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Allison’s Breastfeeding Experience

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

Before Gavin was born, I was really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed him. I really have no clue why this was – it wasn’t like anyone was pressuring me that I HAD to nurse him. There was just something in my heart that told me it was something I wanted to do.

Gavin was 8 days overdue, and at one of my frequent midwife appointments she told me that I could try using my breast pump a few times a day to help initiate labor. I was desperate to try anything at that point, and was SO happy when I did it and some colostrum came out. I knew that I was at least capable of producing milk at that point, which made me relax a little bit.

Gavin was born a few days later. My labor was intense, hard, and long, and once he was placed on my chest I honestly forgot that you are supposed to try to nurse them right away. I was staring at my little guy, in my own version of heaven, when he just started nursing. Who knew! He caught on immediately, and I had no issues with it.

We did just fine for the first 2 days in the hospital, and then just as they were getting ready to discharge me, they decided that Gavin needed to be admitted to the NICU for jaundice. That’s a whole other story, but basically I refused to leave him, so they got us a private room which was so kind.

One of the best ways to get rid of jaundice quickly is through pee/poop, so since my milk hadn’t come in yet, the nurses asked me if I would be open to supplementing with donor breast milk or formula. I said of course, and they defrosted some donor breast milk for him. I spent that whole day nursing him every 2 hours and then trying to give him a tiny Dr. Brown’s (from home) bottle of breast milk. He nursed like a champ, but wasn’t too interested in the bottles. He would drink it better if it wasn’t me giving it to him.

The next day my milk came in, so we didn’t need the donor milk anymore. Then the day after that we got to go home! Gavin was still nursing great when we got home, but for some reason I was worried he wasn’t getting enough milk. In hindsight, this was ridiculous because he had a ton of wet/dirty diapers, I was always engorged, and he was growing like a weed, but #firsttimemom. I think once or twice we tried to give him a small bottle of Honest Company formula right before bed (to help him sleep a longer stretch – HA! Joke was on us…), which he didn’t really have much interest in so we never tried it again.

I spent the next few months nursing him all day and all night and would pump a couple times during the day to have enough milk for Chris to give him a 6oz bottle around 11pm so I could get a longer stretch of sleep from like 8pm – 12:00am. Again, joke was on me because I always woke up so engorged around midnight needing to pump because Gavin had just had a feeding. So many lessons learned for next time!

I built up a pretty solid stash of milk, but by the time Gavin was around 3 months we had given up on the bottles entirely, because it wasn’t helping his sleep or mine, and he really just didn’t like them much. At this point I started using the Haakaa pump when I would nurse Gavin to keep building up a stash, which was SO helpful. Highly recommend.

We nursed on demand up until about 5 months of age, which was when we sleep trained Gavin and had a little more predictability in his schedule. Then we were having set daytime feedings about every 3 hours and he was nursing 2x in the night.

I am still nursing Gavin at 11.5 months old and love it so much. I have no clue when we will stop. Currently I nurse him right when he wakes up in the morning (around 7:30am), before his first nap (around 10:30am), before his second nap (around 3pm), and before bed (around 7:30pm). Sometimes I also nurse him once in the night if he wakes up, and other times he sleeps through.

I feel so blessed to still be nursing Gavin at this point and that we have had such an easy breastfeeding journey. Other than getting mastitis once when he was about a month old (antibiotics helped it immensely in just a couple days) and a few clogged ducts and sore nipples in the beginning, it was quite painless for me. Lansinoh Lanolin was a lifesaver in the first few weeks! He has bit me a couple of times since he got teeth about 8 months, but learned “no” pretty quickly. I have LOVED breastfeeding.

I have no clue when/how we will wean, but I’m sure I’ll document that whenever it happens!

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