Breastfeeding has never come easy for me, I have always envied the mommas who make it look so effortless. But despite the struggles it has been one of the most rewarding things for me!
With my first son, Timothy, I breastfed him in the hospital,we struggled with the latch but with some help from the lactation consultant I thought we were doing alright. Once we came home that all changed and within that first day and night, both Timothy and I shared MANY tears. It seamed as though he forgot how to suck and I forgot all the things the LC thought me. With all the problems and the lack of knowledge and support, I ended our breastfeeding relationship.
Timothy was on formula. Though it wasn't the end of the world, I couldn't' help but feel as though I was letting my son down. That I was somehow being a bad mom. What was I doing wrong? This breastfeeding thing is suppose to come naturally! Timothy is now a healthy and happy 3 year old and is as smart as can be!
When I found out I was pregnant again, with another boy, I vowed to not let history repeat itself and do everything in my power to give him the best start in life. He WOULD be breastfed! Once he was born as suspected we had a little trouble with the latch, but I came prepared with knowledge and I wasn't going to let that get in the way. Once home we continued to experience problems and I became quite sore. Enough that I at one point would dread Mason waking up, knowing that I would have to feed him! So a few weeks after he came home I began pumping and giving him bottles because my breasts were so sore I just needed a break but I was NOT going to give him formula, even if that meant being attached to a pump every second of the day!
That is exactly how it went for the next 4 months. I exclusively pumped..a billion times a day while keeping an eye on a 1 year old, but it was worth it because Mason never saw a drop of formula. I was making so much milk that I even had over 500oz stored in the freezer.
When Mason was around 4 months though, just for my own curiosity, I attempted to latch Mason on to my breast. Mind you he had nothing but bottles up until this point. Guess what....HE LATCHED ON! And from that moment on Mason nursed and never took a bottle again! I was ecstatic, but mostly I was so proud of myself and Mason for sticking to it. He weaned himself at 14 months old when I became pregnant with Taylor.
There was no question in my mind how I would feed Taylor, she would be breastfed of course! The moment she arrived the first thing I did was nurse her and she did it like a champ. She nursed effortlesslythe whole time in the hospital. Could this actually be happening, was I really breastfeeding with no problems? Then on the last day in the hospital she decided she was just not going to latch on at all and refused to eat. The lactation consultant tried everything, but she was just not having it. I was sent home with a nipple shield.
At home she did great with the nipple shield, once I finally could get her awake. She was a a very sleepy newborn. I began to panic thinking I would never be able to get her of the shield. But after about 2 weeks she was nursing perfectly WITHOUT the shield, and has been ever since. Taylor has been my easiest nursing baby! She is now 1 month old and we have a great nursing relationship! I don't want to jinx it, but for once breastfeeding is effortless for me! I deserve it, Taylor deserves it!
Yes Timothy did just fine with formula and no it did not kill him! But I can't help but feel a little sad that I did not get these incredibly special moments with him. That I did not fight a little harder to give him the best thing there is, I do regret giving up! I am blessed to have had those special moments with Mason, and get to experience them again with Taylor. There is just something about those milk induced smiles, the milk induced sleepy eyes, the way breastfeeding makes you feel on the inside. I love looking down at my child eating so peacefully. I almost can't explain the feeling. It truly is a one of a kind bond when you breastfeed. I am privileged to experience it!