Friday, June 13, 2008

Boobs and Bottles and Bras...Oh My!

Happy Friday the 13th to all my readers!


*P-word alert*

32 weeks as of yesterday. For some reason, this mini-milestone is a big accomplishment to me. I know my little brownie is still a bit gooey inside and needs to continue baking but it somehow makes me feel safe to know that if he absolutely had to arrive, at this very moment, odds are he would have no long-term complications. I still find it hard to trust this finicky uterus of mine so I like having a sort of warranty in case she decides to act a fool. Each day we get closer, I feel more at ease. Much more optimistic. This is really going to happen.

Our 32 week appointment was happily uneventful. After measuring 2 weeks ahead at my last appointment and scaring me into believing I was growing a football player in my belly, he measured right on this time. Maybe it was his position? BP is a steady 100/70. Weight is about +33 lbs. All is consistent and all is good.

We had our breastfeeding class on Wednesday night. Let me start by saying that breastfeeding is one of those issues I feel extremely uneasy about. Maybe even more so than labor and delivery. While considered "natural" by society, it seems that many of the moms I know have had terrible experiences, or bailed out because it was harder than they thought. Let's face it: when I hear about cracked, bleeding nipples, it doesn't sound so appealing to me - or to anyone for that matter. So, I feel like I'm facing Mt. Everest by deciding to breastfeed. While I'm not opposed to formula feeding - I was a formula-fed baby after all and I like to think I turned out just fine - I feel like the benefits of breastfeeding are just too good to pass up. Knowing ahead of time how all-consuming it can be and how much pressure there is, I am even more determined to make it work. Call me a stubborn ass but I'm going to do everything in my power to do this. I think the scary part is that breastfeeding is a partnership between my body and my baby. Both parties have to work together to be successful. So, there comes the whole trust thing again. How do I know my body will hold up its end of the deal? What if the baby just "doesn't get the hang of it"? So many unknowns = lack of control = stressed out Kristen. That's my Type A revealing its ugly self...

Anyway, back to the class. I was pretty clueless going in, aside from some advice I've picked up along the way, so I felt like I got my money's worth from it. The LC was not a bottle nazi, which I appreciated. I had myself stressed over whether I should choose standard neck or wide neck bottles, and she clarified that it doesn't matter which one you use, as long as the baby wraps his/her lips around the wide portion of the nipple and not just the short, elongated portion. I received some references as to breastmilk storage (for pumping), diet, safe meds, nursing bras, etc. I also learned 3 holding positions (cradle, reverse cradle and football) that were really helpful. We even got to practice on little baby dolls. My little boy looked as though he was going to feast on my nipple (he had itty bitty teeth) but thankfully, we avoided a live version of Child's Play and I made it through the session unscathed. For the record, I think reverse cradle is my favorite.

All in all, I think we have a plan. Of course, it is flexible - it needs to be - but it helps me to map out my goals. Writing it out gives me something to strive for. I will exclusively breastfeed for the first 4 weeks. I will also be pumping to save up a supply for returning to work. If all is going smoothly, after 4 weeks, DH will introduce a bottle. Hopefully, there will be no nipple confusion at this point. From there, we will alternate boob and bottle and hope for the best. At around 6 months, I will introduce solids and start to wean off the boob. I may continue to pump until 1 year but my initial goal is 6 months. We'll see how it goes. All I can do is give it a try and adjust as needed.

DH and I are also in the process of choosing a pediatrician. My OB has given me a deadline of 34 weeks so I don't have much time. I think I may have found one but I need to set up a time to interview the doc and make sure that we see eye to eye on things. Like vaccines. I'd like to pretty much stay on the recommended schedule but maybe delay the MMR until 18 months or 2 years. I haven't fully decided but it would be nice to bounce some ideas off of a professional and see how flexible they are. I think there should be a balance between physician recommendation and patient-led care, especially when it comes to my child.

