As a mother, you always want to be able to provide nothing but the absolute best for your child. To me, the best included breastfeeding my son until he was at least 1 year old. I loved the sound of that. I was so excited about the bonding that was to come. You see it everywhere these days. On TV or even at your local grocery store. I was finally going to be apart of this special moms club.
Lets also not forget that it makes your boobs bigger. Which isn’t a problem for someone with 2 bee stings on her chest.
Fast forward to delivery day when I first met my son. They asked if I wanted to formula or breastfeed. I confidently went with breastfeeding. I remember them immediately initiating skin to skin contact and then shoving my boob in his mouth. I didn’t really care about that because I was mesmerized by what I was staring at.
When we were in postpartum and it was finally time to feed him my nurse explained to me the different ways to feed him. Like doing the football hold! My son would just barely latch but still be able to get some colostrum.
*For those of you who don’t know, colostrum is a woman’s first milk production either pre-pregnancy or following giving birth. It contains extremely beneficial nutrients to the baby which is why its also known as “liquid gold”.
He nursed a total of 1 hour and 17 minutes doing about 24 to15 minutes on one side each. As the day went on he started nursing for a much shorter time and having a harder time latching. He just did not want to stay on my boob.
It was getting so hard for him to latch that I needed to get help from the nurse. She was also having a hard time so she tried a bit of sugar water to entice him. When that didn’t work, I put in a request to see the lactation consultant.
It was only day 2 and I was already having so much anxiety. I was so concerned about how much he was getting IF he was even getting any. I also forgot to mention how sore my nipples were. I was cringing at the thought of having to do it again.
Until then, I discovered the magic of the breast pump. It was 5 am when I pumped my first little batch of colostrum. I really enjoyed this because I didn’t have to go through the nipple tugging or the pain I felt watching him struggle to latch. It hurt my heart to see my son screaming and crying probably because he was hungry and overstimulated. Especially since this was supposed to be our bonding time. This was supposed to be a no brainer.
He nursed a total of 1 hour and 24 minutes doing about 15 to 20 minutes on only my left side. The lactation consultant also had a harder time with my son so she introduced me to the nipple shield. I won’t say that it took all of the pain away but it definitely helped. I pumped 4 times and got about 17 milliliters of colostrum.
I believe that everyone in the hospital is a die-hard breastfeeding advocate. I definitely can understand why but it’s kind of hard to get your feelings and wants across without feeling judged or hearing their many opinions.
I knew I preferred exclusively pumping but I just kept remembering all of the benefits and all the words of the die-hards. But I just couldn’t ignore it which is why I kept pushing myself. He nursed for a total of 1 hour and 18 minutes. I pumped 5 times and got about 72 milliliters of colostrum. A major jump since yesterday.
When we got home from the hospital I struggled quite a bit with the breastfeeding. He was only able to nurse for 45 minutes that entire day. I figured I could provide more for him mentally and physically if I pumped. So that’s what I did. I became an exclusive pumper. At least he is still getting breastmilk right?
I and others were so impressed with the amount I was pumping each day. I was able to get about 20 ounces a day within just a few days. Besides the amount, just knowing my son was getting my breast milk was the only pros to this in my opinion. I absolutely hated pumping. It got more and more annoying each pump. It felt like I was pumping every second of the day and as a new mother every second counts. When I wasn’t pumping my boobs would get ROCK hard. They were sore to the touch. I couldn’t even hold my son at some point because my chest hurt so bad. I would wake up in the night sweating with the chills. So I figured Mastitis but I was able to rule that out. It was just a case of horrible engorgement.
Even when my son was sleeping (which is when I am supposed to get my rest), I would have to wake up to pump. Isaiah is a greedy boy so as the days went on he would demand more milk. I couldn’t even produce fast enough to satisfy him at the exact moment he gets hungry. I started to supplement with formula because I had to set up the pump, put together all of the pieces, and just sit there holding them on my chest for 15 minutes since I don’t have the handsfree bra. Annoying much? Was I supposed to allow my son to cry for 15 minutes knowing he was hungry? Absolutely not. I then knew that I never wanted to do this again.
I knew for sure that I needed to wean off of pumping but this meant no more nutrients and antibodies for my baby. I was so conflicted but it was either that or start getting depressed. I was upset each time I had to pump or nurse and that’s no way to feed a baby. I didn’t feel the bond just pain. I wanted it so badly to work but I also needed to make sure I could be the best me for my son. Despite the die-hard people I telling me I was making a bad decision.
I spent most of my free time finding out ways to wean off of pumping because stopping cold turkey can be risky and cause Mastitis. These are some of the things I have done:
- Take away a session. I gradually tried to space my pump sessions out until I was able to skip one. Each day I spaced it out more.
- Warm showers. When my chest started to get numb I took a warm shower and let the water hit my breasts. It helped a lot. Although the steam causes leaking.
- Ice packs. This also helped me with the pain. I also used the perineal ice packs they gave me in the hospital.
- Cabbage leaves. I must say that I thought this was a joke but it recalled helped me with pain and speeding up the process of drying up my milk. I placed them in my bra almost every 2 hours.
Lucky for me it didn’t take me long at all to completely stop pumping. It happened so fast I started to feel bad about taking it away from my baby. I started to feel like a bad mom because I couldn’t continue with the breastmilk but not anymore. I am nowhere near a bad mom. There are lots of reasons why a mother may not be able to breastfeed but that doesn’t make us any less of a woman and a mother.
Now my son is completely on formula and is growing just fine. I still leak from time to time as well as get discouraged by quitting but I know I did what I did for the right reasons. I did my best and at least I gave it a shot. I show my son unconditional love and care and that’s what makes me a great mom. Don’t get discouraged.
As always, thanks so much for reading! Questions, comments, and feedback are always welcome. Make sure to check out my Instagram; @T_scorner 💋