Saturday, October 17, 2009

Learning to Eat, Continued

In the months just after Bridget was born--when she still needed her milk to be thickened--I was able to express my milk and then safely let her "practice" nursing. We did this every day, at least once. She was almost always willing to try, and apparently got just enough hindmilk to keep her interested. Anyone who has been through continual pumping knows how much work it takes. It is truly a labor or love. Then again, so is attempting breastfeeding after months and months of bottle feeding (especially when you've been told your baby most likely will not be able to nurse effectively). I had a strong feeling that Bridget would be able to get the hang of it, though I couldn't imagine what it would be like to actually get to nurse her.

Once she was cleared for thin liquids, I began to transition her to breastfeeding by nursing once a day to start. Within a few days, she was nursing for all but her morning feeding (when she was the least sleepy and most hungry!). After about a week, she was nursing every feeding. It took some getting used to for both of us. Positioning was key, as were listening for her swallows and taking her off during let-down. After about a week, we were "working" less and feeding time became truly enjoyable. Within two weeks, there were no issues at all and she was nursing like a pro.

From my journal of Bridget's first year:
Life just got so much easier!

I can't believe Bridget is nursing! I was trying not to get my hopes up in case it didn't work out, but I have been waiting for this day since she arrived. I am overcome with emotion every single time I feed her.

Today the light was streaming through the window into our bedroom as I was feeding her, looking at her beautiful, sweet face and holding her little hand. (Bridget always holds my hand or shirt when she's eating). She is my chubby, gentle, sweet angel. Sometimes I can't believe she is ours. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world than where I am right now.

I took the last picture in yesterday's post the same day I wrote this entry. I wanted to always remember the sweetness and joy of that moment. It still makes me teary-eyed.

More on starting solids tomorrow...


  1. I love your journal's beautiful. That's so great that you were able to breast feed. I was able to breast feed Wysdom for a month and the memory still stays with me and is very vivid. Instead now I pump and put it through the ng. However I am still thankful for that first month. Thanks for sharing all of you feeding stories. I find them really interesting since feeding is a huge thing for us.

  2. Thanks for this series- it is bringing back so much for me! I was a dedicated pumper and it wasn't easy especially going back to work after 2 months. I believe I made it to 9 months. We initially used a finger feeder, which is a tiny latex tube that you tape to your forefinger and has an attached well filled with milk. You then can hold baby in same position as breast feeding and just insert your finger with tube for them to suckle and strengthen their suck. It was wonderful!

  3. Thank-you for sharing your feeding journey. I've had mother's ask me when is a baby too old to learn to breastfeed and I tell them never. Your story is so inspiring!

  4. Lisa- I'd love to learn more about what techniques or things you used. It sounds like Bridget had a pretty easy time learning t feed- I guess that's coming from where we are now at least. With the Quail we started out with what we thought was nursing and supplementing with an S&S and syringe and it took a couple weeks to get her on a bottle. Now at 8 mos she does well with a bottle and we are seeing an OT and working on jaw strengthening and technique/position/bottle nipple....etc to try to keep her nursing. I'd say on average maybe 3-4 times a week I have success getting her on and nursing with the aide of a bottle nipple and curved syringe. She pulls away and crys the rest of the time.Well I could go on and on about what we are doing but basically I'd love any other suggestions.It seems like something works for a week or 2 and then she figures out the scheme and essentially tells me to forget about it :) sigh....