I was so excited to begin breastfeeding Abigail! This was something Bryan and I discussed and knew that we wanted to do with our children.
I had this grand idea about how breastfeeding was going to be in my mind. I prepared myself for some pain, cracked nipples, etc. It was like my initiation into motherhood and I couldn’t wait!
I signed up and took a breastfeeding class through the hospital that we were going to deliver at. I thought it was really good and learned a bunch of information that I knew would be helpful when the time came. I’ll admit that I did worry a little in the beginning on when my milk would come in, would it be painful, would I do everything right, etc. I tried to do my homework so I would be prepared and ready to go!
When Abigail was born, I had chest to chest time with her and then immediately tried to feed. She did not seem very enthusiastic though and seemed like she didn’t care about eating. They took her away to the nursery to clean her up and I went to my room. It ended up that because her blood sugar and temperature dropped several times after she was born, they ended up having to give her a bottle of formula. I wasn’t thrilled about this, but knew it was the best thing for her. During the rest of the time in the hospital I practiced nursing first and then we gave her the bottle. I think that because my milk hadn’t come in yet she really didn’t care to nurse when she could immediately get milk from the bottle! I think all of this resulted in nipple confusion or she just really didn’t care about nursing. I’ll admit that I was a little hurt by this, but was sure that once my milk came in she would latch right on and be good to go! At the hospital I had several nurses try to help and show me how to nurse and the lactation consultant also came by to help. We tried various latches, a nipple shield, feeding milk through a small tube into her mouth by my breast, etc. Sometimes she seemed to get it and other times it was a fail. I still kept trying though.We left the hospital and once we got home we just waited for my milk to come in. I still tried nursing and we fed her the bottle because she still wasn’t nursing. My milk finally came in on that Friday, 4 days after she was born and I was so excited! I knew that now that my milk was in surely Abigail would nurse and everything was great! Well, not exactly.
I could not get her to latch on and nurse. She fought me every time. I was so frustrated. Also, I was having my days of baby blues so this was NOT helping. I cried and cried. I called my lactation consultant and asked for help and she told me things to try. I tried the nipple shield, the milk through the tube, the positions, EVERYTHING they told me I tried, but it didn’t work. I was able to pump and at least feed her my milk through a bottle, so that helped a little, but I wanted to nurse so bad. I kept reading all this information and that made me feel like such a bad mother because I hadn’t pumped so many ounces and I had already introduced a bottle to her and they said I shouldn’t have. I felt like such a failure and that I had broken all of the rules already. Not by choice, but because I had to. That still didn’t make me feel any better. I can remember reading nursing books and crying because I thought I wasn’t doing it right and Bryan made me stop reading. Haha. I just wanted to nurse so bad and it felt like this dream of mine was slipping away. At the time, I was probably just super hormonal but I finally broke down and called the lactation consultant and told her I needed to make an appointment to come see her because I needed HELP!I went to see her the next day and she weighed Abigail and we found out that she had already passed her birth weight! When she was born she was 6.7, that Fri we went to the Dr she was 6.2, and the Tues we went to the lactation consultant she was 6.9! I was happy that at least she was eating well and healthy even if she wasn’t nursing. We ended up trying a small nipple shield on her and she latched right on and has been nursing strong ever since! We found out that even though I tried a nipple shield already, I was using a large and it was too big for her little mouth. When she latched on I was SO relieved! I was so happy I almost cried!
I’m so glad that I was able to admit that I needed help and went and got it! I was determined not to give up! The lactation consultant told me that I might have to use the nipple shield for a while, but I honestly don’t mind if that’s what it takes. I might try to wean Abigail off of it eventually, but for now we’re doing great!Since then we’ve been doing great. I learned my lesson though when I got my first plugged milk duct! Man those things hurt! I got it when Abigail started sleeping through the night. I know that I should get up and pump during the night, but honestly I knew I needed to sleep more! We decided that Bryan would give her the night bottle before she went to sleep so I could pump and make sure to get as much as I could out. I then immediately pump when I get up in the morning and feed her at the same time. I can then save what I pump and build up my stock. Well, that works great if I do that. However, sometimes because I sleep on my left side, I always am engorged more on that side when I wake up in the morning. That’s where I got my first one. I knew something was wrong when I was pumping on that side and only got 1 oz (when I normally get 3)! I also was in a lot of pain and felt a little lump that felt like a rock. I searched online, Facebook, talked to my mom and the recommendations said massage, heat (hot showers), nurse (pump), and ibuprofen so that’s what I did! Thankfully that’s what I did and it worked. I was able to get rid of it that day and was so glad. I’ve gotten one more since then, but I just make sure to not let myself get too engorged.
We’ve definitely had highs and lows during breastfeeding, but I wouldn’t change a thing!