Prior to having Carter, breastfeeding was something I had zero interest in. I was willing to give it a shot once he was born but I didn’t care for how pushed on me it felt leading up to his birth. There’s so much judgement and unsolicited comments around nursing – it really should be a decision between mom and baby. After nursing Carter exclusively for 6 months, with the occasional pumped bottle, I can tell you that nursing is basically another full time job – especially when you factor in the daily pumping session too.
I would love to say that nursing was easy, he took to it right away, I had no pain and it’s been a blissful experience but I would be lying. Before we even left the hospital, I took advantage of my OBGYN’s lactation consultant and asked the nurses’ questions as they arose. I quickly found that each person had their own solution and I needed to find what worked for us. I was lucky to have a supportive husband who was there with me for this new endeavor and researched various things we could try to make the process easier.
Around 3 weeks, I started using a nipple shield and that was a game changer for us. (Side note – shields come in various shapes and sizes – I purchased 3 before finding the one that worked for us.) Carter never has had a great latch – he doesn’t keep his mouth open wide enough no many how many times you pull down on his chin or flange out his lips. We used the shield every feeding until a little after he hit 5 months when he just randomly latched on his own. I thought it was a fluke but for every feeding after that, he latched with no problem. Nursing without the shield has sped up feeding times tremendously – what use to take up to 45 minutes now takes no more than 15. I know some of that is him getting more efficient when he eats but it’s really quite amazing how much faster he eats now.
Nursing an almost 6-month old vs a 6-day and 6-week old is pretty wild too. He’s much more feisty (arms everywhere, legs kicking), more easily distracted (loves to pet the cat while nursing, for example) and pops off whenever he hears something he needs to see/investigate. He also knows the cues for when he’s getting ready to be fed – laying on his side – and starts getting antsy – baby boy has no patience!
There’s one-day a week that Carter gets several bottles while I go in to the office. Thankfully, he has no issue with switching between bottle and nursing. We use Dr. Brown bottles if you’re curious.
Just wanted to share a little snippet of our nursing story so far – now that we are reaching the 6-month mark, we are getting ready to introduce some foods – that’s a whole new ballgame. It just seems impossible that Carter is already 6 months!
I also wanted to share several products that I have found that really assisted with the nursing game:
Brest Friend – much more supportive/firmer than a regular boppy – with having a c-section, this nursing pillow helped keep the baby up higher, off my incision. I still use it daily. You can purchase different covers and it’s easily washable.
Nursing Gowns – I mentioned these in my Must Haves – Hospital Bag post but they are a staple. I really like the Jessica Simpson ones and the ones from Motherhood Maternity and Buy Buy Baby (same as Motherhood Maternity). Bump in the Night is the brand.
Pumping Bra – The first few times I pumped, it was all I could do to hold everything in place and operate the pump. I quickly ordered a pumping bra and it’s a game changer. Do it. You’ll thank me.
Two apps – Mammababy and Milk Maid – I use both of these apps several times a day and have since birth. Mammybaby tracks how much time you spend nursing, keeps up with which side you’re on and graphs everything. It also tracks diapers and sleep as well as growth. Milk Maid tracks how much you’ve pumped, how much you have stored, where you have milk (freezer, fridge, etc.) and provides your stats.
Thanks for stopping by!