My Breastfeeding Struggle

Breastfeeding is something I've become quite passionate about since we started our little family and I wanted to share our journey and what I've learned and pray that you'll find it helpful and encouraging if you've gone/are going through similar adventures.

 
I always knew I'd want to breastfeed once we had children. Call it maternal instinct, but there was no doubt in my mind that it was the best nutritional route to take, although I didn't know all the facts on why. When we became pregnant with Jordan I opted to take the Breastfeeding class at our hospital. It was so good! There was a lot I hadn't known about it and taking the class gave me a new sense of determination and excitement for what lay before. Little did I know at the time that I was going to need every bit of that determination and excitement when Jordan came.
I had always pictured this lovely scene of the baby being born and latching right on to the mom's breast to share this amazing bonding experience together for the first time. Well, that was not the case. Jordan did not latch on the first time, an hour later, or at all that first day. The nurses kept telling me that a lot of babies take a few hours, or they'll get it on the next day. They said, "all of the sudden he's going to just latch on and you'll know it when he does" as if some magical occurrence will cause him to know what to do. We had to get food into him somehow and as much as I resisted formula, they gave him little bottles of that and had me begin pumping.
The colostrum I'd pumped we gave to him by holding a little tube on our finger for him to suck on. Now, in a milder climate, the lactation consultant would have come in sooner, but it just so happened to be January in Illinois. Not just any January, a record breaking one. In fact, it was that exact weekend that Jordan was born that there was one of the most severe blizzards and coldest temperatures of the year. So, all communication with the lactation consultant was over the phone, which could only do so much.

 

When Trish (LC) finally came she suspected a tongue tie/lip tie issue because he just wouldn't open his mouth wide enough. She gave me a nipple shield and instructed me to try him at the breast first, then try the shield, then pump. So I did. We stopped using the formula for the most part and just the milk I pumped. Once home from the hospital, feedings took 2 hours and he wanted to eat every three. I continued to meet with Trish. Our strategy of pumping and finger/tube feeding worked for a while. Jordan gained weight and filled his diapers like any healthy baby. We eventually replaced the tube feeding with a bottle of my milk. Slowly but surely, and after experimenting with different sizes he began to get the hang of the nipple shield. It was clumsy, but  at least he was swallowing some. I remember at that point dreaming of a time when I could just lift my shirt and feed him as God intended without all the extra equipment (don't get me wrong, I was thankful for the extra equipment). Little did I know that this breastfeeding struggle would last a long time.
Finally after 3 weeks we decided to get a consultation about the tongue tie/lip tie. Turns out his lip was tied about as severely as it gets. His tongue, however was fine. The procedure was fairly quick and didn't seem to bother Jordan too much. He cried, yes, but stopped very soon after. What they do is take a laser and burn off that extra membrane. My expectations were that he would start nursing perfectly right away because we eliminated what was hindering him. That wasn't the case, and I for a week my discouragement almost lead to quitting. Almost. I toyed with the idea, but in the end I just couldn't stop trying to give him what I felt would be the best.

I remember that glorious moment when he actually latched on without the nipple shield for the first time in his 4 month life. It was awesome.

 

Now, it wasn't all peaches and roses after that, but that moment marked the uphill climb to eventually becoming a nursing champ.

 

Breastfeeding Facts

 

What you can learn from my story:

  • Breastfeeding classes- I strongly recommend participating in some form of education before diving into it. I was shocked at how much I hadn't known about nursing before taking the class. Believe it or not, it's not something that just "happens". You and your baby have to learn, so you may as well educate yourself before.

 

  • Get your partner in on it- Brian was a huge help and support to me during this time. While he couldn't actually do the feeding and pumping, he definitely gave me a hand in bringing me things that were out of reach, making sure I was comfortable, and most importantly, encouraged me. Try to share in the journey.

 

  • Have loose expectations- Obviously it didn't go as I had planned, and it was at the moments when I would realize this very fact that I would become the most discouraged. So, while it's okay to have a picture of what you would like breastfeeding to be like, understand that it may not go the way you planned. Keep pressing on and do what's best for yourself and the baby.

 

  • Don't be afraid to see a Lactation Consultant- Seriously, they saved my life. They were so encouraging, kind, and helpful. If you are having any trouble with breastfeeding at all (even if it's just a little painful) ask them, they are the experts.

Breastfeedgin struggle

  • Don't give up- It's so worth it to get to the point of being able to feed your baby the best food in the best way. Just think of the money you save not using formula, the ease of leaving the house because baby's food is always right there, and the comfort of having your little bundle so close to you during feeding times.

 

I found so much encouragement from other moms who had gone through the same thing. It's so important for us to be able to reach out and realize we aren't alone in our struggles. So, if you are having/have had a similar experience, please don't hesitate to email me. I'd love to hear from other moms!

Our Breastfeeding Struggle