Yes, I’m going to talk about my boobs again.
It is world breastfeeding week and I have been wanting to write about breastfeeding for a while so I figured now would be a good time. I need to get one thing straight though before I start though.
I don’t care how you fed your baby. I am not judging you. If you fed, loved and cared for your baby and didn’t leave them in a damn garbage, I don’t care and frankly it is none of my buisness, but I choose to breastfeed. Check-it. Respect it. Don’t judge me either.
Now I “thought” I had a difficult time in the beginning with Parker. I. was. wrong. Other than initial latch issues, significant weight loss and later on supply issues it was probably one of the best breastfeeding experiences I could have had and successfully breastfed for 10 months. I’m incredibly lucky and thankful that as a first time Mom things went really well all things considered. At the time things seemed to be much more difficult. I think I expected it to just come naturally and it would be this beautiful bonding experience. I know I never thought that my and my families world would revolve entirely around my boobs. Now as a second time mom I knew what to expect. I knew and was comfortable with positioning and latching, and I knew what to expect in regards to my body. I never would have guessed that things would go down they way they did though. I don’t know how many times I have said in-regards to breastfeeding Charlotte “Thank goodness this happened as a second time mom, because I already know I can do this” or I would have given up. I’m sure of that.
My breastfeeding experience with Charlotte has been incredibly difficult with one thing after another. It was not for a lack of support or education. I ended up being at two different hospitals surrounded by lactation consultants who were more than willing and eager to help, answer questions, observe, assist but it would all end the same. Her latch is beautiful, position in great, you are doing everything right. Awesome right? Not really, because she wouldn’t eat!
We had a couple of things against us right from the start. First, Charlotte had an incredibly tiny mouth, so even though she was attempting to latch correctly she couldn’t physically take in enough to really stimulate letdown not to mention that it was incredibly painful. Second, she was jaundice, which makes babies really sleepy, so when she would seem to latch on just enough she would suck about 4-6 times and fall asleep. To get rid of jaundice, a baby needs to poop, and a baby needs to eat in order to poop but she was too tired to work for any milk. So continued this horribly frustrating cycle.
I knew two things at that point. Charlotte needed to eat, and I needed to get my milk in and my supply up. My milk comes in late, day 5-6, which is late in the breastfeeding world. Nursing is the best thing to bring in milk and to get and increase your supply. So I would try putting Charlotte to breast every two hours and then I would immediately pump and bottle her whatever I got. I was attached to my pump for weeks. Not being able to leave the house for more than a quick trip to Target.
Now jaundice is usually cleared up pretty quickly, but Charlotte ended up having breast milk jaundice. So it dragged on for about 6 weeks. That means I spent over six weeks with a baby that would not breastfeed because of the sleepiness, and then because she didn’t have the patience for it. Babies have to work a bit harder to get milk straight from the source rather than a bottle which will drip down their throats. Babies are lazy and Momma’s get frustrated.
I had considered many times to switch to exclusively pumping because I wasn’t sure if I could continue to fight her. To constantly be rejected and have her just scream at my boob. There were a lot of days where I wouldn’t even try to breastfeed because it didn’t seem worth it. Not worth the fight and frustration. I had come to terms with the fact that I she might never be a good nurser. That I might end up exclusively pumping. And that was ok. All I wanted was for her to be getting my milk, and that it didn’t really matter how it was dispensed.
It was about 8-9 weeks that I realized that Charlotte would nurse and nurse well during her middle of the night feedings. I’m not sure if it was because she was too tired to care, if it was for comfort or whatever, I didn’t really care. It was so much more convenient. So I took advantage and it began to give me hope that I just might get this baby to nurse after all. Then I noticed that the first few feeds of the day she would be willing to nurse before my supply would go down as the day progressed, and she would get too frustrated and go back to screaming at my boobs again. It was a good couple of weeks of this before we had a day completely without a bottle. It was such an amazing and almost victorious feeling because there was a time there where I never thought that it was going to happen.
Now at 14 weeks, she breastfeeds like a champ and it is pain free. It has been a really long road to make it this far though. All of that pumping did give me quite an oversupply with 1800+ oz in my freezer though. I have been working to drop my supply just a bit and now I only pump twice a day. Once first thing in the morning and once right before bed, a much more convenient pumping schedule.
Happy Breastfeeding Week ladies!