My DS is 1 year old today. The formula samples from the hospital sent unopened in the top of his closet. I am so proud I have been able to breastfeed him for a whole year even after going back to working full time. Here is my advice to any of you out there who are hoping to BF for the first year as well.
1) Prepare by going to a breastfeeding class. Bring your significant other or anyone else who will be significantly involved post-partum period. You need to be surrounded by only those people who know about breastfeeding and WHY it is important to you and your baby.
2) Place the kelleymom on your favorites web pages for all questions, milk storage, feeding, it's an awesome site.
3) I breastfed exclusively for the first 5 weeks. Everyone offers to give a bottle so you can sleep, and it is so tempting, but your supply is built on supply and demand. And I truly feel my persistance early on that resulted in a great supply when I went off to work. If you do give in for every bottle given, you MUST pump.
4) My DS was often attached to me about 20 hours a day for the first 6 weeks. There was no difference between night and day. This is normal, it is transient and it gets better, just hang in there.
5) I recommend the Medula pump in style pump, worked well for me and my friends. Start pumping a freezing ASAP after the first month (or sooner if you wish). I recommend every morning as your supply is usually the greatest at that time.
6) Going back to work is the toughest thing. Go back part-time at first and ease into full-time, such as every other day if possible.
7) At work I tried to pump every 3 hours as much as I could. I exclusively BF for the first 6 months. I recommend this, but around month 5, my DS was a chowhound. I would pump in the car with a battery pack, mid-morning, lunch, afternoon, on the way home in the car. I would also pump prior to bed. It was a bunch work, but after six months, things slowed down. By 9 months I was pumping twice at work. By 11 months I was pumping only 1 time a day.
8) I feel it is so important to BF my little guy as much as possible when I'm not working. Unfortunately that means, morning wake-up, midnight terrors, bedtime sessions were all left to me. But I truly feel that is what kept my supply going strong, while other friends, were a little more laxed and they weaned much earlier.
9) I traveled to Puerto Rico for a week when DS was 5months and he stayed at home. I was devastated to leave him and was so afraid about my supply running low. But I had saved and saved milk so I had a great frozen supply. In Puerto Rico, I pumped religiously every 3 hours while awake. Airplane bathroom, restaurant bathrooms, hotel, whereever. I had to pump and dump, BUT I totally kept up my supply. When I came home, my son latched right back on and we had NO hitches.
It's a bunch of work. The disadvantages is that my hubby got a ton more sleep than I did and I couldn't help but feel a bit of resentment at times. The benefits include knowing I did everything I could for my baby's health.
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