baby a : our breastfeeding journey

happy thursday, everyone!
in honor of breastfeeding week, i was asked to recap my breastfeeding journey with austin. i wanted to do this post for some time now but i just didn’t know how it would read and i wasn’t sure i wanted to throw my vulnerability out there.
BUT HERE WE ARE! 

when i had jaz, 9 years ago, i was 17. i was young, naive and really just thrown into motherhood without really knowing what i was doing. of course i knew the benefits to breastfeeding but i don’t think it really resonated in my head just how great it was for both me and baby. so i tried…for 3 weeks and when the soreness really reared it’s ugly head, i gave up. 100% just gave up. i did not want to cry in the shower any more whenever water would hit my body because it hurt so bad, so i stopped. i stuck some good ‘ol cabbage in my bra and said, welp, that’s that and never looked back.

with austin i was DETERMINED to breastfeed him for as long as possible. i read many forums and articles on how to be successful. i bought the best pump, the best nursing bras/tanks, all of the essentials and even asked my friends what they really needed and what was their saving grace. I WAS READY!

through austin’s whirlwind of his birthday {you can read his birth story HERE} one thing that i can remember like it was yesterday was when he first latched. it was amazing! my boy was finally here and i was able to provide the colostrum he needed in the first minutes of his precious life.  but because he came so fast it literally drained him of all his energy. he didn’t nurse again for, what seemed like a lifetime to me, 8 hours. i had 4 different nurses come in to try to wake him up to eat but he wasn’t having it! he was just too tired.

finally, he woke up and nursed but i knew right away he wasn’t latching correctly. i could tell by the way his lips were and i couldn’t hear him swallowing. so a lactation nurse came in and we tried several different holding options and a nipple shield. after trying all of the things, she finally said that because he was 2 weeks premature that that might be what’s preventing him from having a good latch and his teeny tiny mouth wasn’t working in our favor either. basically saying, push through it mama! and that’s exactly what i did.

1 week postpartum and i was miserable. ask my husband, he could see it in my tear filled eyes every time we woke up to feed and change him in the middle of the night. nipple shields, balms, cooling pads, nothing was helping me. showers were awful, even putting my bra on was quite the task to not rub or scrape a nipple. gah a loofah was my worst nightmare!! so finally we said okay we will supplement just a little, to give mama a break and fill baby’s tummy because he never seemed satisfied after nursing. not to mention he still wasn’t latching correctly so i would cringe jump every time he latched.

while he would eat the supplement bottle, i would pump just to try to maintain my supply. that too was painful but i knew it was necessary. this is when i started noticing that my supply wasn’t where it should have been. some days were amazing pump days and i could get through a day from pumped milk and nursing just fine and wouldn’t have to supplement. but other days i would barely get two ounces. it was so frustrating.

little did i know, this would be the last time i nursed him. i am so happy i snagged this picture which was originally just to show how much of a bad ass mom i was. nursing AND beating some ass at monopoly.

i tried everything to get my supply up. power pumping, lactation cookies, fenugreek & thistle, oreos galore, gatorade…EVERYTHING. i was so determined y’all. i so badly wanted to be that mama that had the milk stash in an extra fridge in the garage. but as he got older, my supply dwindled and dwindled. i would nurse him and he would still eat 4 oz right after. he just wasn’t getting enough. it finally got to the point where i would sit and pump and i only got 1/2 an ounce. i was defeated. completely and utterly defeated. was there something i could have done more? what did i do wrong? why was it so easy for other mamas? what will people think when i tell them that he is solely formula fed now?
BUT THEN
i was likkkkeee why the hell would anyone even care?! why would that be anyone else’s business? why am i comparing myself to other moms? i had no control in this, this was not my fault and i wasn’t going to beat myself up about it. why was i going to sit in a chair, away from my child, hooked up to a sucking machine for 30 minutes to only get 1/2 an ounce?! and then feel like shit afterwards because that’s all i could produce. why would i kill myself by doing everything imaginable to try to get my supply back when 9 times out of 10, if your supply is that low chances are you won’t get it back.
WHY?!

