Share Your Story in the Beauty in Breastfeeding Project
Each Monday, we’re sharing stories of the personal breastfeeding journeys of mothers throughout the State of Utah in cooperation with the Beauty in Breastfeeding Project. Read our earlier article to find out more about this initiative that celebrates breastfeeding mothers. To share your own story, visit www.beautyinbreastfeedingproject.com.
3 years ago I delivered a stillborn baby. While she was only 6 months gestation, my milk came in. With no baby to care for, I did anything I could to dry my milk up. I was devastated I was producing something that wasn’t needed. From this experience, I had somewhat of a bad taste in my mouth regarding breastfeeding. Then, I got pregnant again.
I did not prepare for breastfeeding at all. I assumed it would be easy, that it’s a natural thing and me and baby would figure it out and there would be no problems. I was somewhat aware that there might be challenges, but never thought I would have them. I spent 9 months preparing for labor, took a 3 month course, read books, etc. Labor is such a small part of having a baby, why would I spend all my time on that and nothing at all on breastfeeding? Again, I was in la la land.
Labor is such a small part of having a baby, why would I spend all my time on that and nothing at all on breastfeeding? Again, I was in la la land.
Baby girl latched on beautifully during skin to skin time right after birth. The first 12 hours she did pretty good. She would latch and spend about 15 minutes on each breast. But things slowly started to go downhill. She stopped eating from the left breast, and barely ate from the right. Sometimes she would go 4-5 hours without eating simply because she wouldn’t latch. I would spend so much time trying to gather to latch, I became very sore, and discouraged. I thought it was supposed to be this natural thing!
4 days after birth, she had her first doctor appointment. She had lost almost a full pound, and her pediatrician was concerned. She gave asked me to come back in 2 days to see if her weight went up at all. I was extremely stressed for those next 2 days. I felt like a failure, that I couldn’t give my daughter what she needed, what I’m supposed to be able to give her.
In 2 days, thankfully, her weight went up enough and I began to relax about breastfeeding. We seemed to be doing ok, and I no longer felt like a failure. I remember tears in my eyes at the doctor’s office that day because I felt like I was finally doing it right.
But, things seemed to get worse again and I was so sore and so exhausted from figuring out how to be a parent, I didn’t care how she latched. I just wanted her to eat. I also felt I shouldn’t ask for help, because I should just be able to figure it it.
Finally, after 2 weeks, I swallowed my pride, and called a Lactation Consultant. She was a miracle worker! I learned how to help baby girl latch, and soon it no longer hurt. I was finally able to enjoy breastfeeding, and spend this invaluable time with my daughter.
Baby girl is now 9 weeks. While every day isn’t perfect, she is still only receiving breast milk and I am determined to breastfeed as long as I can. I know I will always remember the time I have with her and know that I am helping her grow and thrive.