Day Six | Raquel's Journey | A Broomfield Breastfeeding Story
Thankfully, I was blessed with a good supply and a baby that eats like a champ from the very beginning, but it was not always a cake walk. About a week into our journey, I experienced terrible pain from cracked and bleeding nipples. The lactation consultant was awesome and referred me to a website (www.queenbeelactation.com) that helped me adjust the latch by watching videos. Those few days were rough but we were able to get a better latch and I was able to heal.
Then about a month into our journey I started experiencing breast pain even when I wasn't breastfeeding. I attended a breastfeeding support group through my insurance to help us figure out what was going on. The IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) checked his latch and asked about symptoms. She suspected that I was dealing with vasospasms and gave me some suggestions to help manage the pain. I dealt with the vasospasms for about 2 months and while it was quite painful, it didn't affect my supply or his eating so we were able to continue just fine.
Breastfeeding isn't always easy but it was something I really wanted to do from the very beginning and have been blessed to be able to continue through anything that has come up.
I love the bond it has created with my son. I love having that time with him and how if I allow myself to get distracted he brings me back to that moment by grabbing my hand or face. It’s a perfect time to slow down and just focus on him.
There is also something so empowering in being able to provide nourishment for my son. I remember those first days, sitting there and listening to him drinking, I was just an awe that my body was able to produce just what he needed. To this day, 8 months in, I feel the same way. I am grateful for the ability to nourish my son, both physically and on an emotional level as well.
We introduced a bottle around 6 weeks as I read that it was the ideal time to get him used to it before returning to work. We weren't super consistent about it but did offer it once in a while. We are blessed to have flexible schedules so my husband watches him while I work. I gave him some info on paced bottle feeding and he was able to work with Noah and get him to take the bottle.
The first few days were a little rough but my husband found that he would take the bottle better if he positioned him laying back on his legs instead of cradling. Weird position but it worked for them.
I also started pumping prior to heading back to work to try to build a bit of a freezer stash and was worried that I wouldn't be able to pump enough milk when I went back to work because it didn't seem like I was pumping much at home. Now, it is nice to have a little stash, even if it isn’t very much.
My husband has always been very supportive and he would just tell me not to stress about it until I knew for sure there was a problem. Luckily, I have been able to keep up with Noah's needs. I don't have an oversupply but I have enough and I remind myself that it's all he needs. I work with a very supportive team and have my own office which has really made pumping much easier.
I have what he needs and that is what is important. While pumping has gone well for me, it is definitely hard work and I admire the mamas that can't breastfeed but pump to provide breast milk for their little ones.
Even though it's hard to work and not be with Noah always, it is nice to know that while I am working my son is home with his dad. I love watching their bond grow and seeing what an amazing father my husband is. I love coming home and seeing the smile on Noah's face because he's happy to see me. Usually, he wants to nurse as soon as I get home and it's a perfect beginning to my afternoon and evening with him.
I would say I have been pretty lucky to have a good support system both in my family and close friends. I really haven't encountered any negativity from them; everyone has been really supportive of breastfeeding. I have a good friend whose son is 8 months older than Noah so it's been nice to have someone that is going through some of the same experiences at the same time. The breastfeeding support group has been great as well. Even though it's been a while since I've been, it's so nice to know that it is there for me anytime I feel that I need it.
Fed is best. I strongly desired to breastfeed and felt that I had done as much research as I possible could do to help myself be successful. At the same time, realizing that some things are out of my control and that the most important thing is that baby is fed and cared for helped me not feel extra pressure than what I was likely putting on myself. Along the same lines, I think the absolute most important thing for me was having my husband's unconditional support. He knew how important this was to me and was committed to helping me be successful. At the same time, I know that if it would not have been possible to breastfeed he would've been supportive as well and not put me under any additional pressure.
Luckily, I really haven't had many incidents in public that were uncomfortable. I'm sure my husband's imposing demeanor helps with that. I have used a cover or the two shirt method when in public because I understand that some people can be uncomfortable. At the same time, my priority is my hungry child so if he's not comfortable being covered or I don't happen to have the cover with me, I don't worry about it.
I can only think of one time when I was out to lunch with a few friends. Noah got hungry towards the end of our lunch so I went ahead and fed him in our booth using our nursing cover. An older gentleman across the way could not stop staring so I just stared back and finally asked if I could help him which prompted him to look away. Not a big deal to me but I'm definitely prepared to defend my son's right to breastfeed at any moment as is my husband.
My advice would be that sometimes the breastfeeding journey is not as "easy" as some people make it seem but it is absolutely amazing. I would suggest being informed prior to beginning the journey and make sure you have a good support system, whether that is partner, family, friends or support group, but to also give yourself grace. I think as parents there are so many things that we can always second guess but it's important to give ourselves grace and remember that we are doing the best we can. People will always have advice but you know what is best for you, your baby and your family.
How did your breastfeeding journey begin? Share a comment below and feel free to give this sweet mama some encouragement. We all need a tribe. Follow along the rest of this month to read all the stories in the 31 Days, 31 Stories 2017 breastfeeding project. If you would like to share your story please contact me. I would love to help share your story through words and pictures.