EXCUSE ME WHILE I STEP ON MY SOAPBOX.
**disclaimer: i am not trying to call anyone out but i just want to make people aware of what they are saying even when they THINK they aren’t saying something hurtful.**
society and millennial moms have put such a bad stigma on the word formula. but why? i hate the saying, breast is best. because that just makes us moms who aren’t or cannot breastfeed feel inadequate because we can’t give our baby “the best”. this is in no way discrediting mamas who do breastfeed because it’s amazing that you can. you should feel proud. i was DAMN PROUD to whip out my boob in public or in the privacy of my home to feed my baby. i felt like supermom but at the same time, i never said i was a better mom because i could do so. with that though, don’t go on to list how breast milk is better than formula in this way and that way and this way. basically making moms who formula feed feel shitty because the plastic that the formula comes in or the clean water that we have to use and how much waste that puts into our world. because now you just negated your whole “please don’t take offense to this” bc guess what? i’m offended but lemme go feed my baby the exact thing that’s polluting our world A THANK YA VERY MUCH.

ALSO.
when did it become okay to ask someone if they are still nursing? this goes on both ends of the timeline. again WHO CARES if you’re feeding your infant formula OR WHO CARES if you you’re still nursing your 2 year old?! WHO THE HELL CARES! only that mama should care. it is none of your business. 

don’ts

  • nursing moms, don’t tell a mom who can’t nurse anymore that you wish you could have your body back too. because, nope i didn’t stop nursing so that my boobs were my boobs again. nope nope nope
  • don’t tell a mom who is giving their child formula, “oh that’s okay” LOL i know it is. thanks for your approval though.
  • DO NOT put your guilt of not being able to nurse your baby on moms who decide to stop breastfeeding. it is in no way fair for the mom who made that decision, you have no idea the guilt that they are carrying around, so don’t make it worse.

just be supportive. that’s it. be supportive of everything.
i will also add that just because i cannot nurse anymore doesn’t mean i hate breastfeeding in general. i am absolutely still an advocate for breastfeeding and breastfeeding in public. i want to high five every mom i see feeding their baby without a care in the world. i did! all the time, mostly in target lol! i loved making people  squirm, calm down, people, it’s just a boob.

i feel like i should get off my soapbox…have i pissed enough of y’all off yet?

in summary, mind your own. because at the end of the day my baby is happy, healthy, growing, not obese, not under weight, has never been sick and his tummy is full. that’s all that should matter, right?

breastfeeding is beautiful and i am envious of mamas who can and whose bodies let them. i am grateful that i had the time that i did with my boy and i will treasure it for the rest of my life.

**********boobie pictures are below, don’t like it, don’t scroll anymore**********

anytime i could, i snapped a picture of him nursing because again, NURSING IS BEAUTIFUL!

 

 


gah the week after he was born…so.engorged!!!


first time i had to sit in the backseat in a parking garage of the hospital because i didn’t want to take him out of his carseat once we were in because of all the sickies!


side nursing became the norm once he had somewhat of a routine in the morning. HELLLLLOOO 4 am feedings!

sorry i ranted, you guys. but it was obviously starting to build up. my journey was tough and man did it hurt like hell but i am proud of myself for sticking this one out as long as i could.
april 12, 2017 – june 20, 2017

-jess

 

4 thoughts on “baby a : our breastfeeding journey

  1. I had to come read this after your snap this morning! I love this post! Specifically because of the part where you think you’re ‘ranting.’ As of right now, I don’t really plan on nursing my daughter when she comes! I have been questioned every which way and I feel like a lot of mothers don’t mean to make me feel bad, but that’s just the way it comes off. I don’t owe anyone an ‘excuse’ or explanation. I want to do what I feel is best for me and our situation. And of COURSE I appreciate all breastfeeding mamas out there, I think it’s a beautiful thing. But I also thing BABIES are a beautiful thing, and it doesn’t matter as much HOW they’re eating, as long as they are. You should never feel ashamed or judged because of your situation – especially because you had no control over it. You are an amazing mother and your son (and daughter) are both beautiful! And healthy!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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