I got an email from an Instagram fan from a beautiful mama that told of her struggle to breastfeed after rejecting the idea at first and not getting enough education before her babe was born…. I want to share it with you now. It is beautifully written, so I am going to paste her email below. I am so proud of her for being such a strong and amazing mother even when her breastfeeding journey seemed hopeless… Here is her story:
I wanted to share my breastfeeding journey to help other people like me out there as well as for your bfing research! I want to start off my saying the I was breastfed until I was 4 years old! Every time my mom shares this with people (which she loves to do) I would always get super embarrassed. Before I got pregnant, I was a completely different person. I was “that guy” who would see people breastfeeding in a restaurant and think to myself “what the hell do that at home”. I can even remember at 9 months pregnant going to The Cheesecake Factory and seeing a woman breastfeeding at the table and thinking “That is totally not gonna be me doing that at a restaurant!”. Things really really change when you become a mother!!! When i was pregnant, i made the decision that i wanted to breastfeed but my one regret is not educating myself when i was pregnant what breastfeeding actually entails. I thought it was something so easy, instinctual, and natural and that my baby would just know what to do and it would be easy as 1,2,3. I was sooo soooo wrong. Breastfeeding has been the HARDEST thing i have ever done, way harder than being pregnant, being in labor, motherhood. The beginning 6 weeks of breastfeeding was the most stressful time in my life! So fast forward to January 29, 2013 – the day i was induced. Once Rayden was born, the nurse immediately tried to get him to breastfeed but she told me he wouldn’t latch because he learned how to “suck his tongue”in utero and she would send the lactation nurse in later. The lactation nurse helped me get him to latch but he would not stay latched and I couldn’t latch him on without her help (it was like a 4 person 8 hand job somehow). Every time i tried to breastfeed him in the hospital it wasn’t going well and i wasn’t getting the help i needed from the nurses. However, the lactation nurse told me to NOT supplement with formula WHATEVER I DO. So i figured Rayden was getting enough from what I was doing. 2 days after his birth, we were discharged from the hospital with a billiruben level of 11. Since it was slightly elevated, they set up an appointment in the morning to see the pediatrician. That day when I got home, I tried so many times to breastfeed him myself and I could not get him to latch at all. I was so frustrated between lack of sleep, healing from labor, crazy hormones, and adjusting to a newborn I was going crazy. I really felt like supplementing and quitting, but that voice in the back of my head remembered the nurse saying NEVER SUPPLEMENT !!! So the next morning I took Rayden in and his billiruben was a 19! That was super high and he was immediately admitted to the NICU for “breastfeeding related dehydration jaundice”. This was devastating to me, seeing my little 7 lb. baby hooked up to machines and under a light for 2 days. I was so mad, i was mad at myself, mad at the lactation nurse, mad at breastfeeding, I felt guilty and like a failure. If i only supplemented my son wouldn’t be in the NICU. While in the NICU, i attempted to breastfeed, pumped, fed him that and supplemented with formula. He still was not feeding from the breast too well but took the bottle very well. After 2 days he was discharged and was completely better. Once home, I was so scared of him getting dehydrated again that i would breastfeed him and immediately give him a formula bottle to make sure he got enough. When i went to the pediatrician the following day, he told me Rayden is not breastfeeding well now because of nipple confusion. I was ordered by the doctor to stop all pacifiers, bottles, and strictly breastfeed. Breastfeed all day if i had to he said. I thought to myself, yeah easy for you to say your a man!!! Again, i felt like giving up. I was so tired from everything that happened but i didn’t give up i listened to the doctor and basically nursed all day. Rayden was getting the hang of it but he was not an efficient nurser. So i basically would feed him, he would nurse for 45 minutes, then have to feed him in an hour so i was so tired of breastfeeding! My boobs hurt, nipples hurt, and I had no life other then breastfeeding. But i hung in there for my sons sake. I told myself, I am not giving up now after everything i have been through! Fast forward to when Rayden was about 3 weeks old, gaining weight, happy baby during the day but 8pm rolls around and he would be sooo fussy refuse to nurse. I had no idea about the witching hour! I googled his symptoms and it turns out thats what it was. The witching hours are terrible (and still are but are getting better) but it makes nursing really hard…once again i wanted to give up but said to myself NO after everything i have overcome. I can finally say now that Rayden is 11 weeks old, breastfeeding is so easy and I am so happy i stuck with it. He is such an efficient breastfeeder. He now only breastfeeds 6-8 times a day and only for 10 minutes and only one side at a time. I no longer feel like all i do is breastfeed. I actually enjoy side laying breastfeeding and cuddling with him. I couldn’t imagine myself making bottles and feeding it to him. How would he fall asleep? He loves to nurse to sleep, it makes him so happy to cuddle and nurse. I did a complete 360. I now nurse in public all the time. I still hate nursing in public but i do it because my baby needs to eat. I don’t care really if people are offended by it, because i am doing something completely natural for my son. I don’t blame the people who have given up on breastfeeding. I almost gave up on it 20 times. It i truly a learning experience for mother AND baby. Its not as easy as people think. It takes a lot of patience, perseverance, and willpower. But it is so worth it! Sorry to have written a novel but i want to let you know my story and that breastfeeding does get easier like they say. I still struggle with it sometimes, but i always overcome it.