Someday I will write a post detailing all the wonderful things about breastfeeding… but this my friends is not it. I could also use this post to tell you things you already know, like “it’s the best thing you can do for your baby”, “it helps you lose weight quick”, and “it’s very convenient”… but again you already know that stuff. So instead, I want to share my breastfeeding journey with you, which has been the hardest yet most rewarding experience of my life. There were countless towel throw-ins, tears and late night pump cleanings… but I’m now so very proud to tell you that I stuck with it and turned my underweight baby to a 10 week old baby who is completely off the growth charts for height and weight!
So my nursing troubles started at birth. Although Dylan initially latched beautifully, he developed Jaundice which caused him to sleep… A LOT. And there’s a lot to love about a super sleepy baby, but unfortunately they don’t eat a lot. It also didn’t help that he was put in the NICU for a day and given formula… so when we finally got home from the hospital 5 days later and his appetite started to increase, he got pissed when his milk machines were not giving him the goods. I mean, who wouldn’t be… right! Then the next day at his first dr. appointment, the worst happened… he hadn’t regained his birth weight and his doc gave us the option of starting formula or going to a lactation consultant to assess the situation. So off we went to whip out and talk about my boobs with a few more people (vanity is sooo out the window at this point). My LC’s recommendation was probably the suckiest (pun intended!) moment of my experience – since he didn’t transfer enough milk, she suggested that I nurse, pump and then supplement with at least 1 oz of pumped milk or formula. And yes, I did this for every feeding for 4 straight weeks = My. Personal. Hell.
So although this totally, 100% sucked…. it’s also really worked. Although the first week I was only able to express 1/2 an ounce after a feeding, that quickly increased and by 3 weeks I was pumping almost 2 oz and Dylan was quickly gaining weight. Aside from pumping, I also took Fenugreek to increase my milk supply for a few weeks but had to stop as I just couldn’t stand smelling like the waffle house. At our 4 week LC weight check-in, my LC happily told us that we had graduated and against her recommendation, I then completely stopped pumping. She suggested that I wean off the pump, but I was soooo sick of pumping and Dylan was eating every 2 hours so I desperately needed the break. Big Mistake. Within a few days, I developed a low grade fever and lump in my breast. Yep… that’s a sure sign of a clogged duct and a day or so away from Mastitis. Luckily I was aware of the symptoms and caught it fast. Although it was painful, I made Dylan nurse extra on the breast with the clogged duct and within a few days it cleared.
Needless to say, back to the pump I went! But only twice a day and now happily once a day. Since Dylan is transferring plenty (at 2 months he weighed 13 lbs!), I’ve been building a pretty nice supply of the liquid gold, and boy am I proud of that stuff when I open my freezer and see my stock pile! So after gathering tons of different ideas for how to store and organize my supply, I found the coolest idea from Roni at GreenLiteBites.com… and of course I had to copy it. What I love about her method is that it ensures you use your oldest milk first by dispensing it in the correct order.
- Here’s whatcha need:
- - A small gift bag
- - Scissors
- - Tape (to reinforce opening)
- - Milk storage bags
Simply cut a hole in the bag on one of it’s sides, making sure the opening is wide enough for your storage bags.
Store your oldest milk at the bottom and simply stack on your newer milk. Before placing the milk in the bag, I make sure it’s labeled with the date and volume. I also only store a 3-4 oz bottle worth of milk per bag.
I usually have a little treat sitting next to my bags, because after all, nursing allows us a few extra calories a day
- Oh and here are the LLLi guidelines I follow for storing breastmilk:
- - At room temperature (66-78°F, 19-26°C): for 4 hours (ideal), up to 6 hours (acceptable)
- - In a refrigerator (<39°F, <4°C): for 72 hours (ideal), up to 8 days
- - In a freezer (-0.4 to -4°F, -18 to -20°C): for 6 months (ideal) up to 12 months (acceptable)