Monday, February 22, 2016

The Breast Files: Amanda

It is my extreme delight to be sharing this new series, The Breast Files, with you all! For those of you who are new to the blog or missed the whole hoopla, The Breast Files is my new series that will feature a different breastfeeding mom each month. Breastfeeding can be hard at times and I think that breastfeeding moms should be honored and revered...As well as provide encouragement, support and advice for other nursing mamas... And that is exactly what this series is striving to do. Without further ado, I bring to you the very first in The Breast Files series....

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First off, let me thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me to interview you and feature you on my blog. Welcome to the The Breast Files!!

First Name:  Amanda

State you Live in:  Hawaii

Age: 35

Profession: Underwriter for The Office of Housing and Urban Development
Number of children and their ages: Two children.  I have a 2 year old and a 9 month old (18 mo apart to the day)

Before becoming a mom, did you think you would breastfeed?
No, never.  I remember hearing my friends mom breastfed her until one and thinking how weird it was.   I was never around breastfeeding as a child.   My mom breastfed my brother for 6 months but I never actually saw her doing it.  Exposure is very important and I plan on making sure my girls are not uncomfortable with it.  As soon as I became pregnant I began researching everything and decided it was best for baby so I was going to do it.....no matter what.

How many of your babies did you breastfeed?  All.  Currently breastfeeding my 2nd and last.

Why did you choose to breastfeed?  Initially, I chose to breastfeed because of the health benefits and cost savings.  Later I realized it's WAY more convenient to breastfeed.  I hated washing bottles and that was one more thing you have to pack.

Thinking back to when you first had your babies, in the hospital, was the hospital staff extremely supportive of your choice to breastfeed or did they seem quick to offer formula?  I was lucky to give birth in a hospital that was extremely baby friendly.  I wanted to go with a midwife and also deliver in the hospital so my hospital was the best of both worlds.  There was no nursery and  all the nurses were very well trained in breastfeeding. They immediately placed baby on my chest after delivery to initiate skin to skin.  They always encouraged me and never offered formula.  I did see a lactation consult on the second day.  Luckily the nurses were so awesome because I think that is way too long to wait to see someone for help.

How long did they breastfeed for/when did they wean? My first nursed for one year and weaned because I became pregnant with my second.  Second baby I plan to nurse until at least 18 months.

That means you have, as of today, how many cumulative months of breastfeeding under your belt? 22 months

Did you plan on nursing longer than you did or did you initially plan on weaning much sooner than you did?  I wanted to nurse until 18 months with my first.  We made it a year.  I encountered supply issues with her around 3 months and did everything to bring back my supply.  I ended up having to get on domperidone and that saved my breastfeeding relationship.  Once I was pregnant I had to stop taking domperidone immediately and my supply dried up completely.  I felt guilty for taking away this source of comfort for my baby.  She self weaned but there was barely drops of milk so it wasn't by choice for her.

Did you think breastfeeding would be easier or harder than it really was?  I really wasn't sure what to expect but I was determined.  So many people I know say they tried to breastfeed but couldn't.  I had a good friend tell me as long as I can make it two weeks I would be ok.  She was right.  Initially I was allowing baby to latch just on the nipple.  (OUCH)  It was hard to get a latch and I think I was so excited when she did I didn't make sure it was deep enough.  I did a ton of research before but should have been googling proper latch videos ;)  Once I got past that hump it was a lot easier....until I had supply issues.

Did you encounter any problems during your breastfeeding journey (such as supply issues, mastitis, unsupportive friends/family, etc)?  I have had no problems from family other than the advice to give rice cereal to make baby sleep longer.   With my first I did have major supply issues from months 2-4.  We did awesome the first two months.  I had an abundant supply and she was gaining.  At the 4 month well visit she barely had gained a pound from two months and dropped from 90th percentile to 13th.  I was lucky to have a pediatrician that was bf friendly and didn't pressure me to give formula.  I did everything I could to bring back supply but just couldn't.  I had a friend I met at a breastfeeding support group that had issues as well.  She directed me to a domperidone support group on facebook.  Within  a week of taking this my supply was back up.  This is a last resort if you cannot get your supply back.  I exhausted all options and you definitely need to consult a doctor prior.  Looking back I shouldn't have looked at giving any formula as failing.  I never gave any to my babies but looking back maybe I should have.  My baby was so happy she didn't really give signs she wasn't getting enough.  I kept thinking if she was hungry she would let me know.  My midwife has said....don't look at it as failing look at it as giving medicine your baby needs. I can't attribute it to anything but the Mini Pill (birth control).  After I started taking the Mini Pill, the issues started.  I stopped taking it but couldn't get my supply back.  Most women don't seem to have any supply issues with it but I did.

