I’m Terrified to Nurse My Son

It’s true. After 6 months of a successful breastfeeding relationship, I am now scared to nurse my baby, and here’s why.

Over the past several days his eating habits have changed. He was getting distracted and it was hard to get him to latch on for any length of time, and I get that. He would eventually settle and eat. He is also VERY interested in solid food, and it seems he would rather eat that.

But now? He’s teething.

I am honestly scared to death to put my nipple in his mouth, because I know as soon as I do, those sharp little barely-there teeth will feel like daggers crushing the most sensitive area on my body. It takes everything in me not to scream at him every time, and it’s literally EVERY TIME he nurses these days. I was legit sweating this morning when it came time to feed him because I was so scared, and he bit me THREE TIMES.

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Disclaimer: not my actual baby

I suppose I could just pump and bottle-feed him, but I pump all day at work and would just rather not. Plus, when it’s early in the morning and my breasts are engorged and he’s crying, who has time for that?! I just hope he stops teething soon, because my poor girls have had enough.

He also has a hard time taking a bottle because he chews on that too. His milk intake has drastically decreased over the past few days, but he is still content and has wet diapers so I am hopeful everything is still ok.

*Sigh*

This is just another one of those wonderful phases that will come and go. I just hope it goes soon!

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End of an Era

Tonight I pulled the last bag of breast milk from the freezer, marking the official end to a year of nursing.

I haven’t breastfed my son in almost a month, but I was lucky enough to have over 200 oz of milk stored away to keep feeding him after his first birthday. Tomorrow he will have his last sip of it.

I think he’s ok with it. He’s already getting mostly whole milk in his bottles. I just can’t believe it’s over. All of that hard work, finished. I nursed him and pumped for what seemed like forever. I’ve never worked harder at anything in my life, and I only spilled a few ounces!

I kept going after after all of the clogged ducts. While working full time. All the bags and cleaning parts and storage guidelines. I made it through the distracted phase, where he was too curious to settle in for too long. Kept going after all of the “you’re still breast feeding?!” judgy questioning. A year really isn’t that long. I’m not sure why it was such a big deal to some people. Then again, most of it came from women who’d never done it before.

It was the most rewarding experience. I got to feed my baby and give him the best shot at a healthy life. He thrived. He grew. He’s still growing. And I played a big part in that. Now it’s over.

All we’re left with now is an empty freezer. We bought an extra one just for all the milk. I’m not sure what we’ll do with it now. It literally only had milk in it.

While I won’t miss leaky boobs, engorgement, or constant worry, I will miss the quiet moments nursing my son.

A part of me feels like I’m not sure what to do now that he doesn’t “need” me anymore. Of course he still does. It’s just weird not having him depend on me quite so much.

So that’s it. The end of my breast feeding career! For now anyway.

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My So-Clogged Life

So here I am. Another day. Another clogged milk duct to ruin it.

I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about my duct probs before, but alas, here I go again. I had one last week on my left side, and this week it’s on my right. I just can’t win!

Recently, each one happened after my almost 10 month old slept through the night. Though I’d REALLY love to celebrate these achievements, I can’t, because I’m frustrated and in pain. I want nothing more than for my son to consistently sleep through the night, but him doing so only means one thing. Clogged mama.

I’m hoping this will change if/when he routinely sleeps through the night. Maybe my boobs will catch on. So far he only does it sporadically, maybe a couple nights a week. I’m trying to start the weaning process now, because I only plan on breast feeding until my son is a year old. I might consider going longer, or starting to wean later, if it weren’t for the constant clogged ducts! It’s SO FRUSTRATING! Every time I get one I want to quit BFing then and there.

There was a glorious 2 month stint of time where I didn’t get a single one. Not sure what was going on there, but it was amazing. Now I’m back to the every week or, if I’m lucky, every other week routine.

I wish there was a quick cure for the dreaded clog, but I have yet to find one. I know, I’m supposed to nurse nurse nurse! And apply heat and rest. But how am I supposed to do that at work? I can’t exactly bring my baby to work and attach him to my boob all day. Nor is it feasible to pump all day long until the clog releases (side note: I think pumping is why I get them so often).

