With that being said, there were a lot of things that I had planned out with this pregnancy and birth of our new little. For example, I needed to know what day we were going to deliver so I asked the doctor to schedule it asap. I also knew that I was going to breast feed. When I had Caleb, our first born, over 11 years ago, I was young and had no patience to learn.
But this time around I told myself, you are much older and wiser. You will have patience and you will remain calm so the baby can feed. After all, this is the very best for the baby.
Within the first hour of our new one’s life, he was latching on and I was so thankful that all was looking good! Over the next couple of days in the hospital we went through endless cluster feedings, tons of lanolin cream, hot and cold presses and zero sleep. Our hospital was great and had a lactation nurse around the clock to come in and help whenever we needed her.
Then on our third night of the hospital stay, the nurses came in and said, our sweet baby was down 10% of his weight and I needed to start pumping or supplementing formula.
I was devastated. I couldn’t understand why I was having so much trouble. Why wasn’t my milk coming in already. And why on earth do I have these huge jugs if they are good for nothing!
I began reading everything I could on how to produce more milk, different techniques, just about everything you could think of I was doing. I was reaching out to friends, on the phone with the lactation nurse for hours. But with each passing day, my breast were literally falling off.
My nipples began cracking, bleeding, scabs were forming and to be honest they just looked absolutely disgusting. My husband even said they were on life support! I thought there is no way this can be healthy. We had our pediatrician appointment and she encouraged me to continue. They would heal over time she said, you just have to press on she said. So we did.
I can’t explain to you how much I began dreading feeding time. It was just so painful and I was so worried that he was going to be drinking blood. Regardless of what they say and how it’s not harmless, it still grossed me out. I was always worried that he wasn’t getting enough milk. And with him feeding for 30 minutes on each side, plus I was pumping and giving him what I pumped. Each feeding session was well over an hour and half. My breast were never getting time to breath much less heal.
I had my follow up appointment with my OB and I had her look at my breast. Her exact response was, “oh God. Yea that’s not ok.” That is just a little hint on how bad they looked. She told me that I needed a break. I needed to incorporate formula and give my breast time to heal. She informed me that they were just one step away from being infected. And that this wasn’t ok for me or for baby.
I can’t tell you how upset I was. I wanted nothing more but to be super mom and breast feed my baby. I was so worried that if I took a break then I would stop producing and it wasn’t exactly like the milk supply was coming in at an abundance. I went home and cried with my husband. I just felt like a failure.
My husband reminded me that the most important things are that baby gets fed and I get healthy. And that our first born was a formula fed baby and he is just as healthy as can be. The OB prescribed me a medicated cream and within the next couple of days I began to see a huge difference.
I am now exclusively pumping and baby is getting formula once or twice a day with breast milk for the remainder of his feedings.
I write this to encourage those mamas out there that feel like a failure because they can’t breast feed or perhaps they feel judged that they are formula feeding their babies. You must listen to your own body and do what’s best for not just your baby but for yourself too. At the end of the day, you are no good to anyone including your baby if you are unhealthy. Take care of yourself and those tatas! 😬👍🏽🐮