World Breastfeeding Week
It’s World Breastfeeding Week and in honor of it, I’d like to share my story of trials & triumphs.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful bond between mother and child. It is a perfect example of give and take. It’s a beautiful story of love and sacrifice. For some mothers breastfeeding comes incredibly easy and for others it can be a struggle. I am both of those moms.
Breastfeeding My Daughter
My daughter was born prematurely. She was born at 35 weeks and 6 days. She had difficulty breathing and was given an oxygen mask immediately after birth. The first form of food my daughter had was from a bottle, not the breast. They took her away into the nursery and fed her formula without telling us that was what they were doing. Although upset, I didn’t know the difficulties that it would bring for the breastfeeding bond between my daughter and me.
I remember sitting with the hospital breastfeeding specialist who was also a La Leche League member and I remember crying. I remember being really frustrated after trying all of the breastfeeding holding positions without success. I remember not giving up and my daughter latching. From that moment on, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. Once we got home it became very difficult. I was still trying to breastfeed and my daughter was still refusing. We became a formula feeding family who supplemented with breast milk. I pumped all of the time. I wasn’t producing a lot of milk but I was trying. I did research for how to increase your milk supply and it worked! I used Mother’s Milk and ate oatmeal. I made lactation cookies and I starting producing enough milk to fill up storage milk bags! One problem- my daughter still wasn’t latching. For months I exclusively pumped and bottle fed my daughter.
Check out this great recipe for Lactation Cookie Bars over at Find Your Mom Tribe. Lactation cookies are a great way to boost your milk supply in no time!
It was months later after many tears, pain, and frustration that my daughter latched. She finally took my breast and it was one of the most wonderful moments of my life. I wanted to give up; I wanted to accept that I was going to be exclusively pumping for my daughter. My husband on the other hand saw things differently. He remained positive and never let me give up. He let me get frustrated, he stuck it out with me, but he kept pushing me to keep trying. I am so very grateful that he did. I breastfed my daughter until she was 14 months old. I had to stop breastfeeding due to a Hyperemesis Gravidarum pregnancy (HG). Ultimately, I became very sick and I lost the pregnancy. I had stopped breastfeeding my daughter and I had lost my unborn child- it really hurt me emotionally. My daughter eventually moved on and found interest in other things. Overall, it was an experience I feel very grateful to have had.
Breastfeeding My Son
My son was a completely different experience. He was born at 39 weeks and 2 days. My pregnancy with him was debilitating. I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum from 4 weeks on. Although the pregnancy was incredibly hard and was life-threatening, the active labor part was a breeze. I got to hold my newborn son and I got to bond the most wonderful way- I got to breastfeed him. I had so many worries about whether I was going to be able to breastfeed my son or not. They all went away with the first latch.
I soon fell into a situation that I wasn’t producing enough milk. I went back to using ingredients and products that helped increase my milk and it worked! In addition to supplements and food changes, I used an electric hospital-grade breast pump (Spectra 2) and it really increased my supply! I did a ton of research and I am so glad I picked the Spectra 2 pump! I was able to breastfeed my son and also store enough milk in the freezer for a stockpile! I breastfed my son until he was 18 months old. He became a comfort nurser and it was very stressful and tiresome. Eventually, he lost interest and got more interested in table food and play.
I nursed both of my children in public. I received the rude looks, the awful comments, and the shame. I have been asked to feed my children in the bathroom; I have been angrily stared at from across the mall. I fed my children anyway. I was modestly covered up. My babies were hungry and I fed them. It is simple as that. In 2015 my state put a law into effect that protected the mother’s rights to breastfeed in public. There was a lot of backlash from the community as well as a lot of support. Across the US breastfeeding numbers continue to rise.
Fed is Best
I have two completely different experiences with breastfeeding. I feel blessed that I was able to breastfeed my children. I agree that fed is best and everyone must do what is best for their situation. If you want to breastfeed your child, I believe you can do it. It may be frustrating, emotionally stressful, and overwhelming. But, in the end, all that matters is that your baby gets fed.
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If you would like to read more about Hyperemesis Gravidarum click here.
If you would like to read more about my personal Hyperemesis Gravidarum story click here.