Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Boob Juice: I love it/ I hate it edition

So it's been three months of exclusively breastfeeding the little guy, and now I'm back at work 4 days a week (I work from home on Wednesdays).The situation has changed, once again, so I thought I'd record the recent changes - both in circumstances and in my attitude - in list form.

Stuff I love about breastfeeding:

- Nursing is a really snuggly time. I have a super-tall baby, so he wraps himself almost all the way around me when he's nursing, which keeps us both warm on these chilly days. When I burp him after he nurses, he likes to snuggle and chat, too - it's great quality time.

- As the kiddo's personality is coming out more, he gets really cute mid-nursing session: sometimes when he's no longer starving but he's not finished with his meal, he'll take a quick break to look up and me and smile. Sometimes he does this three or four times in a row: it's like early peek-a-boo. When he sees I'm still there, he looks SO HAPPY. Bonus cute points are earned when some milk runs down his cheek while he's making faces at me.

- This is selfish, but holy crap, this is the best weight-loss plan ever. I'm within 5 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight, all my pre-pregnancy pants fit, and the only exercise I've done since giving birth is walking around. All this despite the fact that I'm hungry all the time and eating like it's going out of style. This is a very nice side effect of being a nursing mom.

- So far, I haven't had an issue with supply. I built up a stash of freezer milk before I headed back for work, which has helped while I've figured out how much I need to pump in the office. Now that I've been doing it for a couple of weeks, I think things are starting to regulate, and I'm grateful we haven't really had a panic about what the kid will eat.

- Dude is growing in leaps and bounds, and everything he's eating comes from me. It seems arrogant to be proud about that, but... whatever. I'm proud of it.

- I'm a D-cup. Va va va voom.

Stuff I don't love about breastfeeding:

- I'm a D-cup. Yeah, that's hawt and all, but the need to wear industrial-grade underwire bras all day makes it a little less awesome.

- All those nice things about nursing? Yeah, that doesn't happen during pumping, which I do 3-4 times a day on office days and once or twice on days I'm home. Being attached to a milking machine feels very bovine, and a little sad because I know what I'm missing (see snuggle description above).

- If I go more than about 4 hours without either nursing or pumping, I get uncomfortable. If I go more than 6 hours, I start to feel like my chest will explode. This is a bummer, because on the occasional night when the kiddo sleeps 8+ hours, I don't get to sleep that long: I have to get up at some point and pump. And it's not like, "oh, maybe I should pump", it's painful. So some days I feel like I will never ever sleep more than 7 hours straight ever again. I know this isn't true, but it will be several months, at least, before I'll have that chance.

- My kid is great about taking a bottle, but he prefers nursing... which means he likes to make up for lost time on days I'm away at the office. Lost time gets made up at 2am. Bleh. At least I don't have to wake up at 6 to pump?

- I am concerned that one of these days I'll forget the bottles or pump parts I have to tote back and forth from home to the office... and then I'll have to take the 30-minute train ride back to pick them up. Hasn't happened yet, but I've only been doing this for a couple of weeks so far.

I will say that, on balance, things have smoothed out, and I can see continuing this nursing relationship as long as the little dude would like (or until he's 2 - that's my limit). My advice to new moms who are considering it remains that it's worth a try and it's best to ask for help BEFORE you're crying about it. Because you'll get to the point when you look forward to nursing the tot, and you kind of feel like a superhero for being the source of his food and a major source of comfort, and contented post-nursing snuggles are really the tops for both parties.

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