Life is Rich…E-R-S-O-N

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Archive for breastfeeding

5 things I wish I’d have known…for AFTER the baby is born

So I had a baby 8 weeks ago.  It was my first baby and, needless to say, there are things that just aren’t talked about in What to Expect When you’re Expecting in that last part covering the six weeks after.  It’s a great book, don’t get me wrong (a little conservative for me…my doc gave the OK on Mr. Goodcents deli sandwiches…thank the LORD!!!).  Here’s what I wish someone would have told me…not that it would change things (well a few things maybe would have changed) but still…

1)  You turn into a crazy person. (And you thought you were crazy while pregnant-I’m NOT a crier and I BAWLED when the girls wearing pink shirts came in last on The Amazing Race and were eliminated during my 2nd trimester….)  For real – craziness takes over as soon as that baby comes out.  Warn people ahead of time that you will become crazy and that there is no rhyme or reason for the craziness.  You aren’t even crazy about the baby – you did that in the 3rd trimester.  This is new crazy…about nothing and everything all at once.

2)  You may not LOVE LOVE LOVE your baby like a cheesy movie right from the start and that is OK. Now – those of you who think I am heartless, you have a point, but hear me out.  I loved my baby – from the moment I found out I was pregnant the moment my morning sickness all day/night sickness went away.  But when the baby is born you may expect music and a quartet of sopranos singing “ahhhh” and a feeling like no other.  I didn’t have that.  There were tears, sure, but that is only because the mirror that I requested NOT be there was showing me things I didn’t want to see.  You need to realize that, like any relationship, it may take time to build and realize who the other person is.  So, it is OK if you need some time to get to know your baby….it was normal for me.

3)  Breastfeeding is hard and it’s OK if you hate it and switch to formula.  (Please remember these are my own personal opinions on breastfeeding, and I realize that, much like the decision to wear white shoes after labor day, many people have strong opinions that probably differ from mine….)  First off, when your milk comes in, it feels like you have gotten hit by a train but only in the chest.  You swell up, big time.  I looked like Pamela Anderson, minus Kid Rock and the blonde hair.  And when books describe them as “hard” – you have no idea.  Rocks, frozen meat, knots on trees – you get it.  It was awful.  I was determined to breastfeed my baby because everything I read said it was best (and plus it was free and I was gonna lose weight!).  Well, baby had a hard time latching, and lost weight (a LOT of weight – not the generic <5% like most people’s babies).  So I pumped while the baby ate from bottle for a few weeks.  I spent the time that baby was eating locked in my bedroom pumping – because my breasts were so huge and engorged.  So I felt as if I developed a relationship with my pump and not my baby.  Then we would try again to feed “the normal way” and it was frustrating each time.  After much deliberation and hysterical crying (see #1 “you turn into a crazy person”) I decided to go to 100% formula and started the drying out process.  I felt horrible, but when I thought it all out my mom and husband helped me realize it was okay, I knew my baby would be great if I used formula!  Afterall, I was formula fed and I have a job….   In sum, if it doesn’t work out for you – don’t beat yourself up.  You do what is best for YOU and YOUR BABY.

4)  Drying out is quite possible the worst thing ever.  Yowser.  Just when you think it can’t get worse with the whole milk-coming-in process, you decide to dry out.  Rewind all those same feelings of hardness, getting hit by a train, etc and push play.  Apparently drying out is not so bad if you have breastfed for several months.  Well – I did only two weeks of pumping and the drying out process was terrible.  My advice (coming from my nurse) DO NOT stimulate, DO NOT let warm water relieve you in the shower, DO NOT pump for even a second to let some of the pressure go.  Go cold turkey, wear a sports bra (or two!) all day, every day, until you no longer leak.  Oh the leaking….Let’s just say those little circular pads you can get to stuff in your bra didn’t cut it.  I used the maxis they sent home with me from the hospital AND towels cut in circles to soak it all up.  Again – I know it is vivid – but gals need to know!!!!

5) People WANT to help you. LET THEM.  They aren’t doing it because they feel sorry for you – they are excited for you and understand how hard it is to have a newborn.  Take their food.  Let them hold your baby while you eat (or shower!).  If your baby cries while they are there, THEY DON’T CARE!  If they want to clean for you, LET THEM.  Or hire a cleaning service (this I did in trimester 3 because I couldn’t bend over, or move really, and my husband admitted he didn’t want to take over the cleaning….).  Seriously – get all the help you can and LOVE it.  Because when it is gone – you will miss it.