My Abnormal Breastfeeding Journey, Episode 2: The Issues Multiply

Welcome back to the continuing story of My Abnormal Breastfeeding Journey! Last time I shared about how trained professionals all informed me that I would be unsuccessful in nursing my newborn unless I used the nipple shield all throughout my nursing experience. There were no tips offered from any of them either, I might add, that could have made all the difference.

I completely believe that, had I had the proper information from the beginning, I could have weaned her successfully off of the shield and began nursing in the way God designed. Here are some of the breastfeeding tips out there that I learned all but too late in the game for me:

  1. Prior to nursing use a breastpump for a few minutes
  2. Prior to nursing let the baby suck on your finger a few minutes
  3. Prior to nursing roll nipple back and forth between fingers
  4. Attempt nursing without shield during the early signs of hunger (prior to crying) or be prepared to reintroduce the shield if baby gets too upset
  5. Give your baby ample time to root around and find you for themselves

There are, of course, pros and cons to using the nipple shield. The main pro (for me) being, there was nursing happening. The main con for me, that there is little to no natural stimulation of the nipples and the shield is basically acting as a breast pump at this point. I ended up trying self stimulation for a period of time – With varying levels of success for me. 

Stimulated nipples are supposed to get your milk following faster, stronger, etc. And in a normal nursing experience, a suckling babe provides all the stimulation you need.

And though I was happy for being able to do some form of nursing, it was not a walk in the park. As time went on, there were more and more difficulties that introduced themselves into our routine:

  1. We were using the nipple shield, period. Not the most stressless of tasks in of itself. There were multiple times in the middle of nursing with tears, and flailing, causing me to have to reinstate the shield I was trying to get rid of. I’m sure all mothers using the shield have shared my envy of mothers who were blessed to not need it.
  2. Baby had pretty poor suction. So, after nursing as best as she could, she was still hungry and not strong enough to pull out what she needed to fill her belly. I ended up having to introduce a bottle long before I wanted and even a little formula to catch up with my pumping.(she was only a week and a half old)
  3. I was only able to produce the necessary amount for her intake for a very short period of time… around a month. In spite of all my efforts to increase my supply, I was never able to catch up with her needed intake amount. (Before you assume what I was or wasn’t doing wrong, stay tuned for more on this part of the story.) I literally was forced to regularly supplement with formula.
  4. I had to calm down a hungry baby prior to her even accepting the bottle (every time).
  5. I had to spend time pumping after time spent nursing and also bottle feeding. (I also often had to comfort her again after the bottle, even when she’s had her fill, had burped, etc., before pumping could take place)

The whole routine of nursing, bottle feeding and pumping were all much more demanding than anyone might realize. You see, as I nursed I was more or less chained to my seat because of the nipple shield (It often fell off during nursing for various reasons, and was a hassle to reattach,)  preventing me from being able to preprep her bottle one handed (which would finish her meal) let alone stand up for anything. She would nurse until she was upset / frustrated for not being able to get anything more from me. At this point it was nearly impossible to calm her, and I had to somehow prep the bottle while trying to soothe the poor soul. 

Once her bottle was ready, I would do my best to finish calming her down as much as possible again for her bottle to be accepted, then all was well again for a short time. After her meal, I would then try to focus on pumping.

It took anywhere from 5-10 minutes to get my pumping gear in order (depending on how skilled I  was at assembly and if everything was clean and ready to go or not.) Sometimes, baby was asleep while I prepped, sometimes she cried, and other days she was just laying quietly. But, she never failed to have some desperate need for me 3-5 minutes into pumping. I would pump as long as I dare let her cry, pause my efforts, and come back again as soon as possible. There were definitely days that I pumped off and on every hour just trying to meet the recommended pumping time.

This meant that many of my days were spent with some degree of a constant flow of nursing, bottle feeding, and pumping, combined with time spent calming baby, changing baby, helping relieve baby gas (a story for another day!), bathroom breaks, etc., etc., etc. It was a vicious circle of events that never really seemed to end. 

