For the next few weeks I am going to be sharing my experiences as a first time mommy and what has worked for our family during this past (very soon to be) year. Sigh. I can’t believe my baby is going to be year old in June. If you are just joining me here are my previous posts:
It seems appropriate that after talking yesterday about feeding Caden solids now would be an excellent time to share my breastfeeding story. I knew before I was even pregnant with Caden that my goal was going to be to breastfeed my babies. I approached breastfeeding just like I do anything in my life that I have no clue about, I asked a ton of questions. I talked with my friends, clients, and ob and read tons of articles on the internet. I was in completely uncharted territory about what was going to be happening to my body.
After talking with my girlfriends I learned about inverted nipples, cracked nipples, engorgement, clogged ducts, mastitis, colostrum, supply issues, and a wide array of breastfeeding products. I wanted to be prepared for anything and everything that could possible happen. You can see a few of my favorite products here.
On June 7th, 2012 within 30 minutes of Caden being born he latched on beautifully and I couldn’t believe that I was actually breastfeeding my baby. I was in awe of what my body had done to protect and grow this little miracle baby and continued to be in awe as I watched him nurse. I nursed Caden every two hours during our hospital stay and had no issues at all with feeding him.
It took a few days for my milk to actually come and in and holy engorgement, I felt like they were going to explode. To relieve some of the pressure I busted out my breast pump and realized that I had never sat down and read the instructions or had any clue how of it worked. Caden was napping like a champ while I frantically tried to relieve the ever growing pressure that was accumulating more and more with each passing minute. I was so happy and proud of myself when I saw the milk start to release into the bottles. I felt like a woman. Never mind the fact that I just had a baby and had already been nursing him for a few days.
Everything was going so smoothly. I did not experience any cracking and Caden never had any difficulty latching. Six weeks postpartum I began exercising again. My girlfriends had all given me great advice from their experience with breastfeeding and exercising. I was making sure to drink plenty of water and eat an additional 300-500 calories a day on top of my normal intake.
Two weeks later I decided to go for a run and swim and while I was getting dressed told myself I really needed to buy a larger sized sports bra. Later on that day I noticed a huge and painful lump in my right breast. It felt like a golf ball had been shoved under my skin. I knew from talking with my girlfriends that this meant I had a clogged duct and there was the possibility that I could develop mastitis.
Mastitis is an infection of breast tissue that can be caused by clogged milk ducts, tight fitting bras, and not emptying the breast all the way during feedings. The symptoms include fever, tender and swollen breast, nausea and/or vomiting, and overall fatigue.
I immediately began massaging my chest to see if I could release the clog (this was really painful) and made an appointment to see my doctor. Several hours later I was diagnosed with mastitis. Booooooo. I was told to go and invest in new bras, and was prescribed several herbal remedies, antibiotics, and a lymphatic massage for my treatment.
If you are diagnosed with mastitis or suspect you have a clogged duct I recommend the following:
- Massage that breast. It hurts but it will decrease the clogged area.
- Take hot showers with more massage or soak breasts in a hot tub.
- Apply castor oil hot compresses before feedings to help reduce inflammation and increase circulation to the infected tissue.
- Apply hot compress poultice with medical herbs: camomile, lavender, valerian, rose hip, hops, and lemongrass
- Take antibiotics and tylenol to treat infection and reduce inflammation.
- Use a lactose free probiotic and dab it on nipples to prevent thrush. Once you start taking an antibiotic it kills all the healthy bacteria making it more likely to develop a yeast infection.
- Rest, rest and more rest.
- Continue nursing and pumping as often as possible.
- Schedule a lymphatic massage.
Again I am not an expert this is just what worked for me and was prescribed by my doctor.
A few weeks later I was feeling much better and have had no other issues while breastfeeding, well aside from Caden biting my boobies :). That hurts pretty bad too.
I was very fortunate to have been home with Caden the majority of his first year. In the first few months when I went back to training clients and teaching Josh or my Mom would try to bottle feed Caden but he was not interested. Thankfully I had the flexibility to arrange and schedule client sessions around Caden’s feeding schedule.
In the last month I started to feed Caden more solid meals and he dropped his two middle of the day nursing sessions. These are my last few days breastfeeding and I am relishing them. Next week I start a 2 month treatment program to remove my varicose veins and can no longer nurse once that treatment begins. I know I will miss holding my baby close to me while he is so content and peaceful.
This past week I started using peppermint essential oil on my breasts to encourage my milk supply to decrease and it has worked beautifully. No engorgement or swelling.
I already know my last nursing session will be bittersweet. I am so blessed to have been able to experience this wonderful bond between a mother and her child.
PS…I had a mini design update done on my blog :). If you are looking for a website designer to work with I highly recommend Aileen Barker. She is fabulous!