Breastfeeding Week is August 1st through 7th. In order to celebrate this (because breastfeeding is definitely something worth celebrating) we asked our loyal readers to send us their best breastfeeding stories. And boy did you all deliver! We had so many amazing stories that we decided to break them up into 4 different blogs including:
* Not My First Rodeo – Stories from moms that have breastfed more than one child
* You Have to Find the Humor – Stories from moms who tell their stories in humorous ways (even if it wasn’t funny at the time)
* No Judgement Zone – Stories from moms who made decisions based on what was best for their child(ren) even if it meant they might be judged by others
Breastfeeding looks different for every mom. Some moms are super successful and are able to breastfeed for a long time, some moms do everything they can to breastfeed for a few weeks, and other moms decide that pumping and bottlefeeding works best for them. We have tried to find stories that highlight all of these different kinds of breastfeeding journeys and we hope that you can find at least a piece of yours in one of them.
In order to start this off we thought it was only fair to share our own breastfeeding experiences. Enjoy getting to know us a little better and let us know if your experience was similar to ours or totally different!
Mom to Ben who is 2.5 years old and was breastfed for 15 months
I never once thought that I wouldn’t breastfeed. In my mind this was a way to save my family money and bond with my baby. I prayed that it would go smoothly, but what I have learned, is nothing is smooth. Everyone’s breastfeeding journey is completely different.
When Ben was born I had a pretty hard time. He just wouldn’t latch in the hospital. For the first two weeks of his life I had to finger feed him (think taping a small tube to your finger while pressing down so he would get the milk). I stuck with it and around three weeks little Benny got it. It seemed like that’s the amount of time it really took for my milk to actually come in.
Going back to work and breastfeeding was the hardest. It was a very stressful situation in which I was just pumping enough milk for the next day (it went on like that for another nine months). I should have tried and built up a supply before work, but with breastfeeding him constantly I just didn’t want to take the time to also pump. At work, I am lucky enough to have my own office so all I had to do was close the door when I needed to pump (although – that sound!). That didn’t stop people from walking in. Oh, well. After you have a baby you quickly have to throw modesty out the window.
Breastfeeding literally takes over your life for the time that you decide to do it. When I went back to work it went like this: breastfeed him before I left, pump four times at work, breastfeed two more times at home before he went to bed and do at least 1-2 nightly feedings. It’s not for the weak. It takes a lot of your time and dedication. I am sure glad I did it, but looking back I don’t know how I made it through!
Mom to Ryan who is 9 months old and was breastfed for 9 months
I just finished breastfeeding Ryan a few weeks ago and it was definitely bittersweet. Our breastfeeding journey was full of ups and downs but I am so glad that I went through it. At the beginning Ryan wouldn’t latch. Then when he started to latch (with a nipple shield) it would take him FOREVER to eat. Like, 45 minutes on one boob and I would still have to pump the other boob so that it didn’t explode. Which meant that it was taking me over an hour at each feeding! That just wasn’t working for me so I started to pump and bottle feed. That took a long time too, so I decided to pump a few times a day (and bottle feed) and breastfeed a few times a day.
When we went to the pediatrician for Ryan’s 2 month checkup the doctor asked how breastfeeding was going. I told her what I was doing and she said, “don’t you feel like you’re missing out because you’re not breastfeeding him? There’s nothing better than a baby looking up and smiling at you while they’re nursing!” Was I seriously being shamed by the pediatrician!? First of all, I WAS breastfeeding him (just not for every feeding) and second of all, he was getting fed in a way that was working for US. I was not thrilled and luckily our practice has several doctors and I haven’t had to see that one again (we had other reasons for choosing the doctor we did, but that’s for another post!)
Ryan and I finally hit our breastfeeding stride around 4 months where he would latch perfectly (without a nipple shield) and drink in a timely manner. I would still pump first thing in the morning and the last thing before I went to bed, though. This helped so that his last feeding would be a bottle (which helped him to sleep longer) and I would get some extra milk so that I could have bottles if we were out and about. Along with breastfeeding I also gave him one bottle of formula a day so that I knew he was getting enough calories (he was in the 3rd percentile for weight and we were trying to plump him up a little bit). When Ryan turned 9 months old I unfortunately lost most of my supply so we decided to just use formula for all of his feedings.
Like I said, ending breastfeeding was bittersweet. I was very excited to pack up the pump and nursing bras, but I do miss that time to bond with him. Our breastfeeding journey was pretty complicated and we had to try a lot of different things before it really worked, but we figured it out in the end!