Blush: Nursing

Nursing vs breast feeding

You might think that these two terms are the same, and for myself, they are. However, there are people who do not identify as female, and using the term “breast feeding” might generate a feeling of dysphoria in them. So I am trying to use the term “nursing” universally.

Nursing vs formula

I chose to nurse Dragon, rather than to use formula. For multiple reasons, this was the best choice for us. On top of the doctors and nurses telling us that nursing was the only way to go (I felt bad for the woman in our baby classes who was choosing to formula feed. The nurse running the class was shaming her), it’s so much cheaper to nurse than to buy formula, and it’s much faster to feed the baby when nursing; shirt goes up, bra goes down, baby latches to the body.

While the woman in my class did choose to formula feed, there are many people who don’t get that choice and must use formula for a variety of reasons. No one should be shamed for their inability or choice when it comes to nursing.

The Beginning

Nursing was really confusing to start with, because I constantly felt like I was doing it wrong. Is she latching properly? Is she getting enough? How do I hold her? How can she breathe?

One of the major benefits of being at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital was that my nurse was someone that I’ve known since she was 3 years old. I felt very comfortable asking her for help. The QCH also has excellent lactation consultants. There are numerous places you can go to if you need additional resources as well, like ottawa.ca/prenatal, parentinginottawa.com, lllc.ca, breastfeedinginc.ca, ottawabreastfeeds.ca, and 311 during business hours to talk to a public health nurse. The QCH also offers nursing classes on certain days.

Fortunately, we figured things out fairly quickly, which I am grateful for, and my milk came in after about 48 hours, so Keladry didn’t lose much weight before she started gaining it again. There’s nothing like seeing the numbers on the scale drop to make you feel like you’re failing as a parent, and this happens right after birth.

Interesting things I discovered about nursing

There’s something called let-down that happens when the breasts fill with milk unexpectedly. (I say unexpectedly, because I am often surprised by it.) This happens after a certain amount of stimulation of the nipple. The amount of time required for this varies from person to person, and the amount of let-down varies as well. I’ve discovered that if I’m already full of milk, let-down causes some milk to escape, even if the baby is attached to the other side. I assume to see a problem here. I’ll come back to that.

Let-down can also happen if the baby hasn’t been fed in a while, if the baby cries, if another baby cries, if you think about the baby and are nowhere near the baby, etc.

So to get back to that problem. The problem of leaking. I find that I have this problem most often at night, because Keladry is a very good sleeper. If she has fed well enough before bedtime, she has slept 8 hours straight. Compare this to during the day, when I feed her every 4 hours or so. You can imagine that that extra 4 hours means that I am incredibly full. I’ve had several incidents of waking up with a soaking wet pyjama top.

Solution:

nursing-padssmall

Nursing pads! I commissioned these from Crafty What-Knots, and OMG they are the most comfortable things of life! The pad on the bottom left (the purple one) is showing the inside. It is a super soft material that I want to rub constantly, and it is incredibly absorbent. There is an inner layer that is extra absorbent. Then the backing…the awesome backing that is the reason you should get your nursing pads from Crafty What Knots; I told her that I loved all things geeky, and she found me Avengers, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Minion fabric!! The backing protects my clothing by locking the wet inside the pad.

I am so impressed by these pads – they’re big enough that my shifting around at night doesn’t move them (which was my problem before), and they’re exactly what I wanted. (She can do non-geeky fabrics, too, if that’s what you want.)


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Blush: Reusable Products

Rather than pull a question from the bank, I thought I would do some research on a topic that I’ve been thinking about A LOT recently, because I’m freaking out about it a bit. What am I going to do about my first period after the baby comes?

Let me explain why this has become such a big deal in my head: I have exclusively used a Diva Cup for over 8 years now. I don’t remember what it was like to use a pad, other than “ick, uncomfortable!” and I really don’t want to revert back to disposable methods.

What is a Diva Cup?

My dad asked me this the other day, and I didn’t have time to answer because my sister came down the stairs, and then I forgot about it. Pregnancy brain. A Diva Cup is a reusable cup that is inserted into the vagina to collect discarded menstrual fluid. There are many types of menstrual cups (Moon Cup, Luna Cup, etc) available for purchase, if you know where to look, but the Diva Cup is probably the most easily accessible at the time of this post in Ottawa, Canada. They have it in Shoppers now! I get incredibly excited when I see them on the shelves, even though I don’t need a replacement (or anything at all at the moment), because it means that they can be accessed by everyone.

Why can’t you use a Diva Cup after giving birth?

For the same reason that tampons can’t be used after giving birth – and this goes for any type of delivery. The uterus (and vagina) need time to heal. Using an internal menstrual product can cause infections. (And you probably don’t want to put something inside the vagina after pushing out a watermelon-sized baby, if you chose to deliver vaginally, but that’s apparently besides the point.)

Side note:

This first “period” is not actually a period, it is postpartum bleeding, and is a combination of blood, tissue from the uterine lining, and bacteria. It lasts for up to 6 weeks, and starts out as bright red, but transitions to pale pink or dark red, and finally to a yellowish or light colour.

So what is your solution?

In my case, because I don’t want to go back to disposable pads (for good reason, imho), although the natural pads don’t seem too bad, I bought some reusable pads from Crafty What-Knots. They arrived on Monday, and I’m rather excited about them. I wish I had thought of the fact that I would need to wear pads BEFORE we got pregnant, so that I could try these out (and get used to the idea of wearing a pad again) on my last period, without the added complication of delivery, but I didn’t. Look at the picture! Didn’t she choose great patterns for me?? I will write a review on them once I use them in September (or maybe August – one never knows with babies, right?) I requested two different sizes – right after delivery, so they are extra long; and regular. I will be getting reusable liners from Terra 20 this summer.

Reusable menstrual pads by <a href="http://www.facebook.com/craftywhatknots">Crafty What-Knots</a>
Reusable menstrual pads by Crafty What-Knots. Best material choice ever!

Have a question about reusable menstrual cups? Have any experience with postpartum bleeding you wish you share? Drop me a email, or post a comment here or on the Facebook post!


References

www.americanpregnancy.org