My journey through Breastfeeding
On May 6th, 2016, I gave birth to my first child. You can read all about that here. It was good and bad. It was good that we are here, healthy, and able to share about it, but bad in that I was completely devastated that I did not get the natural childbirth that I had planned and worked so hard for. To me it was a traumatic experience. I had a very hard time with it in the beginning and struggled through some postpartum depression. You can read about that here.
In any case, breastfeeding was all that I felt like I had going for me. I was nervous about it, though. I had heard so many would share their disappointments in their own journey with breastfeeding. But, things went and are still going well. 3 months and going strong. I wanted to just share with you ladies reading this what I have done to be successful, especially while working 12 hour shifts that have me away from my daughter for 14 hours, 3 days a week.
First and foremost, what I put into my body. I eat a clean diet of little to no processed/boxed/packaged foods, lots of lean protein and veggies, some fruit, healthy fats, and a little bit of complex carbs. This all includes my daily shakeology. This helps me get in some nutrients that maybe my foods can’t give me, plus some necessary pre and probiotics to help my tummy get back to normal after giving birth which is hard to do! LOL! You can read more about Shakeology here.
I have worked out some. I am currently trying to find the right balance of caloric intake with working out to keep my supply up and weight down. I had lost all, but 5lbs of my baby weight a few weeks after having her, but have been putting weight back on recently. I have also been working out more, so I am suspecting the two are related. None the less, my nutrition, shakeology, and fitness are important. Water as well. Not tea (decaf herbal tea is ok-its the sweet tea or premade teas and teas from powder that I am specifically referring to), soda, or fruit juices, but real water! That other stuff is just crap, sorry!
A few things that I have tried that I feel have helped are smoothies (see pic below), Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk Tea, and Zero Vitamin Water (It is sweetened with stevia!), the lemon flavor. It has extra stuff in it. I started drinking it for the magnesium in it (none of the other flavors have that) when I was pregnant for leg cramps (it helped BTW), and I have just stuck to it.
Aside from that stuff, I stopped listening to other people and their preconceived, uneducated, and unsolicited advice and just did what felt right and natural for my daughter and myself. Fortunately, the hospital where I delivered is so very much for breastfeeding that they were on top of it my first hour to get us going and had a lactation consultant come and check in with me. So, I highly advise that you find a lactation consultant to help. I was taught that colostrum was the first thing to come in, that it is a TINY amount because it is all that baby needs and is MAGIC lol. I was taught that it takes time, days or more, for your milk to come in. I also learned that what you pump is not indicative of how much baby can get out because they are way better than the pump. You actually pump way less than you would think, 2-4oz combined (from both breasts) is “normal”. It is “normal” for one to produce more. These are just the things that were important to me. You may have a whole other list of things you want to know.
As far as working. In the beginning I pumped mornings after I fed her and built up some in the freezer to help us get started with me going back to work. Looking back, that was the best time. I feel like I produced more because my body and daughter hadn’t found a equilibrium. Now I don’t feel like I produce as much, but there is still plenty there that I can pump any morning that I want after feeding her to replace anything that I may need in our freezer stash. I work 7am-7pm with a 45 minute one way commute to work. So, I pump just before I leave (she is usually sleeping and I do not wake her up to eat-she eats when she tells me she needs it), I pump at around 9:30am, 1:30pm, and 5:30pm, then I nurse here in the evening when I get home. I usually pump enough that way to replace what was used that day and/or to use should I work the next day. If I don’t work the next day, I freeze it and add it to our stash to use later. Our stash is ever revolving because I do not feel comfortable pumping in public, so when we go out I take some from the freezer or I pump that morning to take with us.
Other than that, there are two really amazing Facebook groups that I found that have some wonderful women who have always been there to support and answer my questions and soothe my worries. If you’re interested in those groups reach out to me and we will get you in!
I really hope that this helps you. It really is nothing special, it is just all the stuff that works for me and I wanted to share in hopes to help someone else!
It is now 10/7/16 and I am 5 months postpartum and almost two months since the original posting and I just wanted to update you all. Things are still going well with breastfeeding and pumping at working. I have been taking paxil for my PPD. I tried to ween off of that and my supply sent up, but then I started to have some issues with “brain zaps”, anxiety, and paranoia, so we decided that it’s best if I stay on the paxil while I am breastfeeding. Once I am done breastfeeding I can begin to ween off again and supplement with other meds (that you can’t take while breastfeeding) to help with the side affects. It has been a week since I went back up to my regular dose. In that time I did notice a dip in supply, but nothing significant enough to affect Calista, but now my supply is coming back.
I have also began to workout even more and watch my nutrition more closely. The only thing that I notice with that is that I need a very supportive bra lol. I really hope that you all are finding this post helpful. Please feel free any time to find me on Facebook, shoot me an email @firstname.lastname@example.org, or text at 804-419-4726.