My Breastfeeding Journey: "I chucked the deuces on my..."
My fellow mama bears… buckle up and get ready for this ride that may consist of some turbulence. This is my REAL and RAW experience of breastfeeding for the first time.
So, let’s begin smooth and sweet with the moment I pulled my fully head of haired baby girl straight from her home for the last 9 months out into earth side. I had no clue that during that process of giving birth my girls were prepping for the first sight of golden liquid. My baby nurse swooped in to examine our sweet girl after her debut and another nurse didn’t waste any time to begin massaging my lady lump for any sign of liquid. I kid you not, in the matter of seconds I was in shock to see the golden grace herself flow right out of there.
I’m not going to lie; I was nervously hoping that I was even able to produce at all. Let’s just say that it doesn’t matter how little or big your girls are because my preteen chest didn’t disappoint me like I thought it would. I had a 15 minute lesson on how to nurse my tiny human. Baby girl was placed again on my chest and I could already see those tiny lips moving in hopes to get her first feed on.
Ready to take flight, my little button attached quickly. The nurse then tugged on her cheeks and chin to have her open her mouth more to get a good latch and to hopefully not bruise me. Basically, she needed to have her mouth open like a puckering fish, where she kind of looked like her lip was pressed against her nose (no worries mama, she could still breathe just fine). Whelp, this little girl said to hell with mommy’s comfort! She was just so greedy that her suck was just so aggressive and whenever her latch was good and fish like, she slowly reverted back to a bad latch. By the time I was wheel chaired to the postpartum unit, my nipples were bruised and bleeding. Ugh! My hopes and dreams for breastfeeding silently became a doubt. I was becoming anxious because I so desperately wanted that skin to skin moment to stick and share all the benefits that I knew breastfeeding had to offer.
I waited until the next day to have a consultation with the hospital’s top lactation nurse. I’ve never been so happy to receive that knock on our door. In came nurse Christine, I swore an angelic light hit her face as she walked towards me. She practiced with baby and I until I felt confident enough to do it on my own. I loved the confidence I gained again, but I wasn’t healed yet from the beat down I took from earlier feedings so even though she latched better and better, my nipples were on fire. I didn’t let the pain take control of my achieved skin to skin moments though. I used my nipple balm any and every chance I could get until her feeding times approached and as long as her diapers were filled constantly, I knew she was getting plenty of my liquid gold.
My doubts became successful dances in the hospital shower, eager to nurse my little button. The time has then come to say goodbye to the hospital room, baby girls first bassinet and that fabulous gourmet dinner with a variety of chef’s best deserts. In the back of my mind, I wanted to take Christine home with me but, I knew she was only a phone call away.
At home, I tried to settle into a routine, but I was starting to be really deprived of my sleep. So, I decided to go to the pump and feed route. Pumping was also a trick to produce more milk and at one point, I was flourishing. My liquid gold became full fledged milk. I was happy! I was content with my journey so far and my nipples were healed after the first few days at home.
It was my growing baby girl’s second doctors visit and she had already gained her birth weight and a little more back so, I wanted to continue breastfeeding. I had a little photo selfie moment in the ride back home from her appointment and I noticed my lady lumps were sitting up so pretty and plump. I literally looked like I had just gone under the knife in less than 20 minutes and I was totally feeling it, no shame here! I was excited that my daughter gave me a chance to naturally enhance my every day look. It became night time and I wanted a well-deserved extra 15 minutes in the shower before I had to wake up continuously for her night time feedings. Ha! That extra 15 minutes became a workout session! I noticed I had a few blocked milk ducts and I was engorged like a mofo. All that plumpness just meant TOO FULL of milk at the moment. Just my luck. I had to rub those sensitive areas and release some milk in the shower. Not fun but, I was all cleared from the pain and I made sure to start pumping more to prevent my milk from overflowing into another spell of blocked ducts.
So now mamas, this part of my journey is where it gets even more turbulent. I started to become itchy. Yup! I was doing the funky dance in my seat. I didn’t know if I developed a yeast infection or my incisions were simply healing which also had an itchy sensation. I called up my OB and she prescribed me medicine for both a yeast and bacterial infection just in case it wasn't from my healing. I asked numerous times if this would affect my daughter because she was being breastfed and I was told “she would be just fine”.
Continuing my journey after I was itch-less…I was 3 weeks in with breastfeeding and I noticed that her demand for milk was increasing and for some reason my milk was at a standstill. I raged Targets milk enhancement aisle and found a chocolate milk drink that actually helped my milk supply. Shortly after baby girl was screaming her head off randomly and every time, she wanted to make a bowel movement. I will never forget the type of cries and screams she bolted out. The scariest and saddest moment for me till this day. I wasn't sure if she was becoming a colic baby or if something else was wrong. I noticed she became constipated just when my milk supply started to peak again. We had another weekly regular doc visit and her doctor wanted me to go on a dairy free diet to help ease her tummy from whatever I had consumed prior. During our visit, we also found out that our little girl was suffering from thrush. She developed thrush shortly around the time I was on the medicine I was prescribed that I mentioned earlier.
Her doctor told me to start pumping and dumping, and I also needed ointment medicine on my nipples to prevent another spread of yeast. She was soon placed on antibiotics for 3 weeks. Ugh! I felt such blame of her having thrush and tummy issues. I felt like I had taken such good care of myself in the healing process that I should’ve just waited to take the medicine and to see if it was simply my stitches healing properly. Instead she sure as heck had growing yeast on her poor tongue. Her digestive tract was just OFF also! I felt so horrible that I took a break from breastfeeding, I didn't want to cause her more irritation and just opted to slowly transition her to soy formula…which made her even more constipated sooo… she joined the hypoallergenic crew with Nutramigen formula. I was so overwhelmed that I noticed my dwindling milk supply again. I was officially hooked on how well she was doing on her hypoallergenic formula that I constantly had debates in my head about starting breastfeeding again. I was so nervous that she would lose her skill of latching on my breast and that I would potentially harm her again with whatever I consumed that I became so disappointed with myself. I could feel myself going down a lane I wanted no parts of.
I started crying all times of the day and felt like a failure that I had to halt breastfeeding. I noticed that my milk supply was trying to dry up during my halt phase. I was slowly feeling depressed and I knew I had to kick my butt out of that arena of emotion. I had to look at it like this…as long as my baby is growing and healthy, I shouldn’t be hard on myself for pausing or ending my breastfeeding journey and I shouldn’t let anyone shame me on my choice of what I NEED to do for MY child.
I chucked the deuces on my emotional rollercoaster and still found ways to bond with my little button.
I’m 100% sure she knows I’m her mama and that she loves me regardless of what I was told in any research about how formula feeding is frowned upon. She was happy, healthy, fed and my mental state was back in good standing…which is and will always be the end goal in my book.
Mama's, I hope you see that regardless of the choice of your journey... your choice will ALWAYS be the RIGHT choice for you and your baby, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. A journey is just that… a journey and its all of yours for the taking!