The Age of the Udders

So this will be a two part post, all about my breasts. Does that make you excited? I’ve thought more about those two huge rocks in the past 11 days than I have in years. How weird is that?

First, a quick question. I’m buying the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breastpump with Metro Bag today. It’ normally $370 (ouch!), and after months of watching for it on Amazon, I’ve seen it randomly drop as low as $285. Then the other day I found it in a local store that is discontinuing their line of baby products, and they’re selling it for $270. Score! Supporting local, AND saving me $100 off of MSRP. Not too shabby. 🙂

My question is this – how early did you start pumping? I have no idea if I’m going back to work in January or June at this point (though more likely sooner rather than later), but I definitely want to start getting a supply building so that I can (1) have a little more freedom from feedings if necessary, and (2) have Daddy be more involved. I don’t want to screw up my supply, but I don’t want to wait too long either. Also, once you have expressed milk, how early did you introduce a bottle/nipple to start dispensing pumped milk? So far we haven’t used a pacifier or anything… trying to avoid nipple confusion, but I definitely hope to avoid battles about the bottle as well. Advice is welcome!

Now, quite a few of you have asked me how breastfeeding has gone for us. This is a story full of pushy doctors, smack downs, curling toes, and eventual relief. How’s that for a roller coaster?

(please note, if you are a formula bottle feeder, this next section isn’t meant to demean your choice – it’s just not my choice for us as long as we can make breastfeeding work – i truly do believe that breast is second to none thanks to all of the antibodies and such, plus it’s free!)

The story begins 11 days ago in the early hours of the morning. Miss Stella was born at 2:12am, and within minutes of her birth, my midwife and nurse were helping me to get her to latch on. She had a great latch and suck reflex (which also caused my uterus to contract – which is a GOOD thing, but HOLYCRAP that didn’t feel great). She basically hung out on and off my breast for the next two hours while I stared at her in disbelief, because ohmyGodIhaveadaughter.

I was so happy she was latching on, because I assumed that meant we’d have no problems with breastfeeding. Ha. Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the case – the next time she ate was 15 hours later, after I had gotten into it with the on-call peds doc.

Throughout the first 12 hours of her life, I’d try to get her to latch on and eat every couple of hours, but she was just not interested. She would latch, maybe suck once or twice, and then just go back to sleep. I really wasn’t concerned – I figured she had been through a lot, was a bigger baby (compared to all the six pounders in the nursery), and she’d eat when she was hungry.

After awhile of her not eating, the nurses started pricking her poor little heel and doing blood draws to check her glucose levels every 3-4 hours (which were staying pretty steady), and the lactation consultant came in a few times, had me pumping to work on stimulating my colostrum & milk to come in, and was manipulating Stella to wake her up and try to get her to eat. Every time we’d do that to Stella (make her do baby sit-ups, mostly), she would puke up dried blood and gunk, so the lactation consultant figured she had spent so much time in the end of the birth canal that she had ingested some gunk that was now sitting in her belly. This made sense as to why she wasn’t eating – I sure wouldn’t want to eat if I had an upset tummy!

Basically, the nursing staff was being super supportive, her glucose levels were okay, and I wasn’t worried.

Enter the peds doc on Thursday afternoon (Stella has been out in the world for a whopping 12 hours at this point). He is NOT the doc I have chosen as her peds doc, just the guy on call that day. He proceeds to try to scare me into pumping her full of formula in a bottle because “she needs food right away.” He tells me her glucose levels are dropping (which I challenged him on – told him the lactation consultant had just told me they were holding steady, so which one of them was lying? He responded, “well, they’re GOING to drop, and that is super dangerous.”). Um, fuck you buddy, “have dropped” and “are going to drop” are two entirely different things, and are you a fucking psychic anyway? How do you know what they’re GOING to do?

Ugh.

Then he said, “also, you had her when?” … This morning at 2am.… “you know your milk isn’t going to come in until Saturday or Sunday, right? What were you going to do, just wait until then to feed her?”

WTF?!!?! Isn’t that what EVERY new mother does? Nobody’s milk is there immediately – why are you making me feel like a bad mother who is trying to deprive her child?

As strong as my convictions were about not formula feeding unless totally necessary, as informed as I was about her steady glucose levels, and as comfortable as I felt about the whole situation in general, when this peds doc was in my face, it was HARD to stand my ground when he was trying to make me feel like I was starving my baby.