Baby #2 was so much easier at the beginning.  My only issues with her were that she never really wanted to eat which is not normal.  I offered her all the time.  She must be a fast transfer because I felt like she barely ate but has been gaining weight.  Of course with previous supply issues it stressed me out.  All babies are so different!

Was your pediatrician supportive and knowledgeable about breastfeeding and any questions you had?  Yes, she was great.  I always try to separate medical and parental advice from my pediatrician.  Around 4 months she told me baby should be sleeping 12 hours.  I was not going to deny my baby food at night especially with my supply issues.  I did my own research and relied on her medical advice.

Did/Do you have a big pro-breastfeeding support system in place?
I had some friends to lean on for questions and support.  I also went to a breastfeeding support group my hospital offered.  I went when baby was only 5 days old and continued for six months.  I met some great friends there and learned a lot.  Support is very important.

Did your mom breastfeed her children? Did she encourage you to?
My mom didn't breastfeed me or my sister but nursed my brother for 6 months.  She was supportive and said she wished she had the support that is available now.

Who was your biggest supporter when it came to breastfeeding?
Probably my breastfeeding support group because they were there with me from the beginning and we helped each other a lot.    

What are some tips that you've discovered along the way that really helped with breastfeeding?  Babywearing!!!   I can nurse my baby while walking through Target and no one has any idea.

Along those lines, what is the worst piece of breastfeeding advice you've ever been given?
I didn't get much bad advice but I see it all the time on my online breastfeeding support group.  You need to do your own research because there is a huge disconnect with breastfeeding and the medical community.

What is the worst piece of parenting advice have you ever been given?
Just the usual.  "It's not going to hurt your baby to cry a little bit."  "Give that baby rice cereal and she will sleep."

A lot of new breastfeeding moms are confused when it comes to buying a nursing bra. What is your favorite brand of nursing bra? What store can it be bought at?  
Initially I liked Bravado but someone gave me a Cake maternity bra and it gives much more support.  I purchased them online.  Many days I just wear straight Target nursing tanks.

Tell us a fun breastfeeding fact about you:
Before I was pregnant I didn't know milk came out like a sprinkler head haha I thought it was just like a bottle with one hole.

In closing, what words of encouragement or advice would you have to give to an expecting mama who is on the fence on whether she should give breastfeeding a shot or just go ahead and formula feed?
Do what you feel is best for you and your baby.  If you decide to try breastfeeding take it a day at a time.  Don't throw in the towel too soon.  Seek out other moms who breastfeed and lean on them for support.

This was awesome! I loved all of your answers!! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Being that you're the first mom to be featured on The Breast Files, I don't know if either of us quite knew what to expect. hahaha But you did amazing!! Thank you so much!!

Here are some more AMAZINGLY aorable pictures of our featured Mama, Amanda & her beautiful little girls:
(all photos are property of Amanda and are not to be shared or reproduced in any way)



Long car trips are hard...especially when there's only one mama!




Amanda (in the purple dress) and her best friend, Tami, spending quality time together


*****

If you would like to be featured on The Breast Files, please let me know! I'm looking for all types of breastfeeding mamas: moms who pump, extended breastfeeders, tandem breastfeeders, moms who proudly nurse in public, moms who use donor milk, moms who wet nurse, moms who used SNS to nurse or to help with supply issues or even just regular ol' breastfeeding moms (like I was! haha)! You may be chosen to be featured in a future episode of The Breast Files!

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