WE MADE IT!
We made it to a year of my daughter having breast milk on a daily basis! We’ve actually made it over a year, and still counting.
I was going to let this little victory just slide past, but you know what? I am celebrating instead, and I am sharing because I know there are others who have struggled with similar, and different challenges than I have faced.
When my daughter was born I had all intentions of nursing exclusively. I called nurses into the hospital room every time I tried to nurse my daughter, to get help. That plan changed when she could not latch, and could not keep anything down when she did latch to nurse. My husband rushed out to get a shield right after it was recommended by the staff to try, in hopes that it would help my daughter and I. My daughter threw up every single thing she consumed from her very first feed, and every feed that followed. She was also very hungry! All of the hospital staff commented on how hungry she was, they couldn’t believe my newborn was wanting to eat so much. She tried so hard. She could not keep anything down though. The staff at the hospital suggested the following morning that I try pumping, and bottle feeding her in hopes that it would help her keep something down. From Day 1 of my daughter’s life I started using a pump.
When we left the hospital, and all the problems continued with trying to nurse, my in-laws gifted to me a Medela Swing Pump, knowing that the struggles were continuing. I wanted to nurse my daughter, but things were not working the way I had hoped, and prayed for. It became more important to me that my daughter have breast milk one way, or another. This meant that I had to pump.
Pump I did, multiple times a day and night. Sadly I was not getting much from pumping. With the continued problems of my daughter chocking when she fed, and all of what she did consume coming back up, she and I ended up having several doctors visits. Eventually it was decided that I was not producing enough milk for my daughter, and that it may be best to supplement some of her feeds with formula to ensure she was getting the nutrients she needed. I was also put on prescription medication, and had several naturopathic options recommended to me, to help increase my milk supply. Slowly, these did help a little. I even ended up with a bit of a milk stash in our freezer.
I’ve been on a long road of pumping to provide breast milk for my daughter. There were some moments as she got older, and stronger that she did nurse but they were rare. I hold those moments near to my heart, there really is nothing like being able to nurse your own child. Pumping though still allowed me to feel connected to my daughter. I was providing the best thing for her, even if she only got a certain amount of it each day. She got breast milk on a daily basis! You betcha I am proud of that!
Having to pump around the clock made me feel very isolated at times. I missed out on many different things that happened, such as different social gatherings, because I felt like I was tied down to my pump. I was not confident enough to just take it with me and pump. It is considered normal to nurse, but I felt like I would be looked down on for pumping. I got enough side glances for using a bottle, and upsetting comments when people saw me mix a bottle containing formula. Instead of taking my pump with me, I would wait til we got home to pump, or just not go out at all.
Would I do it all again? Yes. If we are blessed with another child, and I find myself face to face with similar challenges, I would do this journey all over again. I would commit even more of my time to it, I will be dragging my pump out with me to different places, and if it means I have to be a bit of a hermit in order to provide for my child. I will do it. I would be investing in a double pump, but I will do it!
There is a lot of pressure out there on moms to provide breast milk, that breast is best! I really wish I could have had that exclusively breast feed experience with my daughter, but it was not what worked out for us. I want other moms to know that ultimately you need to do what is best for you, your child, and your family. Whether it is exclusively breastfeeding, pumping, formula, or a combination of it all. Talk to your doctor, talk with your significant other, and do what is right for you as a family and for your child. We are blessed to live in a time where there are so many options out there.
I am celebrating having made it this far. I am confident in my choices I made as a mom.