Thursday, August 3, 2017

Determination and the Breastfeeding Journey

I remember this little gadget like it was yesterday.
It represents the struggle, the failure, the DETERMINATION, and ultimately, the SUCCESS that started my breastfeeding journey with my first baby.

When I had my first baby, I thought breastfeeding would come naturally and be EASY. Then after 27 hours of labor and delivery, he passed his meconium, and they had to RUSH him away before I got to hold him (so much for my idyllic picture of baby straight to chest  After two hours, I finally got to meet him and things went great while we were in the hospital.
Then, we got HOME. He LOST weight at his 1st checkup and the Dr automatically recommended formula. 

I remember the first time his daddy got out one of the formula bottles to feed him and I LOST IT. Complete MELTDOWN- had to go outside and literally SCREAMED in agony! I felt like a FAILURE and had NO idea how to get better. 
I thought that was my ONLY option until my lactation consultant said, "Well, you can just pump and give him that" 
I kept attempting to nurse at EVERY feeding, then he would SCREAM, I would be sore, and that led to me pumping in TEARS and Daddy feeding him a bottle of pumped milk.
That's when my LC introduced me to this little contraption, which involved putting the pumped milk in the syringe, latching baby onto my breast, but actually feeding him through this little tube in his mouth so he related nursing to getting his milk. It was quite the ordeal and someone else had to be with me to actually hold the syringe while I cradled baby and made sure the tiny tube stayed in his mouth. 
It was THREE months of constantly visiting the lactation nurse and trying EVERY possible option to get him to nurse. My mom (who was rooting for me every step of the way) told me no one would blame me for quitting. My LC said I should maybe consider switching to formula so I wasn't a stressed out mom. 

That's when it CLICKED- somehow at that visit- SEEING him latch correctly and understanding what I was looking for just made sense. I went home and nursed him and we GOT IT! 
When I went for my LAST visit with my LC she was SHOCKED to see me and could not believe I was still nursing. I remember her weight him after a feed and seeing how MUCH he had just eaten!!! Tears of JOY streamed down my face!
It was one of the most TRYING journeys I've ever endured, but by FAR one of the most REWARDING!!!! He nursed over two years and I learned so much that I've been able to easily nurse both my girls! 
Overcoming that trial was just the BEGINNING of a journey of learning to LOVE myself and recognizing my STRENGTH as a woman and as a mom- KNOWING that if I BELIEVE and am willing to put in the WORK- ANYTHING is possible!!! 
For all you Mamas STRUGGLING---- give yourself GRACE! This journey can be CRAZY, but God created us to be EXACTLY what our babies need! Never underestimate your POWER and your WORTH! 

1 comment:

  1. Mom's needs to be tough and strong for the sake of future of the future itself! Stephanie, you inspire us all... and to all the mom's out there... Give it your Best!!