By no means do I claim to be an expert in the matter of breastfeeding. However, I did it and have some things to say about it. “I tried” sums up my overall experience.
During my pregnancy, I decided to at least give breastfeeding a shot. Although I had a group of friends split on the matter, I had a few with experience. My mom was super supportive and encouraging. Her generation wasn’t pushed to breastfeed, so we educated ourselves and stocked up on supplies. Thankfully, my pump was even covered with recent changes in health insurance!
I went to the prenatal class offered at the hospital and got lots of good info- that I immediately forgot in the fog of having the kid. The lactation staff there was amazing and checked on me while we were in the hospital. There wasn’t a lot going on though. Apparently, if you have a c-section, it can take almost a week for milk to come in. It was recommended to nurse on demand, not give a bottle or pacifier, and feed donated milk with a syringe. She lost some weight, which is pretty common anyway; however, if I had it to do over, I would have just fed my baby. The older kid traumatized us on breaking her from the paci, or we would have been quicker to give the baby one.
After going home, my milk finally kicked in and things started running somewhat smoothly. I went to lactation meetings at the hospital. This was helpful because we were able to meet with the lactation nurse. We could weigh the baby before and after a feeding to measure milk intake. Once I made it a month, I felt like I had really done something.
Baby was on the small side, but nothing to really worry about; however, she didn’t seem satisfied with breastmilk. I was supplementing and feeling ok-ish about it. I wasn’t producing much milk at all and tried EVERYTHING to get production up and going. Between being naturally anxious, and having postpartum anxiety on top of it, I think stress could be the main thing that hurt my milk production.
One day, at a friend’s house, I saw her bottle of pumped milk. I thought something was wrong with it! The fat separation was about 1/2 of the bottle. Mine looked NOTHING like that. It would just be a tiny amount that separated at the top. Exhausted from trying everything I could think of to increase my milk, and realizing the quality wasn’t great, I was ready for a change.
As we introduced some foods at 4 months, and formula supplementation was increasing, I quit breastfeeding at 6 months. I proudly made it to 6 months. We were a happier mom and baby to have that experience behind us. But the extra stress I put on myself was not worth it. I could have been a calmer mom and used my energies for other things. If it worked for you and your family, I’m so happy for you- and honestly a little jealous. Everyone is unique and what works for one mom, absolutely doesn’t work for every mom. We have to assess our own situation and do what works for our family.
Now that I’m triggered with the memories of nipple shields, lanolin cream and can hear my pump talking to me….Mama’s Clocking Out