Everything I Never Knew About Breastfeeding.

As promised…here we go! So many questions always surround this touchy, sensitive subject. Does it hurt? How long do you do it for? How much milk should you produce? When is it okay to introduce a bottle/pacifier? What is wrong with formula? I do not know all the “right” answers to these questions. I can share with you what I have experienced and what those I personally know have said about their experiences.

I will start by saying the touchy, sensitive comment…was sarcasm. I will never understand why breastfeeding is such a controversial topic. What I do understand is that it can make people uncomfortable who are unfamiliar with it. I believe the thing that makes people uncomfortable is public nursing. From what I have seen…chances are if you saw someone nursing in public (and I mean without a nursing cover) it was a rare situation. I say this because it is happening ALL around you and you just do not notice because most women are discreet and you cannot even tell. I somehow managed to only nurse in public once and it was with a nursing cover. Even then I got some stares and a whispered “how inappropriate.” Not sure what was inappropriate but…lets get back to all those questions.

Does it hurt? It did me for many weeks. For a couple reasons. One, until I went in for my six week postpartum check I did not realize if you are cracking like I was you should use lanolin cream after each nursing. Whoops! After I started using it more the pain was much better! Another reason it may have been painful was because Scarlett did not latch very well on one side for quite some time (10 weeks) and I used a nipple shield. So many people say horrible things about nipple shields but let me tell you-it worked for us! She did not get nipple confusion or have issues otherwise.

How long do you do it for? This question goes two ways. How long was each nursing and to what age. Well, I learned much later that my daughter used me as a pacifier and would “nurse” for hours. I spent the first 4-5 weeks of her life on a couch with her latched on! I believe what most books say is that after 20 minutes they are not getting any milk and they are using you as a pacifier. This also may have attributed to the pain! Now for the tricky one…to what age. To me this is a completely personal choice. I have heard baby led weaning is generally best. Me personally, I am starting the weaning process now. The reason for that leads to the next question.

How much should you produce. I have no clue. I do know that I am a milk machine. I went back to work when she was 8 weeks old. We introduced a bottle pretty early on when she just would not give me a break from nursing so we did not have any bottle taking issues. When I went back to work I had to pump.I would pump around 9am, nurse her at lunch, pump again at 2pm, then the other pumping early on depended on her sleeping habits. I quickly built up a huge stash. I am talking I currently have probably enough frozen milk to last until she is 1 (in 2.5 months). That is why I am starting to wean. Since we are moving to Japan I cannot take it with us so I want to use as much of it as possible. To put into number what I pumped: it was usually 27-32 ounces a day and I would only send her to daycare with 18 ounces and then it bumped up to 21 ounces. That was also with nursing her in the morning and at night.

That is all the insight I have for now. I will do at least one more breastfeeding post since I am weaning. I know this is something that I was so curious about so I want to share my experience with you all. 10338253_1142011155816665_2979713689489562773_n

Disregard me looking a mess but this is the picture that was “inappropriate” while nursing in public 🙂

Week 39

So there I was…39 weeks and 3 days pregnant 🙂

Weight: I am up 1 pound this week. This puts me at 34 gained total for the pregnancy. Again, I wanted to stay around 30 but I’m still within the recommended range so I will take it!

Cravings: Honestly at this point I’m really craving the things I will be able to have again once little one arrives! My first want? A black and bleu cheeseburger!

Doctor’s Appointment: I was really hoping for something awesome from this appointment. You know what we got? Nada! This girl is completely comfortable and not in a hurry to even pretend like she is coming! At last weeks appointment she said she would do a cervical check this week and sweep my membranes. Turns out she is still so high that she would not even do the membrane sweep.

After listening to the heartbeat the doctor said that at 40 weeks she will schedule me for an induction at 41 weeks but it is really most common for women to go into labor naturally between 39-41 weeks and in her experience when she schedules the induction that is when labor happens. If we make it to induction it will make our little November baby become a December baby!

Other Comments: I was pretty disappointed that I am not dilated but it honestly did not surprise me. I have had no indication of labor other than the occasional tightening which the doctor says could be contractions. Unfortunately those contractions are very random, maybe 3-4 a day, and not even frequent enough to time.

