Comitted to Breastfeeding– by The Peaceful Housewife

My husband and I were elated when we found out that we were expecting our first child, and we spent the next 7 months preparing Bella’s room and taking Bradley classes in hopes of achieving a natural birth. Despite my intense longing for a natural birth, I wasn’t really into breastfeeding and was only planning to do so because I knew it was best for baby, I didn’t want to spend the huge amount of money that formula feeding would require.
At 37 weeks pregnant, I wasn’t feeling well and called the doctor.  I was immediately admitted to the hospital with severe pre-eclampsia.  After 2 days of attempted but unsuccessful induction, my beautiful baby girl was born via emergency c-section.  I got a few minutes of blissful bonding with her before she was whisked off to the newborn nursery, unable to maintain her temp and with dangerously low blood sugar.  I was taken to my hospital room, no longer pregnant but without my baby.
The next morning, when I was able to see her, my husband walked with me to the nursery.  A feeling of total failure as a mother washed over me as I looked around the room and realized that I didn’t even recognize my own baby.  At last, though, I got to hold my sweet little girl for a few moments of bliss.  The lactation consultant just happened to be in the nursery as well, and when she saw my chart she noticed that I wanted to breastfeed and told me she would get me set up to pump.
Almost 24 hours after Bella’s birth, I finally began to pump and produce that precious milk.  I had felt helpless to help my baby girl get better, but as she began to get that pumped milk her health improved.  Finally, I could do something to help my sweet girl!  I continued to pump for Bella as we found out that she had contracted Group B Strep during labor and stayed with her in the hospital for 10 days as she was treated with antibiotics.
When we came home, I continued pumping and bottle feeding because Bella refused to latch on.  Finally, at 4 weeks old, I got her to begin nursing with a nipple shield and was able to wean from the shield and nurse my sweet girl.  I continued to nurse and began pumping again when I returned to work at 8 weeks so Bella could have mommy’s milk while I was away.
Bella and I had a beautiful nursing relationship for 15 months, co-sleeping through the nights and enjoying nursies on airplanes, in grocery stores, in Carlsbad Caverns and many other places.
When our second child, Alex, was born at 33 ½ weeks because of severe pre-eclampsia, I knew already what I needed to do.  I asked my night nurse, and she made sure I had a hospital grade pump and a manual pump to start pumping for Alex.  I had already pumped a few times when I got to see him the first time, and his milk was waiting for him in the NICU when he was cleared for milk from his nasal tube.  Little by little, Alex got more and more mommy milk and grew bigger and stronger.
I pumped after I was discharged from the hospital and stashed milk in the NICU freezer while the NICU nurses teased sweetly that I might be able to feed the entire NICU with all the milk I was pumping.  After the NICU freezer was full, I began freezing my milk at home for after I returned to work.  A couple of weeks in, I was devastated when I lost my entire freezer stash because the extra freezer came open and it all thawed out.
Alex came home at 4 weeks old, still loving his pumped mommy milk.  He is a very head strong little one, and he wouldn’t have anything to do with trying to latch on.  Finally, around 6 weeks, I caved and began using a nipple shield to help him latch on, and our bottle-less breastfeeding  relationship finally began.  I cherished the precious moments when he was happily latched on and enjoying his mommy milk.  I tried unsuccessfully for the remainder of our breastfeeding relationship to wean from the shield, but just couldn’t get him to latch on without it.
I continued to pump as I returned to work and Alex enjoyed his milk when I was at work.  Thanks to the stash I’d built up before returning to work and a wonderful friend who pumped her for me after she nursed her little one, Alex had nothing but mommy milk until after he was 10 months old.  We continued our breastfeeding relationship, although many times it was against his will.  I fought to continue until after his first birthday, and as he continued to refuse to nurse I allowed our breastfeeding relationship to come to a peaceful end.
When I began my breastfeeding relationship with Bella, I was only halfway committed to breastfeeding.  As I continued, I became deeply committed to breastfeeding and very passionate about helping other women have successful breastfeeding relationships.  Breastfeeding doesn’t only look one way.  For many women, the perfect breastfeeding relationship doesn’t develop for a myriad of reasons, but I love helping women to see that they can define their own successful breastfeeding relationship rather than beating themselves up over what they couldn’t do.
–Jenny, The Peaceful Housewife

2 thoughts on “Comitted to Breastfeeding– by The Peaceful Housewife

  1. That is the best blog for anybody who needs to search out out about this topic. You understand so much its nearly exhausting to argue with you (not that I truly would need aHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, simply great!

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