My perfect little human just turned 1 how exciting and I have officially gained my breastfeeding badge if that’s a thing. I am filled with ecstasy, to say the least. My goal was to breastfeed for a year and I did it.
Breastfeeding isn’t easy! As it looks to seem. It isn’t just about whipping out your breast or nature taking its cause as your little one is expected to know how to locate the nipple. It just doesn’t work that way.
When my husband and I welcomed our little one, I had no idea how to latch him on my nipple. Not only was I trying to figure that out, but I also had no flow of milk for the first 2 – 3 days. This resulted in us utilizing bottle and formula feeding for that period until my milk came in. It wasn’t our intention for our little one to be put on formula immediately after birth. But hey, we had to do what we felt was best for us and him at the time. What matters is that he was surrounded by love and care.
Our baby boy got used to bottle feeding and he didn’t care to latch for a whole month. You can imagine the inconvenience I had to go through with pumping. In a day, I pumped 4 times all thanks to having a heavy milk production. It was very frustrating and exhausting. strict pumping without being able to nurse, made me feel unfulfilled as a mother because my goal was to nurse.
About a month later, that would be 2 months post-delivery. My son’s pediatrician and my mother in law advised that I put him on my nipple every time he got very hungry. Doing this will leave him no choice than to suck directly from my breast. Did this work? It sure did. He got used to latching on the left boob (His favorite to date).
There are so many things that I have learned in my experience in breastfeeding through trial and error, and I look back and wonder, wishing I had known better.
My Difficulties with Breastfeeding.
- Problem with latching
My baby who has been introduced to bottle ahead of time, used bottle-feeding techniques at the breast, leading to a poor and shallow latch. When I transitioned him from bottle feeding to nursing, I knew how to support my baby’s weight on my arm with my hand between his shoulder blades. I also knew how to tuck my baby’s body in close with my elbow and let his head fall back a bit. Besides, I knew how to hold my breast with my thumb near the nipple, so it tips up a bit, and my fingers well under my breast, right down by my chest.
However, I was not aware that I had to line up his nose with my nipple so his mouth is lined up with the underside of my breast. Neither did I know that when I stimulate his whole lower lip with my breast, I had to keep my nipple aimed at the nose. As I gained experience, I learned that when a baby is latched well, the nipple goes deep into the baby’s mouth, and if the nipple is not far enough back, the tongue will press on the nipple and cause pain. Reading up or watching youtube videos on how to latch a baby is not the same without practice.
2. Breastfeeding Hurts.
I had done my research and had also heard from people (doula, family members, etc) how painful breastfeeding was. But no one emphasized on the intensity of the pain Omg!!!. Especially after delivery. Every time my little one sucked, I felt these severe cramps which are normal. So, what happens during breastfeeding immediately after childbirth, the uterus contracts and you feel the pain in the walls of your vagina.
I wasn’t one of those moms that used nipple cream. It didn’t sit well with me applying cream to my nipple and having my little one suck on it. Fortunately for me, my nipple didn’t crack so I could do away with nipple cream.
As a maternal and child health professional. I advise moms to never co-sleep with their infants to prevent Sudden Infant Death (SIDS). But I must admit, that it is very tough not to co-sleep especially when nursing. Some might say, why not pump during the day while your husband bottle feeds him at night?. Well, in my case we attempted that. But our son can tell the difference between bottle feeding and breastfeeding. If it doesn’t come directly from the boobs, he isn’t interested.
The only way I was able to get my sleep was to put him directly in bed with me as I nurse him. We sleep great and thankfully, I am not a deep sleeper so I still have the awareness that he is close to me. No matter what you decide to do, make sure you do what works for you and your little one and do it safely. Here is a link for more information on safe sleeping practices.
4. Breastfeeding and Pumping around the clock are so inconvenient.
These little humans do not joke about their breastmilk. Not only are you breastfeeding every 2 hours, but you also have to pump around the clock. While I was home on maternity leave, I pumped 4 times during the day because I produced a lot of milk. Upon returning to work after maternity leave, I tried to pump around the clock but the truth is, It’s not as easy to stick to the 2-hour schedule. What worked for me was pumping once I came into the office, at lunchtime, and pumping before I left the office for the day. I can guarantee you the intervals were not on a 2-hour clock but that was what worked for me. I am also thankful to have my supervisor who made sure I was keeping up with pumping.
Side Note: I am currently still breastfeeding until my son is 15 months. Following this pandemic, my mother-in-law advised I keep him on for a little more time so he can acquire antibodies to fight infections. And it makes sense to me!!! My boy is the happiest now I tell you.
A lot of new moms struggle with breastfeeding. Some may have issues of deep latch, some may struggle with a baby who isn’t latching at all. Some moms might have had a traumatic experience and breastfeeding just triggers the emotions over again. You name it.
Breastfeeding is not easy it is very emotional. But it reminds us of the universal truth of abundance, the more we give out, the more we are filled up.
Breastfeeding is a mother’s symbol of compassion and affection to her child. It is more than milk. It is a close intimate attachment between a mother and her child. Breastfeeding is powerful.
Not every mom can breastfeed and I am privileged and thankful to have experienced this bond with my son.
No matter what you choose, bottle feeding, or breastfeeding as long as your little one is surrounded by love and care that is all that matters.
See you soon and Stay Safe !!!