My Breastfeeding Journey

I have always wanted to breastfeed my children growing up. I knew my mom breastfed me because I heard the stories of her joining a breastfeeding group. I watched my sister-in-law, and two sisters breastfeed their daughters. I even heated up breastmilk in a bottle and give it to my nephews growing up. So, I always pictured myself breastfeeding my own children. I knew all the benefits and even wrote papers talking about it. So when I was pregnant with my daughter I did even more research and knew I was going to breastfeed my daughter. I was going to have this perfect experience and she was going to nurse till at least a year old.

Ahh...that did not happen. Ginny was born at 36 weeks because of pre-e and by c-section after me laboring for hours. Ginny came out with nice deep red color to her skin and was put straight on my chest. She was sound asleep in my arm and was no rooting no matter what she wanted to sleep. I decided she would start to root when she got hungry. Sure enough she started to root when she was whisk away from me by a nurse who then shoved a bottle of sugar water into her mouth. We found out that Ginny has extremely low blood sugar. The nurse didn't want to hear about me wanting to breastfeed and pretty much blamed me for my daughter's blood sugar. Then they whisked her away to the nursery and from then on she stayed there. Each time I tried to nurse she would be sound asleep. We tried all the tricks to wake her up. Stripped her down to a diaper and a wet rag would not wake this girl up. She loved her sleep. They would then feed her formula to keep her blood sugar up as she was also on an iv of sugar water. Every two hours I would get myself to the nursery to work on feeding her and leaving her with a heavy heart. I would then try to pump what I could to bring my milk in.

Ginny was transferred to a bigger hospital not even 72 hours after her birth. I was released from the hospital so I could be with her. There they encouraged me to nurse her. At this time I was seeing every lactation person anything to get her to nurse. Every time I felt like a failure as I watched them give her formula afterwards. I started to use a hospital grade pump, anything to get my milk to come in. Finally, I was getting an ounce of milk in to help her every three hours. Finally after eleven days and promising I would feed her a bottle of formula after trying to breastfeed they released her.

I would try to latch her on every three hours for over an hour. Never getting her to latch then I would feed her a bottle of formula mixed with what I could pump before. Then I would spend another hour pumping milk for her only getting an ounce. I cried every time and dreaded it. Because an hour later I would be back up to start it all over again. By the time Ginny was four months she was drinking 4 ounces of formula mixed with half an ounce of breastmilk. I was only pumping half an ounce at this point and I was tired. I was tired of feeling like I didn't know my daughter at all because I spent most of my time pumping for her. So, I decided with a heavy heart to just stop trying to latch her and pump. It was the best thing I ever did with our relationship.

14 months later, I find out that I am pregnant with baby number two. Lots of people thought I would just go to formula. But, I made myself a deal that I would at least try for a week to breastfeed my child. If it didn't work then I would use formula. Well, Miles was born at 37 weeks and he latched perfectly. He spent 12 hours in the nursery with an iv only so we never lost that relationship. Miles loved nursing which was basically the only time he wanted to be held and cuddled with. He never made eye contact while nursing. But he nursed. When he was around 18 months old I found out I was pregnant with number 3 and he regressed. We nursed our way through it and he would sometimes give me eye contact during that time. He nursed till 22 months old when he self weaned.

When Mason was born I made myself the deal again to try for a week. Well, Mason was born at 39 weeks and latched on like a champ as well. We are still nursing and he is now 15 months old. I love our experience together.

I nurse because I know the benefits. I see the amazing grace of it with Miles because he is social. Because it was the only way he could get his meals for a long time. I blessed to nurse him for 22 months during his regression and seeing what we didn't lose during that time. I see the time I can spend just cuddling with my son in my lap knowing that I helped nourish this body. Sure, it's sad I wasn't able to nurse my daughter but I got her to four months old. I am not against formula but I recommend everyone to try to breastfeed at least a week.

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