If I could describe my breastfeeding journey in one word it would be “powerful”. I never knew how much the woman’s body was capable of until I gave birth to my daughter Lavender, who is now six months old. I’ve learned so much and educated myself as much as possible as a first-time mom. My breastfeeding journey has had its ups and downs but I believe “where there is no struggle, there is no progression”. I chose to have a positive outlook and I believe this has helped me in overcoming the breastfeeding struggles I’ve faced.
I’ll always remember that first latch
The first few days in the hospital went by so fast…but that first latch I remember so well. It was amazing and I felt so connected with my daughter. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me, I just wanted to be left alone with her in that moment. Her latch wasn’t perfect and, in fact, I bled for the next three weeks and groaned in pain during nursing sessions. I kept trying to get my nipple shields to stay on until I finally decided that something was not right.
The first few days in the hospital went by so fast…but that first latch I remember so well. It was amazing and I felt so connected with my daughter.Alexus
I started to exclusively pump for about two weeks (thank you lord for pumping bras). My daughter was given a bottle for every feeding. There were so many sleepless nights pumping and mornings waking up feeling like I had just peed on myself because of how much my breast leaked. It felt like I was pumping 24/7 nonstop. And don’t get me started on trying to find something to wear that was breastfeeding friendly. Like come on, I don’t have that big ole belly anymore and I still can’t wear what I want!
I started to feel sad and lonely
Breastfeeding and new parenthood started to get overwhelming. I felt sad, because I no longer had the life I was used to. I was lonely because I felt like I was the only one putting in all this hard work to do what I felt was best for Lavender.
My husband couldn’t understand what I was going through, but he did his best to be there for me and listen.
My birth control hormone side effects and symptoms weren’t making the situation any better either! But that’s a whole different story.
I tried my best to keep a smile on my face and be happy for my daughter, although I knew she could feel my sad energy anyway. I knew I needed to get out of this rut I was in.
Once we improved the latch, we turned a corner
Once my breast healed I tried again to latch Lavender. I used all types of resources online to make sure I was doing everything right and putting Lavender in the right position. Finally, we were able to get a good latch and I knew it immediately because it didn’t hurt while nursing!
I learned so much about getting a good latch from Youtube videos. It got me thinking how strange it was that no one in the hospital asked if I was breastfeeding. It wasn’t talked about and no lactation specialist came to talk to me or help either. I feel as though a specialist should be in the room right after birth to help and I believe this is why so many women don’t breastfeed because there isn’t that much support like there should be!
Did I need to start supplementing with formula?
Once my daughter got a good latch it felt amazing. I had finally figured it out! But of course, things don’t always go as you expect them to.
One night I remember trying to breastfeed my daughter but for some reason, she would not latch. I started to have this horrible feeling that I wasn’t producing enough for her. I was worried, confused, and angry. Over and over I’d whisper in her ear, “please baby stop crying”. But nothing would settle her and she wouldn’t latch on.
I started to have this horrible feeling that I wasn’t producing enough for her. I was worried, confused, and angry.Alexus
I felt tempted when I looked over at those “just in case” formula bottles (what my nurse called it). Asking my husband “baby, should I?”, quickly followed by “I really don’t want to”. Of course, he didn’t understand why I didn’t want to use formula.
In the end, I found she was so fussy because she had bad gas and was over-tired. I was so glad I didn’t give in to those bottles in the moment, and instead listened to my baby’s signs. I knew that if I ended up giving her formula that my breastfeeding journey would come to an end. This would have left me so sad, especially after we were starting to get the hang of things.
My pumping sessions resulted in 2000 oz of milk
I got used to my routine of pumping sessions and had even got used to the sleep deprivation. I would pump on one side and nurse on the other. I did that until I had almost 2000 ounces in my deep freezer! I had built up an amazing milk supply that could be used for when when I had to go back to work (which ended up being postponed due to Covid). Then four months later my pump broke and I started hand expressions, until after a while Lavender was big enough to just feed on both sides and I didn’t have to pump anymore. This was such a relief.
I had built up an amazing milk supply that could be used for when when I had to go back to workAlexus
My journey at this point was amazing! I felt “powerful”. I had accomplished something that a lot of women can’t accomplish. I never gave up when I got let down and only was able to pump two ounces in a whole pumping session. I never gave up when I couldn’t sleep (while everyone else slept), or when my nipples were blistered and bleeding!
What’s next for us?
Now I’m just so pleased to have established a good amount of supply, and pumping is no longer necessary. I literally just pull my boob out and feed Lavender wherever we are!
However, the latest struggle is that at five months old my daughter now her first teeth and has started to bite down on my nipples. I keep telling her not to bite my nipple off!
I know we still have a long way to go but I am staying positive. I’m so grateful I even got this far, and the journey continuessssssssssss.
You can follow me on Instagram for all my updates 😊 @lexicx_
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