Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Breastfeeding Obstacles: The Best Laid Plans...

I never once questioned whether or not I would breastfeed my children. My own mother breastfed my sisters and I, and even as a small child, when I would play dolls, I would raise my shirt and stick my baby doll’s head underneath it to feed her. When I got pregnant, I would have dream after dream of what it would be like to nurse my own baby (or maybe I should say nightmare after nightmare because in every dream I’d realize it had been days since I’d fed my baby and I’d wake up in a panic).

(4 year old me nursing my baby doll)
Marlowe was born according to plan, in a birthing center without the use of any drugs, and I assumed breastfeeding would come just as naturally as her labor and entry into this world.  I mean, what could be more natural than breastfeeding your own baby, right? Wrong. So wrong.

She latched on fine about an hour after she was born. I honestly don’t remember much of the few days after she was born thanks to a lack of sleep and a second degree tear (ouch.) But what I do remember is crying when she would cry because that meant I had to go through the awful pain of latching her on to nurse. My toes are actually curling just writing this. My dreams of blissfully breastfeeding my newborn baby went flying out the window and were replaced with chapped nipples and sobbing, and i mean crying my eyes out, if the water from my shower accidentally hit my nipples or if my towel barely brushed them.

Luckily, I had an amazing pediatrician (Dr. Berger) who listened to my concerns and helped me with my positioning, and an birthing center (Labor of Love, Lutz) who recommended I call a lactation consultant that they recommended. This woman (and I can’t believe I don’t remember her name) came to my house, free of charge, and watched Marlowe latch, sat with me while I nursed, and pretty much told me she didn't see anything wrong with me or with Marlowe’s latch, but not to give up. And I didn't.

Marlowe nursing at 13 days old
We've been breastfeeding for almost 19 months now. She’s a busy toddler now, so she only nurses a couple times a day, but those moments are so special to me. She turns back into a cuddly baby and I can just stare at her beautiful eyelashes and smell her sweet skin, even if it is only for 5 minutes before she’s running around the house trying to rip her diaper off or color on the walls.

I want to share my story because I want other mom’s to know that it’s okay if breastfeeding doesn't come naturally at first. It’s okay if you have to ask for help. I had to have my husband help me get Marlowe latched for EVERY SINGLE FEEDING at the beginning. And he loved it! It made him feel like even though he couldn't physically feed Marlowe, he could help in a way that I really needed! And it’s okay if you only make it 2 months, 6 months, 12 months, or 2 years. You are doing the best you can.
Marlowe Now


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