If I could describe breastfeeding for me in just a couple of words, it would be NOT MAGICAL. This has been one of the most difficult things so far in my motherhood journey. I think one of the main reasons was because my expectations of breastfeeding and my reality was completely different. I thought it was going to be so easy, and everything was going to be so magical, and my baby and I were going to bond and that is the complete opposite of what really happened. No one really tells you all the hard parts of being a mom and the struggles they have or had, because really no one wants to talk about it. But how are others moms supposed to know that things are not as easy as they seem if no one is willing to talk about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certain not everyone struggles or struggled with breastfeeding and that’s awesome, but I did and this is my story.
I had my daughter on a Wednesday night and started breastfeeding her right away. Her latch was ok but it wasn’t great. I just couldn’t position her correctly and I didn’t really know how or what to do. My nurses and lactation consultants were constantly in and out of my room helping me. They brought me a nipple shield and helped me positon her perfectly and when they were in the room with me I could do it, and she latched and she ate great. The days and nights they were not there with me, I really struggled and would have to call them to my room every time she was hungry. I often felt like my breasts were too big, I couldn’t see her while she ate, and I was uncomfortable because breastfeeding hurts so much in the beginning. She got frustrated and I got frustrated and it was not at all what I expected. Nonetheless I couldn’t have done it without my amazing team at the hospital.
Fast forward to Saturday, I get to go home with my beautiful new baby and everything was just supposed to be so great. But it wasn’t. She couldn’t latch correctly, she was hungry, I was crying and getting frustrated, she was crying and even more frustrated because she was hungry. I immediately call my sister in law Olivia, crying, she rushes over to my house with her breast pump. Olivia has two beautiful babes already and I knew she could help me. She calmed me down, gave Claire to Hani, and set me up with her pump. My milk had already come in and I pumped 5oz. I had bought and sanitized some bottles before I went to the hospital so they were ready to go. I poured the breastmilk in the bottle (not all of it) and fed Claire. She drank that bottle so fast and immediately stopped crying. She was happy, I was happy and I will always be utterly grateful for Olivia.
And this is how my pumping journey began. I exclusively pumped for 1 year. Day and night. My pump was attached to my hip or breasts should I say haha. I still tried almost every day in the beginning to breastfeed her. My other amazing sister in law Julie, who I adore, came to my house one day, left work that was 30 min away just to help me try to get her to latch. It’s not that she couldn’t latch, but she didn’t have the patience for the milk to come down. I see it now, that Claire is almost 2, when she’s hungry or wants something it has to be immediate and that now explains why breastfeeding didn’t work for us. I will never forget what Julie told me that I always tell moms that have just had babies or that are pregnant. FED IS BEST! No matter how you feed your baby, fed is best!
Hani bought me a couple portable batteries and made sure they were always charged! I didn’t want to be a prisoner to my pump or my home so I took it everywhere. I pumped in the car, I pumped at Disneyland on two different visits, and everywhere I went. In my diaper bag, I always had pump parts, a cooler with an ice pack, bottles and my portable batteries! It was a lot to carry around all the time, but I knew this was something I wanted to do for our daughter.
Don’t get me wrong pumping is SO hard. Claire ate every 3 hours and I had to pump every 3 hours! I had a schedule and I was on it like no one’s business! I have to give credit to my number 1 supporter, my husband! There were so many times I just wanted to quit, it was hard, I was tired and giving formula was just so much easier! We both knew this is what we wanted and he supported me all the way to the end! I set a goal for myself to pump until she was 1 and that’s what I did. I will do another post of all the products I used and about storing milk etc.
If there is anything that I could give you as a takeaway from this blog post is that FED IS BEST and no matter what anyone says, you should always do what’s best for you and what works for you and your family.