I wish I could say that I nursed both of my kids for at least a year and had no problems. No such luck. When I got pregnant with my first, I fully intended to breastfeed. I knew it was the healthiest and didn’t think much of it. I didn’t do any research and I didn’t even take a class. I just thought it was the natural thing to do and didn’t really worry about it. I had a much different experience than those thoughts in my head.
I had trouble getting my daughter to latch from the very beginning. I didn’t have help from anyone showing me how it was done and what a good latch even looked like. I asked for the lactation consultant to come in. She brought me a nipple shield, didn’t show me how it worked, and left the room. I remember thinking “What the heck is this thing?” See, I told you I didn’t know anything about breastfeeding. I really should’ve taken that class…..
The doctors told me to supplement her while we were in the hospital because my daughter was a little jaundiced. I wasn’t encouraged to continue breastfeeding, but I wasn’t ready to give up. Once she had her first bottle, all dreams of getting latched were gone. So, I pumped and gave her breast milk for a full three months before my supply dropped. I could’ve continued to try to get her to latch or pump more often, but again, I didn’t know how nor did I have any support. At 3 months old, my first daughter was fully on formula and I felt like a failure.
With my second pregnancy, I was determined to get it right. I WAS going to breastfeed, no matter what. I researched for hours and hours on the internet, took classes, and had a wonderful group of ladies online that supported me. I told all of my family and friends I was breastfeeding and this time I would make it to a year. Luckily, my second daughter latched on like she had been doing it all of her life---wait, she had! I didn’t have any problems with her learning to breastfeed. She stayed with me around the clock and was nursing every 1 ½ hours. I remember the nurse was so surprised with how dedicated I was with breastfeeding. It gave me a sense of pride that told me “I can do this!”
I’m not saying this go around was easy---I was just more educated about it. I dealt with oversupply, mastitis, and milk blisters. I stuck with it throughout everything. I became passionate about breastfeeding and continue to educate myself daily. My daughter is 10 months old and still going strong and instead of planning to wean her at one year, I don’t plan on weaning her at all. SHE will wean herself when she is ready to wean.
Now, I know my story isn’t ideal or considered the “best”, but it’s made me much more passionate about my parenting choices. I started working at our local WIC office as a breastfeeding peer so I can help other moms who remind me of myself with my first daughter…. I absolutely love my job and I know to not be judgmental because, well, I’ve been there. Everyone has a different story and we all want to do what’s best for our children. Sometimes we just need a little help along the way.
Have a story to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be honored to post your story!