This post is a bit different than our others. It was written by a local mom who’s idea of exclusively breastfeeding didn’t go exactly as planned. After hearing about her journey in a local Facebook mom group, I reached out to see if she would like to share her story with other mothers. She struggled with latching and a hungry baby and ultimately made the decision to begin pumping exclusively to provide her daughter with breast milk for nine months! This is her story.
I Always Wanted to Breastfeed my Children
It was never even a consideration that I would do otherwise. I knew nothing about breast pumps, I thought those were for working moms, and I was completely clueless about latching and supply issues. Breastfeeding is what my breasts were for. I assumed it would just happen. So I walked around in my pregnant and ignorant bliss, daydreaming about our late-night feeding sessions.
The first latch was painful, I winced through our first three days of feedings, to the point of tears. She often fell asleep while trying to feed her and the nurses told me to undress my precious newborn to wake her up and make her eat; that, to me, seemed barbaric. The lactation consultants were very militant and it all just felt very wrong, this was not natural. There was no reassurance or support from these women, just aggravated faces telling me that I was doing it all wrong. Strangers groping me and witnessing the most intimate moment between my daughter and I, lacking empathy for our struggle.
Stella cried and cried during feedings. My baby was hungry and I couldn’t feed her. Why couldn’t I do this thing that all other moms were capable of? I was heartbroken. Little did I know that this was a pretty normal experience and I wasn’t failing – I just lacked proper support!
My husband came home one night with a very expensive breast pump. It looked like a miniature milking machine used on a dairy farm. I felt insulted! No, I wasn’t going to use this, I was going to breastfeed my baby. This was not how I pictured this!
With painfully swollen breasts, leaking and staining my shirt, I gave in and pumped a small little bottle, the liquid barely filling it. This started my pumping and feeding adventure. It was hard, it was very hard. I had to stay a bottle ahead because it took about 20 minutes to pump both breasts and a hungry baby was not going to wait quietly for that. Every feeding I would put the baby back down and pump a bottle ready for the next feeding. We kept this up, my husband and I, tag teaming the bottle feedings for the next 9 months. Even with supplemental pumping I eventually lost my supply. I was completely devastated. My desire to feed breast milk for over a year was not going to happen. I felt like my own body had failed me.
Looking back, my daughter is now a healthy and happy 6 year old and she has no idea the stress and sadness of that time. Breastfeeding takes a village, it takes a lot of support! I wish I had known about breastfeeding circles and not all lactation consultants are created equal. I wish I had asked for help and admitted that I was struggling and that its very normal for it to be hard.
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This post is for informational purposes only. It does not replace consultation with a medical professional. This information is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.