Pregnancy in Weeks

Pregnancy Week Thirty-One and Breastfeeding (PLUS Midwife Reprimand Follow-up)

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As a part of my birth class requirements I visited a La Leche League meeting: an organization that meets to discuss and encourage women in their pursuit to breastfeed. I was impressed by the organization and their desire to encourage and not squelch mothers in their decisions regarding child-rearing. They created a very warm and welcoming atmosphere with low expectations.They are eager to help and answer questions for mamas at any point on the breastfeeding journey.  I am glad I met them and will definitely check back with them if I need advice!

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Pre-pregnancy I wasn’t so sure about breastfeeding. It wasn’t something I was familiar with. Bottles and formula were what I knew. However, Husband (again, like the cloth diaper thing) was dead set on breastfeeding. I tend to be a penny-pincher, so when he said, “It’s a huge cost saver,” I decided I’d consider it. Once pregnant, I decided breastfeeding was the right thing for us, though was still shy to the idea and uncertain if I could do it. I have heard many stories of women who tried and couldn’t make breastfeeding work for them. Today, after learning more about breastfeeding and all the resources available I am convinced that breastfeeding is best for our family, it’s what I want to do, and I’m ready to give it my best shot!

Here are some benefits to breastfeeding that really impressed me:

  1. Healthy Baby. It’s pretty clear, study after study shows that breastfed babies have fewer health complications, affecting them even into adulthood! FitPregnancy.com writes, “According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, the United States would save about $13 billion per year in medical costs if 90 percent of U.S. families breastfed their newborns for at least six months.”
  2. Exact Food Baby Needs. It’s been fascinating to learn how the Creator of the Universe made the mother’s body to produce exactly what baby needs. As baby grows, the proportions of fat, protein, and other nutrients adjusts to the baby’s growing body. This goes as far as producing immunities. As the baby nurses, baby’s saliva mixes with the mother’s tissue and the mother’s milk creates immunities to any sickness the baby might be fighting.
  3. Extremely Convenient. No need to walk to the kitchen in the middle of the night, heat up some water, mix formula, and check the temperature. The milk is already prepared and at the exact right temperature! Out running errands with baby? No problem! Baby’s food is ready and waiting. No need to plan ahead.
  4. Cost. Paying for formula and the supplies necessary for bottle feeding can add up (approximately $1,733.75 per year according to simpledollar.com‘s calculations).
  5. Weight Control. Women who breastfeed are burning 300-500 extra calories a day. As such, this may assist in losing weight gained during pregnancy. Though it’s usually mentioned that the breast tissue weighs considerably more during seasons of breastfeeding and the last 10 or so pound won’t come off until mama has stopped breastfeeding.
  6. Happy Hormones. Breastfeeding releases hormones that help bond mother and baby. These hormones can reduce the effects of baby blues. Hormones released in breastfeeding also helps the uterus quickly shrink back down to it’s pre-pregnancy size within the first few days after birth.

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Symptoms

  • Baby movement: I can often watch my belly move!
  • Fatigue: My body won’t let me sleep in anymore, even if I was up late, but naps help.
  • Acne: fighting the good fight: showering daily.
  • Burping: more in general, but especially after I lie down to sleep bubbles form in my throat for some reason.
  • Cracking Joints: all day, everyday.
  • Lower Back Pain: not fun! Especially after I sit. Hot pack, walking, and lying on my side with a pillow between my knees helps.
  • Easily startled: Jumpy.
  • Forgetfulness: I often forget what I’m saying, while I’m saying it.
  • Loss of Balance: When did this start? I regularly reach out for something to catch my balance.
  • Constipation: Not fun!
  • Body Changes: Bought the next size up in underwear (for the second time this pregnancy). Gained 43lbs so far.

Notes

Only nine weeks until this baby’s due date! This week was full of “Baby is going to come out soon” moments: visited a La Leche League meeting, picked up a free changing pad, and practiced labor in birth class! A friend recently introduced me to a Facebook Group that is all about exchanging new or gently used children’s items. I’m always excited to learn about budget helpers! I found a woman giving away a changing pad with bumper sides, just like what I had on my registry (like this one), arrangements were made and I took it home this week. I gave it a good bleach scrub and now it’s the prettiest changing pad I have ever owned, ha!
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At birth class we did a fun little exercise called “Practice Labor.” I was nervous about it, but it went really well and Husband and I both had fun. There were several stations around the room with examples of movements or positions to take during a contraction to minimize pain and help Baby come down. There was a timer that told us when a one-minute “contraction” started and ended. When the “contraction” started I had the “enjoyment” of putting my foot on an ice pack as a means of simulating the pain felt in a real contraction. 80% of the suggested positions included something for Husband to do to assist me. He really liked that He got to practice being involved in the birth. If you don’t do the Bradley Method Birth Class, consider doing a “practice labor”!
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A month ago I wrote about problems with my midwife interactions at the birth center. I specifically wrote about how I had gained 15 lbs in one month and the suggestion I received to slow down my weight gain. This week for my prenatal appointment we found out that I have only gained 2lbs in the past month-woohoo! The midwife I saw this time said I did a great job and congratulated me on my efforts. More than anything I was reassured by her kind statement that the last half of the second trimester is when women tend to gain the most. She admitted there was a month where she herself gained 11 lbs during her (recent) pregnancy, so my 15lbs gained in one month was not too strange after all, as many friends have counseled.
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I want to share with you some wonderful encouragement I was given by readers: 
*****

Kellie Herrera shared:  I just read your post and this wasn’t my experience at all with my midwife. While there were concerns during my pregnancy they never came across in a negative tone, rather a “how can we fix this together” attitude. I would maybe discuss with your midwife how you are feeling after your appointments (this maybe hard since it seems you are seeing someone new each time). While it is good to be aware of what is happening to your body so you can take proper action, in my opinion your midwife should be a safe place to share and you should leave your appointments excited for the step of your pregnancy.

Don’t stress about the weight gain (be healthy where you can) but everyone is different and gains weight differently when pregnant.

Hope my thoughts help! Remember it will all be worth it in the end!

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Alicia Geppert shared: They usually find something to tell you to improve on. Pediatricians do this too, don’t sweat it.

I would recommend not cutting out the bedtime snack, but maybe just make sure it’s healthy. My experience has been that bedtimes snacks/second supper is a necessity to make it to morning.

If your husband is going to be with you for your labor, then it’s up to you whether you want a doula or not. I find that the closer to labor I get, the more I “hate” people. All I want is my husband. I tolerate nurses, but otherwise, everybody else go away. 😄 But, that experience is different for everyone. My sister-in-law had a doula and highly recommends them. 😃

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Maria Holm shared: Scolding lectures never accomplish anything. It’s an art to talk to a pregnant woman or a new mother without hurting her. I have trained this for years and years and I think the difficulty is that you meet a new person every time. Hard truths are easier said when you gave a confidence in the person and a personal relationship. I am glad you are motivated to keep your weight in proper shape. It’s much easier for the child to have a safe birth when the mother is not too heavy. Love Maria from Denmark 🇩🇰

*****

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR THOUGHTS AND ENCOURAGEMENT!

What are benefits to breastfeeding that impress you?  

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