Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nursing my baby...

Caroline asked the following questions when I mentioned nursing as part of our daily schedule:

Do you schedule Samuel's feedings or feed him on demand?

I have been in both camps on this issue. With Emily (my first), I was strict, strict, strict about trying to get her on a schedule and keeping her on it. She did get on a schedule and it worked great - but I did try to start her on a schedule too early. We were both stressed out by this! Live and learn.

With Samuel, I have really let him set the pace. I do have certain limits - I will not nurse for an hour (ahem, Emily) and I will try to have him go at least three hours between feedings. But, he does not eat at specific and set times every day and you know, it is working and it is relaxed. He does always wake in the morning between 6 and 7 to eat and always wants to nurse around 7:30 for bed time. The rest of the day is just kind of whenever.

Having said that, I am not one to offer nursing at every little whimper. As I mentioned above, I do try to have him go at least three hours. If he is napping and goes over three hours, great - but if he wanted to eat at after two hours, I would probably try to hold him off for a little bit. Maybe five minutes at a time until he stretched it out. I would not try to hold him off if he was screaming, only if it was easy to do so.

How long do you nurse each time?

Oh, I have a history here too. Emily wanted to nurse and nurse and nurse. Seriously, she would nurse for about an hour and I thought it was my duty as a mother to let her so she would get enough. I took her to the dr. for her two month well visit and the dr. insisted I stop that (I was also very sore from this). He said to take her off after 15 minutes per side. I started it that day and have never gone back!

Both Rachel and Samuel were/are very efficient nursers. I probably only spend about 15 minutes TOTAL nursing Samuel at each feeding.

Do you supplement with formula?

I do not. I would be willing to do this of course, if there was some reason I needed to - but honestly, I love nursing and would have a hard time accepting the need to supplement. Nursing is so easy - milk is always ready, always the right temp, not messy to clean up, no bottles to wash, etc... Yes, you can not be away from your baby very long - but I don't mind that either.

Is he on any baby food yet?

No. Samuel isn't even four months and honestly, I am not big into rushing solid foods with my babies. Emily was nine months before she started eating baby food and Rachel was at least six. I am not a doctor and I know that our pediatrician suggests starting earlier - but this is what has worked for us. I do not plan to start Samuel for a few more months unless there is a more pressing reason that I need to do so.

I will say that I have learned this is a touchy subject with a lot of people. The things I share here are strictly my opinion and what I have found works for us. If something else works for you, great - go for it! I am not saying this is the only way, just our way. Also, I am not a doctor and I know that everyone will have to consider what is best for their baby and for what they are comfortable with.


Heather of Troy said...

I so appreciate your attitude towards this. It seems like so many people cannot imagine something being good for someone else if it didn't work for them. Isn't it amazing what we can learn from one another when we realize there's more than one "good" or "right" way to do something?

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I'm definitely curious to see what works with my little girl.

Angela - Life w/ Two Busy Boys said...

I will be nursing for the first time in a few months when my baby comes. Thank you so much for all this information - it is extremelly helpful!

Anonymous said...

Monica- do you ever pump? I am expecting number 4 in november and nursed the other three for 3 to 4 months - I do work and have never had much luck pumping? I didn't know if you might have any helpfully hints or if you even pump. Thanks

Andrea said...

Just a note about doctors: I think it is important to note that doctors are not experts on infant feeding, and it is a somewhat recent development to view them that way. They are experts at dealing with illness. They are just as swayed by fads and opinions on infant feeding as the next person. Ask 10 doctors and get 10 different answers on solids, weaning, breastfeeding, etc...

I've seen more than one nursing mom really discouraged and give up nursing due to unprofitable advice from doctors. Nobody wins in those situations. Trust your mothering instincts or seek out the advice of a trusted, more experienced mom. Better yet, pray for the Lord to lead you to the best advice for YOUR child, YOUR family. Just my 2 cents! :-)

Susan said...

Monica, I really appreciate you sharing your experience with nursing. In Germany, they are way ahead of the curve culturally and medically with nursing. I would say 95 % of the women I know in Germany have nursed successfully. It is the cultural norm. I only know 1 mom who was unable to nurse. Interstingly enough, I have had a lot of American friends with babies most had problems with nursing, I think they had little support maybe. My midwife freaked out when I asked about a breastpump. All my American friends were pumping, so I thought that was normal too. Needless to say, I never pumped and pretty much followed your pattern.

Oh yeah, in Germany, everyone has a Ob Gyn and midwife. The midwife delivers the baby in hospital, home where your preference lies. A doc comes in if problems occur. Midwife you book early in pregnancy and meet with her periodically until birth. She delivers and comes to your home 10 visits after birth. She is your lactation consultant, doc, check baby's weight, developement answers questions. The support here is tremendous.

Anonymous said...

Hey Monica,
I found that waiting to start solids with my babies (last 2) was a good thing for them. They ate better and those 2 ended up being my best eaters in terms of variety. Both of them ended up and still enjoy fruits and veggies and whole grains and yogurt best. We are not vegatarian, this is just what they like! My other 2 on the other hand, i followed doc's orders to have them start solids at 4 mnths. We ended up with allergies and pickiness. I am not says starting early *caused* these issues, just that everything went better by waiting till a bit later. In other cultures around the world i would be interested in hearing when solids are introduced. I tend to see what the7gerbers said a true too. Thanks for sharin with us-tammyp

3boysmama said...

It sounds like we have very similar views! I have 3 kids and I tried to be stict with the 1st one and I just ended up being frustrated. Now with #3 (he's 6 months) I do exactly what you do. I appreciate your attitude. Some people who read a book (starts with "baby" ends with "wise" =) ) can be so opinionated with what other people should do with their babies.

Yes, there is no need to rush into solids. I found it helped out my kids at about 5 months to start, but whatever works! My oldest two are great eaters and eat whatever. Holding off on dairy/soy/nuts definitely helps with allergies, I would say. One thing that does help with pickiness is to vary the texture of the baby food before they become picky (before age 1). Baby food that is a bit more "chunkier" helps them to get use to textures that aren't totally liquified.

Monica Wilkinson said...

Priscilla - Personally I've never had much success pumping. However, I've had friends who had great success with an electric pump. I was using a manual and perhaps it just doesn't too the trick as well. I'm sorry I'm not more help on this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Monica. I appreciate your answers. I was just curious. My baby was one of those who would nurse for an hour at a time and then want to nurse again an hour later! It worked for us because he was my first so I had the luxury of time. But he is also my only, so I'll never know how it would go with another baby. You're doing a great job with your babies. Blessings to you!

Oh, yes. I wanted to mention, too, that it is good to use your own instincts about feeding your baby, as you are doing. My pediatrician wanted all babies to start rice cereal at two weeks!! I respectfully disagreed with him. At every visit they would ask, "Have you started baby food, yet?" and I would respond, "We're starting it at four months." I actually wish I had started it at 6 months. I nursed him for 9 months but I wish I could have done it for a year. However, it was very physically exhausting!