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Help Me Finish My Book

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For months my book has been “gestating” and now it’s time to deliver this baby. We are in labor over here. Yesterday I met my editor. She came from her office at Quirk Books in Philadelphia and invited me to a book party for The Handbook of Style. It was at chic salon in SOHO– thankfully I got my hair colored a couple of days ago.
But I digress. The point of the visit was to go over my manuscript. And now, I have two weeks to turn in the next draft. So, as I type, I’m staring at a copy riddled with the editor’s questions– in all capital letters, highlighted in yellow. As I’m going through the edits, I’m going to post questions here from time to time. So let’s get started…I’m looking for answers to the following questions:
What did it feel like when your milk “came in” the first few days after birth? What does it feel like now, when you feed your baby?
If you’ve used formula, how much would you estimate you’ve spent in one year?
What are the best things (the “pros”) about breast feeding?
What are the worst things (the “cons”) about breast feeding?
Has breastfeeding impacted your relationship with your spouse? How about your sex life?
If you had a c section, which breastfeeding position worked best for you after birth?
So, as The Bortski (now 28 months) has said on occasion, “HELP, PLEASE HELP.” I’d love to hear your comments. And watch here for more requests to come.

10 Responses to “Help Me Finish My Book”

Hey Andi,
I’ll post these questions on and send them around to my pals, as well.

Hi! I am a full-time novelist with four children–16, 11, 9, and 2. I breastfed each of them anywhere from 1 year to 28 months. I think the “best” thing about breastfeeding was that it was my time with them–and mine alone. As a busy person, it was almost like a cosmic reminder to slow down and enjoy them in their babyhood. I also like that I never supplemented, never had to sterilize a bottle, mix formula, or worry about its temperature. It was convenient.
I don’t think I have a “worst” thing. I just enjoyed nursing my kids. Anything in the negative column would be more appropriately a mild nuisance than something I feel negatively about–like not really finding good nursing clothes that fit me right.

I didn’t get those rock hard engorged boobs when my milk came in. They felt heavier and started leaking, but they were still soft. Now, it sometimes feels a little tingly, but I can’t always feel a letdown. Sometimes I don’t feel one at all.
There are too many pros to list. I always tell people that I’m too lazy to bottlefeed! I love that my milk is always in the container, always full, and always at the right temperature!
Cons – I don’t think that medical professionals on the whole know how to help a women/baby pair learn to breastfeed. This needs to be addressed at the fundamental levels in our medical system. I had sore nipples for a week and am convinced that it wasn’t necessary.
My spouse is very pro-breastfeeding. He’s a little sad that he can’t use my boobs in the same way as he used to, but all of the issues with our sex life were more related to a 9 pound baby coming out of my hoo ha. Happily, those are mostly resolved and now our issues mostly relate to getting her to nap.
Feel free to email me if you have questions. I love talking about my boobs.

When my milk came in my breasts became very firm, leaky, and hot to the touch. Now when I feed my daughter (10 months) my breasts get only a bit fuller, they hardly leak, but I still feel the tingly let-down, though not as strong as when she was little.
The best thing, for me, about breastfeeding (besides the health benefits, of course) is the cuddle time! My daughter is a first class wiggler and hates to snuggle! Without nursing I would be so sad that I couldn’t hold her close and show her love.
The worst thing, for me, about breastfeeding is being tied down. My daughter will not take a bottle, and I can’t effectively pump, so there’s no separation for us! (Although, now that I think about it, I wouldn’t want it any other way!)
My relationship with my spouse has strengthened because of breastfeeding. We have become a team of crusaders against ignorance, defending and explaining my right to feed our daughter wherever, whenever, and for however long we, me and my daughter, choose. As far as our sex life goes, however, that has definitely changed to being intimate less often. Although, I don’t think it’s breastfeeding – having a baby makes you tired!

