We did it!

Mom and Claire

This morning, we returned our rented Medela pump to the hospital. It was a very big moment for me, because it means we've successfully transitioned to nursing! 

Before Claire was born, we went to a class about nursing at the hospital. We learned...

- that you should get started immediately after giving birth.
- that if it hurts, something's wrong. 
- that you shouldn't give your baby a pacifier for the first month, but then you should give them one before falling sleep because it's been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. 
- that you shouldn't give your baby a bottle for the first month, but then you should give them one at least once a week so they don't forget how to take it. 

As it turns out, none of that information applied to us at all. 

Claire didn't eat anything for the first three days after she was born. She received her nutrition through IV fluids. She still felt hungry, though, so the nurses gave her a pacifier pretty much immediately.

After those first three days, she started drinking pumped milk from a bottle. About a week later, we were allowed to try nursing. Man, it hurt! That girl was majorly confused {and had a tiny, tiny mouth}. 

For the next six weeks, we went through the same cycle every three hours. Nurse, bottle, pump. Nurse, bottle, pump. It took almost an hour, so at night we skipped the nursing part. 

Claire eventually started nursing for longer periods and needing less from the bottle. By six weeks, she was able {very, very slowly} to get everything she needed from nursing. 

But...then our families came to visit for two consecutive weekends. And our apartment only has one door, to the bathroom. Before they came, I tried using the nursing cover with Claire, but she just wasn't having it.  I wasn't really down with spending forty-five minutes nursing Claire in the bathroom, so she went back to bottle feeding and I hid in the bathroom for fifteen minute pumping breaks a few times each day.

When everyone went home, we started transitioning to nursing again. Claire picked it up by the time we set off for our Canada road trip. She suddenly learned to eat much more efficiently {about twenty minute per feeding} which was a very nice surprise.  We made a point of nursing almost the whole trip. I had no problem nursing around my sister - we shared a room for eighteen years, so she's seen it all before!

It took a while, but the pain eventually got better. Thanks to lots of practice and some heavenly medicated cream from the lactation center at our pediatrician's office. At first, I thought I shouldn't be doing anything else while nursing besides bonding with Claire. But I quickly decided that I needed something to distract me from the pain, so we started watching TV and I resolved not to let myself feel bad about it. And that's how we went through all eleven seasons of Frasier in a month. Now things have gotten so much better that I can read a book, chat on the phone, or actually just hang out with my girl. 

For quite some time, half of me really wanted to give up. It was so painful, it took basically my entire day, and it felt like we'd never successfully make the transition. 

The other half of me was absolutely determined to make it work. I really didn't want to spend thousands of dollars on formula. Mostly, I just wanted something to go as planned. 

If there's an upside to all this, it's that Claire is happy to take a bottle, which makes taking her out in public or leaving her for a few hours so much easier. {Not taking a stance on nursing in public or anything; just saying that I don't mind avoiding it.}

So long, rented pump. You won't be missed!


  1. Yay! I'm so happy for you guys! :) I've been meaning to write a post about breastfeeding sometime soon ... we had a hard time starting out, too (and the past few days have been ROUGH, but I think he's having a growth spurt), and I really wanted to quit. I *hated* breastfeeding when we started. I really admire you for sticking it out in such tough circumstances!


You are awesome.