Baby Liora was about 1.5 weeks old. I threw out the rest of those tiny bottles of formula. I didn’t want them tempting me and taunting me as I tried to nurse my baby. I began to feel as if I was never wearing a shirt. I was always topless and putting her to the breast. As difficult as that was, I started to feel as if we were making progress. My nipples never hurt or bled like they did with my oldest, her latch was perfect again!
And then, the growth spurt!
Now listen, when you say you want to breastfeed your baby the hospital will hand you a packet of information about it. I remember reading and being told that the baby will nurse approximately 10 minutes on each breast every 2-3 hours. My baby wanted to nurse much longer than that, and it was rare she would go 2 hours between feedings! I felt as if she was nursing 24/7.
The packet told me 10 minutes on each breast! And every 2-3 hours! Surely something must be wrong, because all of a sudden at around the same time every evening she latched on and refused to latch off. I sat on the couch, after three hours of nursing, and cried heartily. What’s wrong with me? I can’t do this! I can’t live like this! This is awful!
That is when I stumbled upon a website called kellymom.com, and it quite possibly saved my breastfeeding relationship. Apparently, you should take that handy packet they give you and throw it in your recycle bin or create a bon fire with it. It is useless, and inaccurate.
First of all, newborns love to nurse. They need to nurse! This is how your supply increases. This is also how they are comforted. Remember in my first post I discussed ditching the pacifier, well our breasts are natures real pacifiers! We pacify our babies at the breast, and we keep our supply regular as well.
Second of all, there was no mention of growth spurts! I was caught off guard completely when Li went hours on end nursing. I thought my supply must be gone. I must be starving my baby! Nope. She was just growing. She was just doing what babies do. It can be frustrating, but I promise it does not last forever. It is usually only a few days of extra nursing, and then your back on track.
I was thankful to know that she wasn’t suddenly starving, and also that this would not last forever; because let’s face it, 3 hours of nursing non-stop wasn’t very fun.
One major benefit was nighttime! Now I know often you hear that formula helps a baby sleep, but I really disagree with that. I formula fed my oldest and this is basically how it went….
- Feed her a bottle before nighttime, rock her sleep and place her next to me in her co-sleeper.
- Wake up two hours later with her screaming blood murder.
- Slowly drag myself out of bed, and hold her in one arm as I shhhh shhhh her and make a bottle.
- Warm the bottle. While she screams.
- Take screaming newborn to my rocking chair and give her the bottle.
- Burp her. Get formula puke on my shoulder.
- Stand up and walk her around the room, patting her back, get her back to sleep.
- Lay down in bed.
- Wake up an hour or two later with her screaming bloody murder.
- Repeat. ALL NIGHT LONG.
Yeah, not very relaxing or conducive for good sleep!
With my Liora, my first breastfed baby, I had her sleep in my bed with me (yes, it absolutely IS safe when done correctly) and this is how our nights went….
- Nurse baby in my rocking chair before bed.
- Baby falls asleep at my breast. Awe, so cute!
- Read a little bit.
- Go to bed with baby.
- Baby starts to stir and make little noises.
- Latch baby to breast while not moving from sleep position, or fully waking up.
- Go back to sleep while baby feeds herself at my breast.
Guess which situation gave me better sleep?
So here we were, moving right along in our nursing journey.
Things were starting to improve a lot. By the time she was 1 month old the days of struggling to latch her were long gone. Now, I had my toddler in the front seat of my grocery cart, and the baby under one arm nursing, while I pushed the cart with the other arm and finished my food shopping! NO joke, I really did this.
I was feeling a pro, finally. But there was still one problem left unresolved. I would keep saying “I am trying to breastfeed”, I still didn’t trust my body. Until one day, I was sitting at the edge of my bed nursing Liora when it dawned on me, “Wait…I AM NURSING!”
It sounds like a simple thing, but in that moment I realized that I had won. My body had not failed me. My baby did not need formula or bottles or pacifiers. All she needed, for the next five months of her life was ME. That’s it. Just me. I was enough. I was feeding her!
Those chubby thighs? My milk did that. Those adorable chubby checks? Yep, my milk again. I looked at my baby contentedly nursing and almost said out-loud to myself “I AM A BREASTFEEDING MOTHER!”
And the journey continued…