This post is a part of the Adventures in Breastfeeding Project sharing mother’s unique experiences, successes and struggles with Breastfeeding. This post is by a dear friend Wendy. Here’s what she had to share with us:
“My name is Wendy, wife to Adam, mother to Patton, this is my breastfeeding story.
I always get compliments on being a planner, I planned the conceiving of our son, planned my pregnancy, planned my leave, planned the delivery, and it was a given that I planned to breastfeed. Things don’t always go as planned though.
Patton entered this world in what I describe as a sitcom delivery. Being a first time mom I think the hospital staff expected me to be barely dilated and not at all as far along as I was. The nurses kept telling me I wasn’t ready to push and it wasn’t time. When they finally checked my progress in triage the nurse literally yelled “She’s having a baby! NOW!” From the time they checked me in to the time I was holding my son to my breast was 27 minutes.
Like every first time breast feeder I had no clue what I was doing. You just put your boob in his mouth and he eats right? It hurt. God it hurt. That is something you cannot prepare yourself for. The Lactation Consultants came and visited, teaching us holds, and how to adjust his jaw, and tips for daddy. They came several times a day for three days. Every time describing what it feels like when your milk comes in, the heaviness, the tingling, the leaking. All while still promising that I still had time, that my milk would come in, that my body would do what it was meant to do. It didn’t.
At Patton’s first well baby check he hadn’t gained any weight back, in fact he was losing. Rapidly. I was so heartbroken but still kept thinking that my body would eventually start producing milk. After his first appointment I went directly to the Lactation Consultant at Highline. I got set up with medical grade pump, stacks of books, La Leche meeting information, a list of herbs and natural foods to try. Producing breast milk became all I thought about. I power pumped, pumped and nursed simultaneously, pumped then nursed, nursed then pumped. Nothing. The most milk I ever got was ONE OUNCE.
My day started with a plate of steel cut oats. Water. Mother’s milk tea. Fenugreek and fennel, more water, prayer and meditation. Then off to visit the Lactation Consultants. Every day for almost my entire maternity leave. I tried drinking a Guinness. Nothing. My son was described as being a lazy nurser. He would fall asleep at the breast, whatever I would do, strip him, tickle him, put a cold rag on his face, he would still fall asleep. At least someone was sleeping because it wasn’t me.
By this point we were going in for weigh ins every other day to see if maybe he had gained any weight. At two and a half weeks old my son had gone from just under 8 pounds at birth to 6 pounds. At the appointment where he weighed in at 6 pounds I was told by his Pediatrician that either we would supplement right that second or we would all be heading to Children’s Hospital. Now I don’t know if she can legally say or do that and I don’t care to hear if she can legally say or do that.
I sat in the examing room with my tiny son laying across my lap, to small to even fit in his cloth diapers and thought “I don’t even care anymore, I have to feed my son and if his food comes from a can than so be it.” I cried as his Pediatrician prepared the bottle for me and I cried as I put this artificial nipple in his mouth. And then I cried even harder as his eyes opened and he sucked down those two ounces of formula. It was the first time he had ever even looked fully awake while he ate. I still cry thinking about it and I am crying as I write this.
Patton went from being a sleepy baby to being a fully alert and happy baby almost overnight. We still kept trying to breastfeed for at least another month even though he wasn’t really getting any milk from me so a few days after I went back to work I returned that monstrosity of a pump, bought some super cute silicone bottles and owned it.
I am a formula feeder. I am also a cloth diaperer. Co-sleeper. Avid reader. Music lover. Gardener. Mother. Wife. Sister. Breast feeding advocate. I am all of these things. And I nourish my child, mentally and physically. Even though his milk came from a can.”
THANK YOU AGAIN WENDY FOR BEING SO OPEN SHARING YOUR STORY!