Mom Life

The One Thing No One Tells You About Breastfeeding

 

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When I had my first child, I was adamant I would breastfeed. I had heard so many positive reasons for breastfeeding like decreasing allergies, breast milk changing based on your baby’s needs, more bonding time, and weight loss. All of it sounded great.

My friends reminded me it wouldn’t be all glitter and sparkles. They told me you need to feed your baby more often (meaning a lot less sleep), educated me on engorged breasts and how painful they are, and gave me pads to help not leak through my shirt.

I knew breastfeeding would be painful, especially when my little one got teeth, but I knew it would be worth it. With all the information I learned, still, nothing prepared me for what was to come.

 

The Untold Struggle of Breastfeeding

While in the hospital, the nurses and a lactation specialist came in to help make sure I understood how to breastfeed. They made sure my baby latched. After a few tries, she did. After the specialist left, I struggled with getting her to latch again, but I knew it would take a bit to get her to learn.

The day I went to leave the hospital, I breastfed my baby for about 30 minutes, but she was still crying. The nurses told me she is probably just hungry. I was baffled how a newborn baby could still be hungry after 30 minutes of breastfeeding.

We vowed to not use pacifiers for the first few weeks to help with nipple confusion, but after another 30 minutes of feeding her and her still crying, we gave up and asked for a pacifier to get us to the car. I didn’t want to look like a bad parent to everyone and their mothers in the hospital.

After one day at home, I was struggling to get my daughter to latch. We called the lactation specialist and she had us come to the hospital for another consultation. She gave me a nipple guard to help. It did.

She then had me use a breast pump to work to extract some milk for 1-2 minutes before breastfeeding. My daughter latched much more easily.

I wasn’t getting much milk out, so she recommended I pump every 2 hours between breastfeeding and sent me home. This would help my milk come in better, or so they said.

 

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After 3 days I headed to our pediatrician for my daughter’s newborn checkup. She was still under her birth weight and had actually lost more weight.

The doctor told me not to worry since it could take up to 7-10 days to get back there. She wanted me to keep coming back each week until she was back up to that weight.

She was still under her birth weight and had actually lost more weight.

I continued to do exactly as the doctor said for the next week. It was draining, but my husband was there supporting me along the way.

You think you know everything that come with breastfeeding, but here is the one thing no one tells you about breastfeeding and how challenging it can be. #newmom #momlife #challenge

The Challenge Continued

At my next doctor’s visit, she told me my daughter was still under birth weight and had lost even more weight. I confirmed what I was doing with my daughter. She told me it’s possible my milk hadn’t come in yet but should come in soon.

I should keep doing what I was doing. In the meantime, I should supplement one feeding a day to make sure she was getting the nutrition she needed.

The next week I did what the doctor said again. My husband fed my daughter when we supplemented while I pumped to help my milk come in.

The next 2 doctor appointments were even more disappointing. She ended up having us supplement half of what we were feeding her (me pumping while my husband fed). She was STILL losing weight.

I was making about 1 oz of milk a day by pumping. Everyone was lost and had no information as to why I wasn’t able to make enough. It was defeating. I gave up.

It destroyed me inside that my body would not do what mothers are intended for their babies. Everyone else was able to breastfeed, so why wasn’t I?

It was defeating. I gave up.

 

What I Found Out

We ended up feeding my daughter formula to ensure she was getting the nutrition she needed. It helped. A lot. She started sleeping through the night at 3 months and immediately starting gaining back weight. She seemed less cranky and cried less.

Looking back in hindsight, my daughter was hungry at the hospital. She wouldn’t stop crying because I wasn’t able to feed her.

Everyone had educated me on how to breastfeed and how to keep your milk up, but no one brought up the possibility of having no milk. No one told me that there are millions of people who formula feed and their kids turn out fine. No one told me that was okay.

We are trying for our second child and I have no intent on breastfeeding. The exhaustion, constant stress, and lots of doctor appointments (they were getting costly!) were not worth it to me.

I think back that if my doctor hadn’t told me to supplement, my daughter could have starved to death. The formula worked fine for our daughter who is now 2 and healthy.

Do you know anyone that experienced a lack of milk supply when they had their child?