I wasn’t exactly sure if my milk had come in or not at first. I didn’t leak much or spray or get really engorged until later. I did feel little running shocks around my breasts. Now, if I go longer than usual without breastfeeding, my breasts feel like they’re stretched around a rock. The feeling of relief at having my baby breastfeed at that point is kind of like getting a big glass of cold water when I’m parched.
I haven’t used formula. It’s much easier and cheaper to breastfeed, after the initial period of baby and mama getting used to it. Another pro is the ability to soothe and nourish my baby with my own body; nobody else can do that for him. It’ll be bittersweet to give it up.
Oh, and I can still read through magazines sometimes when he’s on a long breastfeeding session.
I’m ambivalent about how much my baby needs me instead of my husband while he’s breastfeeding. I love it, in a way, but I also have times where I want more freedom to say, “I’m going out. You two have fun!”
My husband can’t breastfeed the baby, but he’s developed a talent for feeding him during his solid meals. He can get our son to eat more solids than I can, so he has what you could call his own area of expertise.
My husband’s very careful with my breasts, which was appreciated, especially at first. There are some issues. But ten months later, we’re getting to the normal point again.
I’m glad every time I see more information about breastfeeding out there. I had almost no instruction on breastfeeding and had pain for 8 weeks. As soon as I talked personally to a lactation consultant, it got better.

When my milk “came in” my breast were very hard and a little painful to the touch. That pain only lasted a day or two, but it was evident what it was. My breast were huge too. I was an A cup pre pregnancy so the massive D’s I now have took some time to get used to. Now, feeding my DD is the best feeling in the world, emotionally. I love knowing I am supplying my child with the best possible food she can get. As far as the actually feeding, I feel just the pressure of her sucking. No pain, well not yet, she just got her first tooth so we will see!
We had to start giving my DD a few oz of formula around the time she turned 5/6 months old. I was having supply issues, because I was not pumping at work like I should have been. So, for the past month or so I would said we have spent $75.00. We buy the concentrated type, which is about $5.00 a can. Man, I despise buying it too!
What are the best things (the “pros”) about breast feeding?
Not having to buy formula.
Not having to make/take bottles when you go out.
Knowing you are giving your child the best food available on earth! Knowing you are making a better life for them too.
In the middle of the night I do not have to warm up a bottle. I just lay next to DD and let her eat. It’s a win situation for DH, DD, and me.
What are the worst things (the “cons”) about breast feeding?
The nipple pain I experienced the first few weeks of breast feeding. It was horrible!
Other peoples views of BF mothers.
My 3 pump breaks during work. I have grown to love it because I know I am doing the best for family, but it can be a pain in the butt.
Has breast-feeding impacted your relationship with your spouse? How about your sex life?
In some ways I feel breast feeding has impacted my relationship with my spouse. I know he gets tired seeing my boobs all the time. I pump at home, sitting in front of the TV. It know it is a lovely sight! Heck, it would scare me. What is a sex life? Unfortunately ours has deceased. I feel sorry for my poor DH, but I just do not have the want or need these days.
If you had a c section, which breast-feeding position worked best for you after birth?
I found the standard cradle position worked best for me. I used a Boppy, and still do.

I didn’t feel my milk come in. I remember telling the doctor that I didn’t think it was in, yet and then I saw a picture of myself that day and it was definitely in! I don’t have a strong let-down reflex and I don’t feel it at all unless I’ve gone too long without feeding.
The best thing about breastfeeding is the portability. It is easy to travel because you don’t have to worry about clean water to wash or fill bottles. It is great at night as well, especially since we are co-sleeping. I also like the cuddling. I hold him constantly.
The worst thing about breastfeeding is that it isn’t easy for many pairs. I had pain for two months and then it suddenly stopped. Having a lactation consultant helped reinforce me to stick with it. Without her support, I might have given up. I went to see her every week or two to weigh the baby and get help with latch and later Raynaud’s. Knowing my baby was gaining weight helped me stick with it until the pain stopped. My son is almost 5 months old and we are still breastfeeding pain-free.
My husband is really supportive of breastfeeding. He has learned a lot about it and even though he was a little embarassed about public breastfeeding, at first, he supports me in doing it. Our sex life is less than pre-baby, but that is not directly related to breastfeeding, more so due to the baby’s sleep schedule. For the first few months, my breasts were extremely sensitive, but once nursing became pain-free, they returned to normal.
I had a c-section and I used the football hold with a My Brest Friend pillow at first, then I switched to the cradle after the first week or so and sidelying at night. The pillow is great, especially when the baby is small and you are recovering from surgery.

