Friday, February 24

Six Month BFing Milestone

This post isn't particularly related to food. Well, not adult food...

Yesterday my family reached a special milestone. Yesterday my baby girl turned six months old, and with the celebration of her life and health thus far, we also recognized six months of exclusive breastfeeding.
We did it! We made it to six months! It feels amazing to come this far and look at my daughter and see all the growing she's done, and her adorable chub and rolls, and know that it is from the milk that I have been able to give her!

I am thrilled to be a post liver transplant patient that pushed past the assumption that I couldn't breastfeed because of my anti-rejection meds. I did the research and found that it is a false assumption! For more info on that, read my post Medications & Breastfeeding. Also, check out the LactMed Drug & Lactation Database where you can look up your medications for any contraindications with nursing.

I believe that a key part of our success in breastfeeding has been my attitude about it. I was proactive during my pregnancy, I educated myself, committed to it 110%, surrounded myself with supportive people, and came up with a few back up plans. A healthy dose of prayer went toward this subject during my pregnancy, as well!

If you are a transplant patient or UC/IBD/autoimmune disease gal like me, or simply interested in nursing your baby, please feel free to ask about my experience. I'd love to share and help you any way I can with my (admittedly limited, yet so far successful) experience. As a woman who was embarrassed by seeing mothers nursing in public just a year ago, and being an adopted kiddo that never was breastfed myself, I love that breastfeeding is now one of my biggest passions!  :)

I thought I'd share a few resources that have helped me thus far, and then a list of my favorite nursing accessories:

Great Resources

Kelly Mom - This website is AMAZING for answering questions, looking for specific information, learning about new stages in breastfeeding, and so much more. We looked up a few issues in the first few days at home, and found reassurance and answers.

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers - I found this at the used book store, and if a bit extreme at times, it is a great source of information to read during your pregnancy. It prepares you well. I felt it wasn't much use to me after our initial stage of learning, because after the basics it moves into covering complications and challenges which didn't apply to us. I also learned some of the material in our breastfeeding class (which I highly recommend taking as another resource!).

LactMed - As I mentioned above, it is a great resource for looking up your medications. If you have to go in for any medical procedures while you're nursing, find out what they plan to give you for anesthesia or pain, and look it up ahead of time. I had to do this a few weeks ago. I learned that I would need to "pump and dump" until the med cleared from my system, so I saved milk for bottles ahead of time

Some of my favorite breastfeeding accessories:

Avent breast pumps - I'm convinced these are the best designed and easiest to clean (and most sanitary!) breast pumps out there. Bonus: They are more affordable than the brands often suggested by hospitals and baby registry consultants. When my milk came in just 24 hours after I had Baby V, my post partum nurse suggested (several times) that we pick up the manual Avent pump on our way home from the hospital. I was fortunate to have the use of my good friend's Avent Double Electric pump for several months, and it was invaluable with my abundant supply. Thanks to this pump I had a rotating month to two month's supply in my freezer for the first three months, and a lot better (drier) sleep at night! Now I own the Avent Manual single pump, and it works great. I used it recently on a road trip and it worked great - super compact and portable with the insulated carrying bag. I highly recommend either one of those pumps to all my mommy friends.

The First Years Breastflow bottles - These bottles were suggested by the lactation educator that taught our breastfeeding class, because of their unique design much closer to actual breastfeeding than other bottles. It makes Baby work harder at getting the milk, more like the real thing, so it reduces the chance of "nipple confusion" and similar problems. We introduced an occasional bottle at six weeks with one of these, and had no problems. We moved up to the Stage 2 nipple after a few months, and that worked well too.

Nursing cover - You can pick these up at Target, Babies R Us, Amazon... But I'm old fashioned and prefer the DIY versions of most things, so I asked my mom to sew me one. My cover is made of fabric I picked out for the nursery and never used. It is a heavier weight and better quality than the covers sold in stores, being it was on the "decorator fabric" aisle at JoAnn's. I love it! With a cover I am more comfortable nursing in public because I feel I am respecting other peoples' space and comfort level (and I stay warmer since it's winter!). If you know sewing, see Simplicity pattern #2165. But even a beginning seamstress with the most basic skills can take on a simple nursing cover. Just sew a big rectangle and tack stitch on a ribbon; it will work!

Now that we've reached the six month milestone, it's time to introduce Victory to solids. Stay tuned for occasional posts about our adventures in baby led solids and homemade Paleo baby food. I am enjoying reading about Baby Led Weaning and we're approaching solids from that perspective. It's going to be fun :)
Any Paleo or BLW/BLS or homemade baby food making moms out there, feel free to give me your pointers and tips...