On a more fun note, we finally put up the crib. Our spare room is slowly becoming a nursery. I walk by and see the empty crib and the feelings of anticipation build up. We still have alot to do but I can't wait for it all to come together.

35 comments:

Rachel said...

I thought the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding were the hardest. I made it to just shy of 6 months and then didn't seem to be producing enough milk and my son was in the 14th percentile for weight so I decided to stop then. I think it was worth it, he never got sick.

Good luck with it! Also, congratulations on making it to 32 weeks.

Geohde said...

I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends who have all survived the cracking, bleeding nipple thrush and goodness knows what else and breastfed successfully.

Whilst I am not a BF nazi, I am similarly determined to give it a good hard go.

J

Fertilized said...

I feel the same way about the bf ... pumping is working for me - we put it in a bottle! none of those holds worked for me - and baby did not like the nipple latch on .. there are LOtS of options - you can do whatever is best for you. good luck to you

Melissa said...

Congratulations on the great milestone - 32 weeks is definitely a biggie!

I thought I was the only preggo terrified of breastfeeding. I never knew why exactly I am so scared of it, but your post hit the nail on the head. It's the whole partnership thing - getting baby and body to successfully cooperate. It's scary to think of failing, especially since breastfeeding is considered one of the most natural things in the world.

Good for you for taking the class, though. That will definitely be high on my agenda.

And good luck finding a pediatrician. I'm sure the search won't be easy, but your intuition will tell you if a particular doctor is right for the job. Trust your instincts!

infertility just sucks said...

So what are you doing with the whole vaccine thing? I have such a hard time even deciding what I think about it and what course of action I'd prefer.

Honestly, I am getting to an information overload point. THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH INFORMATION ON EVERYTHING.

Nit said...

Hola from NCLM :)

Congrats on hitting your 32nd week! Not long to go, now :)

Good luck with the breastfeeding. I have friends who have done it both successfully & unsuccessfully. All you can do is try! it will be worth it, I'm sure.

Take care :)

Blankenship Babbles said...

Girl I agree giving it a shot is all you can do...it was the most important thing to me and although the first few weeks were rocky, Jols and I stuck with it and now we are going on 7 months...and it is absolutely the most rewarding feeling...I have friends that have done it and that couldn't, either way, a happy baby and Momma is what you strive for...so don't stress and go into with an open mind, I have a feeling you'll be a natural just like you have been with everything else. OMG I can't believe you are already at 32 weeks...he'll be here before you know it...Lots of Love!!!

Emily said...

Ooooooh not long now! How exciting! You are going to be a great mom!

Samantha said...

It's amazing that something so fundamental as breast feeding is so difficult. It sounds like you've got a good game plan for when your time comes.

Emily said...

32weeks. woot!!

breastfeeding is the most amazing and the most difficult thing I've ever done. We're going on 9.5 months and I'm so happy we stuck with it. Those first weeks were HARD. HARD.

It seems like you have a great support group that readsthis blog. I think short goals (your 4 week one is great!) and good support is KEY.

I'm ALWAYS here if you have questions!

Mrs. Piggy said...

Yes, the first week or so of BF'ing is HARD. One feeding can go great, and you build your confidence...the next one can be a complete waste of time. Dont let it discourage you! Sometimes it just clicks for them!

Two Hands said...

Give BF a good two weeks. If by then it isn't working, at least you've given it your best. It can be challenging, and sometimes it isn't. But your other commenters are right, there are lots of options.
I've been to cracked and bleeding nipple-land. I think the main problem is an incorrect latch at the beginning that damages the nipple, at least, that's what happened to me. Just remember all your basics - wide open gape, both lips flared out and baby (both head and body) facing your own. But above all, if you do have problems, know that you are not alone and that many women go through it. Your baby will be fine.
Oh and my fave position was side lying. Laying down on your side with baby on their side facing you and breastfeeding. So nice for those middle of the night feeds.

Ms. Infertile said...

