My Breastfeeding Journey

I was always pro breastfeeding. Breastfed my oldest for 22 months and she weaned herself when her brother was 4 months. Then he weaned himself at 23 months when I was 26 weeks pregnant with #3.

So I thought okay, I’m a pro, let’s do this a third time.

L was born at 37 weeks via emergency csection. He was a Interuterin Growth Restriction baby who stopped growing/started losing weight at 36 weeks. When he was born, there was no amnioticfluid left and the placenta’s umbilical cord was completely knotted like a pretzel. He was born at 6 lbs 1oz even though they estimated him to be an 8 lb baby just the week before.

He started off breastfeeding like a pro!

And then my milk came in.

He refused to latch.

Arched back.

Screams.

I put him down in the basinette in that hospital room.

3 hours passed.

4.

5.

And suddenly 12 and then 18.

He wouldn’t latch.

Wouldn’t breastfeed.

The nurses changed and I called the nurse in.

I requested formula. I was completely Terrified that my little IGUR baby wouldn’t make it.

That was my first step towards formula and I decided then and there that I would give him whatever he needed to be fed.

Then the judgement started.

“No, formula is bad for them.”

“You need to pump. Breastmilk is best.”

“If you don’t give breastmilk there’s more risk of SIDS.”

“Force him to nurse.”

“No baby will intentionally starve themselves.”

I felt defeated and exhausted.

My heart was never set on nursing and the idea of formula fed seemed… freeing. Especially after my other 2 being glued to me 24/7. But the doctor said it was probably just a phase since he did fine with the colostrum but it was my milk coming in that threw him off. He was really tiny.

“Your milk is in.” The lactation consultant said, “he’s just tiny”

Well, he was only 5 lb 15oz that day.

The hospital brought in a pump and I started pumping.

And crying.

Sobbing.

This was not what I planned or saw coming.

My nipples blistered by the end of the first day. I was lonely. I was scared of this new “normal”. And I was tired. Really really I-just-had-a-baby tired.

I got home and bought a pump off someone but I didn’t end up using it. The only thing that made me not hurt was my silicone breast pump.

I bought 2 more.

It was the easiest to pump both sides at the same time but it was hard to do that while feeding Levi. So I started having to stagger feeding and pumping. Especially at night. Especially with 2 other kids.

Every 2 hours I would pump for 30 minutes and would then feed him the milk I pumped. (Example – I got up at 8am and pumped. Fed him at 8:30. Then pumped again at 10 for his 10:30 feed)

Day and night.

Unless growth spurt and I would pump and feed at the same time which was 45 mins between.

I kept reminding myself that I only planned to pump for 6 months. That was my goal. No talking me out of it. Really it would be a miracle if I made it that far.

And this went on until December 24th when he was exactly 5 weeks old.

We had pinkeye and were miserable so I took us to the hospital for a checkup. All I brought was boiled water and powdered formula. I tried him on the formula and he refused.

Over and over.

Great, I thought. Now he was refusing formula.

I did bring my pump but pumping at a hospital around a bunch of people on Christmas Eve by myself while holding a baby (Hubby was with our older 2 kids) —- was more difficult than I thought.

So I decided to see if he would nurse.

Up to this point, he latched 3 random times at bedtime to nurse a half feed.

But he did!

And then nursed again we got home! And then every 1 hour 55 minutes after that! (Hello 6 week growth spurt!)

So now here we are – he’s 7 months and 2 weeks old. Still nursing every 3-ish hours during the day, plus 3 meals and 2 snacks.

It’s been a journey that I’ve learned that no matter what happens — a fed is always best. No matter what anyone says.

I have mixed feeling about how I was almost guilted into continuing to pump/ give breast milk. But all in all, I’ve made it.

And I love breastfeeding this age! I would not trade it for anything.

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