Breastfeeding No1 was a disaster. Milk allergy, improper latch, nippleshield, clogged ducts, projectile vomiting, PPD…you name it? We suffered through it. For three long months. And I have a perfectly healthy
evil genius bright little girl on my hands now.
So when No2 was born, I knew that if I had to bottle feed, that she (and I) would eventually be okay. But secretly, knowing this would be my last baby and my last chance to breastfeed, I wanted to be successful more than anything. I dug my heels in and fought to nurse No2 week by week, day by day. Some days, I could only go feed by feed. Though massive overactive letdown and oversupply, milk protein imbalance, reflux, and milk protein intolerance, I nursed.
And somewhere along the way, it stopped being so hard. We still face our challenges – my oversupply is still rampant (medication-induced) but No2 manages the letdown better now that she’s older. I’m on a restricted diet that prevents me from eating any dairy or soy (I would kill for a slice of cheese these days), but have gotten pretty used to it. Thankfully Oreos are dairy-free. And because nursing has never been relaxing for No2, she doesn’t really comfort nurse. She eats when she’s hungry and that’s it.
But I’ll take it.
Because it means no bottle prep at 3 in the morning. I carry her food around with me everywhere (even if she’s too distracted to eat when we’re out). It means I get to snuggle her against my skin and give her something no one else can. My breastmilk has grown this baby from day one and there’s something amazing about that.
Before breastfeeding, I never understood why mothers were so proud of something that could be replicated by science and a bottle. But I get it now. Breastfeeding is hard. It’s challenge-ridden. It’s not just as simple as “stick boob in mouth.” Instead, it’s a relationship between mother and child – a conversation. I am proud not because I think breastfeeding No2 makes me a superior mother – each family and mother has to decide what works best for them – but instead because I set out to do something challenging and have done it. I never thought I would make it to six months breastfeeding. Now I can’t wait to get to twelve.
I never would have gotten this far without help and inspiration from these folks. I thank you. My baby thanks you. What an amazing gift your help has given to us both.
Gina at The Feminist Breeder for her timely post on oversupply which gave me hope, helped me troubleshoot, and let me know I wasn’t a freak.
@SigningCharity for cheering me on and sharing with me what a joy breastfeeding was for her.
@Story3Girl for supporting me 110% when I was making tough decisions, no matter what the outcome.
@JamesandJax for helping me find support online and celebrating the good days with me. And for sharing her story about breastfeeding difficulties.
@jenrenpody for sharing her experience with nippleshields and getting me though a difficult week.
My good friend Melissa @sweetlyvoiced for her practical wisdom and calm reactions to my “crises”.
Nancy Holtzman (@nancyholtzman), baby guru and IBCLC for chatting with a stranger on twitter for an hour to help me with oversupply solutions.
My local bestie Jessica for beaming with pride every time she saw me nurse the baby, and for helping me stay focused on keeping my happiness in every decision I had to make.
@Hopin2BHappy for the “milking stool”.
@velveteenmama for the allergy information and making mspi dieting sound doable.
And my husband for supporting me even though it has meant he has to get up more at night, expensive (and yummy) food from Whole Foods, and some very emotional moments.
I’m sure I’m forgetting someone. So thank you. Truly.
Yup, I forgot someone important. @smldada? Thank you for being around at all hours of the night and for keeping me company! All your advice helped so much!