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If Bootsie is almost 7 years old and Boogie is 4.5 years old why would I be talking about bottles, boobies and the like? Well, it’s simple. No matter what age your kids are, the topic of breastfeeding almost always comes up when moms get together. Whether they are elementary age or college age most moms have a story to share. Honestly I think I’ve gotten most of my breastfeeding advice from the real professionals: other moms.
Tell it Mama!
Mid-summer 2010, Bootsie was born and was immediately sent to the NICU after swallowing murconium (aka poop). This is not just another poop story, but a big twist of fate when it comes to my breastfeeding story. This one turn in the road immediately changed what happen in the first few hours after Bootsie was born. What should have been a fun moment of bonding and a first breast feeding experience turned into something else. Actually I was so out of it from giving birth I barely noticed the NICU team rushing her down the hall and Hubby getting to tag along.
I spent the next half hour or so recovering from giving birth and being moved into another room before I could go see her. This delayed the first breast feeding session. Not necessarily a dangerous or tragic event, but it makes my story unique from others.
As much commotion was going on, the idea of breastfeeding was still at the forefront of what needed to happen. They don’t tell you this, but basically the first few hours after giving birth your milk starts to come in and the first few ounces that are produced are “the most important ounces”.
If I remember right while I was waiting to see Bootsie the breast feeding consultant came in and helped me get the colostrum flowing.
Colostrum is a form of milk produced by the mammary glands of mammals (including humans) during pregnancy. Most species will generate colostrum just prior to giving birth. Colostrum contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease. In general, protein concentration in colostrum is substantially higher than in milk. — Wikipedia
Modesty goes out the window
If you’re one to be sensitive about your body, this immediately goes away when you’re having your baby. There are nurses and doctors checking your girly parts off and on during labor and gets reinforced when your breast feeding consultant is hands-on helping you squeeze colostrum from your breast.
With a few successful ounces in the “bank” I got to visit Bootsie in the NICU. They helped me feed her the colostrum from a little syringe thingy and then we decided to try to breast feed. It wasn’t long before we realized that I have inverted nipples. It basically makes it difficult to breastfeed because your nipple is an innie instead of an outie (like a bellly button) and baby doesn’t latch on as easy. If it wasn’t difficult already, having a NICU baby, this made it even more complex. The nurses seemed to be calm about this. They brought out a nipple cover and a syringe thing that would try to help encourage Bootsie to latch onto me.
Over the next few days we switched from pumped breast milk and some supplements of formula until my milk fully came in. While breast milk is best, its clearly the milk itself that is important, not how it gets delivered to baby. I kept trying, but with all the complications it wasn’t looking like a good outcome.
Home Sweet Sickness
After three days in the NICU we brought Bootsie home along with a breast pump, a few bottles of formula. Pumping really wasn’t that bad. It took a little bit of time, but really I got the hang of it quickly and pumping and bottle feeding really was more comfortable than fighting my breast and Bootsie over trying to breast feed.
That’s when things got really interesting.
About three or four days after we were all settled at home I came down with mastitis which is an infection of the breast. At first I thought it was just my breast feeling raw from all the attention it was getting. For normal people this type of irritation can be helped by using nipple balm like the one the Honest Company makes. You rub a little bit on the skin and it helps it not get cracked.
If you’ve gotten passed that point, you might really be in for it!
Early stages of mastitis can present with local pain, redness, swelling, and warmth. Later stages also present with systemic symptoms like fever and flu-like symptoms and in rare cases an abscess can develop. However it is pretty common that symptoms develop very quickly without any warning. – Wikipedia
I didn’t just get the early stages. I got the full blown fever and flu symptoms. Go big or go home, right?
Within two days of having this I got put on antibiotics.
They didn’t work.
So imagine this:
- Pumping breast milk.
- Trying to still breast feed
- Little to no sleep
- All while having flu symptoms.
This is not what I imagined being a mom or breast feeding would be like!
After a second round of antibiotics came up as being something I was allergic to… This is when my allergy journey began… The allergic reaction added a coat of hives from head to toe, I basically gave up on the idea of breast feeding, but kept trying to pump so that Bootsie would have breast milk to drink as well as formula.
Finally I got on a third set of antibiotics and my hives and mastitis went away. This was right around Bootsie turning one month. At this point I was over breastfeeding and my milk was starting to dry up. The worry of not providing the right stuff to my child was something that crossed my mind, but after talks with the pediatrician and my OBGYN at follow up appointments I realized that formula recipes had advanced in the years leading up to Bootsie’s birth and while breast milk is still the number one item on the list to feed new baby, formula is a strong second place.
Formula babies are different but the same
While the idea of only bottle feeding doesn’t seem that crazy, formula itself is different than breast milk and it effects the way things come out on the other end. Not to get too graphic, but the smell and texture of it is different. I definitely didn’t know the difference. Since Bootsie was on both from about the beginning but I know this is something that moms have to deal with when changing from one to another.
The one thing that is good though is that the nutrition companies like Honest Company builds into their formula recipes makes it as close to mothers milk as possible.
What’s your story?
Every story is unique! I’d love to hear yours!
Feel free to drop your best breastfeeding stories and tips and tricks below.
Us mommies need to stick together!