Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Breastfeeding Journey



When I was pregnant I did a lot of reading on a lot of subjects. Like any first time mom I was super nervous about sleeping and breastfeeding. Those were my two main concerns. I feel like that’s what I heard new mom’s talk about the most, so I was trying to prepare myself as much as possible! Funny thing is you can read all you want but what it comes down to is your baby! They are all different and every mama is different so it’s hard to apply every piece of advice cause it’s not a one fix fits all cases! This is my breastfeeding journey!

I’m nowhere near being done nursing, but have 7 solid months under my belt. Some easy, some hard, some happy, some sad, and pretty much every emotion in between.
Right after Milan was born I was very adamant about getting at least 30 minutes of skin to skin within her first hour and breastfeeding the majority of that time as I read that that is when the babies are most awake and alert! To my surprise and all the nurses as well, Milan latched perfectly and started guzzling away. It was a beautiful sight! Every nurse that came and checked on us in our time in the hospital said something about how good she was nursing! This made this new paranoid mama super happy and proud! On the day we were supposed to get discharged they did her final weigh and the Pediatrician on call came and told me that she had lost more than they like to see so she wanted me to supplement with formula, gave me some samples, told me how much, gave me the bottles, and left. She waked out of the room and I was left so confused. Why am I having to supplement? I told every nurse that I plan on breastfeeding, Milan is doing so well? Another nurse came in and totally reassured me and said babies come with more weight than they need and their bodies are designed to wait  some time for the mothers milk cause it can take some time to come in! She told me that if I didn’t feel I needed to supplement then don’t worry. I was a huge worrier and I felt like oh no what if I’m starving my daughter? But I didn’t want to give her the bottle because I didn’t want to jinx how good our nursing relationship was going. I ended up giving her some formula through a syringe after our 1 week ped appointment that she had lost more weight. It was barely any but enough to get her to gain until my milk came in. As soon as my milk came in she started gaining weight on just that and we stopped supplementing.

Those first 6ish weeks were spent pretty much naked, with rock-hard engorged boobies, cracked bleeding nipples, hours of cluster feeding, and lots and lots of snuggles. I could not figure out how to breastfeed with clothes on so I pretty much just took off my shirt any time it was time! I got stretch marks on my boobies from my milk coming in so fast, I woke up in milk puddles and didn’t have a single bra that fit! Even though Milan’s latch was perfect my nipples still hurt like HELLLLL. Whoever said it only hurts if you’re doing it wrong is WRONG! I cried and cried and cried! I had to keep a rag with me to bite down on every feeding! I would dread the next feeding because it just hurt so bad! Michael always said it made no sense that he just watched me give birth naturally and then sit and cry over breastfeeding! The easiest thing to compare it to is it felt like my nipple was getting pierced over and over again! No fun! Cluster feeding. Oooooooh cluster feeding! I kinda el oh el when new moms try to put they’re newborns on a feeding schedule-I mean if you did more power to ya! But I truly truly believe that our success in breastfeeding came from giving in to those hours and hours of cluster feeding and feeding on demand. It’s good for the baby to practice, bond, and grow, and it is also good for mama’s milk production, and contracting the uterus to help it go back to normal size! There are so many benefits to cluster feeding and yet I think so many new moms try to avoid it! Embrace it! There will be days (and nights) you will be stuck on your couch with a baby on your boob for HOURS. And that’s OKAY! Find a good Netflix show:)

Fast forward a few months I was still so proud of myself for being so successful in breastfeeding! Proud-YES! But did I enjoy breastfeeding? Not so much. It is really hard to put how I felt into words but Milan was about 4 months at this point and still ate every hour. Also the only way that we could get her to sleep was by nursing, so that meant bedtime was all on me. She was an extreme comfort nurser-still is! Never used a binky or a bottle. So I could never get a break. After trying and trying and trying to get her on a bottle and failing miserably every time I think that’s when my despise for breastfeeding really sank in. I felt totally trapped. Like I was being forced to nurse her and even if for some reason I wanted to stop or had to stop, or even needed to leave her, take a certain medicine, or anything…I couldn’t. I was stuck nursing her until she said so. For some reason this really gave me severe anxiety and depression. I started to really dread every nursing session. I started to really resent and become bitter to bottle feeding mamas and how “easy” they had it. They could take a three hour break if they were having a rough day, they could get a full nights sleep, they could have their husband put their baby to sleep, they could feed their baby wherever without judgmental stares. They could wear a dress to church, they could take any medicine they wanted. Anything! It was really twisted of me to have these feelings but I really couldn’t help it I think it all stemmed from the feeling trapped. It was like I was claustrophobic to the situation if that makes any sense! 

