Exclusively Breastfeeding: We Made It To Three Months

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Thanks to a wonderful midwife, support groups, good friends and determination, I have reached the 3 months goal I had set for myself; a  realistic goal – something that seemed doable rather than discouraging. I cannot believe that I overcame excruciating pain, tears and exhaustion, all for the sake of my little one’s health. I am proud of myself, proud of her for sticking around (haha) despite some issues we have undergone and I am officially setting a new goal: the 6 months mark. It is not all roses but it brings me joy and satisfaction that I can provide for her this way. I love this special bond we have.

Do you think I can survive without a breast pump? Debating whether I should get one or not…would love to go out with my husband! 

Got Milk? Thoughts On Breastfeeding.

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  • Breastfeeding is natural. It doesn’t mean it is easy for everyone.
  • It does get better. 
  • Get informed and surround yourself with knowledgeable people. It can make a whole difference.
  • It is OK not to get it right the first time. Baby and you will learn together.
  • Carpe diem. It is very hard to see the big picture when you are in pain or going through something difficult. Just try to make it through the day.  And reevaluate tomorrow.
  • It is not as bad as it looks to nurse during the night when you get the hang of it. Just keep doing what you were doing (sleeping) and baby will do the rest. Lying down position to nurse is my favorite!
  • After a good nursing session, that “I had too much of this turkey dinner but damn, that was good!” look is so precious!
  • It is both practical and not. No need to own, wash, store, prepare bottles. Milk is at the right temperature and it is perfectly adapted to your baby’s needs. But you are the only person that can feed him/her. Which is a beautiful thing but makes it difficult if your baby nurses often and you would like to go somewhere without him/her.
  • It gives you a sense of pride and empowerment. I can’t explain, it just does. It is also extremely relaxing.
  • Growth spurts are kill-joys. When you think you and baby have adjusted well…think again. We are going through the 6-week growth spurt and I am not surprised to hear half of the women who breastfeed stop right there. It is not easy. It is extremely exhausting (I will let you picture how wonderful I feel today being sick as a dog and juggling with a toddler who’s favorite word is “no”).  But I read somewhere it would get better so I am hanging in there (even though last night at about 1am I kinda wanted to cry. Oh, no wait! I did cry!)
  • Victoire and I are very fusional. She is happy to stay by herself for a few minutes after a good feeding but will most likely cry in someone else’s arm for over 5 to 10 minutes. I don’t think I like that.
  • She is growing very well. And I couldn’t be prouder!
  • I want to wear a badge saying: “Cracked nipples survivor”.
  • When your baby cries, people will automatically assume he/she is hungry. Even though he/she just ate. That is majorly annoying.
  • I don’t know if it has anything to do with breastfeeding but I lost all my baby weight. It doesn’t mean I am back to looking sexy but the weight is gone. It is a good start.
  • Breastfeeding Victoire helps me to be healthier.
  • It makes you thirsty. I have recently been dreaming of swimming in a sea of Peach Ice Tea or Orangina.
  • Finding ultra-absorbent nursing pads was life changing.
  • Had never heard of “forceful let-down” now I wish I didn’t know what it meant! To think I thought spraying my baby’s face with milk was funny at first…doesn’t make me laugh anymore.
  • Breastfeeding in public isn’t as well seen as bottle-feeding in public for some reason.
  • I think breastfeeding is going better this time because I was better informed and knew who to turn to if I had concerns or questions. But also because labor and delivery went extremely well. I didn’t feel as “broken” as I was postpartum with Sixtine.
  • It is an ongoing learning.
  • Breastfeeding more or less “successfully” Victoire has made up for the bad experience I had with her sister.

Confessions of a Formula-feeding Mum or My Breastfeeding Experience

Sixtine is formula-fed. Discuss.

Breast-feeding vs formula-feeding seems to be a very hot subject lately. I want to tell you the story of my breastfeeding experience.

I became a mum on the seventeenth of October, at 9.08am. My body was naturally ready to feed my baby. Me, not so much. I never really gave a big thought about breastfeeding. I had breasts, I would produce milk, breastfeed my daughter and all would be well in the world. When Sissi was born and they had made sure she was fine, they put her on my chest. And we cuddled. It was a very special moment. She was so little. This skin-to-skin experience was amazing and I will always remember it. Then they put her to my breast. And she started to suck. It felt different but in a positive way, and I felt happy and empowered to be able to provide for my daughter. It wasn’t always easy to find the right position to feed her, but the nurses and lactation consultant were there to help. I started to feel confused after a few hours when different opinions were voiced and that the lactaction consultant told me that if baby was awake, she was hungry which led to a 6-hour (I may be exaggerating but slightly – I was tired so my memory is a little foggy) feeding (on and off) or at least, she was on the breast for those six hours. She was not sleeping, so she was hungry?

We returned home and the real challenge started. Oh dear…! I was beyond exhausted and baby was eating every 2 hours. I wasn’t always confident in the way I was doing it (is she getting any, is she latched on properly…) and it started to hurt. It went from mildy painful to oh-my-god-she-will-probably-wake-up-in-ten-minutes-please-don’t-wake-up-yet.

