This is my breastfeeding story
Before I even became pregnant, I knew that I wanted to one day breastfeed. My immediate family is extremely small. Unfortunately, breastfeeding was not something any of us was familiar with. I saw, however, through social media how strong of a bond mothers had with their children while breastfeeding. So when my time came, I knew I had to try it. During my pregnancy, I had researched as much as I possibly could about breastfeeding. I spoke with my OB-GYN, and I even went to visit a lactation consultant. I knew the benefits, and also some risks. This is my breastfeeding story for the first 4 months of Jaxon’s life.
My delivery was short and not-so-sweet. Luckily, I was blessed with my healthy baby boy, Jaxon. Shortly after Jax was born, and I had woken up from the anesthesia administered during my emergency c-section, he was ready to eat!! We struggled for what seemed like hours to get him to latch. I was under heavy pain medication, and could not stay awake for more than a few minutes at a time. It was frustrating. The lactation nurse soon came to the realization that his tongue was too short and placed a nipple shield over my nipple. Surprisingly, he latched! It was smooth sailing for a few weeks of breastfeeding with the shield. After 6 weeks, he was able to latch without a nipple shield.
Although I knew Jax was not supposed to have a bottle until he was at least 4 weeks, I gave him a bottle after his first week. I was extremely tired, and I wanted his dad to have the experience of feeding him. I made sure to pump in the place of nursing. He took the bottle like a champ! I spent the rest of my maternity leave nursing and stocking up on my milk supply.
Fast forward to the end of my maternity leave – I had ounces upon ounces of milk stored. I thought that I was at a good place. Well, Jax was growing quickly, and so was his appetite. He jumped from 5 ounces a bottle to 7 within a couple of weeks of me starting work again. When I went back to work at 11 weeks postpartum, my supply dropped and the supply that I had stocked up, was gone. I know I need to pump at least twice during my 9 hour work day, but because I am catching up with all the client work that has gone on during my maternity leave, I can’t tear myself away to pump. Not only that, but I am not eating enough! I eat MAYBE once a day. At one point, I was afraid of having to switch to formula. I was struggling.
After researching how to increase milk supply, I decided to take fenugreek pills and drink lactation tea. I began to produce more after 24 hours of taking those 2 supplements. Because I only nurse on the weekends, I can save the bottles for the work week. I put Jax on a feeding schedule and began giving him 8 ounces per bottle. Now, I nurse him before work, he has two 8 ounce bottles during the day, and I feed him after work. He then sleeps for at least 12 hours.
Where are we now?
I currently have about a week’s worth of bottles saved up. I pump at the beginning and end of each workday now. As for my diet, it is a work in progress. Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT, go all day without eating. Nursing mamas need to replenish the calories they are losing from nursing. I am in the progress of working out a meal prepping schedule, and I leave myself little reminders to eat. It’s important to have a strong support system while nursing. My family and coworkers support my choice 100% and that makes a world of difference. I have given myself a goal of 6 months, but Jax is nearing 5 months and I do not see myself stopping anytime soon. He’s also teething and has started eating solids. So far, it has not affected our nursing schedule.
So breastfeeding mamas, it gets hard, but if you’re as passionate about breastfeeding as I am, it’s worth it to explore all of your options before quitting. While I see absolutely nothing wrong with formula feeding, I love the feeling I get from breastfeeding.