Many might say that I could have and should have let her cry while I got my pumping sessions in, but I didn’t feel justified in doing this. Every time she cried, it was because of a genuine need. She didn’t like being in wet/dirty diapers and remained this way for 8-9 months of her life. In fact, for the longest time, she even knew when it was about to happen and give warning cries as well as cries at the time of the deed. But all was well when she had a dry diaper on.

And since her cries were all a result of an actual need, be it diapers, hunger, gas, or otherwise, I wanted her to know that she could depend on me to do my best to ‘fix’ the issue. I even read multiple articles saying that responding to babies cries and needs as soon as possible would build trust in their eyes. And I wanted her to trust me. Pure and simple.

As stated above, I was only able to produce enough breast milk to fill her little belly for a very short time. Which meant we had to look at other alternatives. 

Well, what about the breast pumping? And that formula feeding (what a completely blasphemous thought!)!?! Was it really necessary for me to stoop so low and deny or baby the healthy benefits of breast milk?! 

To Be Continued…………..

Please check back with me next time for the story finale! Follow me for notification on my next post!

Resources Used while writing this article series:

Nipple Shields


My 30 Day Challenge for the Facebook Community – Daily Challenges and Exercises

​My 30 Day Challenge for the Facebook Community begins today, and I’m in the process of compiling some daily aids to help you achieve your goals. If you don’t find them helpful, no biggie! Feel free to let me know things that you have found to be helpful to you though, I’d love to hear about them! The whole point is to get yourself thinking and speaking more positively; it doesn’t really matter the tools you use to get there. 

Since this is a brand new challenge to me too (hey, I only thought of creating it yesterday!) I’ll probably have several posts to update and improve the challenge anyway through the years. But we can’t find a better road without first choosing a road to begin traveling. 

Like I said, I’m still in the process of creating the daily challenges. Please check back with me at this post for the remaining daily challenges tomorrow. If you have a suggestion for a daily exercise, please leave me a comment and I’ll take note of it. 

Now, without further ado here is your first challenge:

Day 1 – Try a day of silence and reflection. Without posting on your wall, comments, reply, messages, meditate on what words you think you might be saying for those around you to read. You can still navigate FB as normal, but do not engage in conversation. Think about the words you want to say and if they would be positive posts or if they could most definitely have a negative impact on your readers. Ask yourself how many different ways you could write say your peace, but in positive ways. 

Day 2 – Allow yourself one post today, but make it a good one. It can be on your wall, a comment or reply, a message, or a note. It should be uplifting to you. Continue meditating on the words you would normally respond with and if they hold any negativity. 

Day 3 – Set your own post restrictions, but post only positive things. Don’t allow yourself free reign of Facebook yet.

Day 4 – Today, you are free to fully engage in Facebook. But, remember to continue thinking about your words before posting. 

Day 5 – Post something super positive/uplifting about someone close to you who you know you don’t day enough good things about.

Day 6 – If you see Facebook friends posting something negative, ask how you could help them change their perspective into something positive, select one friend and offer up those words of encouragement. Choose everything wisely with this challenge!

Day 7 – An end of the week day of silence and meditation. Reflect on the past week and how your thought process has changed (or hasn’t); ask yourself what you should work on and set an attainable goal for yourself to work on over the next 7 days.

Day 8 – Homework day! Focus on the goal all you set for yourself.

Day 9 – What goes in must come out.  listen to and watch positive things today (music, movies, videos, etc.) Post about how something like these affect your attitude for the best. If you are up for it, the K-Love radio station has their own 30 day challenge when it comes to turning on the tunes!

Day 10 – Focus on your goal. If you’ve accomplished it already, great job! What is another goal you can set?

Day 11 – Get out and do something new and exciting, out just do something you love and write about about it. What do you like/love about it? How does it encourage your heart/soul, etc., etc.?

Day 12 – Say something kind/loving about someone you know that you’ve spoken negativity about before on social media (perhaps on a regular basis.) Was it your mom, dad, spouse, sibling, etc.? They probably have no clue, right? You know who they are!

Day 13 – Turn a negative feeling about yourself into something positive! We all have that one thing we get down on ourselves about. What is it for you? How could you find anything positive in connection with this for any other person? Example: are you overweight? People love you for you, not for the scale numbers. Such love from those close to you is worthy of a post filled with gratitude for them in your life. 

