In 1980 I was born 2 months early and was in an incubator 2.5 hours from where my parents lived for 2 months. My mother was unable to breastfeed but many of the mothers in the hospital at the time heard my story and donated their breast milk. I thought it was so gross the first time I heard about it when I was younger. However, after learning about the benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding my own daughter, I think it’s pretty neat!
I am a Registered Nurse so I’ve seen plenty of boobs and nursing babies, but in the context of my own BF journey I wasn’t personally aware of its significance until I went to a Le Leche League meeting while I was pregnant and saw how comfortable those moms were.
Momma in Bama:
My breastfeeding story…
I breastfed both of my children. Sixteen years ago, I was a new young mom who, with support from my mom and mother-in-law decided to breastfeed. For me it came pretty naturally. What scared me the most was the prospect of pumping at work. Back then, I worked at a daycare. To my surprise, my employer was very accommodating to my need to pump for my son. Six years later, I had my daughter. When I returned to work as a teacher, the administration at my school was supportive as well, finding a time and place for me to pump.
As a working mom, there is a certain amount of guilt that I felt. I wanted to what was best for my babies by breastfeeding, but was unsure of how my employers would receive my request to pump in the workplace. My employers supported my decision to breastfeed my babies, and adapted so that I was able to supply my babies with the best food for them. Support at home is critical, but support in the workplace is just as important.
My daughter was born last November just after Thanksgiving. She latched perfectly the first day, but after the second day, she was not latching normally and would not open her mouth wide enough. The third day (the day we left the hospital), I requested to see a lactation consultant. She visited with me, and gave some helpful tips. However, when we went home, it was hit or miss with getting a good latch.
When she was five days old, I started pumping because I wasn’t sure she was getting enough milk. Later that evening, she was so hungry that she refused to latch, so we introduced a bottle of breast milk. After that, she would latch one to three times a day, and the rest of the time I would give her my milk in a bottle.
I was so upset that breastfeeding didn’t come natural to us. I woke up on the seventh day crying, and asked my husband to call the lactation consultant, as I couldn’t even mention breastfeeding without crying. We saw her a few days later, and she provided some information and suggestions. She was so supportive, nice, and understanding. She focused on the positive that even though latching was an issue, at least I was still able to give her my milk in a bottle. After that meeting, we would have good days and bad.
My husband was so great. He would feed her a bottle in the middle of the night while I pumped, so I could go back to sleep without having to do double duty. He would also prepare a small bottle and have it ready for me to give our daughter, so she wouldn’t be as hungry when I offered her the breast again. He is in the Army and had to go away for training for a few days when my daughter was three weeks old. I was nervous having to do everything by myself for a few days as we were still having latching issues, so I decided to go ahead and exclusively pump until he returned.
After he returned, I waited a few more days to allow myself to heal before offering the breast again. When she turned four weeks old, I attempted to breastfeed, and she finally latched! Occasionally she would give a bad latch after that, and I had major oversupply, so I had to continue pumping. However, we were successfully breastfeeding! I was so glad that I had plenty of support, so I could focus on taking it one day at a time in those early days.
My daughter is now eight months old and still breastfeeding. I’m planning to continue as long she wants. I encourage any soon to be new moms who are interested in breastfeeding to attend a local LLL meeting, find out if their hospital has a lactation consultant, and attend any breastfeeding classes if any are available. It is not always easy, but being knowledgeable about it and finding supportive resources in your area in advance is beneficial so you won’t have to do research when you’re trying to take care of a newborn.
If you have a story you’d like to share, please go to https://www.facebook.com/AdaptiveMom and leave it for me in a message by August, 6 2013. After that date, feel free to share your own stories in the comments below. Thanks!