I had a decent birth experience, but no one ever talked to me about breastfeeding, so I did what I thought all moms did, I gave her formula until she reached one. After that I started researching, because my now husband, and I considered having a baby (Emilee, my DD was from another relationship).
I researched, and researched, and after that, I researched some more. I learned of a whole new world, natural ways to do things, breastfeeding as a normal part of life, and my eyes were opened. I realized a lot of what natural parents do, I already had been doing, even my birth with my first child. In June of 2011 when I found out we were expecting, I knew exactly what I wanted… I wanted to breastfeed until he was in college, if that is what he wanted . Okay, not that long, but my body had different plans.
In March I had a horrific birth, it was not at all what I had ever wanted to happen. After my birth, I couldn’t get my little one to latch. However a few hours of sleeping solved that, he was nursing like a champ. Elijah would take to any lactating mom, and try to latch. I had a full supply, and could have fed 4-5 newborns. I left the hospital the day after I had my son, and my milk was already in, and it was pouring. After seeing the lactation consultant, she suggested I pump as I was flowing like a river, sorry for the image of rivers out of boobs, but it’s a true story. I got a pump, and sat down within 5 minutes on each breast I had 8 oz. of milk, not colostrum, milk. During my pregnancy I started leaking very early, and doctor’s are amazed my milk came in so quickly. I was excited, I had enough that I started putting a stash away, in case something happened, or to donate when the time came that I knew I wouldn’t need it.
Our nursing relationship was wonderful for 4 weeks, Little E had his doctor’s appointment and then I heard them… “He’s not gaining weight fast enough, you need to supplement” I had read tons of information about this, and just nodded my head, and left. I went back to letting him have my milk, but I felt like maybe he was not getting big enough, and started to worry. I ignored my worries, and after another week he was gaining weight wonderfully. We nursed like champs, until he was exactly 2 months and 4 days old.
The Bottom of my hill…. I had reached such a high point, I was so excited, and was adjusting wonderfully to having this relationship I didn’t know you could have with a tiny baby. I woke up for my 6am feeding as per usual, so he could feed quietly before his sister woke up. As I got out of bed I realized my breasts didn’t hurt, as they always did if I hadn’t pumped, or fed him in a few hours. My supply the night before was amazing, he was having problems drinking through my let down, but that was the only issue we had. I had gotten used to expressing into a cup for my letdown to become manageable, and then, I put him to the breast to finish eating, he’d clean out both boobs after this. We laid back down, my husband got up with my daughter, so I could get some rest and snuggles with Elijah.
At approximately 9am, he woke again to eat, my breasts weren’t hurting, and they felt empty. I put Elijah to my breast, I wasn’t leaking like usual, and he rooted, and rooted, sucked, and sucked, but he was screaming by this time, angry at not getting anything. I tried to hand express, and not a drop. I had my hubs make a bottle of the breast milk I had stored, and I hopped in the shower. After 30 minutes of failed attempts I thought maybe I had a plugged duct, as shower normally helped that. Even in the shower, I didn’t leak a drop. I was worried. I got out of the shower, dried off and told my husband what was going on. I had an obstetrician appointment the next day, so at each feeding I would try for as long as Elijah would let me, and each time he’d get nothing, get angry and we’d give him stored breast milk.
At my doctor’s appointment, I heard bad news, I had cysts in my breasts (benign) which was good news, but the bad news of this was that I had no more milk. I was horrified, I was miserable, and I felt like my body had failed Elijah. He deserved the best, and now that I was educated on the best, I didn’t know what I’d do. We couldn’t afford the alternatives, we couldn’t find a milk bank, and we were running out of stored milk. I had just donated an enormous amount thinking it was going to go bad before I could ever use it all, I couldn’t take the milk back from the woman I gave it to, but I was now in need. I had to do what broke my heart. I had to give him formula.
I had a can of if tucked away that I got from the hospital. He drank it, and spit up. To this day, at 4 months, my boobs tingle when he cries, but nothing comes out. He roots at my chest, but I have nothing for him, his sleeping nights have become upset crying spells, and I need to wash the bottles, and make sure I have formula to last us the week.
Since then, the cysts have been taken care of, they are gone, but my supply is gone now. I’m now researching into how to ‘relactate’ but, I can’t find any exact answers or how-to do this. So until then, bottles must be washed, formula must be bought, and tears are being shed.
I know you may have wanted successful breastfeeding stories, I understand this isn’t the greatest, or most exciting story, but it’s my story, and I want all moms to know that just because we sometimes can’t do it, doesn’t mean we are bad moms, it means we tried our hardest, and it didn’t work. IF anyone learns anything from this story I want it to be, don’t judge a mom with a bottle and formula, some of us can’t get donor milk, or pay for expensive raw options, some of us tried hard, really hard and it just didn’t work.
Story by: Jess C