We started her on solids at 5 months to hopefully keep her full longer, it helped a little bit at first. She started going 2 hours in between feedings! And I just accepted that she wouldn’t take a bottle and backed off for a few weeks. It seemed like everyone around me was a formula/bottle feeding mama and it was so frustrating! I felt like no one really understood how trapped I felt! Also I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because nursing is beautiful and natural and an awesome way to bond with my baby, I shouldn’t hate it. I should be grateful I’ve been so blessed in it when so many aren’t so fortunate that want it so bad! I felt like I couldn’t express my true feelings without sounding selfish and being judged. Which only made things worse.

Then the miracle happened. Milan took a bottle. Ooooh glorious day! I’d be lying if I didn’t think about switching her to formula that instant! I felt a sudden rush of freedom! I continued to practice with my saved breast milk and she continued to take it like a champ. This is when everything changed in me. Suddenly that option to stop breastfeeding was there. It was right at my fingertips. Thinking so hard about giving it up is what made me realize how much I truly love it. I started to really reflect on all of our nursing sessions. Every time I would feed her I would stop what I was doing and just look at her, watch her eat, watch her eyes drift off into sleep. I would hold her hand and just look at her. I started to really truly enjoy nursing again. I think I was too caught up in what I couldn’t do and didn’t think about how fast time is going and a year is just a blink away versus before where it felt ages away!

Having her take a bottle literally flipped a light switch in me on how I felt towards breastfeeding! Now two months later we really rarely use the bottle! We try to giver her a couple ounces at least every other day to make sure she doesn’t refuse it again but other than that we strictly breastfeed and all negative feelings have gone away! I thoroughly love nursing her and the relationship we have from it! I do wish that she saw me more than food sometimes haha just kidding! But it is so refreshing!!!

Breastfeeding is hands down the hardest thing I’ve dealt with in motherhood-and not for the typical reasons and struggles of supply and latch issues! But I’m at seven months strong and I don’t see it ending anytime soon! It’s crazy before I would have told you I’m stopping on her 1st birthday! But now I really feel that I could go further until she shows signs of being done….but no two year old for me haha maybe;)

Now some of my favorite moments are during nursing her! She constantly has her hand up on my face, playing with my lips, grabbing my nose etc! Every once in a while I'll grab her hands with my mouth and kind of bite down on it and she loses it!! Thinks it's the funniest thing ever! Also when she started biting someone advised me to kinda squish her face into my boob to stop that habit, I also found out that she thinks that is the funniest thing in the world-doesn't help the biting but brings some giggles! Her smiles with half of my boob hanging out of her mouth are my favorite smiles!! I am so grateful that our nursing relationship did a complete 180! 


Wow if you read that all you deserve an award! And please don’t judge me for hating something that is supposed to be “natural and beautiful” yes it was both of those! But it is also really really hard sometimes!

If you are struggling or not struggling and just want an AWESOME resource for breastfeeding @lactationlink on Instagram is so so helpful! Answers FAQ's but also can offer a more personalized help! She teaches classes in person if you are in Utah County, or online!! I will definitely be taking one with my next baby because I am still learning new things about nursing everyday!! Here are her links! 

http://www.eventbrite.com/o/lindsey-shipley-7842147438

Her website:
www.lactationlink.com

Insta: @lactationlink
Fb: www.facebook.com/lactationlink

15 comments:

  1. Great post! Your an amazing Mama! I've been working on my BF story for a a while, and have been a little nervous to post. we are almost 7 months strong too :) (Although I never thought we would have made it this far in the beginning) You have inspired me!

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  2. I think we were in opposite boats. I'm surrounded by breastfeeding moms and I'm formula feeding. I tried the breastfeeding route and had to stop due to severed ducts due to a breast surgery. At first I felt trapped and the anxiety was high and I could see depression on the horizon. I tried breastfeeding for a week before I stopped. It was the hardest thing ever. My daughter instant latched perfectly too and nurses commented how great she was but it did hurt like you said! I would cry when she latched and my nipples were cracked and bleeding. Looking back now, I do wish I could've continued breastfeeding. But I think moms feel judged either way. I feel looked down on for formula feeding. I think we're all worried were not enough or doing enough but that's far from the case! Keep it up!