Still, I basically told him no, I wasn’t feeding her formula yet, and if I did, it sure as hell wasn’t going to be through a bottle – I’d rather try those little tubes that you can run alongside your nipple so they are at least getting the formula as they suck on your breast. He proceeded to tell me he didn’t believe in nipple confusion (good for you buddy, but you know what, I DO), but if I was really concerned, they could feed her it from a spoon. Um, what? No, get me the damn tubing.

The nurse ended up bringing in some organic formula and the tubing I had insisted on and a teeny-tiny syringe. I promptly set it far away and ignored it.

Then they took her away for another glucose level check, and apparently they just got busy, but they weren’t bringing her back into the room fast enough for my comfort and I started worrying that they were giving her formula in the nursery behind my back. I ended up sending Charlie to “go get our baby,” and to his credit, even though he was worried that we were starving our child and needed to give her formula (thanks stupid peds doc for using fear tactics that got to my husband), he immediately marched right down the hall to the nursery, demanded they stop whatever they were doing to our baby, and give her back now.

It warms my heart to think of him being all Daddyish and protective 🙂

That night she ate a little bit a few times throughout the night (go Stella!), though I made the mistake of letting her latch onto just my nipple a couple times instead of the entire areola b/c I was just so thankful she was trying. Note to self – DO NOT ALLOW THAT. Sucking on just the nipple is what causes pain for Mommy… a proper latch ensures no pain. This is important. At any rate, she was often coughing up gunk still. Then, from 7am on didn’t eat again on Friday. This brings us to Friday afternoon – I want to get discharged and just be HOME, but they are worried that at this point, Stella is on the edge of the scary cycle of being too tired TO eat because she hasn’t eaten so she’s tired. I actually did start to agree with them on that – I could stick my finger in her mouth and touch the roof of her milk, and even that wasn’t activating her suck reflex anymore. A nurse I really trusted (my neighbor) told me that in her opinion, Stella was on the edge, and that she really needed a little bit of energy in order to start successfully breastfeeding again. We had a good conversation about it all, and at the end of it, I agreed to feed her a teeny bit of formula, just to get her that energy back in her reserves. MaryAnne put 1cc of formula in the tiny syringe while I’d push on the roof of her mouth with my pinkie finger to get her sucking and swallowing and she’s give her a tiny bit of formula at a time through the corner of her mouth. We ended up giving her 3ccs of formula, enough to get them to agree to discharge her. (they had also tested her bili levels, and she was still in the okay range)

Honestly, we got home just before 5pm, I did some skin-to-skin time with her, changed her diaper, and she promptly ate for 20 minutes (and has been an eating champ ever since!). I really think that she just needed time to let her body process out the gunk that was in her belly (she was having poopy diapers no prob ever since birth) and once we were home and comfortable, she was ready to eat!

The moral of the story, stick to your guns, trust your instincts, and don’t let docs bully you into something you’re not comfortable with. Obviously Stella’s health was my #1 priority – that just didn’t include trying to force formula into her at 12 hours old.

Finally, I debated posting this on here, but I figured you all know about my EWCM and plenty of other TMI moments and you’d all appreciate ending on a funny note. Here’s a little picture message I sent my Mom & sisters about 2am Sunday morning…

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Holy hell, my milk is in… 

Um, yeah, she’s getting plenty of milk in her belly now. 😉

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26 comments

  1. Holy crap, woman!

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  2. Congrats! She is awesome:)Everything I have read says no bottle for at least 6 weeks, but you should introduce it at least 4 weeks before going back to work. Usually having someone else feed her with the bottle, not you. You can pump as early as you'd like but be aware that it can increase your production which may or may not cause feeding issues.Good for you standing up to the dumb doc. That is so intimidating; I will tuck this away for when I need inspiration!

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  3. Since I knew I had to go back to work (today is my first day – holy tears), I started pumping at 3 weeks. And my husband would give her one tiny bottle (about 1-2oz) once a day to get her used to it. The medela slow flow bottles are her favorite. She never had a problem with taking the bottle or my nipple and we are still rocking out as an exclusive breastfeeding family.Good luck!

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  4. Personally, if you want to build a milk supply to freeze, I would pump maybe 5-10 minutes after Stella has drained your breasts…that will help increase your milk supply. I took Fenugreek and Brewers Yeast supplements to ensure I was making enough too. I wish I wouldn't have introduced a bottle early because Aiden preferred the bottle rather than breastfeeding because he didn't have to work so hard to eat. Glad your milk is in! Mine didn't come into until the end of our 6th day home and I had to supplement with formula from the beginning with Aiden. I regret a lot of how my breastfeeding started. I'm glad you stood up for what you thought was best for Stella. You are already an awesome mom!

