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Nursing My Newbies

Hi babes! It's my first blog post after baby! Yay! I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors as these sleep deprived eyes of min...

Hi babes! It's my first blog post after baby! Yay! I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors as these sleep deprived eyes of mine just can't see straight! Finding free time to dedicate to this little blog of mine is far and few between but I can't complain when my hands and heart are so full by my two little bundles of joy. This post is all about breastfeeding your new babe and I really wanted to make sure I found time to share my breastfeeding trials with all of you because it is something I am super passionate about! Let me start out by saying, nursing, pumping or formula feeding, there is absolutely no judgement here. I am all for you no matter what route you take. It's your baby, your decision and I truly believe mama knows best!

Before I had Boston I knew I was determined to exclusively breastfeed. This didn't mean I was completely against giving him formula if need be but I knew I wanted to be the sole provider for my baby's nutrients if I was able. Being a brand new parent, I was so unsure on how to nurse, how it was going to feel and if I would even enjoy it. The struggle set in right away. Boston wasn't maintaining a latch at the hospital which meant he wasn't getting the nutrients he needed because he kept pulling off every two seconds. A lactation consultant came to our hospital room when Boston was two days old (our last day there) and taught us a technique where Bryce had to assist me and we were able to get a little bit of milk down his tiny mouth that way. She also showed me how to pump and advised us to switch off between using the nursing technique and giving him a bottle of my breast milk. It was working for the time being but it wasn't easy one bit. I knew I wouldn't be able to use Bryce every time I needed to nurse my newborn baby, especially when it was time for him to go back to work. As soon as we got home, my mom went out and bought me a nipple shield. While pregnant, we attended a birthing class and I remember the teacher saying not to use a nipple shield so I had never considered it but my mom insisted on me giving it a try and I am SO glad she did because it was our saving grace! As soon as that shield went on, he nursed like a champ! We then went and visited a local lactation consultant to see if she had any special tricks to get Boston to latch and I also wanted to make sure it was okay to use the nipple shield if I needed to. Long story short, we walked out with her saying it was fine to use the nipple shield since it was the only way he would latch and stay latched. I was so relieved that we found something that worked so I could exclusively nurse my baby! I used the shield for about four months and then Boston was able to latch on his own.

When Boston was about three months old, I started noticing my psoriasis spreading from the back of my neck to the front of my neck and up onto my face. It literally covered my eyes making them almost swell shut some days. I panicked. I tried every home remedy I could find and visited a couple doctors but still couldn't find anything to bring me relief. The doctor's believed it was due to my hormones and nursing but when you're nursing, you're not able to take any medication for psoriasis since it has not been tested and could potentially harm the baby. I was at a loss. Psoriasis was taking over my face and there was nothing I could do. Not only was it embarrassing, it was painful and itchy. Bryce saw the pain and emotional toll it was taking on me and kept telling me to stop nursing so that I could feel normal again but I couldn't imagine stopping. I was determined to fight through it because I couldn't fathom giving up nursing my baby. It took me months and months until I finally found a recipe for a natural liquid spray that actually helped my psoriasis. I was so extremely happy something was working and I ended up nursing Boston until he was 16 months old (which was two months into my pregnancy with Kollyns).

Fast forward to today and here I am, dealing with new struggles nursing Kollyns. As soon as she was laid on my chest after birth, she latched right on and nursed both sides for about an hour total! It was amazing and I thought wow, this is going to be so awesome that I can nurse her without any troubles or stress! Little did I know, she tricked us all! She became so lazy in the hospital and refused to hardly nurse at all the rest of the day and the day following. The nurses were amazing and kept trying to help me but Kollyns wouldn't even suck on a finger or the nipple shield! I'm telling ya, the girl was lazy! And when you are trying so hard to nurse and your baby keeps pulling off or not latching correctly, it can get so overwhelming and stressful. But that does not mean you have to give up! There are options mamas! Lots of options! One nurse advised me to hand express my milk into a spoon and feed her that way. Talk about diva status! But it worked and it made me feel better that I knew she was getting something in that belly of hers! As soon as we got home, I started pumping right away. I was still hand expressing and feeding her with a spoon and attempting to nurse her but I knew she would get more from a bottle so I wanted to try and see if that worked. And it did! Sometimes, we would have to squirt it into her mouth to make her swallow it but at least she was getting her calories down!  Each day has gotten a little easier and she latches and nurses a little better. Some feedings she will latch great and nurse the whole feeding and other times, she pulls off or does this little sucking thing with her mouth so at that point, I warm up a bottle of breast milk and feed her that. I would say she nurses 50% of the time and bottle feeds the other 50%. And the most amazing part of this whole deal is I have pumped SO much that I have more milk saved than I could ever need! I never ever had this much saved with Boston and it feels so good knowing that I have her covered for a very long time already! I am going to continue to pump multiple times every day and save up as much as I can!

Even though I tried to keep this post short, sweet and down to the point, I know it was a bit drawn out. I could have gone on and on with major details but I wanted to make sure I didn't bore you all! If you have any questions on nursing or just want someone to talk about it with, please message or email me ( I am no expert here, I'm just a real mama with real struggles but we can do this! Nursing is such an incredible experience and I love every second of it because it brings me so much joy. It ends up feeling like a major accomplishment and it was really hard for me to give it up with Boston so I'm sure it will be the same with Kollyns.

Some of my must-have nursing products include: a nipple shield, a good nursing bra (seamless are my favorite), nursing pads (so you don't soak through your bra and onto your shirt), nursing pajamas and tanks (Belabumbum are my favorite nursing gowns), a nursing cover (Milk Snob is one of my favorites), a nursing pillow (I just discovered a new one called Shuga Bebe and it seems amazing), a pump (I use the Medela), milk storage baggies, and the right clothes! Sometimes I will put on an outfit and soon realize it's not going to work when I have to practically take the whole outfit off just to nurse!

I also included details below on a nursing survival kit that I received from Izzy Maternity. It was super fun to try out all the products and I'm sure you all would love them too! Izzy Maternity carries tons of maternity and nursing products. You can use the discount code "topknotmama" to receive 10% off your entire purchase through September 30th! (note: not all of the below products are available for purchase at Izzy Maternity but I did link them all to their appropriate sites)

Belabumbum Tallulah Nursing Chemise - I am so in love with this nursing nightie! It's so pretty, super comfy and so convenient for nursing!
Punkin Wrap - This cute wrap has so many uses! It can be used as a nursing cover, stroller cover, car seat cover, diaper changing surface and more!
Nipple Nurture Balm by Milkies - Natural, organic nipple cream that soothes, protects and heals. Nipple cream is always a must when you're nursing and your nipples start to get sore, chapped, cracked or bleeding!
Softies Nursing Pads by Milkies - Soft, 3-layer reusable nursing pads. I have always loved the reusable nursing pads and use them every day in my bras!
Sleep Nursing Bra by Preggers - Seamless nursing bra with a pull down front for those late night feedings! I have always been a huge fan of seamless nursing bras!
Milkmakers Lactation Cookie - I haven't needed anything to boost my supply quite yet but I love that there are options out there like these cookies!
p.s. Here is a picture of my stored milk so far! This is just from 2 1/2 weeks of pumping! That whole container is full! It literally makes me smile every time I open my freezer! :) :) :)

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