I was initially reluctant about sharing my breastfeeding journey here on FabAve because it’s such a personal topic and one I wasn’t sure readers wanted to hear. However since launching the Real Talk series I’ve gotten both positive feedback (yay!) and topic suggestions from readers, one of them being my thoughts and feelings on breastfeeding. I’d like to reiterate that I am no expert on the subject but can share my journey thus far from the experience of a new mother.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. Little did I know that the simple thought of determination and motivation to do so was one thing, and the act of being able to perform was another.
After sharing the big news with family and friends, everyone (well all the momma’s I knew) wanted to know if I was going to breastfeed. I was initially taken aback by the question. I thought, ‘Why do you want to know? Why do you care? Excuse me??’ But looking back now I get it. I find myself asking the same thing when someone shares the news that they’re expecting.
I’d like to first share that I’m not one to do my research. I may read up on something but I’ve come to realize that I’m a person that has to learn through experience. The simple task of reading about something doesn’t really do it for me so when I set my sites on breastfeeding Baby Girl Mason I knew I would have to learn as I went. Therefore throughout my pregnancy I read a little here and read a little there and I even signed up for a breastfeeding course at my hospital. I attended the class and was blown away by all the information that was provided. It was very overwhelming to say the least but it reassured me that breastfeeding was the way to go and that I would be a natural.
Cut to the big day. Remy was finally here and the time had come for me to step up and whip out the ta ta’s. A couple hours after she was born a nurse came in to help me breastfeed. I remember thinking to myself, ‘I got this!’ Boy was I naïve! It was painful and frustrating. I cried. Remy cried. It was such an exasperating experience! I remember wanting to punch the nurse in the face for making it seem so simple. My husband could see the look of anguish and anger in my face and tried to cheer me on but nothing would change my mood. I felt helpless and incompetent, scared and confused, and plenty of other unhappy emotions. After what seemed like hours the nurse suggested we switch to formula for the night and try again in the morning. Immediately after she left the room I started crying, complaining about how I already sucked as a mother and that Remy didn’t love me enough to latch on. Kevin tried helplessly to sooth me but nothing worked. I was done and shot for the night.
The next day a lactation nurse came in to help. She kept pointing out that my nipples were inverted and that I would have more problems than most women. Thanks, b!tch! We spent another couple hours of unsuccessful attempts until the nurse handed me a bottle of formula to feed Remy. I remember snatching it out of her hand and mumbling under my breath how unhelpful she really was.
Unfortunately Remy had to spend that night in the nursery ward where they could monitor her levels because she had jaundice. She was put under one of those UV light beds for the night but I was encouraged to come every couple hours to try and breastfeed her. The nurse that was on shift that night was the most helpful in our breastfeeding efforts. I wanted to throw in the towel on the whole breastfeeding idea but she continued to encourage me. She suggested I use a nursing cap to help pull my nipples out for better accessibility to my nipple. While I still struggled to get a sufficient latch, Remy was finally able to breastfeed. I remember the sigh of relief I let out when she started drinking away! I felt like Super Woman!
Fifteen weeks later and Remy and I have reached our stride. While I still have to use a nursing cap for Remy to get a suitable latch, it’s thin enough to allow her to still smell and taste my skin while feeding. I value the precious time we spend together when I’m breastfeeding her. It’s an empowering experience. It gives me the satisfaction of knowing I am providing her with the absolute best nutrition possible and that I am the only one that can breastfeed her.
My advice for the moms-to-be is not to set expectations or a timeline of when to quit. What I’ve grown to learn in the short months I’ve become a mom is that nothing is expected. Things change and you should always be prepared for those inevitable changes. In the life of a parent nothing goes according to plan. Ever.
I’d like to cap of this post by saying that breastfeeding isn’t for every mother. Many have difficulty with it and decide to take a different route for their family. In the end that’s the decision a mom needs to make, whether or not breastfeeding is right for her and her baby. My thoughts on breastfeeding are just that, my thoughts.
Now it’s your turn. I would love to hear your stories or worries on the topic.