BREASTFEEDING IS REALLY HARD

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One day out of the blue, as I was working, my glass water bottle broke. I was shocked but even more shocked when I started to cry hard, correction, ball my eyes out over…a…water…bottle. Once I pulled myself together and off the floor, I asked myself what the heck is going on with you? It can’t be hormones because you can’t continue to blame hormones 17 months after the birth of your daughter. It can’t be because I am sleep deprived because I haven’t sleep in 17 months. Then, it finally dawned on me. This water bottle was significant to me at a significant time.

I used this water bottle for consistently for 11 months when I was breastfeeding my daughter. Every day, I chugged 2 full bottles of water to help with breast feeding. It was approximately 1.75 litres of water. I was told I needed to stay hydrated so my body can make breast milk. I was so scared I didn’t even research whether or not this was accurate. I was so scared I wouldn’t produce enough for my daughter. I was so scared she was going to starve.

Breastfeeding is not easy. All the movies and pictures you see in the media makes it look easy but it is not. There are so many different factors either working for you or against you. Here are some of the struggles I faced:

LATCHING

When I attended prenatal class, the instructor spoke a lot about problems with latching. I thought this would be my only obstacle. I paid extra attention to this part of the course and made sure I remembered every possible position. When Grace was born, of course, she wouldn’t latch. I had a c-section so I wasn’t able to do some of the breastfeeding positions. I ended up having to feed her in some weird positions but of course we both hated it.

While I was still at the hospital, I was taught to use a breast pump. I wasn’t able to pump a lot but they were encouraging and kept telling me every ounce I pump is liquid gold to her. I learned to be flexible, literally, and to adapt to my situation. Everyone’s situation is different. I have to do what is necessary for Grace.

TONGUE TIE / LIP TIE

After Grace was born, I continued to attend my prenatal medical clinic for follow up appointments. During her check-ups, they suggested I speak to a lactation consultant about her having a possible tongue tie/lip tie. I had no idea what that was until they showed me an illustration. They also told me it is an easy “procedure” and they just need to take small scissors and snip the ties. WHAT?! Snip my baby? Of course, I balled my eyes out. When I was done they said it will help her latch for breastfeeding. Fine. It was done and Grace cried for 2 minutes. I cried for 2 hours.

LACTATION ISSUES

I was told it will take a while for my body to produce milk because of my c-section. My body wouldn’t know to produce the hormones to produce milk. I did every weird thing to help with lactation. I drank a lot of water. I ate a ton of eggs for protein. I stopped eating eggs because it was not good for my baby. Eventually, I was prescribed pills to help with lactation. It was the only way I could produce any milk. Some moms were taking 4 pills a day. I was taking 16 pills a day. (Doctor approved.)

When I was still not producing enough, I had to supplement with formula. At first I was ashamed of this but after a while, I was just doing what I needed to do for her. I could have quit breastfeeding after three weeks but I kept at for 11 months. I figured a bit from me is still good experience and good bonding for us.

BREASTFEEDING TAKE TIME

Every single aspect takes time. Whether you are lactating, pumping or feeding. Grace would take forever when I was breastfeeding her. Some of the time, she was not comfortable, couldn’t latch, or just wasn’t interested. People tell me that your baby will stop eating when they are full but with Grace, she could care less about food (even from me). She always seem to have other things on her mind and would rather be somewhere else. Just be patient with your baby and with yourself. It will come in time.

IT HURTS

Once your baby starts getting some teeth, she will clamp down on you or tug. It is uncomfortable and you kind of want to do that to her so she knows how it feels, but resist. Your baby is just used to eating now and is starting to play with her food. Laugh it off. It is part humor and part survival.

For all the moms out there also having issues with breastfeeding, you are not alone. Here are some things I learned and would love to share with you:

  • Be flexible and adapt to YOUR situation. Everyone’s situation is different.

  • Listen to professionals and do what is necessary to help your baby.

  • Don’t be ashamed for using formula. It is food for your baby.

  • Be patient. Every little bit counts and is rewarding.

  • Laugh at your baby and at yourself.

This blog post was originally posted at Milk + Confetti. Check out the site for more mom related stories and advice.