My breastfeeding journey wasn't a walk in the park to say the least… I'm sure it's hard on most mommas with their first baby. It all started with our "unique" birth. I am learning to love our story more and more each day that passes by, but I'm sure that it played a small part in our not so easy breastfeeding journey.
When Ren was born he did what most newborns do… cry and just want to nurse. Without fail, every time he couldn't seem to latch well and my body had a super difficult time working with his tiny mouth. We talked with many lactation consultants during our 3 day post-op stay, but with my milk still not in, we had a hard time having any incentive for him latch. I began pumping before we left the hospital because Ren was loosing weight fast, and I needed to get colostrum in him.
We never resolved the latch issue before we left the hospital. Everyone seemed to think that once my milk came in it would all be better… WRONG. That was even harder… literally. Try feeding a newborn on soft boobs and then fill them up like some BC wineskins and watch that baby try to latch THAT. It was horrible… Like for real the worst ever. I cried most feedings.. like every two hours. Full on ugly cry... I couldn't leave my house because I was so tied to that dang pump.
At this point Ren was 10 days old and taking a pumped bottle just fine, but still no breastfeeding. Every little outing was timed just right so that I could get to the car and pump and then bottle feed my son. The problem wasn't the milk, I was making loads of that. It was not being able to get it in Ren aside from the bottle. I had so many emotional breakdowns. I remember Aaron, my mom and mother-in-love always encouraging me to keep going and to keep trying. Thankfully I heard the story of another mama who also struggled with the same thing and in time they were able to make it work. My lactation consultant had recommended a shield which helped occasionally, thank God, but it only worked for a couple of feedings before it wouldn't do the trick anymore. It wasn't until Ren was 3 weeks old that we were finally able to get him to nurse successfully. But I remember wanting to give up and many times, I threw my hands up in the air, sobbing (thank you postpartum emotions) ready to be done.
Our journey took many weeks and months after that to perfect. We finally didn't have to lay down and nurse anymore and I could go out in public and actually use a nursing cover. I didn't have to carry around my pump everywhere I went and the day I got to part ways with that shield I dropped it like it's hot.
I am sharing this not because I think I won or I arrived by getting to successfully nurse my son. I am sharing this story with hopes that it will encourage the momma that is so done and ready to give up. You're not alone. We all have different stories within our journey, but many times they are similar. I am super proud to have nursed my son for the last 19 months. I never thought that would be my story.. At times, I actually thought that was a bit weird, but we did it and I'm thankful, so very thankful that we stuck with it.
Now that it's over I thought it was time to reflect and maybe encourage another mommy along the way.