Since giving birth to my daughter a few weeks ago, my boobs have become an even *larger* part of my life than I am used to– and that’s saying a lot. All of the sudden, these boobs that I’ve been lugging around for the past twenty or so years are heavy with milk and have transformed from body-part to bar-part–and, since it is our goal to breast-feed exclusively (no formula)–the bar is open 24 hours a day.
At Ida’s first and second week pediatrician appointments, the doctors informed me that Ida wasn’t quite gaining enough weight, and told me that I had to ‘feed like gangbusters’ so that she could catch up and surpass her birth weight– (she had lost some weight after her birth which is, apparently, quite normal.)
This was disappointing to say the least. I was feeding her at least 12 times per day, on each boob. In fact, it felt like feeding Ida is pretty much *all* I’d been doing for the past three weeks. How was it possible that she was not getting enough milk? Could it be that these giganta-boobs that I have had to get bras special ordered for are not producing enough milk to sustain my tiny Ida? Apparently, boob size has absolutely zero connection to how much milk one can produce. Go figure.
We hired a lactation consultant who was helpful and showed me some positions and techniques to maximize the amount of milk that Ida gets from each feeding session. But even after a week of feeding with the consultant’s tips, Ida’s weight came in just .06 oz above her birth weight.
Yesterday, I tried pumping milk for the first time. If you’ve never seen the whole pumping thing (which I hadn’t before yesterday) Check it out. It’s crazy. I felt like a cow. Seriously. BUT, it was very worth-it to feel like a cow because I was able to actually see and measure how much milk Ida is getting, which is, at the very least, reassuring on an emotional level. I’m also hoping that pumping will help to stimulate more milk production so that Ida can get her fill. So far, she happily took the bottle from daddy and guzzled down the 3oz it took me about 30 min. to make in about 5 minutes.
After ten months of growing Ida inside me, it is now amazing to feed her with milk from the breast. It’s the perfect transition from inside to out, I think–for both of us. This whole ‘mama’ journey has been such a trip so far–and I know it’s only going to get trippier. I’m curious to see what happens when we leave the house more and my breast-feeding goes public. I’ve heard so many stories from girl friends about weird reactions from strangers–and they all have smaller, subtler boobs.
Just wait till they get a load of me.
Have you all breast-fed your kids? Any good pointers, suggestions, or funny stories? Please share. Let’s talk about boobs.