Now this is going to be another one of my PSA blog posts because I feel like many women go into it naively, I know I did. I was aware that some women have a hard time breastfeeding but I thought I was not going to be one of those women. Wrong!!
So first off my problems started right as Miles was born. He did not latch on within the first couple of hours after his birth. I was told it was okay. That some babies are tired and need to rest first. Ok, fair enough. The issue is that because he wouldn't latch on, we went home not really knowing what his latching on looked like. Thankfully with a midwife follow up, she was at our house a few hours later to see how we were doing. At first we though he was latching on because he was sucking and swallowing but then the midwife noticed he was swallowing too much. Basically he was sucking his tongue and swallowing his saliva. No good. We worked long and hard to get a good latch. He ended up hurting me and needing to be fed colostrum with a spoon. Miles was also jaundiced so it was extra important that he get a good amount to drink to help elimate the jaundice. For those first few days we had the midwives coming to our place and giving us tips and tricks and game plans. Boy am I ever so grateful! We were always calling on the midwife, sometimes in tears to get help because it just wasn't working.
Throughout the next 6 weeks we had a tongue tie cut on him, we went to see several lactation consultants and ended up renting a hospital grade breast pump. I pumped every 3 hours day and night and Aaron fed him the pumped milk with a tube attached to his finger. It was a rough couple of weeks. Miles also went to see a chiropractor that helped him to work out some tensions he had. When he finally started to eat full time on the breast I started going to the breastfeeding clinics, which I still attend once in a while, and met other moms in similar situations. The support of other moms and the lactation consultant was invaluable. I also remember going to my midwife appintments and having a bunch of different staff who had helped us along the way come and check up on us and alway encourage us. I felt so validated when my midwife told me it was okay to be sick of it, that I was doing more than most nursing moms have to do to feed my child. She said it wouldn't always be so hard and one day I would be nursing because at the moment all I was doing was breastfeeding, that I would know what nursing is one day, i would just feel it. And I get it. To me nursing is this bond I'm getting with my child. I'm not gonna say we are always nursing because it's still rough at times but at least now I know the difference. There should be a reunion with the midwifery clinic soon and I can't wait to go and tell them about our progress!
I'm so very glad I pushed through. Yes I recognize that it is hard and sometimes for your own sanity you just have to feed your child the less painful way and if that's formula, then all the power to you. I do however believe that most woman can breastfeed (not gonna say all because some women do have medical issue that prevent them from breastfeeding), it's just a matter of working at it, but I know that everyone has their limits, and that's okay too. Every drop of breastmilk your child has gotten is worth it. A little is better than none! I was just too dang pig headed to give up on my nursing dreams. I'm happy to say Miles has only had breastmilk, not a drop of formula. Sometimes I feel bad when I say this because I really would hate for someone to think I'm formula shaming them but honestly, I worked my little butt if to accomplish this and i think I deserve to marvel in it!
Now Miles drinks about 8 times a day and is putting on weight steadily. I still worry that he gets enough as his nursing patterns change. I don't think the worry ever goes away. Sometimes it's hard knowing that he requires me to be present always, that I can't simply walk away and leave him to have a bottle with his daddy (although I do have some frozen milk). The logistics of having to pump the missed feeding is just annoying to me for now. But in a way i'm happy I get to be the only one who can provide his nourishment. We only have them so little for a short while, I'll take it!
Look at his milk drunk face!