This is a story all about howwwwww I made it through a year of nursing (11 months so far) WITHOUT stockpiling, supplementing, or night pumping.....
I popped out a baby and set my goal to make it one big, long, year exclusively nursing. Here we are almost 11 and 1/2 months later and my fun bags did not disappoint. Also to be noted I don't have a freezer stocked to the brim of milk either, although some days I wish I did so I would start weaning now but,......anyhowwwwww, I am going to tell you how I made it though WITHOUT, STOCKPILING, SUPPLEMENTING, OR NIGHT PUMPING. You may want to read that last part again because it is possible!
Let's start from the beginning, I had a relatively smooth birthing experience 12 hours start to finish. Epidural, yes ma'am and keep it coming. Oxygen, just while I pushed. Vaginal, few stitches. Babygirl is here!
I tried to nurse as soon as the nurses allowed me to after birth, about 30 minutes post. During my hospital stay I popped a nipple out anytime the baby made a peep. Boob first, then check diaper, then rock. I did not send babygirl to the nursery at all, the only times that she was away from me was for I believe her hearing test (which felt like an eternity). I met with the lactation consultant as soon as I could, early the morning after I gave birth. She was a breast navigation magician. Showed me how to get baby to latch, how hubby could help, positions, and even followed up with me after a week.
I think the nursing on demand was the reason my milk was in within I believe 3 days! Woot woot! Babygirl was over her birth weight by the time she was 5 days old and had her first check up, Rockstar!
I have NEVER woken my baby up to eat. To me the idea seems preposterous, however I did not have an underweight baby or any number of issues that would make it totally necessary and warranted to have to do such a thing. But, since she was back to her birth weight so quickly it was never recommended for me to wake her up.
When she was awake I basically never wore a shirt for the majority of the day, usually just a nursing bra, I like the sleep bras the best, and possibly a robe, but I was the middle of the summer so that was pretty lucky, my neighbors probably saw more of me than they cared to for 3 months, ha ha.
When I went back to work, she had bottles no more than 3 hours apart during the day and woke up about twice a night to nurse. She started sleeping for a good night time, 6 hour stretch, at about 5 months old, which was heaven on earth! I think the strict schedule during the day kept her belly for the long night stretch. One weird thing about baby starting to sleep through the night it is does give you a little bit of a panic attack at first.
-Enter me, lying awake, staring at the monitor until I am sure I saw her little chest move up and down no less than three times....ok I can sleep.....peeks one eye open again....-
When she started to sleep longer I did too. If she didn't need to eat I didn't want my body to continue to over produce milk, which leads to......3 nights or rock hard boulder boobs and waking up in a milk bath and not of the spa variety (get some good boob pads, I LOVE the Lansinoh ones they really cup the girls). But, 3 nights was all it took for my body to balance out, and "through the night" we ALL slept.
I typically wouldn't pump when she was asleep during the night but, when I hadn't gone to bed yet I and she was asleep I would pump one last time and I still do this now, gets a head start for the next morning, or gives you milk to add to the freezer. I don't mean dooms day prepper style. Side not: I got about 100 ounces in the freezer to sustain any dips in supply before returning to work or any other unforseen bumps in the road just by doing this last night pump session on my maternity leave.
For the bulk of our journey, I have nursed her when I am with her to save milk for when I am not there. Here is the pumping schedule.
Morning: nurse one side, pump on both
Lunch break: pump on both sides (nurse if home)
Before bed: nurse on both sides, pump on both sides
When I am home all feedings are nursed between 5-6, unless we go out somewhere then I usually bring one bottle but, i tried not to use more than on bottle feeding if I am with her all day. I am gone I have the milk from the morning and night sessions on the previous days usually I send about 20oz to day care. And, I come home with a bottles worth of milk from work to add to the supply for the next day.
This routine has worked for me for the last about 6 months since I did some trial and error and got this plan figured out. Week to week I typically have about 10oz of back up at daycare (two bottles worth), 10oz at grandma's, and about 15-30oz in our freezer at home. So no more than 50oz total of frozen milk total for any extra time away or supply dips. This keeps me comfortable with any day to day tweaks in supply, nights out (or nights in, TGIT with Shonda=wineeee.)
We can all make it to and beyond our goal nursing timeline. If we have a good support system and a solid plan. You need a PERSON, someone who gets it and had been there, to any level of success, just someone who gets it who you can vent to and hopefully, will have some helpful tips to keep you going, anddddddd maybe to listen to you bitch about your raw nipples and cluster feeding bitty baby! Thanks Alex!
THREE hot tips for supply dipping
Top tips for keeping supply up!
Happy nursing momma, you got this!!!
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Shauna Hyler, mommy of two beautiful girls! Working, blogging, and adventuring with the hubby and my sweet girls.