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  5. Were you really asking about pumping? I was so worried about pumping. I thought as soon as I would start pumping that I would lose my supply. It happened a little, but that's because I didn't understand what I was doing.Basically what I started to do (after I figure out what was right and wrong)… was if I felt full after feeding him, I would pump it off. I would collect for the day, bag it up and freeze it.Pumping, I started doing at about 5 or so weeks.Bottles, we didn't do until he was 7 weeks or 8 weeks old. We waited a long time, but it worked for us.Glad you stood your ground. Some docs are just dicks.

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  6. OK I've only read the first half so far but I didn't want to forget what I wanted to write. So here's comment #1 :)I'm not sure if this is still the case or not, but does your husband have a health savings account through work? The thing where you can put pre-tax dollars aside to pay for medical expenses? If so, we were able to pay for the pump with that money. Every little bit helps!Also, I don't remember when I started pumping but it was within the first couple weeks and we gave Gracie the bottle right after I pumped it. I think it was like 3 weeks in. We only ended up giving her about 10 bottles her entire life because I never went back to work but it was nice to have the option just in case. After a while though, you'll be soooooo used to nursing that pumping and feeding with the bottle will seem like way too much of a hassle if you don't need to do it.Finally, every actual pediatrician I've talked to (including family, friends and Gracie's actual doctors), nipple confusion only exists in the books. They all suggest giving the baby the pacifier whenever you want and not waiting to clear the nipple confusion boundary. Your baby knows your nipples. Also, the AAP now recommends pacifier use for the first 12 months to prevent SIDS. The problem comes (for us TONIGHT!) with having to wean them from the beloved paci 😦

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  7. LOL, look at the size of her head compared to your boob! Your milk certainly has come in! I can't speak on most of this post because Chloe refused to latch, but I'm glad you stood your ground with the doc. It does seem a bit confusing that they want the baby to nurse right away, but there is hardly anything there. My baby was starving by the time we left the hospital b/c she hadn't had anything to eat in almost two days. As much as I wanted to give her breastmilk/nurse her, it just wasnt' in the cards for us so it was all I could do to hurry home and give her a bottle of formula. In all of her going home pictures she's cramming her hands down her throat b/c she was so hungry.

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  8. OK I've read the rest now :)As for the nipple confusion comment I made above, I was mostly talking about the pacifier. I'm so happy for you that you resisted giving her formula from a bottle right away. All those same docs I referenced above DID say that though the paci nipple wasn't an issue, it's just too easy to get formula from a bottle. So there is a real chance, they'll only want that and not the all the trouble it takes to get milk from Mom.Also, Gracie didn't eat for the first four hours she was alive and the nurse tried to get me to give her formula at that point. FOUR HOURS! She ate right after that 🙂

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  9. Holy giant breast batman, do those things hurt?

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  10. Oh gosh, I got a little teary at your pic. Here I am, with a ONE YEAR OLD (today!) nursing as he naps in my arms, and seeing your picture I instantly remembered what it felt like to nurse him as a tiny one with a hungry lil' mouth. Holy nostalgia, Batman. :)Kellymom was my go-to resource for most things BFing, and here is a pretty comprehensive link regarding pumping questions: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/index.htmlI have the Pump in Style too, but mine is a little older. It's the backpack version. Definitely worth the money. If you're committed to BFing after returning to work, a good pump is NOT a splurge. It is necessity. Good on you for finding a bargain!We had some latch issues in the beginning and used a nipple shield for the first 4 weeks, so I was super concerned with introducing a bottle before we weaned from the shield. We introduced a bottle at 8 weeks–4 weeks before I was scheduled to return to work. N would give Arlo one small bottle in the evening, and I saved the rest for my daycare stash. I would pump after Arlo's nursings, and I also starting taking fenugreek in those weeks leading up to my return to work. I ended up leaving my job shortly after returning, and with that I stopped pumping regularly. And…I haven't pumped since mid-May now. (Long story for another time maybe.) My supply never faltered, and we still nurse on demand. You will figure out a good rhythm as the weeks go on! Just remember: Stella is the best pump you have. Do your best in these early weeks–at least the first 6-8–not to miss a nursing/pumping sesh, so your supply becomes healthy and established. Also most peds are IDIOTS about BFing. They only cover breastfeeding very superficially in their education. They have no effin' clue about the mechanics of those early days and weeks. Most of them erroneously assess BF intake by the same feeding expectations for a formula fed baby. As long as Stella is having the appropriate amount of wet and poopy dipes you know she is getting exactly what she needs from you!

