LOVE AT FIRST LATCH

5:30 PM


Breastfeeding used to embody failure. I failed at breastfeeding my daughter. Something that still sends me on guilt trips to this day. After the fact, I can look back, and see where I went wrong. Why I couldn't do it, but more importantly why I thought I couldn't do it. Which to sum it up quickly, my bullheadedness and lack of education. I made a promise to myself when we got pregnant with baby number two, I would breastfeed this time, and I would fight as hard as my body would allow.

     Ladies I get it. In no way shape or form am I shaming anyone who actively chooses to not breastfeed. Do not forget I did formula feed my daughter, and she's perfect. I do believe a baby will thrive no matter how they are nourished, but breastfeeding was always something I dreamed of, so the initial blow was a tough pill to swallow.

DOOMS DAY
I'll never forget the moment Penny's pediatrician literally yanked my heart from my chest and smashed it into the cold, hard doctor's office tile. She was four days old, still so tiny and absolutely swimming in even her newborn clothes. I had chosen little black leggings, and a pink tunic with black polka dots for her first outing. I had an easy labor, some minor discomfort and I was feeling good. Sure she had some issues latching, but I assumed that was normal. She lost weight. A lot of weight, and without knowing I had any other options, our pediatrician started talking about supplementing, pumping, and my mind just went blank. The day ended with me in tears and defeat.

     Our breastfeeding journey ended before it had even begun. I didn't understand pumping, I never took time to research how much I should be getting per session. Or how much she would take. Because, I was going to breastfeed dang it! I thought we were months away from me having to think about a pump. My relationship with that pump took me to a dark place. Every time I saw it, I saw my inability to do what I thought I should be doing, and I just couldn't put myself through that.

     Please hear me loud and clear when I say that I can't support the statement "breast is best." Breast, is in fact, not best for some woman.  This journey so far has been tough and I've endured struggles and triumphs beyond anything I could have prepared myself for. It's a way. It's a wonderful way that's been rewarding and good for us, but it's not the only way. Four years ago, formula was just as rewarding in taking away the stress breastfeeding and pumping was bringing me. I truly believe you should do what is best for you and your own baby. Today I wanted to talk about both sides. From the outside looking in to being behind the glass. I have lived both, experienced both, and both have resulted in my utmost happiness.

BREAST IS BEST
I've mentioned it briefly, but during my second pregnancy, I was lucky enough to have a buddy. Who was ironically due with her baby girl on the exact same day as I was with our guy. Talk about a coincidence, yes? In fact, I had Harry on the 1st, and she came to the hospital in labor and we were two rooms away from each other. Having someone to go through all of it with you, in the moment, was the coolest thing ever, and I am beyond grateful for our friendship.

     She asked if I wanted to take a breastfeeding class with her that the hospital we were delivering at provided. Like I said, I was adamant about breastfeeding this time around, and willing to do anything I possibly could to make that a reality. H E C K Y E S. The class, however extremely helpful, also left a bad taste in my mouth.

     Ok. ok.... the director of the class was nice. I don't want to totally expose her character, but she did condemn formula feeding in the first five minutes of the class. Seriously, I probably had the most unattractive, sour face while she was going through all her graphs about why breast is best and formula is not. Then, oh.... then she tossed out a statistic that might as well been a dagger to my soul.

"Actually less than 10% of women can't breastfeed."

     That sour look on my face probably looked cringy at this point. Keep in mind, I was the only second time mom in the class, and the only one who had ever failed at breastfeeding, so at this point in the class, I was feeling pretty freaking terrible about myself. This statistic was in response to a question about some women not being able to breastfeed. To this day, after connecting with so many local moms both breastfeeding and formula feeding, no part of that statistic rings true, and hearing that was kind of damaging to me. To cut her some slack, she was looking at it from a medical standpoint. She wasn't attacking me in anyway, and had no idea I had previous failed at breastfeeding. In my opinion, her statistic failed to acknowledge the physical and emotionally draining aspects of breastfeeding.

     Maybe I needed to hear that? Maybe it was the driving force I needed to accomplish my own personal goals. It certainly fired me up in all the right ways.

THE LATCH
It was a whirlwind birth , no one would disagree with me there. Being wheeled into recovery, my new baby in my arms, breastfeeding was the only thing on my mind. I was worried at any moment, he'd be taken from me and someone would tell me for one reason or another that he had to have formula. There was no reason for me to think this, other than my own personal fears, but I did, and that feeling made me hold on a little tighter.

     It was a blur of nurses in and out. Weighing him, checking him out, checking my incision, honestly I hardly remember most of my time in recovery, but what I do remember, that first latch. It was magical, like he knew exactly what to do. I was shocked, excited, surprised. Enough emotions you could explode.

     Later that day we were seen by the hospital lactation consultant and I told her our backstory, my feelings, and most importantly, my goals for the future. She was impressed with Harry's natural ability and didn't see any reasons that nursing would be an issue for us going forward. Music to my ears.

FOUR MONTH MARK
It's been four months. Four months of success and confidence. It started out rocky. Sorry to break it to you, but breastfeeding isn't all hippies and nipples. Nope. It's painful, bloody nipples and tears and biting down on blankets as they latch so you don't scream. But only at first. Out of no where it seems it switches from dread to peace. You know, to all those currently pregnant and/or thinking about getting pregnant, reading this, it's worth it. It's worth the struggle, it's worth the roller coaster of emotions. IF you can do it, do it. There's this confidence that woke in me I never knew I had. I think it's always been there, but after failing once with determination to succeed the second go around, I'm consumed by it. I feel it every time we nurse. It's a feeling I hope I never forget, and one I encourage you to seek out.

Thank you for following along with my breastfeeding journey! Many more updates to come as we grow and learn! 

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