I am still working full time and plan to until Thanksgiving. I told work if I make it to Thanksgiving (3 days over my due date) I will just call it quits! If we make it to induction that means I will be off for only two or three days prior to her arrival.

I am, as most women who have made it to over 39 weeks probably are, very anxious most of the time wondering when she will decide to come! I think if I was having contractions or had lost my mucus plug, or if I had even dropped I would be a little less anxious. Or maybe not! That might make me even more anxious.For the time being I am just trying to stay busy and enjoy these last few days, or weeks, without another human being who needs my constant attention. I know free time will soon be a thing of the past!

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Week 38

Weight: so I am going to say 2 pounds up from last week. I say it like that because I weighed myself at home and that is what it was and this afternoon at the doctor their scale said I was up 4 pounds…in one week. I’m not stressed about either of those because at this point I am swelling a lot so the doctor said a lot of these last pounds gained is going to be water weight.

Cravings: I have had a pretty big increase in appetite but nothing specific. Well maybe bread…I do think bread sounds amazing all the time.

Doctor’s Appointment: Today our doctor did an ultrasound to make sure everything looked good. Little one is head down and engaged which is good. This little one is such a mover and during the ultrasound it was no different! She would not sit still. We were hoping to get that final verification that she was “still” a girl and she had her legs crossed so we couldn’t see. As soon as the doctor would get a good pose of her she would jerk away so we did not even get a picture!

The biggest thing that came out of this appointment was I may be having contractions and I did not realize it. From anyone i have ever talked to they have made comments about knowing a real contraction because of how much pain it will cause. Well I have been having really bad back pain the last few days that causes me to stop and take a deep breath. Well apparently this could be contractions. She said it is not true that a contraction will be so painful it will stop you in your tracks. She told me to start timing my backaches because they very likely could be contractions. They have not been rhythmic at this point so I am still not too worried about being in labor but since I have had no other signs I was glad she said that those back pains could be early labor!

At this point we still do not know if I am dilated but I am still working full time. She said she sees no medical reason why I can’t keep working until the end because I am extremely healthy and showing no issues.

Other Comments: We are just so ready for her to be here! I know the longer she is in there the more she grows and develops but my patience is getting thin! I took today off just to have a day of nothing and that was nice. I know free days are about to be a thing of the past so I wanted to take advantage while I had a chance! I have definitely noticed a difference in the last week as far as how I feel. I have had a great pregnancy and I am just now experiencing that “this is miserable” feeling. I know the end is in sight though and how worth it it’s going to be when I get to hold her!

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Week 37

Weight: I did not gain any weight this week. This keeps me right at 30 pounds gained. I was quite shocked at this since it was Halloween and I did consume more candy than I should have!

Cravings: Today I really wanted a chimichanga…but in all honesty I don’t think that has anything to do with pregnancy. I just really like chimichangas!

Doctor’s Appointment: My doctor is on vacation this week so I saw another doctor that is in the same office as mine. She was extremely nice. My primary doctor does not normally tell me my fundal height (uterus) measurements or say the heartbeat out loud and the doctor today did which was nice. This also guided me to look up what was “normal” because she said “you are right at 36” and I had no idea if that was good or bad! Apparently until 36 weeks your fundal height should be within 1cm of your current weeks of pregnancy. I also read after 36 weeks it can be a little off simply because the baby’s size is larger and depending on the position they are in it may be off a little. But I took being at 36 cm and currently being 37 weeks pregnant as a good sign! Her heartbeat was at 140.

The only question I had today was verifying I was good to still take Tylenol. I have been having some lower back pain and have avoided taking anything for it up until this point but I wanted to make sure I was still good this late in if the pain got to be too much. She said I was still fine to take acetaminophen.

Other Comments: So the big question I seem to be getting from a lot of people is “how are you feeling?” This is a tricky one. I could say a million things. My back hurts. Sleeping sucks. I can’t see my feet. But the truth is…I think I feel pretty good for being 37 weeks pregnant! I still cook dinner and clean the house. I am still walking 10,000 steps (about 4.25 miles) a day and while the constant pressure on my pelvis is awful I am still working full 8 hour days. Compared to what I often hear about and from women this close to delivery I would say I’m in pretty good shape!

