Number one thing. Its NOT easy. Especially in the beginning. I know..not exactly what you wanted to hear..but its true. BUT..it DOES get easier as time goes on!! Sure, I had days where it was a total breeze. And then there were the times I felt like (and keep in mind my goal was to get to at least 6 months of breastfeeding)..I'm only 2 weeks in..I'm NEVER going to make it to 6 months!! But then one day you won't realize it and think to yourself..this is easy now! When did THAT happen?!
My saving grace was a nipple shield. For those of you who've never heard of it or even seen one before..Target sells them.
When we went on a short vacation with Makayla when she was only 5-6 weeks old..I decided to try to pump so we could have a little more freedom when we were out and about. It worked fine while we were there. But once we got back home and were trying to get back to our normal..she didn't want anything to do with me (she wanted the bottle..not the breast). I was beside myself. My advice from my obgyn when I went in for my 6 week checkup when I mentioned it to her was 'get ready for alot of crying'. Not exactly what I had hoped for advice! So..I got online as we all do and did some research. I'd read over and over on pregnancy/new mom forums about breast shields and found one at Target. First time..it worked like a charm. Relief!!!! I was SO happy I can't even tell y'all! Nobody wants to have to wake up 2 or 3 times during the night to feed their baby..only then to have to pump for the next feeding before getting back in bed. That makes for very little sleep! Even though they say to not use these for an extended amount of time..and that it can decrease your milk supply..I'm still using mine. And I've not had a problem.
Which brings me to milk supply. As of recently..I have had a little bit of problems making enough to keep her satisfied (when bottle feeding). But..I give her a breastmilk bottle before she goes to bed..and because of this..she wants it completely full now. I was having a hard time getting the bottle 100% full and having to add just a touch of formula. We're talking about 1 oz is all. But when I'm feeding her normally (no bottle..just me)..I have no problems. Babies can get their milk from mommy better than any pump can get it from mommy. I've definately seen proof of this! It would be better if she'd just take from me before bedtime..but somewhere along the line we just got into this routine and honestly..I like it better this way. I know exactly how much she's getting and know that she's gonna be full when she goes to bed.
Its funny how in the early days of nursing..I was struggling to keep her awake. You know how babies just love to fall asleep at the breast!! And now my struggle (when I have any..which isn't all the time mind you) is keeping her focused on the 'task' at hand and not be distracted! Used to I could nurse her and hold a conversation with anyone in the room with me..write notes..whatever need be. Now I have to be alone..no talking..no nothing. She gets distratcted EASILY. I actually find it funny most of the time how she's changed..like she's shy about nursing or something!
With all of this said..I do have one last thing to share which might suprise some of you who don't know my breastfeeding story really well. I have been nursing my girl since basically day one with only one breast. While I was in the hospital..my milk didn't come in right in my left breast. I had alot of problems getting her to feed from that side (hello inverted nipples) and once home and still struggling..I basically gave up. When I would pump from that side..I would only get 1/2-1 oz..total..in one days time. And I never had the pain and/or feeling of being full on that side either. My obgyn said because of this I might have a hard time keeping up once she got bigger..but I honestly can say I haven't! I praise God for that! I kept thinking I'd be lucky to make it to 6 months..but now at over 8 we're still going strong and I hope to continue until she's a year old and then make the switch to cow's milk gradually.
If anyone wants to ask me a question about breastfeeding..feel free to leave a comment and I'll gladly respond! I'm not saying I'm some sort of expert..but having doing this for over 8 months now..I know I might be able to help out someone who's just starting out. Its a wonderful and very rewarding journey..and I'm glad to be able to share my story!!