As promised…here we go! So many questions always surround this touchy, sensitive subject. Does it hurt? How long do you do it for? How much milk should you produce? When is it okay to introduce a bottle/pacifier? What is wrong with formula? I do not know all the “right” answers to these questions. I can share with you what I have experienced and what those I personally know have said about their experiences.
I will start by saying the touchy, sensitive comment…was sarcasm. I will never understand why breastfeeding is such a controversial topic. What I do understand is that it can make people uncomfortable who are unfamiliar with it. I believe the thing that makes people uncomfortable is public nursing. From what I have seen…chances are if you saw someone nursing in public (and I mean without a nursing cover) it was a rare situation. I say this because it is happening ALL around you and you just do not notice because most women are discreet and you cannot even tell. I somehow managed to only nurse in public once and it was with a nursing cover. Even then I got some stares and a whispered “how inappropriate.” Not sure what was inappropriate but…lets get back to all those questions.
Does it hurt? It did me for many weeks. For a couple reasons. One, until I went in for my six week postpartum check I did not realize if you are cracking like I was you should use lanolin cream after each nursing. Whoops! After I started using it more the pain was much better! Another reason it may have been painful was because Scarlett did not latch very well on one side for quite some time (10 weeks) and I used a nipple shield. So many people say horrible things about nipple shields but let me tell you-it worked for us! She did not get nipple confusion or have issues otherwise.
How long do you do it for? This question goes two ways. How long was each nursing and to what age. Well, I learned much later that my daughter used me as a pacifier and would “nurse” for hours. I spent the first 4-5 weeks of her life on a couch with her latched on! I believe what most books say is that after 20 minutes they are not getting any milk and they are using you as a pacifier. This also may have attributed to the pain! Now for the tricky one…to what age. To me this is a completely personal choice. I have heard baby led weaning is generally best. Me personally, I am starting the weaning process now. The reason for that leads to the next question.
How much should you produce. I have no clue. I do know that I am a milk machine. I went back to work when she was 8 weeks old. We introduced a bottle pretty early on when she just would not give me a break from nursing so we did not have any bottle taking issues. When I went back to work I had to pump.I would pump around 9am, nurse her at lunch, pump again at 2pm, then the other pumping early on depended on her sleeping habits. I quickly built up a huge stash. I am talking I currently have probably enough frozen milk to last until she is 1 (in 2.5 months). That is why I am starting to wean. Since we are moving to Japan I cannot take it with us so I want to use as much of it as possible. To put into number what I pumped: it was usually 27-32 ounces a day and I would only send her to daycare with 18 ounces and then it bumped up to 21 ounces. That was also with nursing her in the morning and at night.
That is all the insight I have for now. I will do at least one more breastfeeding post since I am weaning. I know this is something that I was so curious about so I want to share my experience with you all.
Disregard me looking a mess but this is the picture that was “inappropriate” while nursing in public 🙂