Mar 10, 2013

My Breastfeeding Story

  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big supporter of breastfeeding. I feel it is very important for both mom and baby. It has been almost five years since my youngest weaned but it is still an important issue for mothers so I wanted to post about my person experiences with breastfeeding. I hope my story will encourage you to choose breastfeeding for your own children : )

This is an account of my first breastfeeding experience, with my first baby.

It all started when I gave birth to my son, my pregnancy went well. My labor was none progressive and I did not have strong enough contractions for proper dilation. After 26 hours of labor I ended up having a c section and I delivered a beautiful 8.7 lb baby boy! He was a big boy and was born two weeks prior to my due date.

I was in recovery for about 4 hours, it seemed like forever. I could think about was nursing my baby boy! I read the books and heard how important it was to get baby on the breast as soon as possible, preferably right away! That was not an option for me and I feared what may happen. I heard that many woman after a c section could not breastfeed and that if the baby wasn't nursing right after birth then there was a good chance that it would not work at all.

I kept thinking about this and just wanted to get out of that room so I could get to my baby! Prior to my being in the hospital I wrote specific instructions to the nurses about my newborn. I asked that NO bottles, pacifiers or formula be given to my baby, under any circumstances! Even still I worried that if I didn't get to him in time he would get hungry and they may give him some formula or a pacifier.

Even though I had heard and read those discouraging statements throughout my pregnancy, I knew that nothing would stop me from doing what was right for my self and baby. All my life, even as a little girl I knew I wanted to breastfeed my babies. I always felt that if I was going to have children that they would be breastfed, my goal was three years for each of my children. Finally I got out of that recovery room and made it to a regular hospital room. I got my self settled in and they had me hooked up to IV and such, it had been about 4 hours since my c section and all I wanted was to nurse my baby. I waited and waited, it seemed like a long time.

Finally I called the nurse and asked her to bring me my baby! 

Once he came in I was so happy! Since I had a c section I barely got to see him and definitely didn't get to hold him yet. Finally I had him and he was hungry so we got to work. While I was pregnant I read the book So That's What They're For!: The Definitive Breastfeeding Guide so I felt confident that I knew what I was doing and needed little help from the nurse. It was difficult at first and we had latch on problems. For me getting a good latch was very hard and I kept referring to my book for further assistance. My baby kept wanting just the nipple, the books all say that the baby must have the entire areola  in his mouth for a good latch to take place.

So I did just what the book said and I would put him on and take him off if a good latch was not established. This caused many hours and practice, practice, practice lol! As a result my nipples became sore and red, the second day my nipples had scabs on them! Ouch!! Now this is the point where many woman say forget this! and go for the bottles of formula. Not me, I was not going to let anything stop me form doing what was right for my baby. I had just had a long difficult labor then a c section, I was not going to let this discourage me! The nurse brought me some Lansinoh Breast Cream and that really helped a lot.

After a few days the scabs were gone from my nipples but we were still having latch on problems and that kept my nipples sore. I kept saying to my self over and over that this was just a learning experience for me and my baby. I knew that soon it would be perfect and the pain would be gone. Four days later we go to go home. After I got settled in, my baby and I laid down and took a nap.

When I woke up my baby felt hot! So I took his temperature and it said 101 degrees! I was freaked, why would my baby have a fever? I thought. Then I put him in his baby chair, he quickly cooled down and then I discovered that I was the one with a 101 temp. Thankfully it wasn't my baby, he had only gotten hot sleeping on my skin and I had the fever. I realized how sick I felt after that and discovered that my milk had let down but mastitis had set in! Great I thought, latch on problems and now a breast infection!

If that wasn't enough! Since we were still having latch on problems my baby wasn't emptying my breasts enough to stop engorgement, so I had that to. I wish I could say that I wasn't freaking out but I was. I was upset, crying and taking Tylenol to help me feel better from the fever. I did go to the doctor the next day and was taking antibiotics for the breast infection. In the mean time I consulted my book and called for advice from the breastfeeding consultants at the hospital.

They told me for engorgement to soak my breasts in warm water and then nurse my baby. I was told to do this prior to each feeding, so that is what I did.  Engorgement happens within 72 hours after you give birth, your breasts start producing a lot of milk, eventually replacing the colostrum (or pre-milk) your baby has been drinking. As that happens, more blood flows to your breasts and some of the surrounding tissue swells. The result? Full, swollen breasts.

I kept doing all of that for days and every day it got better, after a full month of practice we were pros at this newly acquired skill of breastfeeding. I keep saying we because breastfeeding is just as much a learning experience for your baby as it is for you. He doesn't no any more than you do about it, all he knows is he is hungry and these things are the way to get food. I am not telling you all of this to scare you in any way.

What I do want to do is tell you what I went through and let you know that the problems and pain won't last. Just keep moving forward. The problems that I had were not unusual for a new breastfeeding mom. This is why I believe so many give up and cave in to the formula manufactures plan of scientifically engineered none breast milk.

Despite the problems that I had the first month, I continued to breastfeed my son. He never had a bottle, formula or a pacifier. I was all of these things for him and he continued to nurse until he was 2 and a half years old. I wanted to go for three years but my new pregnancy caused me to want to take a break before starting all over again. I was three months pregnant when my son weened, that means I had a whole six months to give my breasts a rest.

Don't Quit!

Yes it does take a good month to get the hang of it and for your baby to learn how to do it, but it is so worth it. Some mothers also have it very easy and have babies who just do it right the first time. Every mothers breasts and baby are different and every experience will be unique in some way. No matter what, you can do it, that is what your breasts were created for.

When I was breastfeeding I thought it was so amazing to think that I am doing something that literally mothers have been doing since the begging of human kind. Suddenly I felt connected to every mother who had lived before me. What an amazing thing!

I knew that if mothers of the ancient worlds could do it, then I could surely do it in today's world. I never gave my self a choice not to do it! That is the mind set you must have! Don't give up no matter how hard it is at first, soon you and your baby will be pros and you will be so proud that you never gave your baby formula.

By the way nothing can take place of breast milk for your baby. What nature has set in place works. It is the perfect food for your baby, it is healthy for mom to, it is always clean and never requires any bottles or any other man made thing. It bonds you to your baby like nothing else! Perfection like this can never be created in a lab and factory..

Please comment and share this info with others!

To your breastfeeding success!

By Joanne Utke

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