Over the past few months, I’ve received all sorts of questions about my experience with breastfeeding. I finally had a chance to sit down and reply to some of them, so I thought I’d share my responses on CNC. Moms and moms-to-be, I hope you find them helpful!
Are you still breastfeeding?
I am not. Quinn is currently drinking formula and eating solids.
Why are you being so secretive about breastfeeding?
I didn’t realize I was being secretive. Haha! Sorry about that! I just haven’t talked a lot about breastfeeding on CNC because, honestly, I didn’t want all of the judgment from readers who didn’t agree with my decisions. I know I write a blog and put myself out there, so I should expect this type of feedback, but being a mom and breastfeeding is hard enough by itself, so I didn’t want random people weighing in on it, especially when they didn’t know anything about our situation. It’s been a little while since I stopped breastfeeding Quinn, so now I feel more comfortable sharing my experience on CNC.
It seems like you’ve stopped breastfeeding. What made you decide to stop?
Quinn and I exclusively breastfed for 4-months. Around this time, as you might remember, I had a really bad UC flare, so my doctor put me on a high dose of Prednisone to get things under control. He assured me that it was safe to continue breastfeeding (Quinn’s doc said the same thing), but the steroids made him miserable. Quinn was fussy and cried almost all day long. I mean, the steroids made me irritable and anxious, so I can only imagine what they did to my poor baby.
After many conversations with our pediatrician and Mal, I decided to stop breastfeeding Quinn. We gave him formula instead, which, at the time, was heartbreaking for me. I actually cried about this decision, which still surprises me because I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to breastfeed in the beginning. I actually really ended up loving it, so I hated the fact that I had to stop because my stupid immune system was messed up. (I know there’s nothing wrong with giving your baby formula””obviously, since we’re more than happy with our decision””but it was still a tough choice for me at the time. I was mostly just pissed at myself/my body.)
Our pediatrician encouraged me to keep pumping and then freeze my breast milk just in case things changed. Quinn would eventually gain weight and get bigger, so maybe the steroids wouldn’t affect him so much? Plus, I eventually started Remicade and weaned off the steroids all together, so quite a bit of the breast milk stored in our freezer has a really low dose of Prednisone in it. (Each bag is labeled with the date and how many mg of steroids I was on when I pumped it.) Over time, I pumped less and less and my milk supply just totally tanked, but it coincided with Quinn starting solids, so it all worked out. He’s doing great on the formula (never fussy after eating, rarely spits up) and he loves all of the new foods we are giving him, so I’m not sure if we’ll ever give him the steroid-laden breast milk from our freezer.
I’ve heard intense exercise can decrease the milk supply. Did you experience any changes in your milk supply when you got back to exercising intensely?
I actually asked my doctor this exact same question, and she said unless I’m a professional athlete, who exercises for 8 hours a day, it shouldn’t be an issue. And when I was exclusively breastfeeding, I never noticed a change in my supply when I went back to CrossFit and running.
When you got your colonoscopy, could you still breastfeed during the liquid diet prep? Did it affect your supply? Could you breastfeed right after the procedure?
I called my GI doctor with all of the same questions. I breastfed normally during the prep and right after my colonoscopy with no issues. The only thing my doctor advised was making sure that I was well-hydrated before and after the procedure, so I drank lots of water and Gatorade, and I didn’t notice any sort of drop in my supply.
Why don’t you like nursing in public?
I wouldn’t say I didn’t like nursing in public, but I tried to avoid it when I could. (I would pump a bottle ahead of time.) Mal, Quinn, and I would often go out with friends, and I always felt a little uncomfortable whipping out my boob (even if it was under a cover) in front of them. I’d often bottle feed Quinn or hop in the backseat of the car to nurse him. I realize breastfeeding is a wonderful and amazing thing that shouldn’t be hidden and, of course, I totally agree with that, but I just never felt completely comfortable doing it out in public.
I know you had a breast reduction in the past, so I’m wondering if you experienced any difficulty in nursing or did things work out fairly well for you in regards to supply and being able to feed after delivery?
Yes, thankfully, everything worked out just fine. I was worried I might not be able breastfeed after my surgery (in 2004), but everything worked out. No issues with supply, latching, etc.
Has Quinn had any issues transitioning to a bottle?
He hasn’t had an issues transitioning to a bottle, so I think we kind of lucked out. The kid just loves to eat, so he went right from boob to bottle to solids without any problems.