Who fed me from her gentle breastIn honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I have decided to share my breastfeeding story.
And hushed me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
Months before Alonzo was born I prepared myself to be a breastfeeding mommy. I read books, watched videos, took a breastfeeding class, shopped for all breastfeeding necessities, I even practiced with a dumb baby doll. On the night that baby was born, the nurses handed me my baby boy and I got to hold him, feed him, and everything in the world seemed so right, for a few hours.
The days and nights that followed were tough, I thought that things were going well until I got a split nipple and started to feel the most intense pain ever. There I was trying to feed and care for my baby, and the very act was causing me so much physical pain. I remember just about biting my lip off, twisting my feet around, and trying to fight back all of the tears and screams I wanted to let out.
The day I was to be discharged was absolute horror for me, I gave in and had them send me a lactation consultant. I think after that visit I was just too exhausted to even put into action the tips that she gave me. When we got home that day I was so scared to be alone with my husband and baby, but I had to face it as my new reality. When that first feeding time came, I cried and was shaking in fear of having to feed my baby. I felt like a terrible mother, I wondered what was wrong with me. I put Alonzo to my breast and he fussed and cried and tried to drink but it was too painful. After trying and trying and crying and crying, I gave in. I called my mom and asked my parents to bring me formula. I was so depressed that I had turned to formula so quickly. I felt like the biggest failure.
Once we had the formula in hand, I still didn't want to give it to him. I wasn't ready to give up, but I knew I had to get my baby some food, so I gave him the formula. I continued to try to feed him all through the night, and the next morning I pulled out my pump and tried to get him whatever I could. I called the WIC office in my area, and they provided me with the hospital grade pump, and they gave me tips, and encouraged me to keep trying.
The next week was spent trying to breastfeed, pumping, and visiting the lactation consultant. It was the hardest time of my life. I cried at every feeding time, I wanted him to have nothing more than my milk. I felt so bad. Finally, towards the end of our first week, I made the decision that would change our lives. I decided that I was going to exclusively pump. My supply was high enough, and baby was doing good on the bottle.
Since then, that is exactly what we have been doing. Aside from the first couple of days at home, we have been all breast milk, and it feels so good knowing that my body is providing everything that my son needs. It is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done, but the benefits of breast milk, and expressing far outweigh the pain and heartache that we have endured.
I love my little boy, and there is not a thing that I would not do for his well being. I owe so much to my husband for supporting me, and always being so encouraging and understanding. I also receive so much support at work, the ladies (and gentlemen) really have been so supportive of me taking my pumping breaks.
It's been a tough ride, and I still have moments when I mourn my inability to put my son directly to my body, but I know that he is still getting all of the nutritional benefits that mommy's milk provides. This "natural" act doesn't always come so naturally, but there are ways to work with what you can do. After all is said and done, I would still recommend giving it a try. I cover my eyes every time the clock says it's pumping time, but I know that as Alonzo's mommy, I have to suck it up and pump it out, and that is what I do.