Wednesday, August 1, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week: My Breastfeeding Experience The First Time Around

Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed our children so it came as a surprise to me when the process of breastfeeding was anything but natural! I have to admit, going into it the first time around, I was not at all prepared and I was not at all educated.

Jacob had a hard time figuring out a proper latch. And I grew frustrated. When we was finally able to latch on, even if it wasn't a good latch, I didn't dare take him off because I didn't want to fight with him for another five or ten minutes to get on again. So he never learned to properly latch. And as you can imagine, this caused problems down the line.

A lactation consultant called my house a few days after we were discharged from the hospital. She told me that most women give up on breastfeeding between day 5 and day 15. What you may not know about me is that I'm stubborn. Exceptionally stubborn. Just hearing those words gave me a challenge. I didn't care about anything else but I was going to make it until day 15. Day 15 turned into two months. Which turned into six. Which turned into twelve. I would do anything in my power to exclusively breastfeed until my baby turned a year. This sometimes meant getting up in the middle of the night every two hours to pump. This sometimes meant nursing through tears of pain as a bad latch happened. But none of that mattered to me. Unfortunately, we didn't make our twelve month goal. But I'll get to that soon.

In the beginning, when the leaking is happening, I didn't realize that it wouldn't be forever. I didn't realize that my body was just adjusting and trying to figure out how much milk it needed to make. I thought I was going to leak forever. And I didn't just leak. Milk literally poured out of me -- enough to fill a bottle up! So I did the unthinkable. In those crucial early weeks I actually attempted to {*gasp*} decrease my milk supply. Later, we lived bottle to bottle and just about every day I headed off to work, I just knew that today was going to be the day we had to start formula. Thankfully, we never reached that point. We just barely scraped through day after day but somehow my body always came through with just enough milk.

When Jacob got teeth, the biting began. I tried the tricks for stopping it -- yelling, removing from the breast, etc. But the yelling just startled him which hurt me worse than the original biting. Once again, I wasn't consistent and once again this caused future problems. And the problems came in the way of mastitis. Mastitis is a nasty infection that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. {I will write more in depth about mastitis later this week so stay tuned for that!} Mastitis twice in a weeks time was more than I could take. And after one look at my cracked, bleeding, traumatized nipples, my doctor {who is 200% supportive of breastfeeding!} told me it was time to quit. It was time because I was doing permanent damage to my nipples.

And at that, a few days shy of 11 months, our breastfeeding relationship ended. And strangely, I was ready. I continued to pump and feed Jacob the {pink!} breastmilk until my body stopped producing. And eventually, I did heal. It was an unfortunate end but despite our challenges, I am still happy I chose to breastfeed and proud that I chose to stick with it.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh! Ouch! I've never had mastitis but I've dealt with really bad cracked bleeding nipples many times, had to use breast shells, it was horrible. I was tempted to give up many times but I can be stubborn to and kept at it and was rewarded with a wonderful nursing relationship we are still enjoying.

    If more moms to be had your stubbornness to make it to a certain date, perhaps more would be successful.


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