The Petersen Herd

The Petersen Herd

Monday, December 28, 2009

Be My Breast Friend

This last month I started a new job working as a Breastfeeding Counselor for the WIC program. It has given me the opportunity to study study study all about Breastfeeding and the more I learn the more I realize how little I knew when I was introduced to it with Ksenya. Here is a picture of my Ayvri feeding her baby (she did this by herself). It made me laugh. Anyway, I thought I'd reach out to my readers to fulfill my curiosity. Please leave me a nursing comment - it could include any of the following (we'll just call this independent research).

1) What was the worst or best breastfeeding advice you were given?
2) What was the worst or best part about breastfeeding for you?
3) How do you feel about breastfeeding? Do you want to try it someday?
4) What was/is your biggest fear about breastfeeding?

Seriously ladies, write me a novel here I'd love to hear funny stories, experiences, anything you want to share - it's my new hobby interest!


Wishful Thinking said...

First off, I just love all your Christmas posts. I definitely think you guys have the right idea, it is about giving and doing. :)

About the breastfeeding, I tried (pathetically) and it didn't work out. I didn't get any help from the hospital "lactation specialist" and was just too worn out and frustrated by the time we got out of the hospital (about a week later) to even have any hope. I don't think there is much you can really "teach" before the baby gets here, it is all hands on and one on one help that would help me (and others) the most. That is seriously awesome you get to help others this way though.

Laurel said...

1. Nursing is not for everyone. Although I nursed all four of mine for a year, it is important to realize that it's not workable for all babies and mommas. I think at first I was scared of being a bad mom if I gave her formula.
2. Worst part was the first two months with the first baby. It hurt like H***!! Then I fell in love with it and it didn't last as long with the next few. Best part was that as long as I was breastfeeding, I didn't get a period! Weird, huh? I've had six periods in the last seven years and it's fabulous.
3. Did I mention I fell in love with it? I wouldn't do it any other way, but pumping never worked for me, so I am now okay with giving her a formula bottle when she is babysat.
4. Biggest fear is when it's over. I get the "I'm no longer needed" blues and the "Didn't I used to have boobs there?" depression.

Was that too much information?

Cook Family said...

1.) The best advice was that if it's the only thing you offer, they will eventually get it. In the beginning using the football worked best, and having them lay with a pillow under their body worked great. The worst advice was to just give up and then anyone could feed the baby a bottle. That one made me determined! I did hate that the nurses always assumed that I already knew and remembered what I was doing with #2 and #3. You do forget things.
2.) The worst/best part is you being the only one to feed them. It's great, but also hard sometimes. With #2 I started out with a crack that didn't seem to heal for about 2 months. It made my toes curl with pain for the first few minutes each time.
3.) I'm all for breastfeeding! I loved never having to worry about bottles especially in the middle of the night.
4.) My biggest fear was not being able and having to buy formula ($$$)
I lived for 4 months when you could start cereal. I always got tired of it around 9 months, but if I held out for just another few weeks, I loved it again. I would just set mini goals (when needed) to continue for that day, or 1 week, or 2 weeks, etc. I nursed for 13, 15, and 18 months. It's VERY important to have people who support you!!! I think it's also important to find a balance. I finally felt like I knew what I was doing with #3. I think it's important to introduce the bottle between 6 and 8 weeks so that you can have that flexibility of someone giving them a bottle so you can have a break.
I do miss my younger chest, but I earned what I have now. And I have tons of memories with my babies and watching their cute faces as you hold them close.

Kristy said...

I've loved nursing. The one piece of advice I never got though and I always try to give other moms is that is does HURT at first. I think people warned me about the engorgement, but not the pain that came with the baby latching on at first. It seems like that lasted a lot longer with my first baby, although I'm pretty sure it wasn't bad for more than a couple of weeks. With #2 and #3 I think it was only a week or so that it hurt. So I always tell people to hold on for a little bit, don't give up, the pain does go away. For me there was also the benefit of getting the best body I've had in my life! I finally got breasts that actually were proportional to the rest of my body and it helped me loose the baby weight. I LOVED the way I looked when I was nursing, although it's pretty sad when you shrink back up again. Also, another bit of advice I wish someone would have given me for AFTER...when I was nursing I was a lot hungrier, but because I was nursing I could get away with eating mostly whatever I wanted. However after I stopped nursing I didn't adjust my eating habits and I gained probably 10 pounds in the year after I stopped nursing, with both my first two babies.