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  11. I agree with Ann, HC! I giggled a little at your pic – boob compared to head is really quite amusing :)Good for you for sticking to your guns with that stupid doc. What an arrogant jerk!As far as pumping, I started at 3w. I was not able to get anything out right after the boys ate, I would wait about an hour or so and pump then (once a day, in the am). I had a very good supply so there was plenty more when they were ready to eat again. We introduced a bottle for one feeding a day at around 4w. I would recommend once you do start a bottle that you keep doing it daily – I have quite a few friends whose babies took bottles with no problem early on, so they figured they were fine and did not continue daily – only to find out when they went back to work at 10-12w or whatever that the baby was no longer interested in the bottle. You may also need to try different bottle/nipple/size combos to find one she likes – my boys never cared much, but I know quite a few kids who did.You don't really need to build up too much of a stash in the freezer b/c when she is older and you are working / away you will probably pump at around the same time as she eats, and therefore be able to replace the milk she is drinking. So unless you anticipate needing a large amount at some point, I wouldn't worry about pumping more than 1x/day to build up a "stash".

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  12. I'm not gonna lie, I kinda wish I would have been there to see you stare that asshole on. Good for you (and Stella and Charlie). Your first test as a new momma and you rocked it.

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  13. My jaw hit the floor when I read what that Peds doctor said to you. Holy Shit, I would have bludgeoned him right then and there. Good for you for standing up to him! That is probably the best example of being your own advocate that I know of to date… WHAT A JERK he was!!! I would write a letter to the hospital board, btw. He clearly had no interest in you or the baby as people, he just wanted to get results so he could wrap up his charts and go home… Sad that there seems to be so many medical practitioners like that now…Anyway, so glad to hear little Stella is feeling better and is now a champ at feeding. 🙂 And thank you for sharing this post!

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  14. It's tricky. YOu have to trust your gut (as you said) and do what works for you and your baby. There are no magic numbers. My baby never did like to latch on and would shake his little head and cry every time I came near him with my big udders. I had to pump and bottle feed almost exclusively until he was about 2 months old and then he'd latch on just fine.I don't think he ever had nipple confusion. He did both for quite awhile.For us, bottles were great. Working parents, etc. Also, I loved that Daddy and I took turns being up at night. Every other night we'd trade so one person got to sleep clear through the night. It was great. (He was off work too for the first 5 weeks.)What an amazing time this is. Your baby is getting what she needs, no matter the delivery method. 😉 The more you pump the more milk you'll make, so I say go ahead and start. It will ensure you have plenty of production for stella, plus reserves in the fridge or freezer are a godsend.

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  15. My midwife told me that babies come with a full belly most times and it can be 24 hours before they start wanting to eat. That being said, we had to give Jack Caroline's breastmilk because he appeared to have lost weight in utero. It was a stressful time for me, so I remember those feelings well. Waiting for my milk. Hoping my baby wasn't starving, but trying to trust my gut.I am glad you soldiered through. Sorry you had to battle with the ped. What a dick.

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  16. Oh and I started pumping and saving around 3 weeks. I would just pump for about 5 minutes after I would feed Jack and then slowly fill up bags to freeze. It gave me a nice big supply by the time he went back to work. We tried the bottle at 4 weeks. Not sure if it would have been better to do it sooner or later. People have told me their theories about both. I think in the end, your kid is either going to take a bottle or not.

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  17. In my childbirth class they recommended starting to pump at 3 weeks out. They said any earlier could cause excess milk production. So my plan is to start pumping then and get up a good supply and then start bottle feeding 2 weeks before I return to work.

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  18. WTF with your hospital being so unsupportive of breastfeeding?! I'm angry for you after reading that! If you weren't strong-willed they essentially would've strong-armed you into formula feeding. BS. I didn't start pumping for until I was bf for about a month. Honestly, prior to that I just didn't have the time (since I was bf-ing every 45min-2 hrs). Just a note on the Medela – do you know that it's an open system? I chose an Ameda Purely Yours because it's a closed system. I didn't know there was a difference until someone mentioned it to me. Just wanted to give you a heads up!