Breastfeeding can be stressful for more reasons than just staying up late and latching. Here is the one thing I wish someone told me about breastfeeding and why it's okay. #momlife #newmom #love
The one thing I wish I knew about breastfeeding before having the baby. Truth about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding tips and why it's okay to use formula and not breastfeed. #baby #newmom #momlife

 

 

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9 Comments

  • BEJUDGED

    I never understand why people make such a fuss of formulas to replace breastmilk. If it works and make both parties happy (woman and baby), then why not use it..

  • Ben

    This a refreshing real life story. I never cared for the pressure that nurses and other mothers put on people to breastfeed. Not everyone can do it!

  • Deimile Soares

    I hear ya! Went through all the same crap with my first. Ended up pumping and supplementing with formula. Nobody tells you this stuff! Or at least no one told me… I was much more prepared with the second daughter and it went much smoother…
    First time around I was dreading my daughter’s cries when she was hungry, it was like a torture! I was calling poor thing baby shark….

    • Samantha

      I am glad I am not alone, but sorry you had to go through it too Deimile. It’s disheartening hearing them cry and then finding out why later on! I am glad to hear your second daughter went smoother. I am hoping it will be like that for me as well.

  • Bridget

    I too struggled with my milk supply. Which is why I gave up after 13 months of pumping. My sons story is quite different which is why I wanted to breastfeed in the first place. My son was diagnosed with Atrioventricular Septal Defect and Trisomy 21 (more commonly known as Down Syndrome) when I was 24 weeks pregnant. I had fully intended on formula feeding, especially with the sensitivity in my nipples that I had during my pregnancy and even before.
    It wasn’t until we got his diagnosis and I spoke with a CLC, that I knew he needed those antibodies to help him to the best of my ability.
    My son was born and was transported to a NICU about 20 minutes away. I had to start pumping immediately to help my milk come in, even though it is not suggested to do so until 4-6 weeks to detur oversupply.
    My milk actually came in pretty fast by the time we were reunited 3 almost 4 days later I was pumping 3-5 oz a pumping session.
    The trouble started when we tried to give it a go with breastfeeding, since he was having so much trouble trying to take a bottle. (He was also being fed through an NJ tube through his nostril)
    He had a hard time latching, which can become common with DS because of the low tone.
    We were eventually able to go home after he was finally able to take a bottle and it was decided that because they wanted to monitor the volume of his feedings that we would continue with the bottlefeeding.
    It was after we got home that I noticed a dip in my supply. I ultimately went from producing 4-6 oz a session to 4-6 oz a day.
    It was then that I started researching, reading, going old school and going to the library, going to local breastfeeding groups. I just wasn’t ready to give up, especially after I knew that I could produce enough milk for him. After going through a lot of trial and error I finally found a regimen that worked for me.
    I went from make that 4-6 oz a day to making almost 30 oz a day. (I do NOT say this to gloat, I say this because I know what it feels like and I know what it means to some moms, and I just want you to know you aren’t alone!)
    It was after that and after he was gaining consistently that our cardiologist said we could give breastfeeding a try again. So we went to a breastfeeding assessment at our pediatricians and the LC said that my son was a “Disorganized feeder” and that “we should just stick to bottle feeding” I understood the first time around why they felt I needed to strictly bottle feed, but not this time. I left the office in tears. I also left feeling more determined than ever.
    We worked on putting him to breast every night before bed and then we did it every morning. He would pop off every 1-2 minutes and/or scream his head off. Finally after 3-4 weeks of patience and constantly and consistently putting him to breast he breastfed for the first time 15 minutes uninterrupted on October 22nd 2017!
    My son would breastfeed for 3 months up until his open heart surgery when things took a devastating turn for the worse…
    I don’t want to clog up your comment section so I will not continue and it may be a trigger to some.

    My son is the reason behind everything I do, including our Charity that helps families in the hospital, our business that makes awareness apparel and why I started all of our websites and blogs! Also moms like you are why I started Serving ALL Moms|The Breastfeeding Mommy I wanted other moms to not feel that they were alone and that their own unique story was just as important as another moms and it needs to be heard.

    I would love to feature your story on our website and blogs! Stories like yours are why Moms should know that it IS okay to formula feed, it IS okay to try to breastfeed even with little to know supply, it IS okay to supplement.
    Any mama who is struggling through their breastfeeding/pumping/tube feeding/ journey, YOU GOT THIS! 💜

    Bridget

    • Samantha

      What a powerful story Bridget! That is amazing how determined you were to keep going. It was definitely important in his life and it’s definitely true, you should be able to breastfeed or formula feed without any judgement. A mama always knows best! <3

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