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  3. Ah! This is my feelings of breastfeeding all in one place. Bree latched on right away too but then when we left I was so sore and cried every time she ate. When she was about a month I had a drop in my milk and that's what really made me realize how much I loved breastfeeding. I cried because I didn't want to have to stop. My milk came back and now I soak up every half boob smiles I can get! No one ever tells you how hard breastfeeding is until you are going through it. Thanks for this post!!!

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  4. not gonna lie, this is my biggest fear of motherhood! I'm scared I won't be able to handle the pain from breast feeding or that my baby won't latch or something. I'll probs be back reading this post when it comes time for me to apply this more into my life. I'm glad you wrote such an honest and deep post. you're a good mama!

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  5. ^my biggest fear as well, especially since I already really don't like my breast touched at all. Don't be surprise if and when the time comes that I come ask you for some advice!! You are so awesome to be so so open about this.

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  6. Go you for not giving up. I guess I'm a sissy when it comes to pain because on day two, I couldn't stand the pain any longer. I've been exclusively pumping since.

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  7. Awesome post!

    Myra was amazing at breastfeeding till the first time i gave her a bottle... she WOULD NOT go back to the boob. Talk about saddest day ever!

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  8. Seriously, thanks so much for posting this and for being so bold and honest. I've had pretty much exactly the same experience. Shirtless first weeks, feeling claustrophobic, being frustrated about not wearing dresses to church. I have a 7 month old baby girl too and it's such a comfort to see that someone else is feeling the exact same way.
    Seriously thanks! I might just blog about breastfeeding myself today!

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  9. haha - wearing a dress to church - YES! Isn't it crazy how every little thing changes?! Congrats on making it this far :)

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  10. Oh my gosh. When I read this I felt like I was reading my own breastfeeding story. My son would not take a bottle and around 4/5 months I was so ready to be done with BF. I would get envious that I couldn't ever leave Cooper with a babysitter so I could go get my hair done by myself. There were just so many things that couldn't happen because he never took a bottle. When we started solids I pushed and pushed a sippy cup because if he wasn't going to take a bottle, he would take a sippy cup! We are done BF now (9 1/2 months) and some days I miss it! Anyways, I'm so glad that you're powering through it and that your experience/outlook has gotten better! I hope y'all make it a year! Or maybe longer ;) Oh and thanks for being honest! The struggle is real sometimes & I'm sure so many women can relate.

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  11. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your story! I am not a mother yet, but these are issues that worry me for when my time comes! It is always nice to hear that everyone's experiences are different, and that everyone has their own struggles but that it all works out in the end.

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  12. I just found your blog and Instagram and I love it. I am going through breastfeeding issues but more lack of supply. I went back to work and felt really pressured to get her on a bottle quick. She was amazing at latching in the hospital and amazing at taking the bottle. But once we gave her a bottle & soother I noticed a drop in my milk supply, then a drop when I did go back to work. She's a little over 4 months old now and I feel lucky if I make it to 6 months. I'm praying fenugreek & other things will continue to help the supply.
    Michelle
    Http://rosetolife.com

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  13. I so needed this! Breastfeeding is such a love/hate relationship sometimes. I fought hard through two horrible bouts of plugged ducts and mastitis, and I started with really low milk supply. I used to pump every single hour and had to supplement with formula, and then at 2 months we went to EB. Now at 5 months I'm back to work and she refuses to take a bottle, she just won't eat when I'm gone at all. I felt guilty for the formula and now I feel guilty for the months of exclusive breastfeeding! Who Would have known something so natural could be so difficult on so many levels? Anyway thanks for the post it was great to know other people feel the struggle too!

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  14. as he was effectively using me as a dummy when he needed comfort. mommystap

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  15. Ich schätze Ihren Standpunkt, und es tut mir leid, dass Sie Ihre Stillzeit früher beenden mussten, als Sie geplant hatten! Es ist so schwer, loszulassen, ich habe es mit meinen Zwillingen gemacht und ich erinnere mich an das Gefühl! Aber Sie sind in keiner Weise ein Fehler! Es hört sich an, als ob du deine Babys sehr liebst!
    breastfeeding

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