I was reluctant to post this because I’m really uncomfortable posting very intimate pictures on social media, but I believe it is important that I do. August is #breastfeedingawarenessmonth and the month is almost over so I thought I’d share my story. As many of you know, I’ve had quite the struggle breastfeeding my newest little one. The struggle was so real that he lost 10% of his weight during the first 5 days of his life. Having breastfed my previous two babies, I was adamant about breastfeeding my newest bundle. I was so determined that we never really prepared for the thought of having to bottle feed considering I had no problems breastfeeding my last two.
I gave birth at a “baby friendly” hospital. This just means that they place baby on your chest immediately after giving birth to start skin-to-skin contact and promote breastfeeding baby within the hour. It was really great. So baby came out healthy, weighing in at 7 lbs. I began breastfeeding and I thought everything was fine. Having breastfed before, I thought I remembered what I was doing. I remember it hurt so bad so the fact that it hurt this time seemed nothing out of the ordinary. I continued to exclusively breastfeed until his 3 day check-up (which was really 5 days after birth). That’s when the doctors realized that he had lost weight. He developed jaundice and was starting to become lethargic. They set me up with a same day appointment with the lactation nurse and she diagnosed that my baby had a tongue tie. It turns out, the reason breastfeeding hurt so bad this time is because rather than using his tongue to suck out the milk, he was using his bottom jaw to feed. He was gnawing at my nipples trying to get milk out. My poor baby! At this point, babies are supposed to take in at least 2 ounces every time they feed. And he was only taking in less than half an ounce every time I fed him. I was starving my baby. I was so devastated. My emotions were too much to handle. I didn’t feel like an adequate mom, I felt like such a failure. I realized I was going to have to bottle feed my baby…which meant that I thought I wasn’t going to have that bonding experience like I had with my last two babies. I was hurt and felt so helpless. My husband also felt helpless because he was trying to make sure I was happy and he knew breastfeeding would make me happy, but he also wanted to make sure our baby was fed. That’s when I realized that I was being selfish. It wasn’t about me, this was all about making sure my baby was well-fed and healthy!
We scheduled a #frenotomy to fix his tongue-tie. I began pumping and we bought formula. By this time, my body had already made up its mind that it didn’t need to produce more that the baby was taking in which was very little! I had to retrain it by pumping every 3 hours for 15 minutes at a time. During this time, baby was healing from the frenotomy and found it less painful to bottle feed. Mind you, while all of this was going on, my breasts were in so much pain and I was still bombarded with hormonal emotions! That and pumping hurts! By the time my milk started to come in, baby was about a month old and by this time, he preferred drinking from a bottle. He is now 4.5 months old and I still pump every 3-4 hours, bottle feed him and breastfeed at night. It would be so much easier to just exclusively formula feed, but I want him to get all the nutrients found in breastmilk. Making sure he is healthy makes it all worth it. People say that breast is best, but after this experience, I have to disagree. A fed baby – whether breast fed or bottle fed – is a happy baby. Therefore, a fed baby is best! I also learned that it’s okay to breakdown once in a while. Questioning if you’re doing a great job as a mother already proves that you are so don’t be so hard on yourself!
Here is baby now ❤️❤️