Adventures In Breastfeeding - Raising Up Wonder

Adventures In Breastfeeding

An adventure is was!

I've been wanting to share this for a while now so here goes!

Once upon a time I was a very round pregnant mama. I knew I was going to breastfeed my baby and it would going to be beautiful, perfect, and amazing. I never even bought bottles. (I know) What a kick in the butt when that didn't go as planned!

-Birth the baby: Check
-Skin to skin: Check
-Breastfeed the first hour: CHECK

It was all going well (I thought). I didn't even suspect anything was wrong when my baby wouldn't sleep for more than 40 min. The first 3 days of Avery's life I slept sitting up. With a Boppy in my lap anticipating the next feeding. This baby would suck for an hour plus every time I put her to breast.

As you can imagine my nips were incredibly SORE. Like cracked, bleeding, I joke and say they fell off but I mean I'm pretty sure they did. At least that's what it felt like.

At a routine newborn check up Avery was still jaundice and I was in a ton of pain. In a panic I was able to track down a lactation consultant. Her name was Deborah and she was just amazing. She took one look at my situation and advised me to pump and let myself heal. So me and my new Medela got to know each other. After my nips healed I began to breastfeed again. Every time Avery wanted to eat I would breastfeed, feed a bottle, then pump. This was exhausting. But I knew it was my best chance at salvaging our breastfeeding relationship. So I carried on. Now let me rewind and say getting a good latch is THE most important part. A month in Avery was still not latching correctly and causing me immense pain. (Like toe curling omg i'm gona cry pain.) At this point I was asking everyone I knew for advice. I was going to breastfeeding support group twice a week. I even saw a dr who specialized in breastfeeding medicine in Seattle. It still was just not working.

Now two months in Avery was not causing me any pain. Her latch seemed to be good (not perfect though). We were still feeding, bottle feeding then pumping. Still going to our support group twice a week as well. We found at every meeting Avery was not transferring milk. She would eat on each side for more than 30 minutes. But then when we weighed her she had only ate maybe 2 oz. Which was why she was always still hungry and never satisfied at the breast.

This was so discouraging. I can't tell you how many times I cried over this. Probably because of my raging postpartum hormones but I felt so guilty. I always thought it would just work. It worked for millions of others, why not me?

Lactation consultant #3 came over for a house visit and at the end she was very honest with me. She told me she had no idea why Avery was not transferring milk. She said everything looked great. She would drink great for a few seconds then just couldn't transfer more.

I began reading about tongue ties, Avery had no noticeable tongue tie. But the Seattle breastfeeding Dr. said she may have a submucosal tongue tie. She said she could make two clips on each side of her tongue and see if it would help. But she was never sure of her self which made me extremely uneasy. If you're going to put scissors in my babies mouth you best be 100% sure of your diagnosis. After weeks of going back and fourth we decided to keep Avery's tongue in its natural unclipped state.

At this point the whole nurse, feed, pump thing was getting OLD. There was no progress in Avery's milk transferring. So around 2.5 months I made the decision to pump exclusively. It felt so much better to cut out a step in the feeding process. It was still difficult but possible. I ate a ton of lactation friendly foods and took awesome supplements to boost my supply.

I was pumping enough to feed Avery and had two extra bottles a day to freeze.

Pumping was hard. It just consumed me. I felt like I was always attached to that thing. But I loved that despite my troubles breastfeeding I was able to feed Avery breast milk. I mean that's all I really wanted in the first place. So I pumped all day and night for 6 months! 6 months in it just became too much. I dreaded that pump. I'm pretty sure everyday leading up to the day I stopped I said "I'm done, I'm quitting." It was tough but I'm glad I stuck with it. I'm also thankful for formula. How amazing is it that we have a healthy safe alternative to feed our babies? Avery thrived on both breast milk and formula and I am so blessed she did.

Through out this journey I had to stop a lot and look at the bigger picture. Was I sad I could not breast feed? Yes, I was devastated. Was I blessed with an amazing pump/support system? Heck yeah. Was my baby being fed? Yes sir!

I believe God puts us through trials for a greater purpose. Since I had such a hard time breastfeeding I now want to help others women. I knew I wanted to be a nurse,  but now I want to be a registered lactation consultant as well! I know the struggle so I think I would have a unique approach.

There are some amazing products I would like to recommend to you guys! Check out that post here:

In Love, Rachel