Day 14 – Day of reflection and personal goals. Reflect again on how things are going, improvements or lack of, new goals you want to reach, post goals you have reached or are still working on.

Day 15 – Homework day; self assessment. 

Day 16 – 

Thoughts on Bucket Lists

​I recently read a post by Crave Life entitled 50 simple things. It’s an unconventional bucket list of things to do with your life. Things you forget to think about but probably wouldn’t mind doing during your lifetime. Things that are more within your reach than, say, visiting every country, or shaking the hand of every President and firmer President alive during your lifetime. 

Not everything on ever bucket list is for everybody, but it was an inspiring list for me. It birthed the question of “what things I might want to put on my own list?” For me, one of those things would be to start and complete a New Year resolution! I’ve tried to do them before, but always get so distracted by life, I forget, and before I know it the year is gone and I’ve failed, yet again to complete a resolution. 

A friend of mine one year had the ultimate list (yes list) of New Year resolution goals. It was at least 3 pages long, front and back. It was mainly this long because it had a list of books and movies she was planning to read and watch that year in addition to other personal goals. She’d taken recommendations from family, friends and students on what to put on the book and movie lists. It was a fun year for everyone watching her check items of her list. With over 100 things to achieve, some of us wondered if she would pull it off, and she was one of them. But she did! What an inspiration. 

But I’m getting away from my subject of bucket lists…

Here is a small, but simple list of my own of things that should be doable at some point in my life:

1. Meet a New Year resolution goal. (Hey, you knew this would be one)

2. Make a quilt for each of our children.

3. Come up with an easy and regular meal plan routine.

4. Get creative on tasty ways to get more veggies in our family meals that will actually get eaten.

5. Go on regular/semi regular nature walks.

6. Hang my pictures on the wall still waiting around after our move!

7. Loose 10 pounds.

8. Write more regularly (stories, not blogs)

9. Begin Christmas crafting several months early.

10. Start an herb garden.

Most of these are probably specific to me, but if you would like to start a list of your own, here are a couple of ideas:

  • Start an emergency/savings fund. 60% of Americans can’t afford unplanned expenses. Even though Dr. build can for sure fit in, I’m not talking Cancer; I mean engine trouble, dead appliances that affect you storred foods, job loss, etc. Having a 3-6 month emergency fund in place at all times can eliminate a lot of stress, and mess. But you have to build it over time. Start with whatever you can afford each paycheck. Even if it’s just a few dollars at a time. 
  • Watch a classic movie new to you with your partner or a friend. There are some great ones out there, and if like to believe that there is at least one everyone can enjoy.
  • Try something new each month for a year. See what new hobbies, sports, or foods you fall in love with. 
  • Find a way to give back to your community in ways you’ll be sure to repeat.
  • Sponsor a child, or house a foreign exchange student. Building relationships with these kids can start out as an act of love or charity towards them, but it can end a real blessing to you! 

Well I hope some of this has been an inspiration to you. Check out the link above to the article by Crave Life and see if there are things we don’t have that you want on your own list, and let me know what those are.

Until then, happy trails!

A Chaotic Life for Me

It’s been months since I’ve picked up ‘paper and pen’ to write even a draft for a post. Not how I’d imagined my year going.  But, for our house it’s been a constant adventure in parenthood. With a great deal of precious memories to go along with it, of course. 

I’ll at least be making efforts to return to the blog to once again share my life adventures with you. So much has happened since my last post (not to mention my last draft) that I hardly know where to begin, but I am determined to jump back in! 

So, in spite of past infant gas struggles, parental loss of sleep, teething struggles and looming projects, here’s to October being a ‘New Beginning’ for the blog.

I bid you ‘goodnight’ for now. Until we meet again, friends. 

Episode Wha-Huh??

A long time ago in a cyber net far, far away…

Okay, so maybe not that long ago, or that far away. I knew when I started setting up this blog that I would be doing multiple posts that would tie together. So, I decided that inserted of doing “part 1,” “part 2” and so on of these related posts, I would instead like to call them “Episodes!”

And there you have it! Mystery solved!!

