This post is the first of a six part bonus series about breastfeeding, each of our individual stories, the highs, the lows, the “I have no clue what I’m doing” and the “I’ve totally got this”. No matter what your story is, we want you to know that somewhere out there is another mom saying, “me too”. We’re all in this together.
Nursing. Breastfeeding. Parasite. Beautiful. Painful. Big. Small. Lopsided. Clog. Heat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat…
But it doesn’t repeat forever does it?
I was so excited for breastfeeding my babies, even the hypothetical ones before I was pregnant (I wanted approx. a million).
Our first was born and we had trouble. Pump. Bottle. Repeat for a about a week. I was exhausted. He wouldn’t latch and wouldn’t latch. He was checked numerous times for a tongue tie. No one caught it. But it surely was a tongue tie. It explained all of the pain and stress and… everything I thought I was dreaming up. But I pushed through. I was stubborn and determined to give the best to my baby, not realizing that a healthy and sane mom was really what was best. But I didn’t know. It was my first; I had no clue what I was doing and I had no clue what my body was doing.
When my second came around I was prepared. Sort of. He had the same tongue tie as my first but not nearly as severe and was caught at first glance by my amazing midwife. She told me it was mild and should be no problem if I was diligent and made sure he learned to latch properly. That three month mark hit, you know, when your boobs stop trying to solve world hunger, and I could tell immediately that the same thing was happening. He wasn’t satisfied. Wasn’t sleeping as well. This time I knew what was wrong.
Onto the Meds
At that time, I was a live in nanny to three extras on top of my two and I couldn’t take another step alone. I went to a breastfeeding clinic and they gave me Domperidone. It worked! I was thrilled. Taken long term though it’s bad for your health. (Your heart to be exact.) I took it from February/March to July which isn’t so long, but it felt like forever. I weaned myself off and convinced myself I had to do whatever necessary to continue breastfeeding.
So. Much. Pumping.
I would not give up. I drank the tea. I pumped between feedings. Friends, I shit you not. I pumped for hours. I pumped for about 6 hours each day. And the amount that I pumped was not worth that. It was not worth the stress. It was not worth the heartache. It was not worth the tears. I knew I couldn’t breastfeed exclusively anymore and by this time our second babe was about 10 months old. That’s 7 months of fighting with my breasts to work the way I thought they should. We moved to cows milk. I still breastfed but since it wasn’t exclusive and was just for fun, there was no more stress associated with it. It better suited us both. He actually liked cows milk far more than he liked breast milk. Little traitor. Just kidding.
There are a few things I would have done differently. I would have cut the tongue tie for both of them no matter what. I would have hired a lactation consultant. But the catch with lactation consultants is that you pay them out of your own pocket. In my opinion they (like doulas, who are also expensive) are NECESSARY for some women. Women who do not have moms around or friends who’ve done this before. They are necessary for those who are struggling through their first experiences of motherhood. This. Shit. Is. So. Hard. They are definitely worth the money but what does that matter when you flat out can’t afford it?
I was surrounded by people who knew me and loved me but how could I have told anyone how bad things were when I didn’t want to admit it to myself?
Breastfeeding was not my favourite. Breastfeeding was hard. Breastfeeding was a huge source of stress for me. I would do it again though. Not the same way, I would have definitely made changes but I would breastfeed again. Because it is special. And it is worth it.
*Any information or ideas presented within the website of Pure Grain of Salt are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any medical issue for you or your baby. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider in determining what is best for you and your baby.