I’m sitting here sipping on my No More Milk tea and I figured I should probably make a blog post on breastfeeding! I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. And it will probably come in series as there’s quite a bit of information that I’d like to share.
So my first rule to parenting is taking everyone and anyone’s advice like a grain of salt. So take all of mine like this as well. I’m a first-time, stay at home mom to a now 15-month-old baby girl. Obviously, I’m not a doctor or a lactation consultant. And you should seek medical help when you feel it’s necessary, however, keep in mind that not all doctors, gynecologists, OR even pediatricians are trained in lactation (I genuinely meant it when I said to take everyone and anyone’s advice like a grain of salt). At the end of the day, you’re the mama and you know what’s best and what is working or not working for you and your baby.
So let me tell you how it all started…
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I couldn’t be bothered to do anything. I straight up did not care if I show up to work 10 minutes late, which I shamefully admit I did almost every day like the last month of my pregnancy. My bosses were so understanding and never wrote me up, but I definitely do not recommend…
I remember having intense back pain and I was so itchy, uncomfortable and I couldn’t breathe. Little did I know, I was going to be giving birth about a week after that! Needless to say, my carelessness and inability to find comfort in any position I tried, I forgot to do any research about breastfeeding.
And I had made the decision to breastfeed very early on. I had emotionally and mentally told myself I had no other option. I even gave away all my formula samples, and never once thought it to be a problem.
So that moment when my sweet little baby was placed on my chest just moments after being born, and the nurse told me to immediately put her on my breast, I had NO CLUE how to hold her comfortably in order to do so.
They asked me if she had a good latch, and I was like “SURE!” because it hurt so that must’ve meant she was latching pretty good, right? I’m seriously laughing at myself and how I absolutely didn’t know ANYTHING. What’s sad is that the nurses didn’t even know enough to know for me.
So that first night in the hospital was spent nursing my newborn switching breasts every 15 minutes. I had my eye on the clock for what felt like hours, and couldn’t wait until I switched boobs because it really did hurt. I was exhausted. And at about 3 o’clock, Mark finally just decided to hold her for a while so that I could rest.
They checked on me and checked on her… But there was mix up about how much she weighed a birth and they came in and told me she had dropped 7% of her weight, which was incorrect. Babies always lose a little bit of weight after birth but since they were concerned about her being so close to 10% weight loss, and I being a first-time mom, I immediately regretted taking a nap. And nursed her even more and longer than what they had told me to.
By the second day my milk had come in, I didn’t even get to see the colostrum, which at least meant that my daughter got it all. But I wish I had gotten to see it!
The lactation consultant came in literally as my husband went to pull the car around on the day we were leaving. So I only got a few minutes. And to my surprise, Lily did latch on once pain-free! She is also the one who showed me to nurse on my side, which later on SAVED MY LIFE when it came to catching up on my sleep.
Even so, the next couple days until I saw her first pediatrician, I was in pain and my nipples were dry and cracking and on the verge of bleeding. I was nearly in tears nursing her in the office. He was the one who first suggested I get a nipple shield to help. And that is how I managed to get through my first couple of weeks of breastfeeding while having scabbed-over nipples.
If you told me that I would go through all of this while cramping, bleeding heavily and having to care for my own 2nd-degree tear every time I tried to go to the bathroom… I don’t know that breastfeeding would’ve sounded as appealing. But now that I’m thinking about it, I’m glad that things happened this way. I feel like adding the stress of knowing the what-ifs would’ve destroyed me mentally.
I’ll be completely honest. Breastfeeding has been the absolute hardest thing I have ever done. Pregnancy? I survived. Giving birth? 2nd-degree tear – PSH, no problem! But man, breastfeeding is physically, mentally and emotionally tiring. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry (both sad and happy tears), I’d be lying if I said I didn’t bleed, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think that I could make it a year. But I did… And here I am sitting at 15 months, finally sipping on my No More Milk tea.
You have to want it. You have to want it BAD. And in a lot of cases, you have to think like it’s the only option, but you have to know that it’s OKAY to supplement. I’ll discuss a little bit more on that throughout my series… But attitude is everything. If you’re positive and believe in yourself (as cheesy as that may sound) you could very well just speak it into existence. That is assuming there are no underlying medical inhibitions which we’ll also touch on in the blog posts to come… It won’t be easy but it WILL be worth it, no matter how long your journey lasts.