I always wanted to be a Mom.
I didn’t plan on having kids at 19… and I actually planned on adopting all of my kids; but life rarely turns out the way you “planned” it to be.
I’ve worked at Daycares and I’ve volunteered at Children’s church, in the Nursery and even at a Pregnancy Support Center. I LOVE kids and love helping pregnant women.
Although I didn’t plan on having any of my own kids, and definitely not before 30, I was still so incredibly excited when I found out I was pregnant. I tried to do everything right. I ate better, I took all of the prenatal pills (plus a few others that were supposed to help the baby)… I stopped smoking the second I found out. I avoided people who were smoking like they had the plague. I wanted to give my baby the best possible start to life.
So I had already decided that I was going to breast feed. I didn’t buy any bottles, because I wasn’t going to need them.
I had Justin and the nurses put him on my chest. I remember looking down at him and thinking just how perfect he was. In every way.
They had me try to breastfeed right away, but we were having some issues… my colostrum didn’t seem to come in so he didn’t want to latch on.
“It could take a day or even two after the baby is born before your body starts to produce milk.”
I was incredibly disappointed, but it’s okay. My milk will come in.
We used the formula the hospital provide and I used a pump to help my body figure out what it was supposed to do.
We were in the hospital for two days before I got to home. I managed to pump out maybe a ¼ of an ounce in that amount of time. We left the hospital with some formula that was already in bottles so we still didn’t feel like we needed to go out and buy any. I still knew I could do this! It’s what my body was made to do!
A friend of mine was a lactation consultant, so she came over and helped me try to get him to latch on. It really didn’t go well. He was already so used to the bottles from the hospital. I was getting upset and frustrated. So we decided the best course of action was to continue feeding him with bottles, and I would pump.
Every time he woke up I would change him, feed him and put him back to bed… then I would pump. It was exhausting. And I still was only able to pump about an ounce at a time.
I felt terrible. The one thing I’m supposed to do as a mother. I can’t even feed my own baby.
He was four days old when we bought bottles and formula. I cried when I asked my husband to go to the store to buy them. I felt broken. Incapable.
After a week of still only being able to pump 4-6 ounces in 24 hours I felt like a complete failure. I got depressed. I was frustrated…
I kept at it because even a little was better than none. But by the time he was 6 months old, I stopped.
It was about that time that I found out I was pregnant again. I was TOTALLY not expecting, nor planning to have babies back to back. We were so not prepared. Heck, we weren’t even prepared to have the first. But, I love kids and was excited.
Tyler was born and I wanted to try breastfeeding again. But this time I had bottles, my pump and was more prepared.
I tried very shortly after he was born… he latched on and I felt like I could really do it this time! This time would be different! I had also found out that my Thyroid problem was probably the reason I was having such issues breastfeeding.
After he fell asleep, I pumped just to be sure to get every last drop! And nothing… So… did he eat at all? Or just fall asleep and use me as a pacifier? I pumped and pumped and pumped… and still, I wasn’t able to make more than an ounce or two in 24 hours… But again, I figured any was better than none.
But by the time he was about 4 months old, I was so depressed and so exhausted and didn’t have the help I desperately needed. So I stopped and continued formula feeding. Again… I felt like a failure. I know any is better than none… I know at least I tried. But do you know the shame you feel when every time you go to the doctors and they ask you “And are you still breastfeeding?” and you have to answer no? Or yes… but I’m only pumping 4-6oz. “Oh, in one session. That’s okay, and can be normal.” No, I mean in a day. “Oh. That IS odd. And you’re pumping every time the baby eats? You’re trying to get them to latch on? Because it’s best to breastfeed until a year old.” Really? I hadn’t read that in the handful of books I’ve been reading and crying over for the last few years (counting the time frame from the first kid). Thank you. I didn’t know at all. *eye roll* Which did NOT help with my depression.
Four and a half years later, I had my third son. Still a complete surprise. We had actually been talking about adopting a little girl in two years a few months before we found out I was pregnant. I had Jax, and they laid him on my chest… and this strong little boy lifted his head off my chest and looked at me within minutes of being born. They asked me if I wanted to try breastfeeding… and knowing my history, I declined. I figured I’d pump for as long as I could, and pump as much as I could, but I wasn’t going to get frustrate or depressed right then and there. So they gave me a little bottle of formula and he drank TWO OUNCES just minutes after being born. They say that a baby’s belly is only the size of about a Cherry and will only drink about ¼ – ½ of an ounce when they’re first born. Well let me tell you, my milk production would have NEVER kept up with this little man!!
I pumped for about 3 months, but taking care of a baby and two special needs boys by myself (their Dad works 12 hours a day, 7 days a week)… it was so much harder trying to pump and take care of everyone. I still was only about to pump about 4oz in 24 hours. It hurt… and I cried. But it wasn’t nearly as depressing as it was the first two times.
I’ve learned there are many ways to be a great Mom, and breastfeeding IS one of the greatest things you can do for your baby, but it definitely isn’t the only one.