When my son was born, I had no idea how hard breastfeeding was, I never took any classes or even talked to anyone about it other than telling my OB at my appointments that “yes, i would be breastfeeding” When he was born, I did not see him for the first 10 hours after his birth, and all he had was formula. Once we were finally together again, i didn’t know what I was doing, lactation nurses weren’t available and the nurses were taking my baby throughout the night for “checks” and feeding him bottles without my acknowledgement. I finally figured out he would latch with a nipple shield and was ecstatic he was latching at all, so I didn’t fight the latching issue any longer. I dealt with a horrible round of mastitis the 5th day home from the hospital. I was super sick with a fever, went to the ER and they said it was a cold. Went back the next morning and was so sick I could not even drive myself back to the hospital. The doctor took one look at my breasts and told me I had mastitis. They admitted me for a few hours so I could get some IV meds to get my temp down and they could help me get my son latched and help try to relieve the engorgement on my breast. They gave me antibiotics and sent me home.
Once we made it home, he would not latch for long, so I started pumping and feeding him bottles. HE WAS ECSTATIC! haha that boy could eat! (i still blame this on him getting nothing but bottles at the hospital from the day he was born) but I had such a ridiculous oversupply that within 6 weeks I had almost 350 ounces frozen which was great, because after 6 weeks I had to return to work, I was full time Active Duty Army. He got nothing but breast milk for 6 months, and that felt so good and I was proud of that accomplishment. Even if it was exclusive pumping 98% of the time. I finally had to throw in the towel with exclusive pumping because I was literally missing a layer of skin on one of my nipples to the point that when I would pump, the milk looked like someone had poured strawberry syrup because of how much my nipple was bleeding. No amount of lanolin or anything helped, and I cried so hard the day I decided to stop breastfeeding and start formula.. I felt like a failure, and that I was a terrible mom.. And then I realized what all I had overcome, and was proud of myself. I did more than a lot of mother’s I know who didn’t even attempt to nurse their babies.
Looking back now, I feel it was really a hard struggle to establish any kind of nursing relationship with him, but I did the best I could. I was a young mom at 19, my husband was deployed 4 days after our son was born, i had no education on breastfeeding, no help, and no real support.
Morgan Blair, story #2
When our second child was born, I was ready. I had educated myself to the point I was reciting things in my head on what to do/not do!! For our daughter, breastfeeding was a breeze from the second she was born! She was laid on my belly as soon as she was born, our doula helped her latch the first time and my gosh it was a beautiful latch. No pain, forceful strong suckle, just awesome. I couldn’t believe it! Our doula stayed with us for about an hour to make sure I was comfortable with her latch, and to show my husband how to help me with different positions and pillow fluffing 🙂 She was such a blessing to our birth experience. <3
About a week later we realized she was latching fairly shallow, no matter what we did and it was quite painful. So we made an appointment and found out she had a pretty bad tongue tie, and we did decide to have it clipped. I felt so, so awful about it but nursing was immediately a relief again! Other than that, we have had zero issues with our nursing relationship. I went back to work and finished my last 6 months of my Army contract, she would get bottles at daycare then immediately nurse when I got home. She had no issues or confusion going back and forth. Once I was done with the Army and back to exclusively nursing her, she did great. No fighting or anything, which makes me so happy 🙂
16 months later, she is still nursing and is not really showing any signs of weaning yet!
If you would like to submit your breastfeeding story please email Kendall at firstname.lastname@example.org.