It is such a relief once breastfeeding becomes “easy”. I guess a better word would be relaxed. Baby has become more efficient and I have become more comfortable. These days there isn’t much pain and leaking is minimal. Things are good.
At 4 months I had to go back to work, which meant that baby would go to daycare and I would pump in my office. The first two days were difficult for her, but since then she has been totally fine. I had trouble pumping enough for her in the beginning, but with a little patience and more frequent pumping sessions I was able to send her with enough milk without having to do any extra pumping outside of work. Thankfully, my experiences with pumping at work have been wonderful. I have my own office and I’m able to just close and lock my door when I need to. Also, there are other women here who have been in the same situation and so everyone is very understanding and supportive.
However, during that month we found out that baby seems to have a cows milk protein allergy. It was causing her to have a lot of mucus and sometimes blood in her diaper. The doctor asked me to put her on a special formula for a week, but to continue pumping. I guess the doctor felt that the formula would give us a faster answer, but it broke my heart to hear those words. Anyways, I listened to his advice and after two days passed and neither of us had slept very much, I gave up and I put her back to my chest. (A week before that I had stopped having any dairy myself. The doctor had told me to cut back, but I decided it would be easier for me to just avoid it as much as I could.) It took us three to four weeks, but we saw improvement. I have continued to avoid dairy and breastfeed and I’m happy with my decision to do that. I’m also grateful that the pediatrician was supportive of my decision as well.
Another month passed without any issues. We brought her for her 6 month appointment and vaccinations. I spoke to the doctor about introducing solids. Since then we have had rice cereal (without any added sugars/salts), carrots and green beans. She’s done great and nothing with breastfeeding has changed.
And then Ramadan came. I had been nervous about trying to fast while breastfeeding, but last year I was able to complete my fasting while pregnant and I told myself that it is worth a try. I was afraid that my supply would drop with no food and no water for extended hours during the day, but so far, thanks be to God, everything has been fine and I have not had any significant changes in the amount of milk I seem to be producing. However, before I started fasting I began to have pains in my right breast. All week it was like that and it slowly seemed to become more intense. By the weekend I began having pains in other parts of the same breast. Early Friday morning I had so much pain that I couldn’t sleep. I used heat. I massaged the area. I let baby feed. It was excruciating. I think I was having problems with plugged ducts. I did finally get to sleep though and in the morning the pain was tolerable and right now I have no discomfort. I am hoping that this has nothing to do with my fasting and that it is just a normal occupational hazard of a breastfeeding mom.
Other comments I might make is that baby is easily distracted at the moment and often won’t feed easily unless things are quiet or she’s very hungry. Whenever we are at home I feed her in the side lying position because she will eat and go right to sleep that way. It is easier for her and easier for me. Out and about I use a nursing cover/poncho. It is light weight and stretchy. I can also put it over her carseat if she has fallen asleep while we are driving or while she is in her stroller. I bought the cover in the picture to the left from a store on etsy (the picture is from the listing/its not me), but it seems that the seller no longer has an items available in her shop. Luckily, there are many other sellers with similar products or you can check brands like coveredgoods / milksnob. They have fun patterns and the covers are super functional. Having a cover that goes all the way around is an easier way to keep covered (baby will have a harder time pulling the cover off).
Many people have asked me how long I plan to keep breastfeeding. I think that I will continue until baby is ready or at 2 years. I don’t find it to be a burden and I hope that all of our efforts to continue will be beneficial for us both.