Our Breastfeeding Journey: Getting Started

Judge me all you want, but when I found out I was pregnant I already had it set in my mind that I did not want to breastfeed.  I thought it was weird and kind of gross.  The only reason I agreed to try breastfeeding was because my husband asked me to because he knew the health benefits it would provide our baby.  I reluctantly agreed to try it for him.  And now I love breastfeeding and know it would break my heart if I couldn't do it.  In fact, I was all aboard the breastfeeding train at some point in the third trimester after I started researching the benefits of breastfeeding.

 That said, I do think that breastfeeding is a personal choice and it isn't for everyone and that's fine! Many women don't want to breastfeed and that is their choice and right not to do so, and other women want to and for different medical reasons can't do it and are devastated because of that.  We as women shouldn't judge each other either way on whether or how we feed our children, and instead should support each other and respect each other's decisions.

 After Maddie Grace was born and she was laid on my chest for skin to skin and the nurse asked if I wanted to try breastfeeding.  I was so excited, and of course I said yes.  I was holding my baby girl who I had just given birth to and I thought we were about to have this beautiful bonding moment.  But that's not quite how it happened.  Maddie Grace didn't latch right away.  She seemed to be having a very difficult time and was getting frustrated and I panicked.  Plus, it hurt.  I was told I would have to wait 24 hours to see the lactation consultant, so to keep trying until the lactation consultant came to see me.  From there we had a very long 24 hours where I tried so hard to get Maddie Grace to latch.  She seemed to latch okay on the right side but not great, and on the left side she would just cry, and we would both get so frustrated that by the end both of us would be crying.  One nurse brought me a pump and at her suggestion after trying to feed I would pump and we would spoonfeed that to Maddie Grace. 

 The next day we were able to meet with the lactation consultant in the early afternoon who was a miracle worker. She gave us the supplies needed to breastfeed successfully, and showed me some better positions to hold Maddie Grace in for nursing.  Using these we were able to breastfeed beautifully (although it was still painful for me). Problems hit us again late that night.  The nurses were worried Maddie Grace was developing jaundice as she had lost 7% of her weight and the blood test indicated she had higher levels of bilirubin than they like.  I explained to the nurse, who had just come on shift, that we had just met its the lactation consultant not that long before and just then really figured out the whole breastfeeding thing.  She gave me a pack of formula and said I should go ahead and use it to feed Maddie Grace.  I told the nurse no, that I wanted to give breastfeeding a shot, and that I wasn't going to use the formula until a doctor told me it was necessary.  The nurse, who was easily my least favorite of all the nurses I saw, told me fine but that I would have to wake up every 2 hours while she was on her shift to feed Maddie Grace.  This meant beginning feedings at 12, 2, 4, 6, and 8. After feeding Maddie, she told me I needed to pump and them spoonfeed that to Maddie as well.  The nurse made a point to come in my room at each of these times to make sure I was awake and feeding Maddie Grace.  At this time Maddie was a very slow eater, and taking about 30-45 minutes per breast.  So basically I didn't sleep that whole night. But it paid off - in the morning Maddie's billy levels had dropped, and the pediatrician after seeing her told us now she was low risk for jaundice, and he didn't see any reason why we would have to supplement with formula.  In fact, both he and the lactation consultant who visited us again that morning were impressed with how much I was producing.

 That afternoon, after we went home from the hospital, my milk came in!  The first week I found it painful when Maddie Grace would first latch, but then the pain would ease.  Now Maddie Grace is three weeks old and I can honestly say its not painful at all to nurse.  I still haven't had any issues with supply, and Maddie Grace has been steadily gaining 2 ounces a day, which is twice what she needs to be. She nurses about every 2 hours during the day which is challenging, and sometimes I feel like I'm just a cow.  But it's worth it to know that I'm giving my baby the healthiest head start, and I love the time Maddie Grace and I spend together nursing and the extra cuddles I get from her.

 And of course here are some pictures of my 3 week old going on 3 month old… all from mama's milk!

 Did anyone else out there struggle with breastfeeding at first? I would love to hear your stories - share below!


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