AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: 09/15/14 11:59 AM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Choices, pregnancy, Pregnant at 45, The Babies!
It’s time to face the music. It’s not that I’m trying to avoid it. It’s just that I have so many other balls in the air right now the actual task of preparation for this baby keeps being postponed. My goal is to have all of my Christmas shopping done and wrapped before October 15th. (My friend Amy would be SO proud.) This week I have to clean out my entire garage–and when I say entire garage I mean ENTIRE garage! Meaning by next Monday my garage has to be empty. As in there can be nothing in it.
So, baby prep has to wait. Except I know that putting it off isn’t the wisest of decisions given my history of shaving a few weeks…or months…off of my pregnancies. I’m really hadging my bets with this little guy, however. Given how well I’m doing combined with the fact that I’ve had a very stern discussion with him about how he must wait until at least November 2nd due to his sibling’s schedules, I figure I’m kind of safe. So far he seems like a pretty compliant boy.
Of course that could change at any moment.
So, I’m dipping my toes into the waters of preparation. Nothing crazy like recollecting all my baby gear that is in my friend Tracy’s basement, or God forbid buying baby clothes! I need to start slow. I figure doing a little research and reading is more my speed at this moment. As a result, I’m looking for some informative resources about breast feeding. I need a starting point.
Now, before anyone goes all willy-nilly in this space about the glory of nursing I want to provide my personal background on the subject. I’m not a rookie…but my experiences have been unique.
Baby #1 – Drew was born full term and was formula fed. At the time I made the decision to forego breast feeding for multiple reasons. I was going back to work the minute he turned six weeks old; I wanted Sean to be able to bond with Drew through the act of feeding him; and, at the time, not a single person in my immediate family had done anything but formula feed. It was the norm. And, I’m happy to report that 20 years later he seems just fine.
Baby #2 – Ryan was fed nothing but breast milk for his first six months of life. I decided to nurse Ryan when I delivered him at 30 weeks gestation due to HELLP Syndrome. Preemies notoriously tolerate breast milk better than formula. Their under developed digestive systems need the gentlest nourishment nature has to offer. However, I quickly learned in the NICU that the act of nursing takes a lot of energy on baby’s part. It’s harder to suck milk out of a human nipple than it is to suck it out of a preemie bottle nipple. So, I made the decision to pump the milk into bottles for him and never went back. Ryan was never put to breast. It was a lot of work but it was worth it.
Baby # 3 – Mary Kate was eight weeks premature due to a milder case of HELLP Syndrome so I followed the same pumping regimen that I used with Ryan. Interestingly, protocols had changed between 1997 and 2008. So, not only did MK get breast milk, but the NICU insisted on mixing a specially prepared formula in with the breast milk to increase her caloric intake. She did gain weight faster due to the added formula so we maintained that regimen for six months. As a result, she was never put to breast.
Baby #4 & 5 – Reagan and Isabella were delivered by our friend, Jennifer, who served as our gestational carrier. As a result, they were formula fed with the exception of the ten days that Isabella was in the NICU after birth. Her admission was extremely unexpected because the twins were full term, but nevertheless she had breathing problems. It was then that Jennifer went above and beyond and pumped for her. Isn’t that awesome?!?! I just had to slip in this tidbit of informartion about Jennifer because it demonstrates what an awesome first mother she was to our daughters. I will be forever grateful for what she did for our family.
Although two of my children have received the benefits of breast milk I have never had a traditional nursing experience and I want one. I think. Let me say I’m not hellbent on nursing. I’ll do what works best for our son and our family, but as of right now, with no indication of him showing up early, I’m thinking I’d like to try and nix the bottles and simply breast feed. There are some aspects of that decision that make me very nervous and that is where I’d like to hear your thoughts.
First, I’m nervous about not knowing exactly how much my child has eaten. With bottles I could measure, record and track the number of ounces consumed at each feeding. And I did. Neurotically. The idea that I’m just supposed to rely on my child having wet diapers makes me uneasy. Thoughts?
The Human Boob
Second, I’m nervous about being relegated to nothing but a human boob. I have five other children who need my attention and I have visions of being on the couch all day with a baby hanging off of me. I would love to hear from some moms who have managed to exclusively nurse and meet the needs of the rest of their brood. Are there any tricks? Equipment that was helpful? Please share.
Bonding with Dad
Sean loves feeding our children and I love the bond that is created between him and his child as a result. If I exclusively breast feed how do we foster that same bonding experience for him? I’m especially curious if anyone has successfully pumped and nursed. I’m wondering if I can pump a little into a bottle and let him feed the baby every once in awhile without causing massive boughts of nipple confusion.
The idea of not having to deal with bottles is very appealing to me. The idea of bloody, cracked nipples: being the only one who can ever feed this child rendering me exhausted; and boughts of mastitis scare the crap out of me. That’s why I’m asking for some feed back.
And, on that note…I don’t want this discussion to denegrate into a “breast is ALWAYS best” discussion. Like I already wrote…I’ve formula fed and it was just fine. To each his own. I’m specifically looking for some resources that I can read so I know kind of what to expect.
Thanks in advance as always. I will truly appreciate all of your thoughts and advice. After all, it was solicited.