Since Ona came so early she was tube fed and later taught how to take a bottle. During that time I met with lactation who taught me how to pump and told me to pump every 2 hours with one 5 hour break a day to sleep. Eric bought me a digital timer that triggered my "let down" instead of baby cry. Pumping sucked. It was time consuming, boring (20 just sitting there), and then there were so many tiny parts to clean. People asked why I didn’t just stop pumping and give the baby formula…the answer is that when other people take care of your baby 24 hours a day and there is one thing you CAN do for your baby, I choose to do it.
After 2 weeks or so, they started letting me attempt breastfeeding sessions with Ona. The lactation people would come in with their fancy scales and measure her before and after. I remember after one "successful" feeding session she took 6ccs (30cc make an ounce). She continued to be tube fed and bottle fed.
By the time we got home she was off the tube and getting a bottle every feeding. Every other feed I would attempt to breastfeed. Our schedule went like this 1) prepare bottle, 2) breastfeed, 3) bottle feed, 4) burp and hold upright for 30 minutes due to severe reflux, and 5) pump. On the every other feed I’d just give her the bottle, hold upright for 30 minutes and then pump. This was really time consuming and complicated. I gave up like 5 times in a big, dramatic, crying way (imagine that, right). Eric was so supportive. He helped out all he could by washing pump parts and guarding our feeding sessions (for example, he’d have company wait until I was done).
When we left the NICU, they told us she should be totally breastfed by her due date….that came and went. Then I told myself just go day by day and when you can’t take it anymore, you can’t. Oh did I mention the nipple shield? Eventually she got it about 4 weeks after her due date.
Now she’s 6 months old, doing great and with in normal limits for weight for her adjusted age. She’s totally breastfed with bottles when I’m gone. We just introduced rice cereal which she spits about 1/2 back out. People keep asking me how long I’m going to breastfeed implying it should be soon. It’s really frustrating because I feel like it just got easy. We just found what works for us. It was so hard to get started. Why should I be in a rush to wrap it up??