1) I didn’t feel too much difference when my milk came in. I don’t know if it made a difference, but I’ve always been on the low side of supply.
I’m actually annoyed because 30-60 minutes after I pump I feel this uncomfortable twinge as if they are BLOATED with milk, but I’m lucky to get a couple of ounces. I can’t walk around without a bra or breast pads ever or I’ll start leaking (this happened with my first as well). Yet, I hardly have any milk. It’s frustrating.
2) This time around I think I am using less formula, but my daughter is only 4 mos old. At the beginning, she wasn’t taking much by breast and I used more, but now I’m down to giving her about 1 bottle a day (though it varies if she happens to eat more one day). Since she mostly drinks breast milk, I’ve started to feed her organic formula which costs about $28 a can. I think I can get by on a month with that. I can’t even imagine how bad it would be if I had to give her a lot more formula.
3) I have not been able to breastfeed, but I do exclusively pump. I did like breastfeeding though. It was convenient to be able to have breast “at hand” whenever baby was hungry and the bonding time. And I felt good about giving her the best milk I could. As tiring as feeding a baby can be, particularly in the early months, it does force you to slow down when you might otherwise be distracted by less important things, like your messy house.
4) I don’t feel there are any “cons” to breastfeeding itself. It can be tough to establish a good breastfeeding relationship.
5) My husband is pro-breastfeeding so no bad impact, though he’s pretty careful not to mess with breasts as much. He doesn’t want to inadvertently take any of the baby’s milk. Sometimes if it’s almost time for me to pump and we’re about to have sex, I’ll usually pump first so everything’s “emptied out”.
6) I actually had pretty good luck with the my breast friend pillow and cross-cradle hold. I tried side lying and that would probably be great, but I couldn’t always get in the best position and my flab always felt like it was hanging down a lot.

1. When my milk first came in, my breasts were very large and full, but not rock hard and not painful.
2. The best things about breast feeding was the cuddling with my son and the fact that no matter what was wrong, as soon as he latched on, everything was better. If he got hurt, if he wasn’t feeling good, if he was tired or cranky, whatever was wrong – everything was perfect once he was cuddled up to me and nursing. I loved the way his little hands and fingers would rub my neck, chest and arms while he was nursing. It was so sweet. It was also so convenient.
3. The only cons of breast feeding are that it is so demanding on you. My son liked to eat every 2 hours around the clock until he was almost a year old and I was the only one that could nurse him so that was a bit tough.
4. My husband was so supportive. I think he looked at me like a “hero” because I was able to calm our son down just by lifting my shirt. It slightly affected our sex life b/c my husband was a little afraid if he orally stimulated my breasts, that he would end up breast feeding too.

1. My itty bitty breasts were HUGE, hot and rock hard when my milk came in and only recently have they resumed their smallish size again (baby is 10 months now). It strung when my milk let down then, but I barely notice it now unless it’s been many hours since I last nursed.
2. When River was 5 months old I started mixing breast milk with 30% formula on the two days a week that I work and the occasional weekend when I’m away. A couple months later we went tp 50% formula in a bottle (he won’t take the bottle if it’s not at least half breast milk). After using all the formula coupons I got in the mail, I’ve spent less than $100 on formula since then (he’s 10 months now).
3. The best thing about breastfeeding was the sweet sleep and cuddle time it afforded me. Until River was about 8 months old, his dad would put in bed with me early every morning (and sometimes in the middle of the night) and baby and I would curl up together and sleep for hours while he nursed on and off. This was especially wonderful when he wasn’t sleeping through the night. Now that he’s a toddler he doesn’t nurse long enough for us to fall asleep, but I still love the little bit of “baby” time I get while I hold him, even if he’s playing with my nose and pinching my lips the whole time.
4. The worse thing about breastfeeding is that I can’t share the responsibility. My husband would love to help (he says), but it now takes me longer to pump than it does for me to nurse, so it’s hardly worth it. I also hate being tied to the pump whenever I travel without the baby – especially with the new flight restrictions that don’t allow me to carry breast milk unless it’s checked in my baggage. Such a pain!
5. My husband (and both our families) is very supportive, although he admitted that he was a little jealous of all the cuddle time I get with the baby. Breastfeeding hasn’t affected our sex life at all. My breasts have never really leaked and I think my hubby loved how my tiny B cups turned into Ds overnight!
6. After my C-section it was easiest for me to simply hold the baby in a cradle position with a pillow under me, maybe because I’m small breasted and have a long torso. The Boppy was too hard and hurt my incision when I tried it on my lap. When the baby had problems latching on sometimes I switched to a football hold, but that was more for him than me. A couple of weeks later when I learned how to nurse him while laying on my side, I would hold his little feet so he didn’t kick my bikini area.

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