Boob Juicing, 5 Weeks In

“Boob Juicing” is just what we call breastfeeding in the Griffiths home. Why? Just because. And the pump is called the “boob juicer”. It’s more fun that way.

If you’re not interested in hearing about anything boob related, you can stop reading. I just want to talk about our experience, the challenges we’ve faced so far, etc. so others who are interested can benefit, be encouraged, etc. So again, if this does not interest you- move along. Also, if you’re worried that I’m just going to talk about how much better breastfeeding is than formula feeding, well..I’m not. And I refer you to my last post.

Moving on.

We decided to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of Gwen’s life for 2 reasons: health and money. Health– boob juice has amazing health benefits (both for Gwen and for me), there is no denying it. I won’t list them all here because you can easily do a Google search and find out. Money– boob juice is free, formula is not. So for us, the decision was kind of a no-brainer.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. At least not at first. There are certainly a few challenges we’ve faced, which I’ll get into in a minute. But first- when I started looking into breastfeeding two of the most important things people told me was to get educated (read as much as I could about breastfeeding before giving birth in order to prepare myself), and get support (from other breastfeeding moms and from your spouse). And, 5 weeks in- I would give the same advice! Knowing about the challenges in advance, and having support/encouragement from others is probably the only reason I haven’t given up.

Ok, so challenge number 1: sore nipples. Even with a good latch, there is going to be some soreness, I don’t care what anyone says. It’s a very sensitive area of your body, and you have a little piranha-like baby born with a killer sucking reflex going to town on your boob. It kind of hurts. There were times in that first week when I was in tears because it hurt so much. I wished I could just go topless because any sort of clothing rubbing up against them was just too much (for the record, I did not go topless. It was just a thought). Enter support person: my husband encouraged me not to give up and told me how proud he was of me and how great of a job I was doing. He also ran to Target to buy Soothies or anything else I wanted to help with the soreness. Between the soothies and Lanolin cream, the soreness eventually went away.  The hospital gave us a small sample of lanolin cream, but I recommend having a larger bottle ready for when you get home. Also, boob juice itself has wonderful healing powers- you can use that too! Amazing.

Challenge number 2: clogged ducts. This can happen for a variety of reasons and it’s pretty common. I first noticed it when I felt my boob and noticed a hard lump that was very tender, and there was some redness surrounding the area. Basically you’re producing milk faster than it’s being expressed. So the solution: express express express! Gwen and I were able to resolve it within a day or so with more frequent feedings. I also used a heating pad to help with the tenderness in between feedings. You have to make sure you catch this early and resolve it quickly because it could develop into an infection called mastitis. And you don’t want that.

Challenge number 3: different sized boobs. This was all my fault. I favored one boob over the other early on because the other caused more pain/soreness. The more you breastfeed from a boob, the more milk that boob will produce, causing it to be larger if you neglect the other one. So make sure you give equal time to both of the girls (this also could’ve been a factor in causing the clogged duct, and a result of the clogged duct). If your baby happens to favor one boob over the other for whatever reason, you could just pump on the side your baby doesn’t like to make sure you’re still expressing that milk.

Challenge number 4: exhaustion. Being the only one who can feed your baby and get up in the middle of the night with the baby can be quite taxing. At least until you start pumping. We were told to wait until at least 3 weeks, and before 5 weeks, to introduce a bottle. After 3 weeks to make sure breastfeeding is well established, and before 5 weeks because baby might refuse the bottle if you wait too long. So that’s what we did. I’ve started pumping and putting the boob juice in a bottle so that Ivor can feed her occasionally and give me a break. Because yes, it’s kind of tiring. But it’s just for a short period of time and will go by quickly (or so everyone keeps telling me about parenthood).

That’s basically it so far. I wouldn’t say we’re over all the hurdles and it’s smooth sailing just yet. Gwen is getting more active and squirmy and she moves her head around sometimes while latched (um, ow…I am NOT a chew toy Gwendolyn!), so we’re still working on that. Overall though, even with the challenges, we’re still happy with our decision and we’re sticking with it. I know my baby is getting the good stuff in that juice and it’s keeping her strong and healthy, so that makes it all worth it.

Also- I just think it’s really amazing how God designed our bodies to completely sustain our babies’ lives for these first months. And how my body physically responds to my baby’s cry just blows me away. One night I was pumping and my husband pointed out that whenever I even looked at Gwen, my milk flow would get faster. How cool is that?

Anyway, I’ll check in again with an update after awhile. In the meantime, if you want more info (like, A LOT more info), check out kellymom.com!

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