I wanted to give those struggling some encouragement, because I feel like I'm proof that it CAN get better! It's always good to hear a pesimists success story, right?
I BF my first two kids until 10 weeks only. I hated BFing. I liked bonding with my babes, but I was miserable. I cut all dairy, meat and citrus out of my diet because I was sure it was transferring to my milk and making my babies bellies upset, because they were so fussy after BFing (usually in the evenings). So I was irritated that my diet was so restricted, and I'm a milk junkie. I had blocked milk ducts constantly, and I was in so much pain. I tried pumping at work and felt so unproductive about it. Ten weeks was my goal, and it was only because I knew it was for their benefit. I stopped cold turkey then, but I always felt selfish about it.
Enter the unplannedbutnotunwanted baby #3. Again, I figured I'd only BF for 10 weeks. Even when I came here with some questions, I wasn't planning on going longer at the time. I had horrible engorgement, the worst I've ever experienced. I was only going to be able to stay off work for 6 weeks, and then would have to go back to work full time without my baby. (The first two I was able to gradually go back to work part time for a few weeks at first, and I was able to take them with me and work from home - not an option this time). Enter LLL online resources and me reading a whole lot (while BFing no less!), and my attitude has completely changed. I got organized and planned a bit more, and we are now kicking butt at this BFing thing!
When baby girl decided she didn't want to latch on to the left breast, we kept trying. Over and over. And over. And OVER. I only offered her the left breast to begin feedings until she got the hang of it. It took a few days, but she got it.
When let down in the right breast was too much and choked her, we changed positions. In order to keep her from getting reliant on one position, I change it up often, and we even change positions in the middle of feedings to make sure she learns how to be flexible.
I'm still eating dairy and meat, only not as much as usual (or as much as I did with the first two). If I drink a glass of milk, it's small, like 8-10 ounces (hey, that's small for me!), and then I follow it up with a bottle of water. I limit myself to only about 6 oz of meat a day. I'm not denying myself the foods that made me bitter when I "had" to give them up entirely before. But with drinking tons of water and limiting my portion sizes, baby #3 has had few issues with the taste of my BM or any digestive issues. Except for one time, I ate a grapefruit. The two feedings after that were a wreck. Lesson learned, no more grapefruit! But I'm not letting it get me down or discourage me like I did before.
This time, I got underwire-free nursing bras. My babe is over 6 weeks old and I've had one blocked duct that went away as soon as I fed her (woke up with it the first time she slept through the night). I've come to the conclusion it was the underwires before that were the source of all my blockage issues.
This time, I got a great Medela pump with the proper sized attachments. (I had no idea before that my breast sheilds were too small before!) Lo and behold, I am a "pumping goddess" (or so my husband calls me). If she skips a boob-meal because she's getting a bottle-meal, I make sure I pump. There is no more skipping. When I pump, I'm getting about 7-9 ounces out total. Enough for 2 bottle meals for my baby girl! And because I practiced with it a lot, I'm filling the bottles in 10 minutes.
This time, I know evening fussiness is normal (which she sometimes is), and I know cluster-feeding is normal. She cluster feeds in the evening to sooth the fussies, and I am fine with that!
This time, there is no formula supplementing. The babysitter has a sample can in case there is some crazy emergency, but she also has some BM in her freezer too and knows that gets priority. I have a good bit stockpiled in my freezer, and whatever I pump at work is put into the bottles for the next day when either my husband or the babysitter will have her for the whole day.
Before, I was freaking out that I was doing something wrong to dimish my supply. If I didn't have a "good" supply, what was the point? Now I know that the frequency of feeding/pumping is what determines my supply. If it slows down a little because baby isn't eating as often, that's ok! But if I skip pumping, that is a bad thing! I have a stockpile built up if I'm not meeting her demands, and that will suit her until my supply does build back up.
Before, I heard about LLL, but didn't look into their resources. I had no idea about forums, otherwise I might not have felt so alone and out of place. I worked in an office full of men and older women, and I felt weird about pumping in my office. Now, there is a good mix of young and old PLUS the resources of online forums, so pumping in at work is a non-issue. My employer has no problem finding space for BFing moms who don't have private offices as well. No dirty bathroom pumping for us! I even share my space with a 55 year old man who has no problems leaving when I need to pump. I am no longer discouraged about pumping at work!
She has done so awesome, that we are obviously NOT stopping at 10 weeks! She was 9lb4oz when she was born, 8lb11oz at hospital discharge, 8lbs14oz at her 1 week checkup, birthweight at a 2 week weight check, and at 5 weeks, my baby girl weighed a whopping 11lbs13oz. She's now over six weeks, over 12 lbs, sleeping through the night (last feeding in bed with me around 10pm, waking up around 5am for her first morning feeding).
We are very fortunate this time around, and it's all because I educated myself a bit more and the LLL website is the reason! One thousand thank you's!
We still have things to master, like feeding in public under a blanket. Tried that last weekend with horrible results (crying baby who got too hot and couldn't latch well, and me dribbling BM all over the place). Ended up feeding her in the car, which we are both comfortable with anyway. We'll practice "under a blanket" at home more though. I'm refusing to give up so quickly or easily, and I wish I would have done the same with my first two.