I loved the emotional aspect of breastfeeding but it wasn’t comfortable for me at all. It hurt a lot. I was always wet. And was somehow disturbed by that new function on a physical aspect: nipple hurting when seeing baby, extreme leakage, wet bed, shirts, everything…

It became very stressful, and extremely painful as in tears and ahh-ohhhs, and sobbs and crying so much one night I had to call a friend. I couldn’t keep my calm and told her how hard it was for me (she was still breastfeeding and I felt comfortable “confessing” myself. She’s not the judgemental type. That helps.) and she advised phoning Public Health which I did.

A nurse came in and checked me out. I felt very vulnerable at that time. Labor and delivery, an episiotomy and breasts in fire, anything she would have said would have made me cry. Even the word “sandwich”. Anyways, she checked my nipples and said: “no one could breastfeed with nipples like that.” It made me feel better because I thought I was being a “baby”. I saw a Dr who prescribed a cream Dr. something (can’t remember – baby brain anyone?), nipple shells, I was all geared up. The plan was to pump for a couple day until my nipples would get better so I could go back to breastfeeding Sixtine. I did feel better. Much better. So I decided to give it another try. My mum was home with me for the first two weeks of baby Sixtine’s life and saw how I was struggling and really highly suggested I formula-feed her seeing me in such pain. When I put Sixtine to the breast after two days off, I said to my mum: “I am scared, she is gonna bite me.” She answered: “You are scared of your own child” and laughed it off. I tried and she made a funny face. A look that said: “don’t want it”. After a couple more times, I assumed she didn’t like being on the breast anymore and I felt hurt but relieved. I decided then to pump my milk and give her expressed milk in a bottle. It worked wonders ! Didn’t hurt at all (anyone has noticed how big nipples get after pumping !?) and I felt good about the fact that she was still getting expressed milk. I was very good at it and was even able to freeze some. After a bit, I wasn’t home much and wasn’t able to pump as much as I used to and ended up producing less milk which made me wonder if I should buy my own pump or stop pumping completely. (The pump I was using was borrowed to the Public Health.)

I decided to stop. Formula was introduced once the frozen breastmilk ran out. I felt guilty at first and slowly, I started feeling somewhat ok with it. I think the feeding choice is a very personal one and I wish it wasn’t looked up or down so much.

My baby got a month and a half of breastmilk and I just want to hear: it is ok, you did your best.

 

The Emotional Journey Of Being A New Mum

I don’t know what it is but I have butterflies in my stomach today. Not the fun butterflies, the nervous ones. I feel somehow overwhelmed. Being a new mum has been a very emotional journey so far. I wrote about being “the perfect mum” a little while ago and really, I am not trying to be  perfect. But I want to be the best I can be for my daughter.  I feel that I didn’t give the best start to my daughter for these two particular reasons and it saddens me a lot.

  • Sixtine was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. They had to quickly care for her, which didn’t allow us to have one on one time. She wasn’t put on my chest, still covered in blood and whatever it is called. They gave her to me all clean and wrapped in a blanket. Although I know it was what was best for her, it makes me sad that we didn’t experience that moment.
  • I didn’t breastfeed as long as I wish would have. It simply didn’t work for us. I was in extreme pain and had to pump for a couple days while my breasts would “recover”. In that short amount of time, the baby didn’t want to take the breasts again when it was offered to her. I felt somehow relieved because it was a very painful situation. I still remember crying a little before she was due to eat as I knew how excruciating the experience would be. I feel really bad about the fact that my baby didn’t get breast milk as long as she deserved. It took me a while to be at peace with the fact that she was now formula-fed and I am still not completely over it today. Some people’s comments have made it worse.

As for parenting style, I feel somewhat lost between what is generally done, generally told to do, and what I want to do. Between breastfeeding vs formula feeding, spoon-feeding vs baby-led weaning, cloth diapering vs disposables attachment parenting vs Montessori (although they share some values, they have differences ie. babywearing), pacifier, thumb sucking vs none, green baby vs regular products and so on, I find it hard to find my place. I take bits and pieces of whatever I feel comfortable doing but I sometime feel guilty for doing something because I read/hear it is not a good thing to do or no one I know does it this way. When really, I don’t see where’s the harm in doing it.

Let’s try to sum this up: I formula-feed my baby with love, she uses a pacifier but only at bed time and naps, I want to start baby-led weaning but I don’t see where is the harm in baby cereal, she has been sleeping in her own room since she was two months of age, but I enjoy a little morning sleep-in nap with my baby, we cloth diaper but I don’t mind using disposables on the go, we mainly use green products for her but I am a big L’oreal make-up fan…so what does that make me?

There is something strikely different between French parenting and English-speaking countries parenting. I can feel the difference, and I think this is where I am confused. I was raised in a French environment, stern but fair. Whatever this lady talked about in her Bringing Up Bebe is probably true to life, although I have yet to read it but the excerpts I read were pretty convincing. I am not saying that raising baby the French way is best but this is the only way I know. I am well-aware of the differences ( I was a nanny in London, UK, and I have been living in Canada for about 18 months), I find that English-speaking parents are more focused on their children, everything seems to revolve around them, whereas French parents aren’t as children-focused and the list is long but in the end, we just raise our kids with a main ingredient: love.

If you are a second, third-time (or more) mum, you probably must be thinking that I am going to have to learn to not care about what people think, and that I will get more confident with time. It is probably true – I just know that right this second, I am a very emotional first-timer trying to do the right thing.

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramble for I don’t have the butterflies anymore…