This Mommy Is A Breastfeeder


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Breastfeeding for me did not come easy. Before my little one was born, I always thought I’d try nursing and see what happens. I had many issues in breastfeeding and I believe my troubles with nursing my baby began before she was even born.

I was induced. My OB tells me at my 39.5 week appointment that she was getting concerned with the size of my baby and my narrow hips. Her conclusion? I need to be induced before this baby gets any bigger. I was naturally pretty thin and my hips are rather narrow… I believed her. After all she, the doctor has medical degrees from Ivy league medical schools. I, on the other hand,  do not.

I wish I had done some research before getting induced because as I know now, the drugs given in inductions are known to cause breastfeeding issues, Postpartum depression and withdrawals. I experienced all of the above. Plus, my induction was not even medically needed. My “huge” baby turned out to be 8 pounds, 1 ounce. When I read my moms notes of my delivery I became incredibly angry.

Notes from July 30th, 2009

  1. 6am water broke 7:30am Pitocin up to 18
  2. 8:30am PAIN! Epidural –> 9am Pitocin up to 22
  3. 10am-3pm No progression, 4 cm
  4. 4pm Pitocin up to 24 –>5cm
  5. 5pm Litocane shot, more epidural
  6. 4:30pm-8:30pm 6 cm Statal injection
  7. 8pm if no baby by 10pm, c section is certain (“failure to progress”)
  8. 9pm 9 cm
  9. 10pm 100% efaised, -2 station time to push turned off all pain and pit
  10. 11:07pm Gabriella Grace is here! 8pounds 1oz 19 inches (stage 4 epi)

This diagram pretty much my experience in a nut shell, it fit me to a T. I was induced and a cascade or issues followed.

After a hard, long 23 hour labor, It was 2am and everyone left. I was put into a lovely postpartum room and after getting zero sleep for 3 days, I felt uncomfortable with my ability to take care of my hours-old newborn. So I asked the nursery nurse to take my baby so I could get some sleep. They did and my husband and I went to bed.

At 4am, while in the nursery, my perfect little girl stopped breathing and went gray. She was immediately taken over to the NICU for monitoring on an Oxygen machine. While in the NICU, they gave her a bottle. (Knowing what I know now, I should have done skin to skin and slept with my new baby on my chest, she probably needed her Mom and wasn’t thriving because she wasn’t close to me.)

From that point on, I tried to put my baby to the breast but she wasn’t having it. I even tried nipple shields and the Supplemental Nursing System. But my milk was not coming in and my baby was starving. And here came the postpartum nurses with more free formula. I am appreciative of them helping, offering advice. When the lactation consultant came in, I fell asleep. (Gotta love those hormones!) When I was discharged, they gave me 4 boxes of ready-to-feed formula and some paperwork on breastfeeding. As I tried to pump and put my baby on the breast, the more frustrated we both became.

Before having my daughter I didn’t take any classes offered at the hospital because I had taken so many classes in college, in doula school and privately while getting my several certifications. I am a “lactation educator”. (Once I have the next baby I am going back to school to become a Lactation Consultant) I worked as a Certified Infant Sleep Coach, Certified Newborn Care Specialist and Certified Postpartum doula for 5+ years as well as being a professional infant/toddler nanny for over 13 years. I worked with 50+ sets of twins and hundreds of newborns. I thought I had this baby thing down. Wrong. I didn’t have anything down. I couldn’t even get a let down! I opened all my breastfeeding books and starting reading websites from Le Leche League. I was still pumping and doing 50/50 bottles, figuring the less formula I was giving her the better. I started researching formula. When my baby slept, I was a google manic. What was in formula, the several warnings released over the years, the term “organic formula” is a proven Oxy-moron and plus…its man made, genetically altered. My breast milk was not. There was no warnings on breast milk, no oxy-morons, no alterations, no “ingredients”. I had to do something, this just didn’t feel right. I noticed when I saved my pumped milk and only gave my baby girl a bottle of strictly breast milk, she ate better, had less gas and slept a good 3 hour chunk. The light bulb went off, it was my first of many mommy “ah-ha moments”. Formula and Ella just do not mix.

Then I called the Boob Guru. The formula was giving my baby horrible acid reflux. My pediatrician wanted me to put her on very expensive formula that was for reflux babies, it was $49 a can plus reflux medication that was $94 a month. When I said I was “saving money for a baby”, it wasn’t involving formula and medication. (“Why buy the milk when momma makes it for free?”) My stubbornness kicked in and I said enough was enough. It was becoming a horrible vicious cycle. For what?

Seeing “The Boob Guru”:

I call her the “Boob Guru” but everyone at Milkalicious calls her Jennifer. I swear this woman should be inducted into sainthood for all the good she does for Moms. I first learned that my positioning was not what my daughter liked. We fixed that in literally one minute and what an easy fix it was. My daughter is very meticulous, even now. I find it interesting to learn the textbook way of breastfeeding but experiencing for myself was like a wonderful crash course. I learned more by actually doing then by reading.

