Second Time Around- Heather’s Breastfeeding Journey of Love
As part of our new section dedicated to our amazing readers “Facebook’s Breastfeeding World” we have chosen this lovely story submitted by the wonderful Heather Hoskins – mother of 2 – who wishes to inspire new mommies to not give up easily in their breastfeeding journey, their journey of love! Read on!
I Had never Breastfed in Public Before
As I walked into the busy building and prepared to get on the elevator – 3 year old on one arm and 5 day old in the other – I could tell she was hungry. I didn’t want to make her wait and make us all endure the inevitable yet somehow adorable screaming so I prepared to begin nursing my baby in public for the first time.
I sat on the bench outside of the elevator and discreetly latched her. Then the elevator bell rang and the doors opened. We needed to get to our appointment so I stood up, baby still latched in the football hold (my favorite), toddler still hanging off of one arm, and proceeded to my destination.
As I got off of the elevator, I heard, “wow you can tell you’re a pro second time mom! You make it look easy!”
Ha! Little did they know I was far from a pro and I was crying inside from a bleeding nipple. I did feel a sense of accomplishment and pride, though. You see, I wasn’t able to breastfeed my son, I produced no milk. As hard as I tried- letting him nurse and even pumping every two hours for weeks, he maybe got a few drops of colostrum each time. The doctors didn’t know why. I felt like a failure. All I wanted was to breastfeed my baby. Could the scheduled (turns out unnecessary) C-section resulted in that failure? Maybe because I’m overweight? Perhaps something else is wrong with me, and I just wasn’t meant to nurture and bond with my baby like God intended. While I have my theories, I’ll never know why I couldn’t breastfeed my son.
“I felt so determined. If there was a way, I would nurse this baby…”
That’s why, in my next pregnancy I researched as much as I could. Next ,I spoke with multiple IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and other moms who had struggled. Determined, I knew that if there was a way, I’d nurse this baby. I ordered fenugreek and blessed thistle and was ready with all of the recommended supplements. I even requested a pump in my hospital room to make sure I had as much stimulation as early as possible. Then she was born and she was a natural.
She latched right away and seemed to know exactly what to do. At less than 24 hours old, she started nursing and didn’t stop for 14 hours. FOURTEEN HOURS! I thought I was going to die from the pain. I mean, I prepared myself for pain, but not this kind of pain. Hurting, I nearly threw out my own “no pacifier request” in a desperate attempt to save my nipples (and sanity). Then, when a lactation consultant was checking in on us and addressing my concerns about lack of production, she pointed out the most beautiful thing. My daughter was swallowing, she wasn’t just suckling, she was actually swallowing something. I was producing milk already! I cried. I’m not quite sure if it was the pain or the joy, probably a bit of both.
“I nearly filled a stand-alone freezer with all of my pumped milk…”
When she was 6 weeks old, I went back to work as so many moms do. Not only was I sad to leave my baby, but I was mainly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to pump what she needed. I was also afraid that she would have nipple confusion and not want to nurse anymore. Boy was I wrong! I nearly filled a stand-alone freezer with all of my pumped milk. Most of that milk I donated to two precious babies- including my nephew, just three weeks older than my daughter.
For 14 months, I pumped. After that I continued to breastfeed my baby girl- we didn’t stop until She turned 28 months old. Meeting those milestones- I felt so proud of my super power. I didn’t want to wean her until she was ready. I nursed her wherever and whenever she wanted (well, mostly). We nursed while pushing a cart around the grocery store. In restaurants, at family get-togethers, she breastfed anywhere she wanted. Despite some looks and concerns I may have received (even from family), I wanted other moms to see me nursing my child and see that it is ok to nurse in public. Even in the toddler stage, it’s OK.
“Your baby needs you and it’s ok to nurture them.”
I wanted to let her choose when she didn’t want to nurse anymore. Then one day she did. She nursed one evening and that was it, she didn’t ask again. Just tonight (she’s 3 now) she mentioned with sadness her “empty milkies” . Sometimes I am saddened because I miss that bonding time. I miss soothing her like no one else can. Other times, I look at my healthy and smart little girl and just smile. I got her here. I nursed her through some tough times, for both of us. Finally, we made it. Even with the world against us, we made it.
Do you have an amazing and inspiring nursing journey to share with Breastfeeding World? Have you experienced some difficulty for you and your little, one but you pushed through? We want to hear about it! Submit your story, to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you could find your story featured in our site!
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