Day Twenty-One | LiLauren's Journey | An Arvada Breastfeeding Story
I have honestly been so lucky. Lola had a perfect latch and she was breastfeeding within the hour after birth. As a first-time mom, I constantly second guessed myself for the first few days. Constantly wondering "Am I doing this right?"
It didn't seem like it should be this easy or natural. The biggest struggle for me was waiting for my milk to come in. Both the hospital and her pediatrician kept pressuring me to give her formula since she had lost a little weight the first few days (which is actually completely normal). But then once my milk came in, she gained weight steadily and is a very happy healthy little girl.
It was hard to push through and trust my body knew what it was doing those first few days. It was really hard. I cried a few times because I was unsure and felt like a bad mom. I didn't have an elaborate birth plan or even ask for much. My two things I asked for was for skin to skin and no formula.
Since I was delivering at a "breastfeeding friendly hospital" I didn't think I'd have to worry. Once I delivered her they told me since she weighed so much I'd have to give her formula or they would have to check her blood sugars every hour for 24 hours.
I knew from educating myself her stomach wasn't that big and colostrum was all she needed, so I declined. Well her blood sugars were perfect all day. Then they told me because she was losing weight that I needed to give formula. I knew that I had been given numerous bags of IV fluids and that could cause her weight to be inflated so I held my ground.
Nurse after nurse said the same thing but I held my ground and wanted to speak to an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant). New moms are supposed to have a lactation consult by the second day but I didn't get to see one until the 4th day and she told me I was absolutely correct about my reasonings. I'm thankful I had read about breastfeeding as much as I had, otherwise I might not have known better and could've sabotaged my breastfeeding journey before it even truly started.
I thought breastfeeding would be more challenging. I saw a lot of women struggle and have so many issues with their breastfeeding journey. I was worried she would have a lip/tongue tie, I wouldn't make enough milk or we'd have some issue that would prevent me from breastfeeding. It was my biggest fear because breastfeeding was so important to me and I didn't want to “fail.”
You don't often hear a mom say "Nope, it was a breeze for me!" - that's where the downside of being a part of a breastfeeding support group comes into play. If you're a first-time mom all you read about is the issues mothers are having with their babies, whether it's the latch or low milk supply etc. It's still good to read that information to educate yourself but it is hard to remember not every mom has all of these problems. Sometimes there is no issue at all and a baby is just being a baby (like cluster feeding) - that's when it's nice to know "Oh this is normal, I don't have low supply and nothing is wrong".
It was very exciting to hit the one year milestone of breastfeeding although my initial goal has been to make it to at least 2 years. Since I haven't met my goal just yet I haven't changed anything. I think my ultimate goal is to just let Lola self-wean.
There have been some challenges to nursing an older baby. The gymnastics and tumbling sometimes gets old! She's definitely more mobile and inquisitive. I always have a baby finger up my nose or in my eye or in my mouth. It's not as peaceful as nursing a newborn!
But continued breastfeeding does help me be more in tune with her and her emotions. I can tell when she's having a difficult day by the amount she wants to nurse so it gives me a sign to know she needs to be close to me and snuggled.
I do feel more self-conscious nursing an "older" baby sometimes. I've always covered in public but now that she's older she wants nothing to do with a nursing cover. I'm not sure why - I think it may be because I grew up in a more conservative place that's less breastfeeding friendly. The cover helped me to relax and not worry so much and allowed me to nurse more frequently/freely. It also allowed her not to be as distracted and just nurse without wondering what was going on. If I'm not in a place where I feel comfortable breastfeeding I offer her snacks or a drink first, but if that doesn't work I put her in her baby carrier and nurse her that way. It's nice to live in a state like Colorado that is more supportive of breastfeeding.
My advice is to trust in yourself, and find a knowledgeable breastfeeding support group. It gets tedious some days but just enjoy the short time where you are everything your baby needs.
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