Day Nine | Erika's Journey | The Breastfeeding Learning Curve
My name is Erika and this beautiful baby is my daughter Genesis. We are 6 months into this wonderful stage that is breastfeeding. Our story began long before I held her in my arms - way before I had my beautiful daughter. Breastfeeding was one thing I wished for and was one of my priorities.
I had my doubts because I had inverted nipples and people close to me said it was not possible to breastfeed. I did some research about the topic and found out for myself that having inverted nipples didn't interfere with breastfeeding.
I decided to breastfeed because of all the benefits it will give my daughter, for example: antibodies, she’s less likely to get sick, and is the best I could give my daughter. I never imagined how significant it was going to be for me; what I was going to learn. The bond that is talked about, you cannot imagine it until you live it, you experience it.
Our beginning wasn't easy, we both had to learn. I signed up for a breastfeeding class to learn as much possible before I gave birth, nut on the same weekend that my class was meant to take place, I went into labor and didn't get to go to my class.
After my daughter was born, a lactation nurse came to my room and helped me position my daughter so I could breastfeed her and gave me advice. She latched on really well on my right breast but on my left, it was more difficult because my nipple was really inverted. The nurse gave me a nipple shield to help me feed her.
The first few hours of breastfeeding where a challenge and a learning curve. My breasts got really hard and my nipples became really sore, but it was tolerable. I also learned how to use the breast pump. I also remember that the colostrum that came out, was like gold for my baby.
In those days, my baby lost weight and I began to worry that she wasn't eating well. The hospital gave me some donor milk so I could feed my baby because I wasn't producing enough breast milk. It did stress me out and got me sad because I couldn't produce enough milk to feed my baby.
Through the first few weeks I breastfed and then gave her a bottle with the milk I pump. Some people suggested to just give her formula in this difficult stage. Formula was even suggested by her pediatrician but I decided not to give up and I knew it in my heart that I would overcome this challenge.
Little by little my baby gained weight and my body started to produce more milk. What helped me a lot other than my persistence was the lactation nurses that gave me really good advice. To this day I am following their advice. I also went to a breastfeeding support group. I learned a lot from other mothers, specially that every mother / baby has their own challenges in breastfeeding.
The group also gave me the opportunity to weigh my baby and make sure she was gaining weight through weighted feedings. I went to the support group for 5 months even though I knew my baby was gaining weight, I enjoyed going to this group and talk to other moms and exchange experiences and advice.
The unconditional support of my husband and family also helped me a lot. Breastfeeding at the beginning wasn't easy for me. My inverted nipples hurt when they started to pop out and had blisters on them. But, my desire to breastfeed was bigger than the pain and I have been enjoying feeding her. It has been a very special time between my baby and me.
Throughout the months breastfeeding became more natural. My nipples didn't hurt as much anymore. My inverted nipples problem went away. My daughter didn't want the bottle, and just wanted to be breastfeed. A lot of people said that breastfeeding Genesis was going to take a lot of my time, that I was going to be tied up with her (this is true, babies that get breastfeed depend on their mothers and there's hardly any time for themselves) but right now, in this moment, that Genesis and I are in, I don't feel that is an attachment, it's more of a bond.
It's like and invisible umbilical cord. So, I say that breastfeeding is more than protecting Genesis from sickness, it's my moment to stare at her eyes and reflect on our bond between mother and daughter. My goal is to breastfeed her until she's 1 year old. I'm already half way there.
I finish my story by saying that I wouldn't be able to live without breastfeeding my baby and that there's no feeling to describe the wonderful experience, the connection between the both of us. You have to live it to understand it. The road wasn't easy, but it is worth it!!
Was the beginning of your journey similar to Erika’s? Be sure to leave a comment below about your own story or words of encouragement for Erika and Genesis. Follow along with all of the 31 Days, 31 Stories breastfeeding event. And as always, if you would like to participate and share your own story, contact me and we can start planning.