As a nurse, do I think everyone should try it when the baby is born? Yes, but if they hate it then don't do it. If you are going to be miserable than it is not worth it. Medically some people are not able to breastfeed, it is not your fault. In some instances the baby can also be allergic to breast milk (I know two people who went through this situation.) There are formulas now that try to do their best to mimick breast milk. God did not give us breasts for sexual reasons, they were given to us to nurture our children (Sexologist spoke about all the misleading things regarding breastfeeding that are in this society today on the Today show.).
I was blessed to be able to nurse. Was it a struggle, OMG yes! It was very difficult for the first few weeks. The girls had to be finger/tube fed because they could not figure out how to suck from me or a bottle for about a week. then when they figured out how to suck, they would go to fast and choke. They did great nursing because it didn't come out fast and they were on premie bottle nipples for almost 6 months(We used Dr. Browns bottles, since the girls had a lot of reflux issues.). I had amazing lactation consultants at the hospital (they did not hassle me, they were my life savers.) Some of the best advice came from them and
I will give you some advice and words of wisdom from my experience:
Work- Yes it is a lot of work!! Does it pay off in the long run and is it worth it? TOTALLY!! I lost all my baby weight within the first month of nursing the girls! I gave birth to the girls on May 23rd. June 26th was my sister's bachelorette party and I was already down to my pre-pregnancy weight and fit into all my old clothes! Yes, I lost all my weight, but for those who have twins would understand that I did not lose the fab, it was there and is still there slightly. Because my stomach stretched so much I have a little excess skin that I just tuck into my pants (It is not bad, just really wrinkly skin that in under my belly button.). I do work out but, those of you with kids know that sometimes your unable to be consistent. I need a personal trainer like Angelina Jolie's for about 6 weeks then I would be good, but then when I have more I am screwed again!
Support- You have to have the support from day 1. My husband was the most supportive person in the world (yes I am sure everyone says that about their husbands :) ). But he truly was. Without him, there was no way I would have made it past the first few weeks. I would get so discouraged. The girls weren't doing great latching on, my milk was not coming in or there was not enough to satisfy them, and I was so upset that I couldn't nurture them the way I was meant to. He was unbelieveable, he talked to me, gave me the words of strength and encouragemet I needed. He was at my side and helped the girls latch on. With twins it is a little more difficult when you nurse them together because you don't have that free hand. It was so great to have a extra set of hands. The only people I had help me was my husband, sister, and mom. I am a very private person and didn't feel comfortable having other people help me. You need to discuss it with whoever will be with you and make sure they are on board. My bond with the girls has been amazing( I do give some credit for this to breastfeeding)! Ian would give them their bedtime bottle and then if he did not have to go out of town on that day, the 3am bottle of breastmilk while I pumped. I wanted to make sure he got bonding time with the girls also. Looking back, I can see that he appreciated having that time with them!
Highly recommend giving infants a bottle a day. It can be pumped milk or formula, but if you don't introduce a bottle and you try and do it later, it is likely the baby will not adapt to it and have a hard time. I recommend this because if you don't, then you get no free time, and your husband doesn't get that special bond with the baby. We rarely left our girls, we probably went out to dinner three times since they were born last May, but those three times our parents were able to give the girls a bottle and we were able to enjoy ourselves instead of looking at our watches to see the time and worrying if we were going to make it home or not.
Growth spurts- There are growth spurts, if I remember the girls were 6weeks, 3-4 months, sometime around 6-7 months and 9 months. ( they were delayed a little, I think that it is usually around 6 weeks, 3months, 6months, 9months.) I think the hardest two were the 3-4 month one because that is their big growth spurt to get ready for starting solids and the 9 month one. I was ready to give up. I wasn't producing much, they were eating every hour and still fussing. It was extremely disappointing. Our pediatrician was great and gave me a lot of advice on how to boost my supply naturally and my cousin Carli was breastfeeding also who was a big help too. I tried blessed thistle, mothers milk tea, fenugreek, red raspberry leaves, and steel cut oats. I was not a fan of the blessed thistle or the oats (you really have to spice them up to get a yummy taste!). the rest I used. I drank about two bottles of water every nursing session which helped too. After about two weeks, I started removing the herbs and it went real well. It was a rough go at first but we got over the hump and it was smooth sailing from there! Also recommended by my pediatrician at 3months was to not pump at the 3am feeding and to let Ian feed them a bottle because when they wake up at 7am for the day they are the most hungriest (sp? don't even know if that is a word!) and I would have more milk to help get through the day.
Hospital grade pump- I rented the pump from the hospital for 3 months and it was awesome! No pump can compare to the ones in the hospital ( I mean some are close but not that these!) It really got my milk in. Also in the hospital the lactationist gave me some great advice, unfortunately it was no til the last day. Right after you eat, if you are able to, you should pump for 15minutes, then wait 15 minutes for an hour cause it helps the milk come through. Try and do it after every meal. But let me add, I did not produce any milk during my whole pregnancy, you might be good and have already produced some! After the three months of using the hospital grade pump, I did buy a medela backpack pump. It worked and did the job, but a little slower than the hospital grade one.
public- I tried not to nurse in public. I would feed them and then we would run out and do our errands, I always had a bottle with me in case. If I knew we would be out all day, I had the moby wrap and my cover up and nursed them in the moby wrap with the cover up over just for more privacy. I mostly tried to just nurse in the car. There also were times that I nursed at our playgroups- once again I did my best because I am such a private person. I tried to just do one at a time. The ladies in the playgroup are awesome people though and understood because they had gone through it nursing or bottle-feeding. It was nice to be around people who understood!
I enjoyed every minute of it, but I did have my moments and it did take a toll on me because I had two to nurse. It was a lot easier to just nurse both together instead of one at a time since it was double the time.
I know I am forgetting a lot but if you have any questions, email me or leave a comment and I would be more than happy to answer them for you!
there will be another post in the future about weaning from nursing, if you are going through that!