Whether you breastfed your baby for one day, one month, one year, or longer, good for you!
I wanted to share a little of my story.
I felt a lot of negativity surrounding breastfeeding when I was pregnant. One person told me they had absolutely no interest and didn’t even try. One told me to make sure not to open my breastpump because most people have production issues and can’t produce enough for their babies. My mother-in-law told me a lot of people have issues breastfeeding after I told her I planned on breastfeeding.
I was determined to do it!! My body would produce what my baby needed. My body would give her all she needs. I could do this! I thought breastfeeding was going to be natural and easy. I thought those who complained about pain where doing it wrong, and those who gave up didn’t try hard enough or didn’t want it badly enough. Breastfeeding was the only way I was going to feed my baby.
Boy was I in for a rude awakening when I had Michaela.
Michaela was a very healthy baby when she was born. And by healthy, I mean, 9lbs 5oz of chunky cuteness! In the hospital, she lost a lot of weight. I had a csection, which they say delays your milk coming in. I was ready to go home the night before I was supposed to be released. The doctors gave me the okay to go but when the pediatrician checked on Michaela, we were advised to stay because she had lost so much weight. Pediatricians and lactation consultants conflicted stating, “she’s lost too much weight and needs supplementation” and “your body is producing, your baby is okay, all babies lose weight after birth”. What was I to do? I was devastated that my baby wasn’t gaining weight like I had hoped. Even after some good feeds, she was still losing. We ended up supplementing a couple feeds. I was torn up about it. I knew my body would produce but after being advised several times, we thought it best to supplement those few feeds.
We had latch issues and lots of pain. I was sore and tired and thought how could I possibly do this for a whole year? No judgement towards those who find breastfeeding is not the way they choose to feed their babies because you know what? It’s hard work and it’s a huge time commitment. For the first month or so, I was stuck to the couch for 45 minutes every 2 hours. I couldn’t get anything done besides feed. Finally I realized I was being used as a pacifier more than anything and our feedings got much shorter!
When Michaela was about 3 weeks old, I was sitting next to my husband on the couch feeding her. I had latch pain and the letdown pain was excruciating! Knives. I threw my head back and was telling my husband how painful it was. He knew how determined I was. He suggested we try for one more week and if it didn’t get better, he told me it was okay if we switched to formula. That was just what I needed in the moment. He was supporting me enough to push me one more week because he knew how badly I wanted this, but supported me enough to let me know it wasn’t the end of the world if it didn’t work out.
About three days later, after a lot of Googling about proper latch and other breastfeeding pain, my pain vertually vanished!! Now eight months later, we are still going strong. I love breastfeeding. My body is providing Michaela exactly what she needs. It’s a tailored meal made just for her.
Sure, my breastfeeding story has included sore nipples, clogged ducts, letdown pain, engoregment, worry about producing enough, testing food elimination, and reducing my alcohol and caffeine intake, but my story is one I wouldn’t trade. There is such joy seeing the scale go up with each pediatrician visit, knowing the milk I provide is enough for my daughter to grow and thrive. There is so much love and adoration towards my daughter when I hold her to feed her, knowing I provide not only a meal but comfort and love. I love it!
Happy World Breastfeeding Week!