I’ve read some articles that say I am now full term and others say not until 39 weeks. What is constant that I have read is that at 37 weeks the baby can come at anytime and there would unlikely be any medical issues that are caused from having her early. I would like her to just keep cooking for at least 2 more weeks. The longer she can be in there and keep her lungs maturing the better!

I have my hospital bag pretty much packed and our neighbor is a fire fighter and came over and checked our carseats for us! In terms of safety and necessities we are as ready for this little one as we can get!

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Week 36

Weight: I was up 2 pounds (in two weeks) at this doctors visit. Which is right where they say you should be. 1 pound a week! This brings my total gained to a nice round 30 pounds with 4 weeks to go. I wanted to be right at 30 total at the end but I know I am being healthy and not doing anything to cause an unhealthy gain so at this point my body is just doing what this little girl needs to be healthy!

Cravings: Nothing specific!

Doctor’s Appointment: At this appointment my doctor tested for group B strep. For those who don’t know this tests for a bacteria that they do not want passed to the baby as it is being born. It is tested by taking a giant swab in your vaginal area. It isn’t painful but just like anything…not pleasant having people mess around down there! The doctor said about 30% of women test positive for it and if they are positive when labor starts they will start you on an IV of antibiotics to avoid passing it to your newborn. I have not got the results back for that yet. She also had me check my thyroids again and those tests came back in normal range!

I, as always, had thought of a few questions for her as well! The first one I asked was how long she recommends waiting to start trying to conceive again assuming everything goes well with our birth. I asked this because we would like our kids to be close in age! She recommends waiting 15 months from one birth to the next. Her reasoning is mainly based on breastfeeding. Most doctors suggest if you are going to breastfeed to do it for at least 6 months if possible and if you are pregnant AND trying to breastfeed your calories and nutrients are being shared between breast milk and the new baby.

The second question I had for her was about cervical checks. I have a friend who recently delivered and during her cervical checks she was slowly (very slowly) dilating and it kind of made her anxious. As it would me! If I knew I was 1 cm dilated at 38 weeks I would constantly be wondering if I was going into labor. I asked her if she thought they were necessary or if I could chose to not have them. She said unless I’m telling her of symptoms that would suggest labor (watery discharge, contractions) she does not see a reason to check until 39 weeks.

At this point I will start having weekly check ups until delivery.

Other Comments: Last week I talked about swelling. I haven’t had anything like i did last week. I also changed my eating and drinking habits pretty drastically. I have been avoiding any additional salt and have been drinking SO much water. When I say so much I mean over 100 oz a day. The swelling was horrible and I am doing anything to avoid that again!

My heartburn has also not been nearly as bad. I imagine that is due to the change in diet as well. New this week though: I’ve been very nauseous. It is often in the morning and usually eating a granola bar helps it.

Still no stretch marks and my belly button still hasn’t popped out! I know both of those could very easily change in the next four weeks though! The closer the time gets the more nervous I am getting about labor itself. We have both car seats installed in our vehicles and now it is just the sit and wait until little girl decides to make her entrance!

36 weeks

Week 35

Weight: Well I don’t have a doctors appointment this week so this one is kind of tricky since my scale is NEVER what the doctors scale says. According to my scale I am up 2 pounds in one week. This puts me at exactly 30 pounds gained total. I am hoping that some of that was due to my birthday and anniversary eating craze that took place over the weekend and I can maintain that until my appointment next week!

Other Comments: So something new decided to join me this week. Swelling. Oh the swelling. For those of you who know me personally you know-I have scrawny little legs. Even when I was 35 pounds overweight I had little stick legs. So seeing cankles on me is very strange! To hopefully stop the swelling I have starting drinking more water and I plan on watching my salt intake very closely. From what I have read potassium deficiency can also make the swelling worse so bananas here I come! The swelling wasn’t as bad today as it was the last two nights so I really think it was a combination of doing too much and poor eating.

I have also discovered heartburn. Well, apparently I have had it and had a Brittainy moment and did not know I had heartburn. I always thought heartburn was in you chest. I started having this acidy taste in my throat and look it up and it is a form of heartburn/acid reflux. I had no idea! I seem to get it at night around bedtime and I even notice it when I get up at night for those awesome bathroom trips. One thing I can say is this-I have a lot less bathroom breaks then what I hear from other pregnant women. I only get up once a night at this point. I’m hearing others say 3-4 times a night. I’m pretty sure my husband would kick me out of the room if I had to pee that much!

