Breastfeeding is Hard, but here is how I adjusted
What a beautiful blessing it is to create life and nourish life. I am currently eight weeks postpartum, and I am excited that this week also marks Black Breastfeeding Week. Black Breastfeeding Week was created because, for over 40 years, there has been a gaping racial disparity in breastfeeding rates. So this week is to help build awareness and get other women of color thinking and speaking about breastfeeding.
I always knew I would breastfeed my children. I breastfed Aria for about ten months until my milk started to dry up because of my demanding corporate job couldn’t allow for the sustained pumping sessions. But going into this second pregnancy with Bryce, I knew I would breastfeed him as well.
Bryce was born about three weeks before his "due date." The first two days we spent in the hospital were tough for breastfeeding. I produced colostrum reasonably quickly, but Bryce was having trouble latching consistently. He would do it once or twice but then struggle. It was such a frustrating time for us. We tried different methods in the hospital from finger feeding the colostrum, to using a syringe. We were trying it all. Once I was discharged and made it home, the struggle with breastfeeding continued. Bryce weight dropped, and I grew so frustrated with us not being able to get it right. So I resulted to bottle feeding. This was honestly so devastating for me because I did not want to introduce a bottle too early to him while trying to master breastfeeding. But motherhood has taught me that you always have to do what is best for the child. Stop focusing on your "expectations" and do what is right for the baby. Obviously, he had to be fed, so I pushed past my ego of using a bottle in the first few weeks and fed him my breastmilk through a bottle.
I was pumping every two hours. Doing this was exhausting and frustrating. I ultimately decided that I needed help. I didn't want to continue to sit and be upset with myself and the process. So we visited a lactation consultant at his Pediatrician, and we worked with her for about a week. I can honestly say she was the best thing that happened to us! Seeking help is so essential to breastfeeding success. If I would have tried to go at it alone, we probably never would have got it right, or it would have taken us longer. Within a week and a half of work, Bryce was latching like a champ.
I genuinely love breastfeeding; it builds such a great bond. But I will admit it takes a ton of hard work and potentially some pain. I pushed past it all and kept consistent. My consistency in pumping while breastfeeding helped me build a great stash too.
When pumping, I used the newest Medela Sonata (it weighs about two pounds and what I love most about it is that you can use it cordless, so you can walk around the house or even be in your car (yes I pumped in my car) without needing to plug it into an outlet! The other great thing about Medela is that they offer 24/7 lactation support on the MyMedela app, so if you are struggling, you can seek professional assistance.
Breastfeeding is a journey, and I salute any mom who tries it. Whether you do it for two days or two years, be proud of yourself. Give yourself grace too. It is ok to have a goal but don't let that goal build your ego or build disappointment or depression when it doesn't go 100% as planned. And always remember to do what is best for your baby. Even if you are not able to breastfeed, there are a number of amazing formulas out there that will nourish your baby. If you do have the will and opportunity to breastfeed, please do so. Don't get frustrated with the process. It will all be worth it!
If no one has told you yet today, you are an amazing mom!!
With Love, Passion, and STYLE,