I know that there's a lot of benefits as far as building immunity as well. I can tell you with my 2 week old, it must be helping. My 4 and 6 year old both have had hacking coughs for the past week and the baby's doing fine. Perhaps it has nothing to do with it, but it can't hurt.

I also love that you don't need to take any bottles or worry about how your going to warm up water on the road or in the middle of the night. Although because my kids are projectile vomiters, I do have to bring along at least three large burp rags everywhere I go...

I know it's more complicated when you have to go back to work and pump, but it is doable and I think more moms should give it a shot. The best advice I got was to buy a good pump. I got a Medela Pump in Style off of Ebay (it was new, but through a store there, so lots cheaper than I could get it other places). This is now the third child I've used it with (although not as much with this baby...) and it's still working great. I did try hand pumps a few times and they don't compare at all. It was expensive ($200 plus) so if your not going back to work, I don't know if it would be worth it to purchase one, but for me it was invaluable! Pumping at work, although inconvenient at times was doable. The first time I had the luxury of an office where I could usually take care of business. The second time I was traveling frequently, so often had to pump in the car or ask for a private room wherever I was at, but for me, totally worth it!

I also had a hard time at first adjusting to the amount of time it took. I was used to being so busy all the time that I got a little anxious some times when I had to just sit and take care of that.

I think more people ought to give it a shot. There are so many benefits for mom and baby.

Nat said...

Wow! Lots of novels. I could leave one too, but I already blogged about it a few months ago. Feel free to check it out:

I loved breastfeeding, but I wasn't able to do it with my oldest. I had zero help. The nurse at the hospital told me that baby and I would both figure it out. Well, we didn't. I had mastitis and thrush at the same time, and when I called my OB's office, they said that nursing was painful at first. It hurt so bad, my baby wasn't getting anything out (thanks to the mastitis), that I just quit. I felt horrible.

By the time my second came around, I was determined to give breastfeeding another chance. He had a complicated entrance into the world and ended up staying in the NICU for fourteen days. Thankfully I was able to work with the lactation specialists, and after all of their help, I was able to successfully nurse the rest of my babies. I love it so much that when my youngest was weaned at 17 months, I was sad. I just loved that no matter how busy things got, I was guaranteed some serious snuggle time with my baby every three hours! I sure miss that!

Uffda said...

1) What was the worst or best breastfeeding advice you were given?
Breast feeding shouldn't hurt! That was the worst advice. It hurt horribly bad with both and I felt like I was doing something wrong. Best advice, have yet to get it!
2) What was the worst or best part about breastfeeding for you? Worst part is with Paisley Im pretty sure I had mastitis (sp?) Or something cause I was in horrible pain, like shooting pain. THankfully I had a percuset (sp?) left. I give up after that. Best part was also with Paisley. I just felt so close to her. (I give up with both by 3 weeks.)
3) How do you feel about breastfeeding? Do you want to try it someday?
I think it would be awesome if it didnt hurt so bad, I wasn't so tired, and I could figure it out. I will be trying again if I ever had another kid. Not sure what Im going to do to make it work though. Its to expensive to see a lactation consultant. I mean its cheaper than buying formula BUT I do so well when Im there and then can't get it on my own.
4) What was/is your biggest fear about breastfeeding?
Giving up. I feel so guilty when I give up.

Meagan Kemp said...

Whew - breast feeding...
When my son was born he decided he didn't want to suck (yay!). After going to a lactation specialist within 24 hours of his life, trying everything from a tube taped to my boob (there's got to be a poem in there somewhere), to nipple shields, and everything else in between I ended up pumping for the little man (after a month of solid effort). I ended up hand pumping for 3 months until a wonderful friend found someone to loan me a breast pump (thank you Inga and Dylene). I ended up pumping for the next month.

I still hadn't given up on breast feeding. I wanted so badly to experience it and to have that bonding with my son. I continued to try to breast feed him as I pumped. When my son was a little over four months old (just when I was about to give in completely and just pump as long as I could) he latched on and started eating like he'd been doing it all along. Sadly at 10 months my milk dried up (I got pregnant with number 2) so we couldn't go the entire year (my original goal) but I am so happy I was able to nurse him as long as I did.

The best advice I was given was not to be too hard on myself and that my body and his body would adapt to what was available and needed.

