When I was pregnant with Pablo I knew I was going to breastfeed for as long as we could. I had researched breastfeeding and had read all of the benefits. Did you know that our breastmilk contains antibodies that help our babies fight off bacteria & viruses? Did you also know breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS. There is also long term protection for your little babe & reduces the risk of later developing chronic illnesses like type 1 diabetes & chron’s disease. Oh and not to mention breastfeeding also benefits mama too! You lose around 500 calories a day breastfeeding so if you are eating right that baby weight will come off quicker by just breastfeeding. Woo!
What I was not prepared for, was all of the obstacles we had to go through to actually get to a comfortable place in our journey. When Pablo was born August 2016, the nurses and my midwife helped me at the hospital. To be quite honest I was pretty shook from my birth and I felt totally clueless and disconnected, I believe from the epidural & just from the hormones. So let me get this straight I have to squish my boob into a hamburger, point my nipple up because I have to aim for babies throat and grab my babies head and aggressively push my baby’s face into my breast and get a deep enough latch, but not too deep!? I definitely struggled with this whole latching business. I thought prior to all of this that it was simple and beautiful like the photos I had seen. But no, it was fucking hard for a rookie like me. We struggled with our latch a lot. My midwife said every time she came to check on us that He had a “shallow latch”. I was so frustrated. I definitely struggled with our latch for the first month or so. I made sure to keep my son at my breast every 2-3 hours or on demand (if sooner) but no more than a 3 hour stretch , to make sure my supply came in properly. At first it is just colostrum. Anyway so fast forward to day 4 or 5 of being home …. My milk came in. My breasts became SO engorged with milk they were HUGE. Oh, and They. Hurt. So. Bad. So now the fun begins. About a week after I had my son I came down with a fever, chills, achy bones…. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt like death. Turns out my midwives said it was the start of mastitis. My one boob was red and hot. She told me to start pumping a couple times a day but not TOO much or I will produce too much & to ”drain” in the tub or in the shower and apply hot cloths to my boobs and massage them. I also was instructed to take echinacea(helps fight infection naturally). I was taking it every 3 hours. This lasted way too long. It kept going away n coming back I think this happened about 4-5 x in the first few months of breastfeeding. I also had cracked, bloody nipples from our shallow latch. I felt like death was apon me. Everytime he latched I cried. I was applying nipple ointments & everything. Man, that shit HURT!!!!! I was ready to give up. One day as he latched and I cringed/cried I was thinking “omg maybe I should just give up”. I messaged a friend she sent me some words of encouragement and said it would get better. So, finally after about 2-3 months my milk had regulated, my cracked nipples healed up & we got our latch down pretty good. He gained well & that is all that mattered. I definitely started to love breastfeeding after we got through all of those “bumps in the road”
I fell pregnant with baby #2 around 6 months PP. Instantly I started to worry about my supply. But, I was told breastfeeding through pregnancy was safe & possible by my midwife and many women who had been in my shoes. I was told My supply may go down at some point but it was fine to keep going. Later in my pregnancy I was told by one doctor to stop because “breastfeeding is not safe during pregnancy”. I was like no thanks bud, We got this. I made sure that I ate enough good fats, I upped my calories, drank tons of water etc. Pablo had started on solids so he was nursing ANd eating solids which I was glad about. My nipples hurt SO bad From the hormones. He started to teeth as well so he would bite down on my nipples SO hard. I wanted to die hahaha. Ugh. We ended up being able to breast feed until just after he turned one, he weaned himself off! I am so grateful we made it. Our journey was definitely tough at times & at times I wanted to give up but I never gave up and I owe it to my amazing support system! Without them cheering me on & supporting me I don’t know how I could have done it. I also was very determined. It was a bitter sweet ending when Pablo started to refuse the boob. I was sad but also in a way it was kind of nice to get a 2 month break before his sister arrived.
Amina was born. I obviously knew I was going to continue to breastfeeding with her. So luckily this time we did not get any cracked nipples. We did het mastitis again though a couple times I just treated it like I did last time. Amina also developed a severe rash around 1-2 weeks of being earth side, that slowly was getting worse and worse. She also had colic & reflux. She was puking a lot & had horrible gas. She cried ALOT!!! She would not settle. She did not want to be put down. She barely napped. She was sleeping horribly. It was awful. I ended up seeking help. She would cry at the breast and refuse to latch sometimes for hours. She was super fussy. I went to the doctor numerous times trying to get some answers, paediatricians, naturopath. We finally realized Amina was allergic to something that I was eating. She would literally cry all day pretty much, her skin was a mess, she would scratch all night. Ugh it was awful. After doing research, talking to many other mamas it was very clear she had eczema & allergies. Which I believe go hand in hand as do many other mamas who have had babes with the same issues that clear up after removing these foods from their diets. I started to remove dairy & eggs from my diet out of suspicion that those may be the ones. Breastfeeding got a little easier but it took months. Apparently it actually takes a while for the dairy to fully leave our systems. So it took a while to notice a difference. We got in to see a specialist to actually have her allergies checked sure enough DAIRY is one of them.
Over 10 months PP and we are finally at a good place. Breastfeeding is a lot easier now. Amina is a lot happier. But, because of her allergies she is not eating as much solids. I was a little more nervous feeding her solids. I am so so grateful that I was able to breastfeed my babies for as long as I have. I am still breastfeeding Amina & I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. I know sometimes it is hard, but it is such a beautiful bonding moment for us. I love snuggling close to my baby and listening to them eat. Staring into their little eyes. Ugh… I melt. My ovaries are screaming just thinking about it.
To all of you mamas who pump at work, or wherever you have to, wake up at all hours of the night… YOU. ARE. AWESOME. I hated pumping. I am very grateful I am able to breastfeed. Neither of my children took a bottle. Which is exhausting in other ways lol. All of you mamas are amazing!
I would love to know…How long did you breastfeed your babies for?
Let me know in the comments below!!!