works for your baby. What works to mimic one breast best, and what encourages one baby to have the best boob etiquette when they go back from the bottle, might not work for another. I have oversupply and an active letdown, which is fancy pants terminology for “i’m feeding another baby through donated milk” and “my boobs spray milk into my own baby”, and as a result, the standard “most breast-like” bottles and the tip sheet we got about bottle feeding breast-fed babies from our hospital actually are terrible for my son as they’re much slower than what he’s used to and he gets very frustrated. I found this more helpful:

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  12. Definitely don’t buy a ton of bottles – we tried 4 kinds before figuring out that Stella loves Dr. Brown’s.

    I never leaked – at the very end, I could squeeze a little colostrum, but that’s it. My boobs didn’t get huge until my milk came in 3 days postpartum.

    The first time I saw milk come out of multiple holes when I was pumping I thought WTH?!! You aren’t the only one who was in the dark. 🙂


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