Here at DMB, we support each mother’s infant feeding choice, be it formula, breast, bottle or any combination thereof. The following is a personal account from contributor, Robin, about her breastfeeding journey.
Most of us are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding including super nutrients for baby, cost savings due to not having to buy formula and a feeling of connection between baby and mom. Let’s not overlook the fact that some nursing moms can burn up to 500 calories per day. With all of this awesome information, it’s a no-brainer to choose the breast over the milk. Right? Um, well…here’s my story.
I envisioned a breastfeeding experience filled with quiet moments snuggling close with my baby. Our eyes lovingly gazing at one another with soft music in the background. My reality was something a bit different. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rely on a close family member to guide me as I struggled to nurse initially. Therefore, I relied on sheer determination to give my baby the best I had to offer: custom-made breast milk just for her.
Going back to work full-time made it hard to keep up the same schedule as when I was home on maternity leave. This forced me to transition to a pump. There I was pumping, crouched in the ladies room, looking at a picture of my baby (someone told me that looking at a picture of your baby helps the milk flow). This worked for a while until I became busier at work and slowly began cutting my nursing time. When I complained to my mom, she said “no one said it would be easy”. Eventually, my daughter was consuming formula exclusively. First attempt at nursing past 6 months: FAIL
With my second daughter, I was ready for the challenge once again. And, I took advantage of the resources provided at the hospital. I received “coaching” sessions from a lactation specialist who was so nurturing and understanding. I was a nursing machine and enjoyed the time spent. However, this time, I also had a one-year-old at home who needed me. Those quiet Kodak moments of me and baby? Not possible like with my first daughter.
Then, everything changed. I was informed by the pediatrician that there were some health concerns. My baby was losing weight instead of gaining and needed to be admitted into the NICU. During our stay in the hospital, I was on an around-the-clock breastfeeding schedule. I pumped, and pumped and pumped. I was forced to stick with it for the well-being of my 3-week old baby.
Thankfully, everything turned out fine and we left home from the hospital. Some of the same challenges returned once I went back to working outside of the home. I was definitely able to provide breastmilk for a longer time period even if is was via a bottle and supplementing with formula. Second attempt at nursing past 6 months: PASS (barely)
Now, our family is preparing for our third child. I am in the long haul to get this breastfeeding thing right. This time, I’m armed with resources, partners and information to get me over the 6 month hump. Some of my favorite resources:
My message to other moms who struggle to nurse? Keep in mind why you’re doing it. You have been divinely gifted to provide nourishment to this new being. Now, that’s powerful.
Did you struggle trying to nurse? Share your story below.