Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Breastfeeding Confessions


I mentioned my relationship with breastfeeding just briefly in my Birth Stories post. Today I'm going to tell the whole back story and share a confession...

I gave birth to my first child at newly nineteen years old. I'll admit that I was inexperienced (obviously) and that I hadn't researched a whole lot about breastfeeding. However, I had taken a beginners class on breastfeeding and glanced through a book. So I thought hey, this is easy! I can do this, no problem!

Ha.

After I had my son, they whisked him away to the nursery and put me to sleep because I was tired and my iron was low from blood loss. However, whisking baby away after birth is not very conducive for breastfeeding. I had expressly said I was going to breastfeed and attempted to later on that day with quite a few problems. I couldn't get him to latch on (maybe since he'd already had bottles in the nursery) and the nurses were coming in repeatedly to check on my progress...which was almost none. So they sent in a Lactation Consultant to help me. Her "help" consisted of her roughly shoving the baby onto my breast and saying, "Just do it." Hmmm. I've thought since then that maybe she thought I was a dumb teen mother and was trying to use a tough love approach but I still don't know. FYI, it didn't work. She threw me some nipple shields, told me to just keep trying, and was gone. We left the hospital with me still trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. My son couldn't (or wouldn't) latch so I then tried pumping into a bottle with a tiny little hand pump. I got overly engorged and would only get a tiny amount when pumping and he was just getting more & more fussy. I finally ended up breaking down crying and having a family member go buy formula at the store.

When it came time for me to have my daughter, I was with a different provider and a different hospital. The midwives I was seeing were very pro-breastfeeding and encouraged me every visit to at least consider breastfeeding. However, I turned them down every time - no, no, no, NO. I knew the benefits but I did NOT want to go through the same thing as before. The fear of failing (again) weighed heavily on my mind. Thanks, but no thanks. After the birth of my daughter, we had to wait temporarily on a room in the hospital to open up. While we were waiting, I cuddled my daughter and felt her beginning to root around at my chest. A few minutes later though, the nurses came in and took me off to bed for a bit while she went to the nursery. Although I don't feel guilty about it - what's done is done - I've often wondered if she would have taken to breastfeeding.

So we fast forward to now: I'm pregnant with my third child (due very soon!) and I'm planning on breastfeeding. And I'm scared. I have a different provider again - a midwife who has assured me she will help me as much as possible and won't leave my side until I feel confident. (I know it sounds like I switch doctors/midwives every five seconds but I don't. They have each ended up moving on to different places, I promise!) Anyway, I've been doing tons of reading and researching. I have that pro-breastfeeding midwife, an Aunt who breastfed for many years, a friend who is a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, another friend who successfully breastfed through SO many difficulties, connections to local breastfeeding support & help groups...and I'm still worried I'm going to screw it all up. Even though I have all that, it still all comes down to me and whether I can do it or not.

I know worrying doesn't help so I've decided to just lay my feelings out here and move on. I'm easily bogged down by negativity and it probably doesn't help that some people have told me recently that there is no point in trying since I wasn't able to do it before or that I'll never get any time to myself. (I'm pretty sure that last one never had children since duh, children of all kinds - breastfed or not - require a lot of your time...) But my midwife says the past is the past and to not even let myself get sucked into that type of thinking - it will just drag me down. Which I know is true. I have a better support system this time, I've been educating myself, and I think that I can feel confident in whatever outcome knowing that I'm giving it my all. So I ask for positive thoughts and encouragement - and I'd love to hear your stories as well! Did you struggle with anything in particular as a new mom? What helped you? Feel free to share in the comments.

12 comments:

  1. Try not to worry about it- if you breastfeed the new baby, great! If not- well that's just fine, too! :)

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  2. Hi Shay, I'm a new follower of your blog. Congrats on your new baby to come. I agree with your midwife, the past is the past. Enjoy your new precious baby and don't worry. :)

    Found your blog on Facebook from 'This southern girl's heart' page and following.

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    1. Thanks for following! I'm glad you stopped by & shared. :)

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  3. The exact same thing happened to me...except I was 18. My son ended up back in the hospital for an overnight bc of a hi bilirubin count since he just wouldn't latch right. I was a mess! Then, I didn't even try w/ my second son. I was determined to with my third son. It had its ups and downs but we worked through it and I have successfully nursed the rest of my kids.
    My most important tips....
    -Pray for a good nurser:)
    -Don't stress if the baby is sleepy the first day or two and doesn't catch on rt away.
    -Know that it can be somewhat painful when the baby initially latches on for the first 5-7 days until your nipples "toughen up".
    -Make sure the baby gets enough of your nipple in his/her mouth and that their bottom lip is flipped the right way! Position helps a lot!
    -All babies can look slightly jaundiced...focus on the # of wet/poopy diapers. As long as there are around 8 everything should be fine.
    Good luck:)
    http://normalchaosforamultitaskmom.blogspot.com/2013/01/our-choice-was-life.html

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    1. Thanks so much for the tips - I appreciate it! It's great to hear that it worked out for you too. Headed over to your blog now! :)

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  4. Hi Shay! I'm so sorry to hear that things didn't work out perfectly for you to breastfeed your first two children. But sometimes that's just how it goes. All you can do is try, and if you succeed, great! If not, that is okay too. Don't feel like it was your fault, because it is never your fault unless you specifically said you wanted to go the formula route. For your new baby {congrats!} just relax, and let it come naturally. The baby will know what to do. Don't worry if it seems hard at first, or hurts, because it will get better as you and your baby learn each other. Try to express that it is very important for you to hold your baby right away after delivery because you want to bond/nurse. I held my daughter on my chest for about 2 hours after she was born and that helped. And you don't have to take advice from anyone if you don't want it. Although if you are having problems you may be able to ask your midwife or ask for a lactation consultant to be available to you. I had a VERY tough first two weeks with my daughter, she was my first baby and I was overwhelmed. But everything worked out and here I am, still nursing her at 15 months. You can do it :)

    New follower by the way--looking forward to reading more :)

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    1. Hi Kera! Thanks for following - and for all the tips! I'm glad to hear everything is working out for you!

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  5. It sounds like you have a great support system this time and I am sure you will succeed. I just want to say also, though, that if you end up bottle-feeding again, it is NOT a failure as a mother and your children will be FINE. Take it from a mom who couldn't (for medical reasons). Best wishes!

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  6. You just described my breastfeeding experience... almost word for word (til the second kid.) I breastfed my first child once, with the consultant shoving her on my chest and saying 'Just do it' 'Your nipples are so small' . I was also 19. I had another at 24, in November. She rooted on my chest and I went ahead and let her get a little. Then I quit. I didn't want to deal with the nurses (even though they were 1000x more helpful), I didn't want to disappoint myself or my baby (or my man), and I didn't want to do it. I was sooo scared. After we left the hospital and got home, I noticed I was leaking an insane amount of milk and decided to go ahead and try again. (you know, for fun... right... must've been the hormones) I ended up breastfeeding the 2nd kid for a month.

    Anyway, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's felt slighted/had a crappy nurse (You aren't alone.)

    The point of my story is even a little is better than nothing if that's what you want. If it's not what you want, then don't worry about it. Your baby wants you happy and healthy and able to fulfill his/her needs and love. That's all. You will make the decision that's best for you and your baby, no matter what. That's what good moms do!

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    1. Jessica, thank you so much for your comments! You are right - as long as baby & momma are happy and healthy then nothing else really matters. :)

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