Breastfeeding Story #2, Erin

Thank you, Erin for sharing with us. I think she says things perfectly here.

I had my first child when I was 22 and was really poor. My husband had just finished graduate school (literally, just finished, like three weeks after Olivia was born)! Yikes! I ended up breastfeeding out of necessity. I knew it was beneficial, but really I did it because it was free.

It turned out to be really tough. I thought it would be easier, it’s always touted as so convenient, but I remember feeling really trapped. Not only that, but it hurt and I felt like she ate All THE TIME. But, then something magical happened around week three. It was like we both figured it out. I got better, she got better and there was no looking back. I nursed her until she weaned a little before her first birthday.

Baby #2 was born three years later and he was super easy. Breastfeeding was great, everything everyone promised, convenient, painless, and he thrived. I felt like super Mom. I finally got the breastfeeding thing down.

Then Baby #3 came along. He wasn’t anything like his brother or sister (they never are). He was collicky, which I hadn’t prepared for. He cried all the time and breastfeeding didn’t seem to soothe him. It was a struggle. That and two other little ones under foot getting into everything. I definitely had to persevere, but I did. I lost a lot of matchbox cars down the toilet, due to a certain toddler, but in the end I’m glad I breastfed and even though, I would have never believed it at the time, he actually outgrew the collick and we all survived.

Now, to baby #4. My now two-and-a-half month old. I planned to breastfeed just like the other three. I knew it might not be everything I pictured, but I felt sure I could do it. I mean, I had already nursed 3 other kids! However, things didn’t go as planned…

When He was born he latched right away. He nursed every two hours and I assumed everything was going perfectly, but at his one week check-up he had lost weight! I couldn’t believe it. I had to come back to the Pediatrician the next few days to weigh him and he just kept losing. We decided to log every thing and check back in four days to give him some time to rebound and let me rest. Unfortunately, by the time I got back in to the Pediatrician he had continued to drop and was having diarreah, which in a newborn is bad. My Doctor told me it was time to supplement. As soon as he had a bottle things began to rebound. He was like a new baby. I decided to try to pump and just keep giving him formula until we could get things on track. I didn’t get much milk and he continued to thrive on bottles. It was a really tough call, especially since I had never had a problem before, but we decided to switch to formula.

The worst part, was that I knew that if I could just stay in bed and nurse around the clock and hire a lactation consultant I probably could have turned things around and made it work. I felt like a total failure and the drop in hormones, sleep deprivation, and in laws visiting all contributed to me getting myself in a really rough place. Once I finally made the switch and was able to get some sleep and see he was growing and thriving, I really started to come around. It wasn’t perfect, and it certainly was something I never planned, but it has given me a great empathy.

I realize now that it’s not always easy to breastfeed. I still feel sad that I’m not breastfeeding my baby. When I’m out with bottles sometimes I feel judged, like I don’t love my baby as much because I didn’t make it work. But, when I see how happy he has and how well the whole family is doing I know I made the best decision I could at the time. So while, my breastfeeding story might not be exactly what you are looking for I hope it encourages someone else, because we are all just doing the best we can in this Motherhood thing. It’s not easy and sometimes things don’t go the way we intend, but we all love our children and we need to support eachother.

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