I know, I know, breastfeeding week is almost over and this is my first post about it. Sorry, I have been a very busy mama. This new guy loves to eat!
Tomorrow, I think I will write about my experiences with the Charlie man these first five weeks. Today, I will share my challenges with my daughter.
Before my daughter was born, I knew I planned to breastfeed, and that was it. I didn’t know a mom and baby could struggle. I just assumed that since it was natural, that it was easy. I had read books and stuff, but it didn’t really sink in.
Then, October 9, 2010, my baby made an entrance into this world. A little girl! She latched on like a champ right away and I was so happy. See, this is easy! And she loved to eat. She could do that forever because I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She was and still is amazing! The lactation nurse came in, but I had no questions. She checked the latch and said it looked great. She was eating often enough, so there were no concerns.
Fast forward. She keeps losing weight. She was lower than they would have liked when we left the hospital. At her checkup a day later, she had lost even more. When all was said and done, she lost over a pound. Either I was stupid, or just naive, I’m not sure. I didn’t know my milk hadn’t come in. I figured that happened when it was suppose to happen, but after 6 days, it finally showed up. No wonder my little princess was losing weight. Worst mom ever right here!!! At her appointment at day 3, the doctor said to feed her, pump, then give her that milk, and then offer her some formula. Now, to you mamas reading this that use formula, I have no problem with that, but I was so determined not to use formula that this completely devastated me. I was heartbroken and sure that by giving her the formula supplements that I would end up quitting breastfeeding because of lack of supply. As if hormones aren’t bad enough after having a baby, I cried…no, bawled my eyeballs out when I put that first bit of formula in her mouth. I apologized a million times for not being a good enough mommy already because my body wouldn’t do what it was suppose to do. I was failing her already and she was only a few days old. I was on my own. John was back at work already, and when he called and I burst into tears and told him about it…he said, do what the doctor says, it’s not a big deal….Wrong answer!!!!! Of course it is a big deal…a very big deal for me. Enter more tears while I try to explain to him how important this is to me. Eventually he got the idea.
So this was what we did for quite awhile. Eat, pump, feed, offer bottle. She didn’t love the bottles, but she wanted the food. Eventually, she quit taking the bottles. She nursed all the time, but we were off the bottle. Success! After awhile, she wasn’t drinking the milk I had pumped, so even more success. I started only pumping after she went to bed. Two times, once as soon as she went to bed, and once again before I went to bed. She still acted like she needed a top off, so I would give her the half or full ounce that I pumped the night before right before bed if she needed it. Sometimes, I had enough pumped to have for when I played softball (this started at 6 months). I was happy if I had enough that I didn’t have to take a little formula just in case.
There is a very happy almost ending though. She is now almost 22 months and still nursing like a rock star…well, I had her down to once a day, at bedtime. Then Charlie was born, and she missed it even more, so now she nurses before nap and bedtime. Sometimes more if we are having a bad day.
I never realized how important that breastfeeding her would become. I never dreamed that I would be breastfeeding her after her birthday. In fact, at the time I didn’t know that people did that. But here we are. We will probably stop around her 2nd birthday, but I will miss it. It makes me feel better to have her snuggle up and nurse when I am having a bad day. I can only hope that Charlie and I have a wonderful story to share.
What was your breastfeeding experience like? How long did / have you breastfed for?