The worst advice I received was that it wasn't worth it and to just give him formula and let my milk dry up (he was 9 days old at the time).

The hardest part for me was the mastitis (I got it four times) - yowza!

And now that number two will be here in a few weeks I am hoping and praying that nursing will be easier, but if not, I do feel like I've got a handle on all the other options to get her my milk even if she won't nurse.

Jeremy & Andrea said...

Best Advice came with number one after a couple of weeks and feeling super frustrated that it wasn't really coming together for me. The advice was that we were both learning. All the sudden it was like i realized she was a person too and she was learning and we were both in it together. It really relaxed me and things just got better from there. The worst part of Breast feeding at first was the initial pain but that subdued it then became the fact that I couldn't just go wherever whenever I wanted and that was just an adjustment that needed to happen as new parents. I always felt really good about breast feeding because it was something only I could do for my baby which meant a lot to me when I went back to work just 4 weeks after my baby was born. With baby #2 I really appreciated the down time it forced me to have. I soon started enjoying those 15-45 minute intervals where I just sat and learned to be still and just listen, it really was a spiritual moment for me. The next best part is when you end, that sounds really wierd but I love getting my body back after a year of nursing. I feel like appreciate my body more and am in more awe and respect of the things that my amazing body is capable of. It's a really good feeling. My biggest fear was always that I wouldn't be able to produce enough milk but I noticed the more stressed I was or the more I would work myself up about something the more my milk supply would drop. I learned pretty fast how to just relax and let me body do what it need to. Breast Feeding takes a lot of patience and self sacrafice but I really have enjoyed the benefits of it. I know that Breast Feeding isn't for everyone but if you really want to do it than it really is an enjoyable thing.

Shana Lynn said...

I love nursing!!! It didn't work with my first Donovan, he was 5 weeks early and he just struggled with latching on. I wish that someone would've told me that it doesn't work with every baby, because I felt like a failure. I pumped for a month wishing that he'd eventually want to, but by then feeding from a bottle was easy for him and he didn't want to work for it from me. At least, I saved and froze my milk so he at least got a few months of my milk. My second baby Kaleah had no problem at all, she latched on immediately, and never had any problems. It did kill for the first 2 months, cause I split, but I stuck with it, because I didn't want to buy formula. Formula is a pain in my mind. Always packing bottles, formula, warm water for just in case. I prefer nursing!! It was such a bonding moment....too bad I couldn't keep the rack that I had!! :(

Shana Lynn said...

Quick question, how do you teach school and be a lactation specialist and be a mother of 4? I'm sure you have a calling too, how do you do it all? You are super woman!!!

Kellan and Rikki said...

Toni, its Rikki Bird! I just found your blog through Sandra's. You have an adorable family!!!
Oh, boy. Breastfeeding. Sorry, but I'm afraid this is a sore spot for me.
1) Worst advice (from lactation nurses)- Keep going, it will get better. Um, sometimes it doesn't.
Best advice (from husband)- you can quit.
2-4) I get enough milk to feed 10 kids. The problem is, it's shoots out at about 1000 psi and my poor baby would choke,gag, and scream through the entire feeding. By the time my milk slowed down enough for my baby to keep up with it the milk is gone. Nurses and WIC people told me to pump a little off before I fed my baby. All that does is tell my body to make even more milk, and like I said there was hardly any milk left once it started to slow down. They also told me to nurse lying down or leaning back, yeah, that's simple, as if it isn't akward enough. Anyway I tried all their suggestions, and non of them worked, but they still expected me to keep breastfeeding.
With my first, I couldn't get her to latch on very well, and it took 5 days for my milk to come in. So she wasn't eating much, which meant her billiruben kept getting higher and higher. I felt like it my fault my baby was sick. I had a grand canyon crack through one of my nipples from letting her latch on incorrectly out of desperation to feed her, so by the time she was latching on correctly it was still extreemly painful. After 2 or 3 months I healed, she was able to keep up with my milk flow and it did get better, however, my baby would not take any kind of a bottle(breastmilk or formula), and wouldn't let me cover her while she ate. So I pretty much couldn't go anywhere for more than and hour or so. I just felt trapped.
By the second baby I could nurse lying down pretty well and she did ok with that but with a toddler it was impossible to be able to do that every feeding. My second never did get used to it, and at 5 1/2 months I finally gave up and gave her a bottle which she drained like she had been starving.
Oh, and regardless of what WIC people think, it is not culturally acceptable to breastfeed in public covered or not. Whenever I would try to go somewhere an breastfeed I got some pretty uncomforable looks even though I kept things covered.
By my third pregnancy I was dreading breastfeeding. I breastfed a few hours in the hospital but quit because she wasn't eating well and her billiruben was gettin high. Best decision ever! I couldn't believe the difference. I actually looked forward to feeding her, my husband felt like he could actually help me. It was so much less stress.
My fourth I didn't breastfeed at all. He had a difficult time gettin here, and after it was over I so emotionaly and physically exhausted I just didn't feel like I could even try. He was so bruised that his billiruben soared even though he was drinking 2 oz every 2 hours from the minute he was born. I can't imagine how high it would have been if we were struggling to breastfeed.
3) I'm well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, but sometimes its not worth it. Part of me felt like I was broken and had failed even though at the same time, I knew I was making the best decision for me and my baby.
4) I hate that WIC pushes breastfeeding to the point that I feel like they think I'm not as good a mother as those who breastfeed. They need to admit that sometimes it's not the best, and mother is fully capable of choosing works best for her family. I know WIC is just trying to be supportive and encouaging, but those of us who formual feed also need support and encouragement. I feel like I'm a better mother to my older kids and to my baby when I formula feed. WIC really is a great program, I'm glad they have you. Sorry I have such a negative experience with breastfeeding, but hopefully it helps to share it.

