Friday, August 07, 2015

our breastfeeding journey

These days our nursing relationship consists of Cristian trying to escape, and him looking around everywhere! It really is a mystery to me how he stays chunky, because he nurses even faster now, and in short bursts. Although I'm very happy that he is still able to nurse, and that I am able to feed him. I mentioned this on my Public Breastfeeding YouTube, but I really meant it when I said I am an unlikely breastfeeder. In fact, a lot of the women close to me did not nurse their littles. Which is all good, but when it came to asking someone close to me about the millions of questions regarding breastfeeding I was on my own. Looking back now I realize that it was very challenging.


 Both boys were born with a condition called, Coombs Positive. Simply put they do not have my same blood type. And my antibodies can attack their red blood cells. When this happens there are a lot of complications that can occur pre and post natal. Babies born Coombs positive tend to have very high bilirubin levels, and in order to avoid further complications like brain damage they are put under UV lights, and have multiple blood samples taken to make sure their numbers are going down. This was probably the hardest part for me to see my babies pricked, and not being able to hold Cristian who was under the UV lights right after birth. I could only take him out to nurse, and when they are born with this condition they want them to take in as much milk as possible to help flush the bilirubin out. 


Gabriel took to nursing like a fish to water! He was also a lot smaller than Cristian and was born a lot slower than his brother. Since I pushed Cristian out so quickly he had a lot of amniotic fluid in his tummy. That really interfered with his nursing, because it made him very uncomfortable. But because his bilirubin numbers were much higher than Gabriel's I was that much more determined to breastfeed him. It was challenging because when they are first born you're already tired, and they are so sleepy that you really need more than just a few minutes to nurse. And since I wasn't able to take him out from under the lights for a few minutes at a time it became a struggle. 


At one point, I questioned whether or not I should breastfeed him. I felt anxious, because I worried that he wasn't nursing enough. Add to that, I had the head of the lactation department ask me whether or not I was nursing him long enough because before we left the hospital his numbers were still high. When she asked me this I felt as if it were my fault that his numbers were still high. Of course, I was that much more worried! And it didn't help my anxiety levels either. Later I found out via my pediatrician that his numbers before we left weren't a major worry for her. Because bilirubin acts as a protective barrier for newborns, and breastfed babies actually have higher bilirubin levels as well. However, because there are always outliers most hospitals like to be proactive, and place them under the lights. 


Despite not being able to hold him, the amniotic suctioning, and my worries that he wasn't nursing enough we overcame those struggles! Thankfully, for both boys their being Coombs positive didn't affect them, and I was able to nurse Gabriel for 14 months, and I'm still going strong with Cristian at close to nine months. It's not always easy, and it can get very mundane, but I'm grateful for this nursing relationship we have, and am in no rush to have it end! For those of you still nursing your little's I wish you a long, and happy breastfeeding relationship. And that when you, or they choose to end it that the transition goes well for both of you. 

Happy World's Breastfeeding Week! 



6 comments:

  1. That last picture is gorgeous! Such a great post.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Megan! xx!

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  2. So are you RH negative?

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    1. Surprisingly, I am not. And I never had to receive the immunoglobulin (RhIg) shot. I guess it's just one of those things! thanks for your question :)

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  3. beautiful pics for one!
    breastfeeding is so much harder than I ever thought and I never realized the pressure to bottle-feed. We had two doctors tell us this time around to use formula before my milk even came in. I'm in no way against formula, but was so irritated that was the doctors' answer for everything

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    1. thanks so much, Shaunacey! I know what you mean! It is so upsetting. Dr.s & med professionals need to be able provide their advice but also trust our choices as well! I hope things are going well for you and your little guy- he is sooo cute!

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