Call me Bessie because I feel like a freakin cow.
Liquid gold they say. It’s the most natural thing you can do they say. Breast is best they say. Well all I have to say is that all of this is bullshit. And I can say this because I am breastfeeding....sometimes.
During my pregnancy I always assumed I would breastfeed. I didn’t even buy formula to have in the house. I purchased a pump, stocked up on nipple cream, and even bought storage bags for what I expected to be an abundance of milk seeping out of my utters. Little did I know at the time, that breastfeeding would be one of the biggest challenges of my first weeks home with Charlotte.
While at the hospital, the nurses asked me if I was okay with giving Charlotte some formula. This was a trick question. First of all my insides were cut open, I felt like a truck hit me, and the last thing I felt like doing was shoving my boob into this screaming baby’s mouth. Second of all I had blood sugar issues and as a result, Charlotte needed to be monitored closely and pricked often for sugar testing. Thinking nothing of this - I told the nurses I was fine with supplementing with formula. BIG MISTAKE. This baby looked little but she was a BEAST when it came to her food and she quickly got used to the fast flowing nipple in the hospital.
As a result, she was NOT HAVING IT when I put her on the breast and she sucked for an eternity ending up with essentially nothing. My Russian nurse was trying to help me to show me positioning so that we could get this breastfeeding journey on its way. The first thing she did, was take a look at my nipple and say - “if she can’t latch on to those I don’t know what to tell you.” Should I have been offended that she was talking $**t about my massive nipples, or should I be proud that in the nipple game, I was freakin number one. Either way, there was no time to waste because before I knew it this tiny blonde Russian was manhandling my breast and shoving it down my baby’s throat. Who said breastfeeding was calming and beautiful? THEY LIED.
On my last day in the hospital I decided to attend the breastfeeding course with the lactation consultant. She described colostrum and explained how fatty and wonderful it was and that because of the contents, the baby didn’t need more than a teaspoon. She then handed me a teaspoon, and showed me how to squeeze gooey colostrum out of my giant nipple to feed to the baby. It was like I was a baker, except this wasn’t fun, and there were no cookies in the end, just a half empty teaspoon with what they kept calling liquid gold. In their defense, Charlotte did eat that stuff like it was going to give her wings.
The nurse also told me that in order to stimulate the production of milk that I should start pumping so they brought me a pump to use in my room. I quickly set up it, attached the flanges to my breasts and pumped for 20 minutes. I was a cow hooked up to an electronic machine. I was a shitty cow though because NOTHING CAME OUT.
I kept reading about breastfeeding. I mean, I read, I read and I read some more. And everywhere said to keep putting the baby on the breast. They also say don’t supplement but I was not going to be in the business of having my baby scream all day so i did supplement with formula and honestly I don’t regret it.... that much. I kept putting Charlotte on the breast and she would start by crying. It was like giving a fat kid a carrot. I’m allowed to say this because I was once the fat kid. And then the cries would turn to a SCREAM. It was as though I was trying to poison her with my boob. I was devastated. MAYBE my milk was rotten (haha) Would i ever be able to breast feed OR was it just not meant to be?
I continued to pump around the clock (every 2 hours) to stimulate milk supply and by day 10 my milk came in. HALLELUJAH THIS COW IS BACK. Once my milk came in Charlotte did better on the breast but would still get pissed. BUT I WAS NOT GOING TO GIVE UP. Had I not been so dead set on trying to breast feed, I would have thrown in the towel a lot earlier, but if you read my post on Charlotte’s birth well then you know I like a challenge. NYU does this latch hour course with a lactation consultant and so i decided to go. This was no easy fete as the class was a cab ride away. Thank god for my mom who decided to drive us down there and attend the class with me- that class was the best thing we did on this journey.
When we got to the class, we met Rachel another new mom. And boy did I need Rachel that day. Rachel came in and right away had diarrhea of the mouth “my baby wont sleep, he is constantly hungry, I have no idea what I am doing or if he is getting enough.” Rachel made me feel better because I realized it I was not as alone as I felt.
Now, my mom is basically my best friend, so she of course stayed for the class, and I of course had no qualms about whipping my boob out in front of her. The instructor walks in and says okay everyone start breastfeeding and then I will come around and adjust you and your baby.
“Start breastfeeding?” Are you kidding? I sheepishly stood up and said ummmmm we are not exactly breastfeeding. We are trying but we are failing.I think Charlotte understood this conversation and thought to herself, “I’m gonna show you mom,”because she literally made me look bad.
I put Charlotte on my breast and she started to feed as though she had been breast feeding exclusively for the last 2.5 weeks. While I was so proud of my showoff, I was also annoyed because I knew that the minute we got home she would stop latching and the lactation consultant wouldn’t be there to help. BUT at the very least, the course gave me hope. For all new moms out there who are thinking of breastfeeding- go see an IBCLC and do it ASAP. My mom (charlotte’s GiGi) was also super proud of Charlotte because as Charlotte sucked away as though my boob was leaking chocolate syrup, she whipped out her phone and took a video. She then proceeded to text the video to my husband who accidentally opened the video in a meeting, unaware that the video was of his baby sucking away on his wife’s breast (sorry babe, and sorry to the others in that meeting that may have had to witness that).
Charlotte is now 11 weeks. Let’s just say this has NOT been easy. She has good days where she takes the breast, and other days where she outright rejects it. I keep offering it to her and also pump around the clock so she can have breast milk in a bottle. Is this lifestyle for everyone? Definitely not and I COMPLETELY understand why. But, at this point I’m not yet ready to throw in the towel, so if it means pumping in the middle of the night when the baby is fast asleep, pumping in cars and hauling my pump everywhere I go, so be it.
To all you breastfeeding mamas who are successful or who have at least tried, I applaud you! And to those who it didn’t work out for, I applaud you for trying. And to those that didn’t even try because they decided it wasn’t for them, I applaud you too! The choice is yours and you should know that a fed baby is a happy baby. Don’t listen to those crazy people who shame you because of your choices. I can guarantee you that by the time your baby is in school, no one will be asking whether he or she was breastfed or not. So do you!
With that, I must now go pump to empty these utters. Moooooooooo!