Darla said...

There is a book called "Nursing your baby" by Karen Pryor and I loved it!

Jami said...

My first candid comment is how interesting I think it is that you're a breastfeeding counselor. I didn't even know people like that existed.

Biggest fear: biting and bleeding. One tooth, you're outta there, baby.

Eliza said...

Those comments were all great to read. It's interesting to see other people's experiences. I love breastfeeding. There is nothing quite like having your baby look up at you while you are nursing him and knowing that you are giving him everything he needs to thrive. The nutrition part of it is so important to me that if I couldn't nurse or produce milk I think I would have to buy breastmilk from a milk bank so that the babe could still get all the nutrition it holds.
That being said, if I hadn't nursed 3 babies successfully before #4, I would have been so tempted to quit this time around. He didn't have a good latch and I got a horrible very resistant yeast infection that NOTHING could knock out. It was the shooting pain kind that was deep in the milk ducts, and also on the surface making my nipples very sore. Every time he nursed I was pretty much in tears. After a few rounds of diflucan and about $80 at the health food store I finally got rid of it to the point that it no longer hurts to nurse. And his latch got better. Here's the best article I found on this... The things that mostly helped me were garlic, grapefruit seed extract, and APNO.
I have also gotten rid of mastitis a couple times (haven't had it with this baby yet!) by swallowing tons of crushed garlic. Yes, I was smelly, but I would rather do that than have to drag myself to the doctors when I feel like I've been hit by a truck.
Have fun doing counseling- I'm sure you are really good at it.

Heath 'n Jeri said...

Oh my goodness. Look at all the responses. First off, I love the picture. What a great little mommy. Second, you know how I feel about breast feeding so I wont bore you with that. However even with my feelings on the subject part of me was sad when my milk dried up. Love ya!

Anonymous said...

How'd I miss this post? I am so far behind, *still*. :0) Ok I AM catching up, it's just taking me a while.

I think you already know how I feel about breastfeeding, I could talk ALL day about it. lol. My baby is 18 months and still a very strong nurser (always has been-never took a bottle, EVER). I don't and have never forced her, but I thought at one year we'd wean her, nope. She would not have ANYthing to do with that! lol My great friend Jeanine (she is on my bloglist) is HUGE nursing mom, like myself, she LOVES it. I asked her for advice and she let her boys both wean themselves. I had not thought of doing this and so far it is working great. She said that her boys weaned by 2, and just got uninterested in it all on their own. I can't even imagine my baby doing this but I guess she will. She asks now to "noose" a few times a day and tugs my shirt up, I know then that she needs to nurse. She IS tapering off but it has really been slow. She enjoys it and I love it, it is SO convenient and I love the connection of nursing that I never got with bottling feeding. But conections so occur without nursing, of course, I just love nursing and it is easy and I cherish my time b/c I knwo I may never nurse again and so I am SOOO glad my baby loves it still and "asks" for's a blessing any way I see it.