With it being breastfeeding awareness month, I thought I would share my breastfeeding journey. I had two hugely different experiences with my kids. But they were both fed either way and are happy and healthy today.
My Breastfeeding Journey with my daughter
My breastfeeding journey started when my oldest Rebecca was born September of 2017. I was a young new mom who knew nothing about anything. I read all the books and watched a million YouTube videos but was still unsure of it all.
After she was born a lactation consultant came to my room and helped with the latch for the first time. The LC sat there with me while Becca nursed on one side and was able to teach me how to keep the baby stimulated and awake while feeding when we switched to the other side. The LC was amazing and answered all my questions. Never made me feel rushed and spent a decent chunk of her time with me while I was just learning.
When we left the hospital and were home for the first time was the hardest time I had. Becca would latch on and nurse for what felt like hours and sometimes it was close to 45 minutes on one side. I tried to stick to the strict 2.5/3-hour rule which made it feel like I was nursing all day long and only getting an hour or so in between. My nipples were so sore cracked and bleeding. Everyone assured me that my body would just get used to it and it would all go away and get easier in a week or two.
Well when it didn’t get better, I decided to go see another LC through the hospital. Again, they reassured me everything looked good and baby was doing well. They even prescribed me a cream to help heal the cracks and sores. But why did I still wince every time she latched on. This is when my mental health took a toll, around 2 months in. I would cry the entire time she was eating, wince when she was about to latch on, and would dread feeding time because it hurt so bad. I was determined to continue breastfeeding or else I thought I would be a failure.
Let me tell you something I have since learned. You are only failing if you are NOT taking care of yourself. That baby needs a happy and healthy mommy.
At around 3 months I found myself bawling my eyes out in the isles of target looking at the baby formula, an experienced mother put her arm around me and simply said “you are doing the right thing for you and your baby.”
I am not a failure because I couldn’t breastfeed my daughter for more than three months. My mental health was in jeopardy and I needed to stop, and the baby needed to eat.
So that day is when my breastfeeding journey would end with my daughter.
But this is where the polar opposite experience starts.
My breastfeeding journey with my son
Rebecca was around 9 months old when we found out I was pregnant again. This time I knew what it was going to be like to breastfeed this next baby, I knew what to expect.
When Jackson was born in April of 2019, to my surprise I had the same LC from my daughter’s birth come in my room. I couldn’t have been happier. I explained to her everything I went through with Becca after I left the hospital and she gave me even more tips.
Jackson nursed like a champ! He never nursed for more than 20 minutes, unlike Becca. He gained weight so fast his pediatrician asked if we were supplementing. No ma’am! I was so proud of myself at his first checkup.
For some reason that was it. Jackson just always nursed like a champ, I didn’t stick to the strict rule of the clock, but I followed his lead and fed on demand. I never once had sore, dry, cracked, bleeding nipples.
My mom likes to joke that it’s because he is a boy 😉 maybe it’s because I knew what to expect… truthfully, I don’t know.
But I was able to nurse him till he was about 8 months old. I loved my time feeding him. But the nursing gymnastics and a wild 2-year-old got tough. And he was (and still is) such a mama’s boy that I couldn’t leave him for more than an hour before he wanted to feed and suckle, again, for my mental health I needed to stop. I go into more detail about my Postpartum anxiety in this post.
My babies are happy and healthy and they were fed. Breastfeeding is beautiful in many ways and even harder in others. But I want every young mom, new mom, or soon to be mom out there to know that I believe fed is best; you have to do what is best for you, your baby, and your family.
What was your experience like? I would love to hear all the nitty gritty about your journey! Please share it in the comments.
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