Feeding Baby Series post #1

So happy to be getting these stories from other mamas to share our experiences together! Cant wait to see everyones! Here is my friend Rachel Trull’s story about feeding her son Tyler.  Rachel is the wife of Jeremy Trull and Tyler is their first child (and isn’t he such a cutie?!) Thank you Rachel for being so willing to share your experience with us! Here is story #1 of my feeding baby series! Hope you all enjoy this as much as I am!

Rachel And Tyler 

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I wanted to breastfeed from the beginning. After Tyler was born, he latched within the first 20 minutes. My hospital was ok with him eating prior to doing anything with him, so they cleaned him up while I held him and fed him, then took him across the room for his checkup. We let him stay in the nursery overnight while in the hospital, but he nursed every 3 hours. We seemed to be great in the hospital.

When we got home, my milk didn’t really come in until two days later. He started spitting up every time he would eat and it felt like it took forever to feed him (1+hrs). Just to turn around and do it again. I was exhausted and frustrated. And we also had my in laws staying at our house which was more stress. I didn’t ever feed with a nursing cover because I couldn’t tell if he had a good latch or not, so this meant multiple trips to another room for him to eat (this part is important). I had also started pumping to try and reduce the amount of milk I was making: I read for HOUR and DAYS how to help, so I would pump until the pressure went down and then nurse so Tyler would get a ton of fore milk and no after milk. After several days of this cycle, I went for a consultation with the lactation nurse just to be sure I was doing everything right, and I was. But I was trying to over feed him. He was spitting up because he was full. Once I realized that, things got much easier! Less time to feed, less spit up, and fewer changes of our clothes. We introduced a bottle the day Tyler turned one month old, because we didn’t want to risk nipple confusion and needed time for my husband and he to bond so that the transition of me going back to work would be easier. Tyler slept in a pack and play in our room until he was 8wks old so we could have a good start with our bonding, establishing my milk supply, and getting to know one another and his sounds. My husband also had to get used to his sounds and such so we could be sure Tyler would wake him up during the night to eat and my husband would actually hear him.

Anyways, he woke up to nurse and would go back to bed. Things felt like they were straightening out, and then I went back to work. I work night shift, 7p-7a. That meant I had to pump. Thankfully this wasn’t a bad transition. I already had a small freezer stash, so I knew it would be ok. Thankfully I continued to make plenty of milk and we didn’t have to dip into the freezer stash right away.

Remember that part about not using a nursing cover? That meant planning trips around feeding times, because I’m not one to just “let it all hang out”. When I would get in a pinch, I would use a blanket in the car or find a bathroom I thought was “clean”. (With my next child, should we have one, I will learn to use a nursing cover from the start!!!!)
Meanwhile, Tyler was born at 50% across the board. His weight started slowly tapering off, but he was always happy and ate very regularly. I kept a feed journal for a few months so I could show myself that he was eating frequently enough. At four months old, our pediatrician said we could start rice cereal, with a spoon, not in a bottle. Tyler loved it, but he still had his tongue thrust and didn’t eat a whole lot. So we started only putting it in his bottle that he would have just before bed when my husband was home with him (3x/week). The other days he ate it with a spoon mixed with pumped milk to we could get him used to eating with a spoon.

When Tyler was 4.5months old, my grandpa passed away and I went with my dad to Oklahoma for the funeral. He asked if Tyler was coming and I said yes, because I’m nursing and it’s easier to take him than it is to pump and find a place to store milk for 2/3 days (middle of winter with lots of snow). My dad acted as though it was a burden and he was ready for me to be done breastfeeding.
This opinion was voiced by my dad numerous times because he wanted me to be able to get out of the house without my son. He felt I should be able to let Jeremy handle it and I wouldn’t have any duties. But I told him that’s not what I wanted. I wanted Tyler to have the best nutrition I could possibly give him, and that was breastmilk. He would ask “how long do you plan on doing that?” I said “a year is my goal”. Once I made it clear to people, I didn’t really get any more negative comments. People were impressed we made it so long, and I was so proud of us. Jeremy was so supportive, even in times when my supply was down, he would help wash pump parts and bottles and make sure I was eating and drinking enough. 64-70oz of water per day. Every day. But it was so worth it. As I’m writing this I still have milk in the deep freezer from last December. I won’t use it, and it’s not a whole lot, but it hurts my heart a little to think about throwing it out. I worked hard for it!

So now about the decreasing supply part: Tyler would still act hungry. We would warm pumped milk so he would have enough. I did what I called “power pumping” for an entire weekend to try and get my supply back up. (I could tell I wasn’t making enough because I would pump less that what he would eat when I was at work). Power pumping: I would nurse and pump right after for every feeding. I would nurse him to sleep, then pump. Then I would pump again before I went to bed (Tyler was only waking once at this point so I had 5 hours until I needed to nurse him again). When he started sleeping longer stretches, I would set my alarm to get up and pump. It worked. I did this at least three times that I remember.
I think this just about covers all of our journey except for “weaning”. At just under 10 months, Tyler would nurse five times/day, when he woke in the night, when he got up, before each nap, and before bed. By the time he was 11 months, he would only nurse when he was really tired. So, when he woke up and for bed. But, I had to be careful and make sure he was really tired, otherwise he would bite me. It was all really easy. Much easier than I thought it would be. We introduced a supply cup (? Idk when it was!! Maybe 6mo?) so when he started weaning from nursing I would use a sippy cup with breastmilk and whole milk combined in order to help him transition over. We never had any issues with milk. Or food. He loves to eat.

I am so thankful for the things I learned and questions I asked. One thing that really got me through was my “what to expect” app on my phone. I used it all through my pregnancy and even after. I joined a group for moms who had babies the same month/year as me, so we were all going through things together. I am still a member of it and still keep up with it. I told people all along that breastfeeding was one the hardest things I have ever done, and it was. But I want to do it again!

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