Monday, April 23, 2012

Thoughts on Nursing

*This post has the word "breast" in it many times. If that makes you uncomfortable go ahead and skip this post*

I love breastfeeding. I have loved it since the moment Max first latched on. It was an incredibly bonding experience and I instantly felt that oxtocin (a happy hormone which coincidentally triggers milk let-down) wash over me. It calmed my new mom nerves and acted as a telescope. Focusing in on this other-word child in my arms.

I feel blessed to have had very little issues surrounding breastfeeding. My milk came in all normal making my breasts rock hard a few days after having Max. Literally they felt like rocks. It hurt but I didn't mind because I knew it was a sign that my breasts were doing their job making milk for a new life on this earth. Go Breasts!

It is tricky getting used to breast feeding. You arms have to build up a certain muscle to hold the ever-weight-increasing baby in your arms and I found that sitting criss-cross applesauce was most comfortable to me. That way Max would prop up on my knee and my arms could relax a little. Because really it is so important to relax when you nurse, it makes the milk let-down quicker.

Then one day I went to bed noticing a pain my my right breast. I felt around and didn't feel anything crazy (I am one of those 0-60 jump to cancer thinkers). Nope. So I went to bed but then I woke up feeling feverish and yucky. I consulted my husband, my mother, and the internet and concluded that I had a plugged duct which could lead to full on mastitis which in the breastfeeding world is considered an awful experience. So I made sure to drain that breast completely and rest and drink fluids. It was a chilly day in November and Max was pre-rolling so he certainly didn't mind hanging out in bed all day.

By the second day I was feeling much better and went on my merry way.

But I guess after that experience both Max and I favored nursing on my left breast (it probably was a favoritism before the plugged duct that caused the pluggage). Slowly I have come to realize that my breasts are now two different sizes. Like a stark two different sizes. First off, I had to get brand new nursing bras for my breastfeeding breasts. If you can imagine, I measured at a 32G. Yes, a G. So I was sporting some rather large milk bottles. But now one breast is like an F and the other is like a C.
It's kinda depressing to look in the mirror and its even more depressing to look down and see a wonky chest. When you can see a difference, so can everyone else.

So I miss the old breasts.The ones without stretch marks and who haven't felt the pain of baby teeth.


When do you know when to stop breastfeeding?

I can't imagine stopping but obviously I don't want Max to be five pulling at my shirt. Speaking of shirts. It is really hard to dress to nurse. I miss tucking in shirts and putting belts on things. I really hope that one day my breasts will be the same size again. I don't care what size, just the same size.


  1. Breasts.

    There. I said it, too.

    I'm so glad that you had a great experience with Max. Some of stories I could tell!

    But in answer to your question, about a year. That was my goal, and frankly, that's about the time that the kids lost interest. Or I'd put them to bed and forget to nurse them, but neither of us would miss it until later. I kept nursing Cora for a few extra months, however, because I figured a bit extra during the fall/winter could only be a good thing.

    Basically, you'll know it when you get there. You and/or Baby will know.

  2. I'm sure it varies with different doctors and their opinions, but 1 year is right. Then you can slow down as you switch to whole milk. Once you're hardly nursing, you can stop completely. You'll be a little tender for a few days but you'll get over it quickly. BUT - if you want to, you can nurse Max longer. It's okay to do it. A lady in my ward lets her children chose when to quit and he's almost two years old. It's totally up to you. If you decide to quit sooner (which is also okay, its up to you. Though I don't think you'll want to because you seem to enjoy doing it), make sure you feed him formula.

    I got pregnant with my second daughter when my first was 9 months old. I finally quit at 11 months because I was working and having a hard time producing any milk. Once we switched her to whole milk and 100% solid foods, we both were happier. She put on weight much quicker (she had still been in 6-9 month clothes and was so petite). And some days, it seems that my breasts are different sizes, too. Maybe try nursing more on the smaller one, and pump on the large one, so it doesn't shrink down? Hope it's not permanent!

  3. Okay, I know this is an old post, but a friend of mine here in Spain makes the cutest modified shirts to make it easy to breastfeed AND be able to wear belts or have your shirts tucked in.

    You take one of those shirts that has an empire waist and unstitch it there all the way around. You finish off the edge on the top piece (so it's sort of a crop top) and then add elastic to the bottom piece and wear it up higher (over your breasts). Then when you breastfeed you can just pull your shirt apart in the middle. I hope this makes sense. I'm going to have to take a lot of pictures of her clothes so I can modify some shirts when I get home because it is so slick!