Remembering Flexibility

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had a father who loved punctuality and a mother who was known for always running behind. From a young age she decided she would always make it her goal to be on time, if not early, wherever she went!

This was my story in school, in gatherings and events, and even in meeting personal goals for many years until (cue music to an abrupt and screwy halt) my life took a turn. A turn for the better mind you, but a change nonetheless! This change can be described in one word. Family. As a single person there was little to no issues getting where I was going or doing what needed done. Getting married added a new layer of complexity that I had underestimated in the beginning. Having a child added an even larger dose of complexity to the game and it was then that my suspicions were confirmed. When you have family, you not only have multiple bodies, but multiple schedules, and multiple needs, etc., and nothing is the same. You just can’t expect to always get everything accomplished in the amount of time you desire, or sometimes at all. One of the main ideals you must adopt is “flexibility, flexibility, flexibility.” If you can’t be flexible and roll with the punches, you’ll be miserable and in turn, so will be your family. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m advising you to give up. Oh, not at all! Keep those goals. Keep trying to get done what you want. But, don’t forget to enjoy the ride; try not to stress out; be ready to incorporate a plan “B”; and perhaps more importantly, find and look for the humor in everything!! They say, if mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So, let’s make sure we do whatever we can to keep the needless bad attitudes to a minimum and the enjoyable moments in family just that; Enjoyable.

The Journey Begins

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been trying to “wait patiently” for the opportunity to start my “dream job.” While I attended college, they didn’t offer a major in my field of interest. There wasn’t an internship for me to be a part of, or even a single class I could enroll in. No, my dream job is one you, more or less, just have to dive into and figure out along the way. It’s a very demanding, high stress job, and there are no promotions, raises, or days off. In fact, there are not even vacations and you can’t earn even a dime for all the hard work you put into the long days that often include “overtime.” What is this terrible career I’ve chosen to be the field of my dreams, and why would I even want to consider it?

Believe it or not, there are a good number of pros that come with the job even amidst the seemingly endless list of cons: 1. You are the boss; 2. The rewards of the heart outweigh pocket change any day of the week; 3. You get to be part of something truly amazing. These are by no means the only good reasons in the list, for the job I’m speaking of is, of course, parenting.

That’s right, from as far back as I can remember, I’ve always dreamed of being a mother. To be even more specific, a stay at home mother and homemaker. But when you are a single woman, you can’t be a stay at home mom (at least not easily.) And even if I could have pulled it off somehow, my religious belief doesn’t support having a sexual partner outside of marriage and I fully desired to continue in obedience to those Biblical teachings. Being a fulltime homemaker is also especially difficult to do when you are single. I actually had very little time dedicated to the home, though part of this was by choice. I am very much a relational person who is energized by sharing life with others close to me. If I’d chosen to dedicate the time I felt was needed to keep the house how I wanted it (perfect) I would have been forgoing companionship all together and I decided that relationships were more important to me. So, only basic housework saw my face regularly.

I had hoped to dive into fulltime homemaking as soon as I was married, but after our marriage my husband and I agreed that I should continue working as long as possible to build up as much in savings as we could before having children. I even kept working while pregnant until it was about a month prior to my delivery date; but all that is a story for another time. It was a good decision to keep the second income though.

Today, I truly am doing what I have desired most along the road of life. Not everyone gets to say they are living their dream, but when I finally was able to quit my job (which was a good job with wonderful people, I might add) living my dream is just what I’d begun to do. I couldn’t have been more excited, though it would be some time before I could dive into my newest career of keeping the home. I knew caring for a newborn and infant would be demanding, and it has possibly been more so for me than the “average” mother… If there is an average. That also is a story for another day. But, even with all the demands, the rewards are phenomenal! And I’m so happy to be living this life.

But, this is not the only journey that I begin. I’ve known for at least a year that I wanted to begin a blog, but waiting until I was no longer working a full time job seemed like the way to go. However, with so much work going into beginning a blog, this may or may not have been the best choice. I’ll never really know.  Either way, here I am today, starting new journeys, and sharing my dreams through my love of writing! Now, I don’t claim to be a great writer or even a good one, but I do have a passion for it and have since childhood. I’m very excited about the new road ahead and can’t wait to see where it will take me, and even us!