Yah for 32 weeks! That is a big milestome.
BF scares me too, and add in the twin thing and I'm completely freaked out. I hope the class I'm signed up for provides me as good information as yours did.
All you can do is give it a try anyway and see if it will work.

DC said...

I'm glad the class went well. You're getting so close!!

Kelly D said...

Congrats on 32 weeks. Seems the infertile community is one of the few that understands the risk and consequence of prematurity.

Good luck with your breastfeeding. I BF my twins until 15 months. It can be very challenging, but stick it out and you'll do fine. A little patience will go a LONG way!

Elizabeth said...

exciting milestone!

i bet it feels good to have a plan in place for breastfeeding. Just to chime in - I expected it to be both easier and harder than it has been; I thought it would be harder to produce the milk and easier to deliver it, when it's been the other way around. It really is a learning process but so far it's been my favorite part of mothering, despite the ups and downs.

Good luck!

Katie said...

Good for you for knowing that it's gonna be hard and doing it anyway!

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

Your plan sounds great! I, too, am hoping to make it to 6 months and more if possible. :) 8 more weeks! YAY!!! HUGS!

katedaphne said...

Here from NCLM ... I share your wariness of breastfeeding. Nowadays it is almost heresy to admit it, but it's true. I hope that it goes well for you. I don't yet have the need to think about bf-ing, but I do understand about not trusting your body. Let's hope that when the baby comes your body will turn over a whole new leaf!

Kim said...

COngrats on 32 weeks! I agree that the first two weeks are the hardest breastfeeding. After that it go so much easier, and after a few months the baby really knows what he/she is doing and it gets even easier! My advice is (1)use Lanolin cream after every feeding -even in the hospital, (2)have a nurse or lactation specialist make sure the baby is latched on correctly even if you think it is right. Correct latch-on is the only way to be sure you don't get the cracked bleeding nipples, (3)don't let the baby nurse for too long in the beginning. Ten minutes tops on each side every 2-3 hrs. (4) it will be a little painful in the beginning. I think days 3-5 are the worst of it for soreness. (5)if you think you are having any trouble at all ask for help right away before your supply get compromised! Good Luck!!! And remember the only think that is really important is a happy baby and a happy mommy! NCLM

Katie said...

Via NaComLeavMo...
Congratulations on getting to 32 weeks.

My name is Andy. said...

I'm stopping by from NCML. It sounds like you have a lot of good plans in place and that it's all falling together nicely!

Good Luck!

Dreams Come True said...

Good luck with the breastfeeding. I know it's something I want to do as well, but it scares me for many of the reasons you mentioned as well.

Congrats on 32 weeks! :D

Leah said...

Let's have some pictures of the nursery. I'm just so, so happy for you!!

Also, I tagged you. Enjoy!

Sharon said...

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docgrumbles said...

Congrats on making it this far! Good luck with the prep and the pediatrician search!

C said...

Congrats on 32 weeks! I felt better getting there myself. :)

I have two piece of advice on breastfeeding. I hated it at first, but I didn't have any pain, if that makes you feel better (I won't bore you with all my personal details). Anyway, now at 3.5 months, I don't love it yet, but it's going much better. 1) Don't stress yourself out trying to stick to your plan. It's a great idea to wait until 4 weeks to introduce the bottle, and that was my goal too. But we ended up needing it before then, and we are doing just fine. Flexibility is key -- if you emotionally beat yourself up during the tough times, you'll get discouraged. 2) Have a breast feeding "expert" that is easily on call during those first two weeks. Whether it's your best friend or a local lactation consultant, have that person available to give advice and encouragement. I didn't, and I'm sure that compounded our problems.

GL to you!

Grad3 said...

Amazing- 32 weeks already!

GL with everything- I feel you on the breast feeding part! This is going to be an over share- but my nipple shield really helped with the bf, no cracked nipples and bleeding (once I allowed myself to get one so that I could stick with it!)

So close to holding your son :)

chicklet said...

The breastfeeding thing freaks me out completely. I'm not there yet obviously but the cracking, bleeding - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Good luck:-)

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