Notes on Nursing

This is my adventure and ponderings on breastfeeding...

I LOVE nursing... Kaylee at this point is an champ at nursing.  It has been a journey though... at the hospital she was having a hard time latching so a nurse gave me a nipple shield. She seemed to do better with the nipple shield but I HATED that thing.  So we worked toward getting rid of it.  With the guidance of a La Leche League leader I would start a nursing session with the shield and as Kaylee got going would slip it off.  We have been plastic nipple free for about the last 6 weeks.

Shortly after that Kaylee started making a funny clicking sound while her latch keeps breaking and air is entering her mouth. In talking with the same leader and with a Lactation Consultant Kaylee either has a lip tie, I have an over supply (which basically bombards her with milk), or both. A lip tie is when the baby has a membrane that connects the upper lip to the gums, which interferes with a baby's latch at the upper lip.  A correctly latched baby should have the upper lip curved up and the lower lip curved down around the breast, but with the membrane the upper lip cannot turn upward).  I suspect Kaylee has a mild lip tie.  A more than mild lip tie makes nursing excruciatingly painful and in those cases a dentist can clip the membrane with a laser.  Fortunately for us there is no pain when nursing and Kaylee continues to gain weight (at her last appt in December her weight was at 50% which is FABULOUS!).  The only affect I think the lip tie has is that she gulps more air so has to be burped more.  We also do the laid-back nursing position, which helps her latch better and get rid of the clicking sound, meaning she gets less air.

This experience with nursing with Kaylee has been so polar opposite from my experience with Dominic it's amazing to me.  With Dominic, his birth was a night of no sleep, then almost immediate emergency, and highly stressful.  Dominic was born via emergency c-section and following the c-section I think my body was in shock, both physically (having undergone major surgery) and emotionally/psychologically (dealing with the worry about Dominic's heart rate dropping, my blood pressure alarmingly sky rocketing, then being whisked in a frenzy to the operating room for an emergency c-section) that post his birth my body shut down and I.COULD.NOT.STAY.AWAKE.  Meanwhile, Dominic's blood sugar was low and the nurses were concerned.  Tim has told me stories about what happened during this period of time that I do not remember. At all.  Nurses forcing Dominic on me to nurse, although I was out cold and not cooperating one iota, resulting in a pissed off newborn Dominic. So, Dominic was given a bottle because of the low blood sugar.  I recognize it was medically necessary but following that one bottle Dominic didn't want to latch or nurse and just wanted bottles. I called the local La Leche League leader and sought her guidance, we tried using a nipple shield, and I kept trying but he would just scream and flail his little head.  I resolved to just pump every 2 hours so that I could give Dominic breast milk but I felt like a cow being milked.

Finally at about 3 weeks while doing skin-to-skin with Dominic he latched on!  :)  But by then my milk supply was SO low I was supplementing about 75% formula and 25% breast milk. :(  I returned to work at 5 months and it was incredibly hard to pump while at work... considering what my work schedule is like.  Being a social worker, traveling and doing multiple home visits per day, plus a work day that changes every day... it is hard to keep a consistent pumping schedule.  By 6 months we were done.

Now with Kaylee we are exclusively breastfeeding and I LOVE IT (for the most part, more on that later).  I think this time around there are several things that have helped... Before Kaylee was born, Tim and I frequently talked about our agreement to breastfeed her, which helped that we were on the same page.  I also sought out support.  I wanted to reconnect with the La Leche League and Tim pointed me to the Livermore/Mountain House LLL as one of the leaders graduated from his high school.  I haven't actually been able to attend an LLL meeting but have connected with the LLL via Facebook and they are such a supportive group of women.  ValleyCare (where both Dominic and Kaylee were born) also has a weekly breast feeding/new mother support group that I have attended a few times. I think the biggest help in being able to successfully breastfeed Kaylee has been Tim's support. Truly.  I have a story to tell... Tim and I had gone to a Mexican restaurant one day for lunch and Kaylee woke up from her nap.  She was hungry so I fed her there at our table.  While we were sitting there, me nursing Kaylee, I asked Tim how he felt about me nursing in public.  I thought me might be bothered with doing something so personal in public but he was absolutely supportive, stating matter-of-factly "if she's hungry, she's hungry."  He was also very protective and said that if anyone said anything to us about it he would give them an ear full.

So I have taken our nursing on the road.  Last Friday night, in a restaurant FULL of people, I nursed Kaylee at Fudruckers while we were waiting for our food.  Yesterday, I nursed Kaylee at a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. Last night, I nursed Kaylee at Dobbs Ferry during Tim's company party.  It helps also when you are in like company, which was the case last night.  I look forward to our adventures in NIP (nursing in public). I am discrete and you likely wouldn't realize Kaylee was being fed but rather probably thought I was just rocking her to sleep. My discreteness is not so much an embarrassment of nursing in public but connected to my New Year's resolution #2... I'd prefer the public not see my squishiness.  Plus, it's been pretty fricken cold lately!  Don't want to freeze my ass (or boobs) off!

The only part that I don't like and that we need to work on, and I've been trying to do this daily, is get Kaylee to take a bottle.  She is an absolute boob girl and refuses to take a bottle.  So, we make it play time and my focus is just getting her accustomed to a bottle nipple, rather than actually feeding her.  I have a bit of anxiety about her willingness to take a bottle when I return to work from maternity leave.

