My first baby nursed like a champ shortly after her delivery. I was stoked at how easy it came to us! Then a few days in, the pain I experienced was awful! Thankfully, I was able to get help right away and my midwife and doula noticed that the latch wasn’t quite right and that she wasn’t opening her mouth wide enough before latching on so she was actually sliding the nipple into her mouth which was causing the horrible pain and sores. After that was determined, we had an amazing nursing experience. My goal was to nurse until she was ready to be done, also called baby-led weaning. There are so many benefits for nursing past the first year and I was determined to be that mama for my daughter.
After about 2 years, I was getting to the point where I was done, or so I thought. I tried to encourage weaning and realized I wasn’t really done yet. I got very emotional every time my little wanted to nurse and I tried to explain she could have something else to drink. She didn’t like this response and it caused her to become very emotional which just made it harder for me to be okay with quitting. That didn’t last long before she was back to nursing randomly throughout the day for short periods of time, by this time we had long said good-bye to night nursing so that was a plus. Mornings were the regular times to nurse and soon, just about 3 months later, she stopped asking for it. I was a little sad, but definitely ready then. A few months after, she again asked for nursing and I explained to her that it was all gone. Thankfully, she was old enough to comprehend this and was a little bummed, but understood.
The bond that we had then and still have, I know was partly due to our nursing relationship. Being able to give your baby this amazing gift is so special. I am so grateful that I was able to do so and also, that I had the support and encouragement to keep going when the days weren’t so easy. Breastfeeding isn’t rainbows and butterflies all of the time, heck no part of parenting is. The point is, if nursing is something that you are determined to do, don’t give up when it gets hard! Get help right away if you’re feeling like things aren’t working well and if for some reason you can’t continue, don’t beat yourself up about it! Give yourself some grace and know that you did everything you could. Or if nursing was never something you wanted to do, that’s okay too. The big thing to remember is, you’re the mom and you need to do what is best for you and your baby. Critics and even close family and friends sometimes like to lend a “helping” ear/hand and say things that aren’t helpful and can lead to you not listening to your mama intuition, which can be traumatic. Find some people who will lift you up and help you with meeting your mama expectations and goals, not anyone else’s. If you need help finding someone or a group, please let me know! There are so many resources and groups forming on Facebook or Meet-up, I know that you can find your circle!
Then, our second baby was born (two weeks ago) and he weighed in at 5# 8oz. and wasn’t warm enough and had a hard time regulating his temperature. This caused him to lose 8 ounces in his first 24 hours Earth side. His pediatrician was concerned he would lose anymore weight because it could cause him to throw his sodium and sugar levels. If this happened it could cause seizures according to the doctor. So we were told to supplement with nasty formula and feed him by a tiny syringe until he started gaining weight. The next few nights were awful as I was pumping to feed him every three hours and my husband and I were taking shifts to feed him. It too him a week to gain 2 ounces, and man were we grateful to hear that I could start nursing him. I’m still not getting much sleep, but my little guy is getting exactly what he needs and I will get sleep eventually. It’s a sacrifice I’m happy to pay, especially since I know what bottle feeding looks like and it’s a lot more work. So we nurse on!
The syringe that we used to feed baby for a few days
My experience with my second baby has definitely made me grateful that I am able to nurse him. I had such an amazing and relatively easy nursing experience with my first kiddo so my heart goes out to mamas who planned on nursing and it just didn’t work out for some reason. Just know, there is hope if you are determined to nurse! Help is out there if you need it!
If for some reason, you’re having problems with nursing, please contact an IBCLC (International Breastfeeding Certified Lactation Consultant) if you’d like to continue your breastfeeding experience. Click here for other benefits of breastfeeding for mama and baby.
Not sure if breastfeeding is something you will do with your baby? Read some of the benefits below.
How amazing is breast milk for you and your baby? In breast milk, there are things called oligosaccharides which are within the milk which has a big job of feeding one type of bacteria located in the lower digestive tract. These bacteria are called lactobacillus bifidum. This is a probiotic that protects the baby from a myriad of infections and disease. It absolutely is amazing how amazing our bodies are able to support our babes. On top of that amazing benefit the baby’s saliva communicates with the mother during each nursing session which tells the mother’s body exactly what baby needs at that time of the feeding. These are two things that you can’t get from formula feeding.