Guys, breastfeeding is hard. I struggled, a lot. I struggle with it today, too, just in different ways than in the beginning. Today, my mom and I were talking about when I would stop nursing Penelope. Looking down at her gaze while I was currently nursing her during the conversation, because duh it feels like I always am, I almost teared up. I don’t want to set a date, but there are times that I am SO READY.
From the beginning, our breastfeeding journey was tough. Penelope was born five weeks early. She was small and her weight was a huge concern. She latched pretty perfectly actually and I agonized each time she would be ready to eat because it hurt so bad, but I kept her on a strict schedule and felt like we were doing great. Then at her two week check up the pediatrician told me that she hadn’t gained any wait since her one week check up. I felt like such a failure. Like my body was not doing the one thing it was intended to do, nourish my child. I was referred to a lactation specialist who weighed Penny after a 30 minute nursing, only to inform me that she had only ingested half an ounce during the feeding. She recommended pumping after every feeding to increase my milk supply and to supplement with formula.
When I tell you I felt like I was having a break down, I mean it. I pride myself in living a natural lifestyle. While I feel that fed is best, I wanted so badly to nourish her on my body alone. But I couldn’t. Like, literally, could not. So I did what was recommended. I pumped EVERY three hours and I offered the breast and had a bottle of formula waiting to follow up with.
At Penelope’s recheck the pediatrician was really happy with her numbers and because of the extra nourishment that Penny was receiving, she was strong and able to signal my body to make more milk during her feeding. The doctor gave the okay to stop formula, and she became an EBF baby. I was SO glad to put bottles away and not worry about washing and mixing and everything else!
- In addition to extra pumping, these are a few of the other things that I tried.
- Fenugreek: You can get this supplement at health food stores and even Amazon. I took 3 a day, and you’ll know it’s in your system once you start to smell faintly of maple syrup (super weird I know).
- Lactation Cookies: These work and taste really good! An awesome snack for hungry, breastfeeding mamas. There are tons of recipes of Pinterest, this is the one that I used: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2015/02/lactation-cookies/#_a5y_p=5718438
- Water. Like, so much water. I just kept a big water bottle on my night stand all of the time.
- Lastly, power pump. I know this is the last thing that you want to do when you’re tired and frustrated but it helps. You can look up lots of versions of this, but essentially you pump, break, pump throughout the day to signal to your body that it needs to be supplying more milk.
Now, we are breast feeding like pros. Like, almost too good. I truly can’t remember what it’s like not to share my body with someone else in the way that you do while breastfeeding. While I love the bond that we share, I also find myself imagining what life will be like with some of that responsibility lifted off of my shoulders. I mean, I plan my outfits around whether or not I can breastfeed while out! With that being said, I’m following her lead. We don’t nurse as much as we did, but I know when she wants to it’s because emotionally she still needs it. I know one day, when it is over, I will miss it so much. So, there answer is still unknown, and I’m okay with that.
What is/was your breastfeeding journey like? Believe me Mama, whatever you choose will be the best for you and your baby!