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  19. Lol to the title :)I introduced bottles to E & C around 4 months. It made the transition to formula and someone else feeding them much easier.E was introduced to a pacifier at 6 weeks (by my dh) and C was given one at 2 weeks by me. I was worried about nipple confusion with E, but not with C. Good for you for sticking with your guns & the facts with the on call pedi. I swear they will say anything to get new moms to do what they want! Both girls had formula a few days after birth since both were jaudiced. It didn't impact nursing for me. With E my ladies swelled up huge but with C they seemed used to C's nursing routine and only got gigantic if she slept longer than 4 hours.

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  20. Wow, that ped is a major jerk. Good for you for holding your ground.I too was afraid of "nipple confusion" and waited until Fable was 6 weeks old to give her a bottle. I will not wait that long again if we have another child. She fought the bottle for 8 weeks when I went back to work, some days only taking one bottle in the afternoon. (I have a very stubborn child.) Point is, I plan to introduce a bottle around 3 weeks next time. Maybe as early as two. After my experience, I tend to think a child will always prefer the breast to the bottle. But do what you're comfortable with.And I started pumping pretty early. Just once a day, 5-10 minutes after a morning feeding. I didn't get very much at first, but as Fable slept longer, I'd HAVE to pump in the morning because she wouldn't drain me on her own. It never hurts to have extra supply in the freezer. Even after Fable was weaned, I made her breast milk pancakes and oatmeal!

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  21. Holy man is that your boob? Yeah your milk is in! Impressive! Sorry, a little low on advice…still trying to figure out breast feeding myself. Will be following you closely for tips. Good luck with is all. Have not found the magic formula. Seems like trial and error is the key with pumping/feeding. Thanks for the great post, and what a beautiful picture!

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  22. Hi Josey, Long time lurker here. Breastfeeding is the one thing that has made me feel like a good parent even when I doubt myself in other things. I"m so sorry you had to deal with the docs at the hospital. But great that you stood your ground – I don't know that I would have.Parroting my awesome LLL leaders. It's best to wait until 6 weeks to start pumping if you can. That's about how long it takes for your supply to regulate. When you do start pumping, if you are just building a stash and not going to be away quite yet, after the first morning feeding is when you will have the most milk. Also, if you are feeding and pumping, you might only get a few ounces. When you go back to work and are away you will get much much more. kellymom.com is a great resource, and there is a chart on there that helps estimate how much your baby is getting per feeding so you know how much to leave in a bottle.I have no advice on the bottle as my 5.5 old still refuses unless he is starving. Oh, the freezer full of milk he won't drink. He makes up for it at night.Love your blog.

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  23. My baby had to go to NICU for spitting up the gunk (now I'm even questioning that) but- anywho- they had me pumping for stimulation and had started giving him formula during that time. So we're trying like crazy now to exclusively bf but I've had to do some supplementing and weaning off of it too. In the midst of that, I've pumped a few times here and there when supplementing and bfeeding didn't work out time-wise. And now, I just THOUGHT my milk was in… now I'm not so sure lol. Sounds like you're making great decisions and are leading the way to help others. I found out about the latch very soon!!! Doing great mama!

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  24. You know, in your other post where you had pictures of you and Stella (you were in a black shirt) I was going to comment "Holy Jugs, Mom!" but I didn't want to be rude. Now I feel it's ok! Holy jugs, Mom!!! haha!! Yay for your milk coming in!I'm so glad you stood up to that doc! What a jerk! Good for you Josey! Formula or not, you're a good mom and Stella is a lucky little girl!!

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  25. owwwwie, engorged!!! Hooray for milk being in.I hate, hate, hate what the peds doc said to you, that is RIDICULOUS. It takes 2 days for your milk to come in and as long as babies aren't super tiny preemies, they are equipped to manage the wait and they get colostrum to hold them over which is amazing stuff!I started pumping around 1 month, but I've heard you can start as early as two weeks. I believe it's those first two weeks that determine your supply so any pumping during that could mean you get yourself a crazy oversupply – hurty boobies are ZERO fun. My thing was to pump after the first feeding in the morning (supply is at its highest then) and we would either freeze or feed cheeks at nightime bottle with that. (we had a span where cheeks was really cranky at night, since my supply was lower, our bedtime ritual was to feed him the bottle to fill up his little tummy). we started giving him the bottle around 6 weeks. feel free to email me w any questions – cheeks is 7 months and still exclusively breast-fed.

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  26. (I suppose not exclusively since he is eating solids, but no formula over here! wahoo 🙂 )

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