This post is so super duper long overdue. I kept putting it off because I have so much to say about this. But the more time passes, the more I realize that I don't need to say all that much. I just need to tell my story.
When I pictured having a baby, I always pictured myself nursing my child. I couldn't imagine anything else - my baby's face, what the nursery looked like, anything - but the one thing that I always saw was myself nursing a little bundle. So I set my mind on it. I took a "Breastfeeding 101" class at the hospital, I read up on as many things as I could, and I mentally prepared myself for sore nipples and leaky boobs. A couple hours after giving birth, I latched him on (he needed to go to the nursery immediately after birth so I couldn't nurse right away). Everything seemed fine, he seemed content. Fast forward a week to his one week appointment... all good, he was back up to his birth weight, feeding well, no problem! Fast forward a little more, to his one month appointment, and well, still at birth weight.
I was crushed. I was starving my child. (I wasn't really, and it certainly wasn't on purpose.)
So after being told I needed to supplement, I said okay, I'll do what I need to to get his weight back up but I will nurse him until we are both good and ready to stop - and I'm only supplementing until I absolutely have to.
It took weeks. It wasn't easy. Making milk was my full time job. I read everything I could about increasing production. I spent my extra moments baking lactation cookies, power pumping, and guzzling water like it was nobody's business. Eventually, there came a point where I didn't have to supplement any more. The day he finished nursing and rejected a bottle, I cried. I must have looked insane. But I was so happy. My hard work was paying off. For the next few months I stressed a lot over milk. I ended up going back to work when he was 3 months old and had to pump. I could only just get enough for him most days. But as a teacher, I knew I only had two months to go and then I would be able to continue nursing him through the summer. So I pushed through and I made it - pumping during every break at work, and nursing as much as I could as soon as I walked through the door in the afternoon.
I made it. And a year later, I'm still making it. Granted, I only nurse twice a day now, but after June, I didn't have to supplement once. He stayed exclusively on breast milk until 6 months, at which point we started introducing solids (very slowly).
So how did I do it? There are a few key things I did that really helped me.
Like I said, my body never responded well to the pump, but pumping definitely kept my supply going.
Kellymom.com was my greatest resource, and I got so much help from going there.
If nursing is what you really want to do, don't let anyone tell you you can't do it! A lot of women are told they don't produce enough, but then are not given the tools to help them make what they need! If I could do it, you certainly can, too. And if you have questions, don't hesitate to ask!
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