Here’s what I usually do to help (with nursing when at home):

  1. Rig up an Indiana Jones heating pad at work using a small plastic Ziploc, a paper towel, and water. Put it in the micro of the community kitchen (discretely so no one asks wth I’m doing) for 15 secs to get maybe 15 min of heat therapy (again, discretely place this in my shirt so no one knows it’s there/wth I’m doing with a bag in my shirt). Then try to pump as much as I can, usually once or twice.
  2. Take a HOT (like, hot as I can stand) bath, while lying on my belly and massaging, with the hope that gravity plays a role in this.

  3. Hand pump in the tub.

  4. Drink pineapple juice (read this on Pinterest!). This worked once, but maybe that was just a fluke.

  5. Cry and yell and throw my pump parts across the room because this damn clog is just too stubborn and my boob hates me!!!!

  6. Go to bed.

  7. Repeat until it miraculously goes away.

They usually last at least a couple of days, and I’m pretty sure the frustration/worry I feel when they come on does not make them go away any quicker. Luckily, thankfully, somehow I’ve never gotten mastitis. At least I have that going for me and my spiteful boobs.

“Oh, you got a full night of sleep?” CLOG!

“What’s that? You wore a bra that actually had some support?” CLOG!!

“It’s been a full week since you were plugged up? We can’t have that!” CLOG! CLOG! CLOG!

So this is my life. I truly enjoy breast feeding, but I’ve had about all I can stand with this issue. Hopefully next time around things will be better, but maybe I’m just prone to them for whatever reason. Anyone else?

Milk. It’s What’s for Dinner (and breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dessert)

I mentioned before that I might have over supply. Here’s proof of that:

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We have pretty much no room left in our freezer for food because it’s full of breast milk! (Not that I’m complaining. I’m blessed enough to be able to give my baby the best nutrition possible, and I know many women aren’t able to do that) I got some free food boxes from BJs (hence the Bisquick, juice. and Jif labels) today to finally get it somewhat organized, though I’ll probably be screwed again in a month and need to redo it all once again!

This is all from April and May (we rotate out for daycare). Not sure where I will be putting this months supply…speaking of which, I need to go pump now because we were out running errands for several hours and now I’m full. See ya!

Pump Up the Volume

I exclusively breast feed and I work full time, which means I have to pump at work. I. HATE. IT. I am all for giving my baby the nutrition he needs, but pumping just sucks!

Take this morning, for example. I got to work and I was already full because my son ALMOST slept through the night (I only nursed him once…and probably just jinxed myself). I’m in my office and a few coworkers come in and we are talking about non-work related things, and I know I am only getting more and more full with each passing minute, but I don’t want to kick everyone out so I can pump. A) It’s kind of embarrassing, and B) I’m enjoying the conversation. Finally after about a half hour everyone leaves (I honestly was seconds away from kicking them out—I couldn’t handle it much longer!), and I put my little “do not disturb” sign on the door and break out the pump.

Well it’s a good thing they left when they did, because I had already leaked through my bra and luckily was wearing two shirts because I’d also leaked through the first one! I ended up pumping 21oz!! That’s usually what I have at the end of the day! Talk about ready to burst!

I usually pump every 3 hours. I don’t want to, but I know I have to or my supply will go down. That’s the thing. I wish I could just go all day without having to pump, but it will affect my supply (not to mention I will most definitely need to bring a few extra shirts!). I don’t know how stay at home moms who only need to breast feed and hardly ever offer a bottle do it. Some women I know don’t even own a pump. Even on the weekends if we are away from home and somewhere I can’t nurse for more than 4 hours, I have to pump as soon as I get home or my breasts will be rocks! I also am prone to clogged ducts. Maybe I have an oversupply issue??

Pumping alone isn’t even the issue. It’s that plus having to clean all the parts every time! Ugh, it’s all just the worst.

I read once that pumping can make your supply go down over time. Well it definitely is not affecting mine! I am pretty sure I could feed a small village of infants with my supply. We are pretty much out of freezer space for food because it is full of milk bags. In fact, I could probably give up now and have enough frozen milk to last him until he’s a year old like I plan to. But I wouldn’t do that. I enjoy nursing, just not pumping.

Anyone else in the same boat? Feel free to share your pumping/nursing gripes with me 🙂