In my first article, I gave a few affordable fashion tips for breastfeeding Moms. This time around I would like to share my breastfeeding journey with you all.
When I was pregnant, I knew I would breastfeed. I just knew it. Before I switched to a midwife, my OB would always try to send me home with formula samples, and it really bothered me. I think that sends a message to expecting mothers that their milk will not be enough and they will need to supplement. Why even plant that seed in their mind? This happens at baby stores as well.
For instance, when I registered for my baby shower at two very popular baby stores, I was bombarded by aisles full of bottles and formula, all sending a subtle message that I will fail. After registering, I was given a gift by both stores that included bottles and formula samples. If I wasn’t so set on breastfeeding, it might have really caused me to doubt myself. However, I refused to succumb to big business marketing endeavors and believed instead in my body’s ability to lactate. I simply could not conceive that every mother has supply issues or trouble with their breastfeeding journey, because historically that hasn’t always been the case. If that were so, humanity would not have thrived before formula.
My breastfeeding journey, a real journey of love!
After laboring for twenty-four hours, my precious baby was finally in my arms. What a sweet relief after the bitter pain to have her with me! There were a few complications during childbirth and the nurses decided to take Violet to the nursery to sit under warm lights for an hour or so. I took the time to let the shock wear off and rehydrated my body, while I processed the fact that I was a new mother. When my fiance finally brought our daughter back into the room, I decided it was time to initiate breastfeeding. I remember having no idea what I was doing; my inner-goddess was replaced with insecurity as I fumbled to hold her correctly and to try getting her to latch onto my nipple. A nurse came in and I admitted that I needed help, so she suggested calling the Lactation Consultant. I hesitated because it was 1 am, but I knew my baby needed to eat and I didn’t want to wait any longer.
The L.C. came in and instructed me to pancake my breast while rubbing my nipple quickly on my daughter’s nose for the scent, and then rubbing it on her upper lip while pointing it upward to encourage her to open her mouth. Imagine the relief I felt when it worked! My tiny newborn was taking big gulps and filling her little belly with the underrated, ever precious liquid gold that is colostrum. It didn’t take much to fill her belly and she continued to pacify on me, which breathed new life into me. I had to take an ibuprofen for the pain in my uterus because the hormones that are released while breastfeeding cause your uterus to shrink back to its original size. It feels a lot like menstrual cramps, but nothing compared to labor. What an incredible give-and-take breastfeeding is; perfectly orchestrated for both mother and child.
The hospital sent us home with a chart to document the amount of dirty diapers she was producing, and to ensure I was feeding her enough. It instructed to nurse for 15 minutes on each side every 2-3 hours, but I found that she would eat much more than that. I later discovered that what she was doing is called cluster-feeding and it is completely normal and healthy for newborns. Not a lot of new mothers know this, and many doubt their milk supply because of it. Let me reassure you, Momma. Your baby is not starving. Allowing your baby to pacify on you and cluster-feed will ensure a healthy milk supply and a happier baby. If you find that your baby is still fussy, try adjusting your diet to be allergen free (dairy, eggs, broccoli, etc), but do remember that it can take a few weeks to clear out of your system so you may not notice a difference right away.
For the first few months of being a mother, I struggled to do anything other than breastfeed or take care of my daughter. I faced socially awkward situations when certain relatives made comments about me flashing my boobs at family functions (which I didn’t do), or when they avoided me altogether as if I had the plague. Other family members were more supportive, but I still usually ended up in the back room alone with my baby. It was always a relief when I didn’t have any social obligations for the day.
Over the months, my daughter would change her eating habits often, but she has always been a slow eater and refused to nap anywhere except on me (and with a nipple in her mouth). I savored the snuggles, which were good for my postpartum depression and anxiety, and I would cozy up on the couch with my water, snacks, and endless Netflix marathons. It was honestly kind of awesome! I started to pump around that time in order to make a freezer stash, and unknowingly created a massive oversupply because my daughter was nursing full-time and I was pumping 4-6 times a day! I no longer pump, and my supply has now regulated perfectly to fit my daughter’s needs. Breastfeeding is completely supply and demand. How cool is that? She had severe reflux until she was about four months-old, but other than that we have never had any major hiccups, thankfully.
My daughter is now 14 months-old and is still breastfed exclusively. It took a while for me to gain courage when it comes to breastfeeding in public, but now I do it without shame. We go with the flow during the day, and cosleeping has helped to ease my anxiety at nighttime, as well as make feedings easier. She still naps on me for the most part, but her never-ending nursing sessions are a distant memory. She has maybe one purée a day, but doesn’t show much interest in food yet. Her iron levels are perfect, and she is skinny, but very healthy. Alas, my breast milk is enough. We are still going strong and I see no reason to stop anytime soon.
For whatever challenges I have faced over these past fourteen months of my breastfeeding journey, the rewards have been tenfold. Never quit on your darkest day, because if you do, you may never see your brightest one. Stick with it, I believe in you!
Be sure to join us in our social media accounts to be up to date with the progress of our project!
And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our HT #BreastfeedingWorld
Latest posts by Lissa James (see all)
- Motherhood: When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Work Out - December 15, 2015
- A Letter to my Daughter: Mommy is Here - November 23, 2015
- Holistic Treatment for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety - October 20, 2015