Here are some great resources:
La Leche League
The Leaky Boob (the breastfeeding mom's bible)
California Laws Related to Breastfeeding

Great news!  Kaylee slept for 7 straight hours the last two nights..... but, MAN! My boobs were on FIRE by the time she woke up to nurse!

Saw this guest post on and I just about died with laughter! I love #4 and #9!

For Samantha Cappuccino-Williams of RealMomofNJ, parenting is all heart and no BS. And a lot of juggling, guessing, instinct, and self-mockery. Voted Best Blogger in the House by her husband and children, this real mom details parenthood in the straightforward style you’ve come to expect from women from New Jersey. In addition, she frequently contributes mom-related material to Seventh Generation’s 7Gen Blog.  
 I can’t forget my breasts when I leave the house. I’ve forgotten diapers, clothes, blankets, binkies, the stroller, the entire diaper bag after spending 20 minutes packing it, and even the friggen baby, but I’ve never forgotten milk. If you don’t have kids, having one less thing to remember as you herd your family out the door may not seem significant. If you do have kids, you know how significant it is.
I breastfeed my kids. I’m passionate about it. I’m righteous about it. But I’m not entirely honest about it.
I advertise that I do it for the heartfelt and health-related reasons we’ve all heard from other moms and pediatricians a bazillion times. But come on. If there weren’t also some hardcore mama-centric reasons to let my kid nibble on my nips for a year, I’d never be able to endure the insane commitment. These are the reasons that see me through the worst breastfeeding days and get me to hang in there when I want to bail. They’re pretty damn shallow, but whatever. They get the job done.
1. Milk boobs are awesome. Have you seen milk boobs? The new-mom, my-milk-just-came-in(!!) boobs? They’re glorious. They’re porn star glorious except they’re REAL. They’ll make even the staunchest feminist reconsider her rabid stance on breast augmentation. These fabulous tits were a fabulous surprise after my first child, and a highly anticipated perk (for both my husband and me) after my second.
2. I don’t have to work out. My baby weight lost itself because breastfeeding burns 500-800 calories A DAY. Even my best workout when I was in my twenties and maintaining a hot college body to bring the boys to the yard didn’t burn 800 calories. How crazy would I be to opt out of something that burns a shitload of calories while I sit on my ass, snuggling my baby, in my thirties?
3. I don’t feel remotely guilty about what I eat. I need to replace the calories nursing burns otherwise my milk production decreases dramatically. So heeeelllllloooo, Smashburger. Thank you for contributing to the cause of better infantile nutrition. And yes, I would like a salted-caramel shake with that. It’s all in the name of milk production.
4. I can’t forget my breasts when I leave the house. I’ve forgotten diapers, clothes, blankets, binkies, the stroller, the entire diaper bag after spending 20 minutes packing it, and even the friggen baby, but I’ve never forgotten milk. If you don’t have kids, having one less thing to remember as you herd your family out the door may not seem significant. If you do have kids, you know how significant it is.
5. I get guaranteed breaks during crappy social functions. It is completely acceptable to excuse yourself from a party to nurse your child in private. Even though I don’t really care about privacy, I sometimes take advantage of this understanding to avoid awkward acquaintances and annoying relatives and go play Angry Birds or check Facebook for awhile.
6. Aunt Flo goes on sabbatical. Thanks to breastfeeding, I made it 50 weeks sans Aunt Flo after my daughter was born. My son just turned one and I’m still waiting for her return. If you count her absence during my pregnancy, I haven’t seen her in nearly 2 years. TWO YEARS. I don’t miss that bitch at all.
7. I can instantly comfort my screaming baby without having to troubleshoot the actual problem. Sometimes I’m too tired or busy to try to figure out what the baby is crying about, so I just nurse him. Nine times out of 10, shoving a boob in his mouth calms him down immediately. Note: This also works with his father.
8. I can have unprotected sex for 6 months. When done correctly, breastfeeding is an effective form of birth control up to the baby’s 6-month birthday. So no hormones for me, and no condoms for my husband, for 6 months. Like I said though, you have to do it right or you end up with Irish twins. Like my parents did. D’oh.
9. Breast milk poop smells a hell of a lot better than formula poop. I have to change a lot of disgusting poopy diapers, so if anything can make them less disgusting, I’m in. Breast milk poop smells, but it doesn’t stink. Not like formula shit. I found this out firsthand when changing a friend’s formula-fed baby. I thought something died in her diaper. I almost called Animal Control.
10. When my kids have kids, I can hold it over their heads that when they were babies, I did everything right and know everything. The extreme commitment and effort of breastfeeding lends a lot of credibility to the future backseat parenting of my grandchildren.

Funniest thing ever!!!  Kaylee has started doing this thing where while we're nursing, if I look at her she will suddenly pop off and flash a huge smile at me!  Problem with that is my boobs didn't get the memo and the milk is still flowing.  More often than not when Kaylee does this she gets sprayed in the face with milk.  I should learn and not engage with her, not look at her face when she's nursing but I can't help myself... She's just so darn cute!!! I wanted to share some pictures:

Nursing at the park on a BEAUTIFUL day!
How can you not LOVE this face!?!

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