Thursday, October 13, 2011

Breastfeeding Guest Blogger - Amy P.

Our next Guest Blogger for this week's Breastfeeding event is Amy P.  If you have any questions or comments for Amy, please leave them below!  And please, enjoy her breastfeeding journey!  ~Laura

When you're pregnant there are things that everyone tells you. “Rest now because soon you'll be up multiple times a night.” “You'd be surprised how many of your conversations revolve around poop when you're a parent.” “Take lots of pictures because babies change so fast.” But nobody ever said, “There's a learning curve with breastfeeding and it doesn't always work out.” I soooo wish someone had told me.

I had my heart set on breastfeeding from the get go. It was a no-brainer! It was cheap, good for my little man, and would be readily available since I would be home with him. I checked out books and videos from the library about breastfeeding and felt I had a general grasp of how things would go. I got a breast pump and my husband and I joked about needing an extra freezer to store all the milk I would pump. I was prepared.

My son had a few issues trying to be born, so we ended up with an emergency C-section. I was in recovery for over an hour and when we finally made it back to the room, I asked the nurses for help getting my little guy latched. They were encouraging, helped us get situated, and then.... pure bliss. He latched so easily and the feeling was amazing! Cradling my precious bundle and providing him with exactly what he wanted, far more incredible than I could have imagined! Things went fairly well in the hospital. I got valuable pointers from the lactation consultants and I felt like we were getting the hang of things. My sweet boy had lost a little more than the “normal” amount of weight at discharge so we made an appointment for a weight check a few days later, but I didn't think anything of it and we took him home.

The weight check was when I knew there was a problem. He had lost a whole pound of weight, wasn't nursing as well as he had been, and I was a week postpartum and hadn't experienced the “engorgement” I'd read about. I was scared for my baby, he was so small and skinny. I contacted the lactation consultants and the battle began. During a one-on-one consultation we determined that my son was a lazy nurser which resulted in a poor milk supply and started a vicious cycle that I fought for the next 5 months. I had wonderful support from my husband and a support group led by the lactation consultants. One consultant in particular reminded me repeatedly, “Good things come in small packages.” Even though I didn't have much milk, what I DID have was good for him and packed with all the great benefits that come from breast milk, and it was worth the tremendous effort I was putting in.

I tried EVERY trick in the book to boost my supply, but it was not to be. We had to start supplementing when my little man was two weeks old, and at five months what little supply I had fought to build, started to decrease. I called the lactation consultant once again and she reassured me, I had done everything and it was okay if it wasn't working out. My heart was breaking, but I had given him the “small package” I had and hung on longer than many people would have. “I don't know why you had to struggle through breastfeeding or why it was so hard, but you have learned more than a lot of other people and there must be a reason,” she encouraged. I will never forget that. I don't know why it was such an uphill battle for my son and I, but I DO know there is a reason. I've already had opportunity to offer support to others with milk supply issues. It can be a lonely, agonizing battle and it took me a long time to be OKAY with the fact that breastfeeding didn't work out. I know it doesn't make me less of a mommy because my body didn't cooperate. I hope the knowledge I gained will set us up for better breastfeeding with future kiddos, but even if it doesn't, that's okay. I'll know I tried and it was soooo worth it!


Thank you Amy for sharing your experience and your words of wisdom on the art of Breastfeeding!  ~Laura

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