My insomnia is still awful. Just this morning I woke up, wide awake, at 3:45am and have been up since. I got up, got a drink and tried to just lay back down and that lasted until 4:30am and I just gave in and woke up for the day. I did get a nice little walk in at 5:30am when it was still cool outside. The California fall weather this year has been a bit of a nightmare. The heat may also be what is causing some of this swelling!

One of my goals for the week is to try to up my walking from 8,000 to 10,000 steps. This is purely to see if an increase in exercise helps the rapid weight gain that I have been having. Next weeks doctors appointment will tell!

Movement has changed from being kicks to full movements of her body. If you take a look at the picture below you will also see she much prefers to create a lopsided belly. In the picture that is me looking down at my belly and she is clearly hanging out on the right side 🙂

One more week and we are at 9 months!

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Weeks 31-33

Weight: 168. Up 2 pounds in 3 weeks and a total weight gain of 21 pounds.

Cravings: The snapple tea wore off. No specific cravings but rather I want to eat ALL the time. And it is never anything good. I want cookies and chips, burgers and fries 🙂

Doctors Visit: This was a super quick visit! She talked to us about getting a breast pump and thinking about maternity pictures. She also brought up that we were encouraged to go to the hospital and pre-register soon so that once we were there for the real deal it would go a little quicker. The appointments from 20 weeks until this point have honestly been very fast. 10 minutes tops! She usually goes over a few things (labs, suggestions to prepare for baby), checks the heartbeat, and measures my uterus to make sure the baby is measuring correctly. I know the less ideal ones are soon to come. I believe at 36 weeks is when they will start checking my cervix. Ouch.

Other Comments: This was when the gifts started to flow in. And oh man we are thankful! We had two baby showers right at 32 weeks. One at work and then my sister-in-law had one for us three days after that. Let me tell you about the cardboard boxes we collected during this time. Yikes! Also, a lesson I learned…stick to people’s registries or get them gift cards from where they are registered at! I only say this because everyone loves buying baby clothes (me included!) and this little girls closet is packed! I can’t get over the clothes people bought!

Speaking of registries…we were skeptical about what to register for because we didn’t want people to think we were asking for too much. Register for it! Some of the larger items we received because several people pitched in together to buy them and we could not be more thankful! I honestly had put a good sum of money aside thinking we would have to buy a lot of things ourselves and we honestly barely bought anything! We have a few items left at this point (breast pump and stock piling diapers) but other than that we are ready for this baby! I plan on posting about registering and the nursery later this week so keep an eye out for that!

32 weeks

Weeks 28-30

Hellloooo 3rd Trimester!

Weight: 166. Up 6 pounds for the month and a total weight gain of 19 pounds. I had a little bit of a breakdown at this appointment. Seeing a 6 pound weight gain in one month is a little terrifying! The doctor was not worried about it at all since I was still well within a normal weight gain range.

Cravings: Still the tea.

Doctors Visit: You will most likely hear that when you hit 28 weeks you will go from having 4 week appointments to having 2 week appointments. My doctor said she felt I was doing well enough that it was not necessary and she wanted to do two appointments at 3 weeks apart and then start the 2 week appointments. I was a little bummed about this because going to the doctor gives me a great peace of mind being able to hear the heartbeat. At the same time it was a nice feeling knowing she was not worried about anything with my pregnancy. As I mentioned in the weight section, I was pretty freaked out. She assured me that if she felt like I was gaining too much she would let me know. The baby was not measuring big and that is what she would be concerned about.

Other Comments: Remember how I mentioned the snoogle earlier in my updates? Well this is around the time it came back out. I think it didn’t work well before because my belly just wasn’t big enough. But this is the time when sleeping without some additional support got tricky. Around 30 weeks it got pretty tough to lay comfortably so I gave the snoogle another chance. I still don’t know if it is actually helping or if it is just mentally helping. Either way-I’m using it! This is also when the insomnia starting kicking in. I wish this on no pregnant woman ever. It is miserable! When I say I have insomnia I mean I will be wide awake hanging out in the living room watching some Law & Order for about 2 hours (usually around 2:30-4:30 am) at least twice a week. Getting out of bed and trying to clear my mind by watching a few shows usually helps me get sleepy again.