Then we learned my daughter wouldn’t latch because she was never taught how. In 20 minutes, she was on the boob, eating like it was her last meal. Once we got a good latch, we removed the nipple shield and my baby went to town! chomp…chomp…chomp! The best part was that in a correct latch, there should not be any pain.

Mastitis: Easy fixable with a few herbs, warm compresses and lots and lots of nursing. Never had it again. I got warm towels, put them in the microwave, cut holes for my boobs to fit through and then nursed with the heat only touching my breasts. It feels like heaven!

I felt my supply was low or not making enough to sustain a growing baby; Probably because I was only pumping at this point. But first, I needed to eat more, drink lots of water. (Hard to make milk for your baby if you’re not feeding yourself first!)  I started taking More Milk Plus pills (3 pills a day, 4 times a day) and goats Rue drops (3 times a day), both made by Motherslove Herbal Company. I got a basket of granola bars, nuts, a few apples, a banana and 4-5 bottles of water by my rocking chair. When I sat down to feed my baby, I also ate a bar, some nuts and an apple along with a drinking a bottle or two of water. Within a full 24 hours, I was a milking machine! We stopped all formula feedings. And two days of having only breast-milk, my baby started sleeping all night. (What a magical feeling a good night of rest is!) By this time my daughter was 5 weeks old. She would get a warm lavender herbal bath at 7:30pm, lavender oil massage, soft ocean waves on the sound machine, warm jammies and a swaddle. By 8pm she was out. She would wake at 4am, nurse and empty both breasts then sleep until 7:45am. Everyday. And she has been an awesome sleeper ever since.

I started to nurse more, pump less, on my babies terms. Sometimes she’d want a bottle or sometimes she nurse all morning. (I was working at the time, sleeping coaching twins for a celebrity client and I pumped through out the nights I was working, this helped me build up an incredible supply) I had a pretty good feeling of what my baby wanted, some “boo” or a “ba-ba”. I felt so close to my baby while nursing, she’d hold my breast, stare into my eyes, thanking me for my efforts with every swallow/gulp. For me, nursing my baby initiated such an incredible bond. I miss that to this day.

My baby stopped taking the breast at 13 months, I was not ready to wean her and at 17 months, I stopped pumping all together. I ended up with a freezer full of milk, donated to preemies in need twice and still had some left over that I thawed and gave to my daughter until she was 19 months. This momma was a breast-feeder.

Breastfeeding: It wasn’t easy but it was a wonderful experience and I am so thankful I didn’t give up. It would have been the easy thing to do…but this Momma is stubborn! Sometimes being stubborn isn’t such a bad thing. But reaching out, researches resources and obtaining as much information was my remedy. I was a mother and I needed to feed my baby, the way my body intended.

With my next baby, I am doing things differently and I feel very confident in my breastfeeding capabilities. I have done a lot of research on breastfeeding, the science of it, how to videos, reading blogs, reading books etc.  I am changing it up. For the next pregnancy, I am not delivering in a hospital, not seeing an OB and not getting induced. Next time, I am seeing a Midwife, delivering at a birthing center, in a birthing tub, all natural (zero interventions/100% drug free) and will deliver on my babies terms. I have a new pediatrician who breastfed her three kids until age 3, two of them she did tandem!  Support is key! I feel so ready. Ready to feed my new baby, stare into their eyes and fall in love all over again, all while he/she eats from my breast. To call the feeling of breastfeeding-bonding “magical”, doesn’t even cut it. I am addicted.

I welcome any comments from Mommies who are having breastfeeding troubles. I’d love to help you. If perhaps you are ‘on the fence’ about which decision to make (formula or breastfeeding) maybe this video will help you with your choice. (Disclaimer: grab a few tissues before watching!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcjKeDyTZP8

Some helpful resources for breastfeeding mothers:

“When in doubt, whip it out!” 

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elisa
    Dec 20, 2011 @ 11:49:57

    I don’t have any problems I need help with. I just wanted to let you know I enjoyed your story. I had lots of trouble with my first baby also (not nearly as much as you) and after a lot of research went on to successfully nurse him, and my 3 other children. It is a lot easier with the second one in my experience, you’ve been through it, and you’re not so worried about everything. I commend you on doing your research and taking charge of your own body. So many women these days let a doctor tell them what to do, instead of trusting themselves. We need to stand up and say, NO, I’m not doing it your way, this is my body and my baby and we’re doing it MY WAY!

    Reply

  2. Jen
    Dec 20, 2011 @ 12:04:34

    I love this… I have had troubles since the beginning as well but haven’t given up. Stories like yours make me very happy that I keep chugging along. I will be hitting the 9 th month mark BFing my son and if I can make it to a year I will be so happy.
    Thanks again for your inspiration!

    Reply

  3. Pamela Fletcher
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 16:59:35

    I loved this post, hon! I am so lucky that I didn’t have a hard time at all with any of my boys with breastfeeding! You’re so dedicated! I may have to hire you if I have any issues when Nova is born. Hugs!

    Reply

  4. Jess
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 01:37:18

    Love this. I have 2 children that I breastfed for only a few months and my next one I am going to try to BF longer. Thanks for sharing!
    Jess

    Reply

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