August 17, 2017

A REAL Breastfeeding Story.

In light of World Breastfeeding Week, which was earlier this month, I feel compelled to share our story.

Before having Caden, I mostly heard things like, "she was a natural" or, "he latched right away." So, with having a pretty easy and uneventful pregnancy, labor, and delivery, I thought for sure we would be a "natural" at breastfeeding, right? Wrong.

What so many people fail to tell you, is that breastfeeding does not always come as "naturally" as you may have been lead to believe. It is hard and stressful and emotional for mom AND baby and you may think about quitting every single day.

From day 1 in the hospital, I was already starting to see the dark side. Caden had a hard time latching, he didn't have a lip tie or tongue tie, but he was new at it and I was new at it and we needed lots of practice. What I didn't know then, was that this was going to mean lots of tears for both of us and lots of sleepless nights to come. I'm sure all of those crazy postpartum hormones didn't help either.

I thought I felt pretty knowledgable about latching, I took the hospital's breastfeeding class, but that was only just a small piece of the puzzle. Every time we woke to nurse, I had the nurse there trying to help. We tried every position she could think of and since all modestly had gone out the window long before, nothing was to be left untried.

When we were discharged to go home, I guess I didn't feel too worried, thinking that this was all new for both of us and we would catch on soon.

The first night home actually went okay. I literally set my alarm to wake every couple hours to nurse and although not easy, we made it through and I felt somewhat rested and optimistic by the next morning. Then, the second night home, my milk came in.

I had heard about how this could feel, however, it was just one more thing I was NOT prepared for. As if latching wasn't hard enough, add milk-engorged breasts to the equation. It's not hard to figure out what the outcome of that was - lots of tears for both me and Caden. Thank God our insurance covered a breast pump and I had already been equipped with one long before baby boy arrived. At about 1:00AM, I made my way downstairs and broke that thing out. Through sleepy, bloodshot eyes, I read the instructions and finally found some relief.

By the next morning, I was convinced my boobs were going to stay like that forever (obviously an irrational thought) and called my lactation consultant. I left her a teary voicemail and with a call back a short time later, I was so thankful to hear that she had an opening that day. It was Friday mind you, I don't know what I would have done if I wasn't able to see her before the weekend.

Of course, Caden latched and nursed pretty well in the appointment, but she gave us some comforting words and advice and a silicone nipple shield and sent us on our way. That nipple shield was a God send. We were finally getting somewhere. I didn't want to become too dependent on it though and was determined to make this work for both of us.

Within about a week, we were only using the nipple shield at night since that always seemed to be our toughest time. When we were both tired and frustrated, that little thing got us through. It also helped a bit with the pain because up until then, it felt like razor blades every time C tried to latch. In time, the nipple shield started to add to the problem so I was relieved when we were able to eventually stop using it.

The first two weeks were the absolute hardest. The lactation consultant had told me to give it at least six weeks. When you are four days postpartum, that is the last thing you want to hear and six weeks seemed like an eternity. In some of our lowest moments, I was literally hand-expressing onto a plastic spoon that Shaun held for me so I could feed our baby. 

I can promise you that I thought about giving up breastfeeding every. single. day. over those six weeks. But the nurse was right - around the six week mark, things finally seemed to be getting easier. We still weren't perfect and it still took some effort, but we were getting there. There were some lows, but by now, those feel like a very distant memory.

Looking back, I'm very happy that I decided to stick with it. Even in our toughest moments, I just didn't feel like there was any other option. Today, Caden is nearly ten months and we have made it so far. I don't really know exactly when our breastfeeding journey will end, but until then, I will soak up all the baby snuggles and every moment, bonding with my baby boy.

This post is strictly to tell our story. Breastfeeding may not be for everyone and it literally isn't an option for others. I have no judgement toward anyone who chooses another way; the most important factor is that your baby gets fed whether it be by breast or bottle, you do you. Being a mom is for sure the hardest job I have ever had and I know that I'm not a perfect parent, therefore, I would never want to judge someone else for doing what they need to do to be the best parent they can be. xo

warmest aloha,


Jen said...

I love that you shared this! The journey to get where you want to be isn't always easy but I'm glad that you were able to push through. :)

The Pink Growl said...

Love this! SO proud of you for sticking with it, because it's definitely a difficult journey! But so rewarding!

Blogging tips