Movement…oh the movement of this little child. I will never complain because these kicks and rolls are a good indication of a healthy baby but whew…the bigger they get the more she is doing some zumba or karate in there! It is fun to see my whole belly jump around.

28 weeks30 weeks

Weeks 24-27

Weight: 160. Up 3 pounds for the month and a total weight gain of 13 pounds. I was very inconsistent with weight gain throughout the pregnancy. I think it was because I would have a good month and then allow myself to walk less and then gain more (check out next months gain…yikes again!!)

Cravings: This is when I started craving Snapple Raspberry Tea. It was out of nowhere and I have still had the craving off and on.

Doctors Visit: At this visit the doctor ordered my labs for the glucose test and had me get my thyroid levels checked again. The glucose test is a big deal because it checks for gestational diabetes. You go and drink this super sweet orange drink. It reminded me of tang that was made with too much sugar. You then sit for an hour while your body reacts to the drink and then have your blood drawn. Thankfully, my results were all normal. From what I am told if you “fail” this test you have to go back and do it again but for 3 hours instead of 1. If you fail the 3 hour test you will get placed on a very strict diet and can possibly even have to take insulin injections.

Other Comments: So I haven’t discussed it yet but here it is…this is when the boob situation happened for me. Since I wear a uniform most days I was wearing a lot of sports bras. Well when I tried to wear a normal bra it was like when you open the tube of biscuits and the dough is oozing out of the edges. It was time for new bras for sure but I didn’t want to spend too much money on them because I knew nursing bras were in my near future and those bad boys are expensive! By this time I was up 2 sizes and not happy. I am already large chested and these things just keep growing. Oh the joys…

Around this time is also when I started to get “the line.” You know, the dark line that appears from the pubic bone up to your belly button while pregnant. Its official name is a linea nigra and it is, along with most pregnancy related symptoms, due to hormones. Another popular pregnancy wonder is the belly button. Mine has not popped out at this point. Skin…I hear a lot of people have horrible skin while pregnant. This is the opposite for me. I had okay skin prior to pregnancy with some random blemishes and pimples here and there but during pregnancy I have had amazing skin. This terrifies me for after pregnancy! I did have a couple new moles appear which the doctor said was completely normal!
24 weeks26 weeks

Weeks 20-23

Weight: 157. So up 5 pounds in one month (yikes) and a total gain of 10 pounds at the hallway point. Since I was “average” weight (seriously…I hate those categories) the doctor said I should gain a total of 25-35 pounds for my pregnancy. That didn’t stop me from being super paranoid…ALL the time.

Cravings: Around this time I was craving pineapple SO bad. I figured that wasn’t too shabby of a craving since it is pretty good for you 🙂

Doctors Visit: We had two visits during this month. At 20 weeks is when we had our anatomy scan and then we also had our traditional doctor appointment with the OB. The picture to the right shows my “Old Wives Tales” and as you can see-most of them definitely pointed to our little one being a boy. Nick swore from the beginning we were having a girl. And I mean that was, if I remember correctly, the first thing out of his mouth-“it’s going to be a girl.”Old Wives

The scan went well and everything that was supposed to be there-was. The technician agreed with our doctor from our 16 week scan-we were having a girl. After all the measurements the technician put our due date 3 days prior to the date calculated by my last menstrual period (LMP) which seemed right on track. Since we used ovulation tests I knew I was about 3 days earlier than what my LMP was saying. This put our estimated due date to 22 November (Original 25 November).

During this doctors visit something odd happened. We were sitting in the room waiting and all the sudden you can hear my doctor running down the hall yelling “what? She wasn’t supposed to go this early!” Apparently one of her other patients went into labor. Haha. So during this visit I saw a nurse practitioner who listened to the heartbeat and for the first time I got my uterus measured. It is really odd to have someone take a measuring tape to your stomach just FYI.

Other Comments: This month was the month that I definitely started “showing.” I was still pretty small but around 22 weeks is when even Nick was like oh wow, you are getting a belly finally. Around 22 weeks is also when Nick could feel the baby for the first time. I kept making him feel when I felt movement but it just wasn’t hard enough for him to feel yet.

20 WeeksIt's a Girl!