February 21, 2014

Breastfeeding Mistakes: Learning From My Past Experiences

I want to give my children the best start possible. That is why my breastfeeding goals are the recommended first full year of life. I was unsuccessful with my first baby, breastfeeding for only five months. I significantly lost my milk supply during the fourth month because of my own errors. I was new to breastfeeding as a first time mother and did not truly understand what was required to maintain a steady milk supply. I am slightly embarrassed and feel guilty about the mistakes I made with my first child. My second baby is definitely getting the better deal as I am more experienced... and more mature!

My first mistake was introducing the bottle too soon. I was so ready to drink again that I decided to introduce the bottle at only two weeks of age.  There was no issue with nipple confusion, like some babies experience but I really started to enjoy the breaks that bottle feeding offered. I started bottle feeding with breast milk. That alone will not necessary decrease your milk supply. However, it is necessary to pump if you give your baby a bottle.

The second mistake was introducing formula. I don't remember exactly when I introduced formula to my first baby but it was within the first month. I did not keep a large milk bank in the freezer for babysitters so I let them use formula. I also had easy access to formula because I could receive it free from the WIC program. If you supplement with formula, it means you are not using your milk supply; therefore your body does not produce the exact amount of milk needed to nourish your baby. Your baby completely controls the amount of milk your body makes. If the formula is nourishing your baby, why would your body even need to produce milk?

The third mistake was skipping pumping sessions.  I started off pumping every time that my baby was fed a bottle. However, I slowly started to give my baby more bottles throughout the day and my pumping sessions grew further apart. If my baby was at a sitter, I might not have pumped to mimic my baby's feeding schedule. I ended up breastfeeding 75% of the time and giving formula the other 25%. My body was only used to making enough milk to feed my baby 75% of the time.

I started to worry and look into ways to boost my milk supply. I tried Fenugreek and More Milk Plus by Motherlove herbs (shown above) known to boost milk production but it did not work for me. You have to take a lot of capsules in order for the herbs to be effective and I simply could not keep up.

Eventually my milk supply completely dried up and I was left with only formula to feed my baby. I remember the last time feeding my daughter and it was one of my saddest memories ever. I lost that connection and special bonding experience that only mothers get to cherish. I was very disappointed with myself. Therefore, I am very adamant about strictly breastfeeding my second baby. I do not want to make any mistakes.

View on Amazon.
Current Breastfeeding Goals:
  1. Minimal to no bottle feeding until I return to work.
  2. No formula ever.
  3. Pump directly after feedings to boost milk supply. 
  4. Keep a large milk supply in freezer.
  5. Continue nursing for at least one year. 
At 7 weeks of age, my baby boy is nursing extremely well. It is exhausting to feed him around the clock, but I know how important it is to my son's health and my well being. I have grown to truly enjoy looking into his little alert eyes between 1:00-5:00am!

When I return to work full time, I plan on pumping at work a minimum of three times per shift, as many times as allowed. Then I would like to continue nursing at home. I don't want to lose that special bond and I want to do everything possible to keep a stable milk production that fulfills my baby's needs. I plan on taking Fenugreek herbal supplements just in case. I would also like to try the special teas that help boost milk production too. I will probably choose either Organic Milkmaid Tea or Mother's Milk Tea. Amazon has pretty good deals so I will be purchasing the tea soon, before returning to work. 

I am fully optimistic that I will be successful this time. I have a Medela Pump In Style Advanced with the On the Go Tote. I initially had an Ameda Purely Yours breast pump, which was the worst pump ever. More on that later. But if I do run into the slightest problem upon returning to work and breastfeeding, I will attend a breastfeeding support group and/or speak with a lactation consultant immediately.

I will not fail! I am keeping my fingers crossed for luck. If anybody has any additional breastfeeding advice, especially about returning to work, please share below! It would be greatly appreciated.  

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Thanks for reading!
xx Monica xx

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