Breastfeeding and Family

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about family and breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


I was lucky that my family was supportive of breastfeeding from the beginning. I told them all under no uncertain terms that I was going to be breastfeeding my daughter until she was done. I had some questions from some about how exactly that would work, but for the most part, they all accepted it.

The first few months of breastfeeding were incredibly hard. Starting with the first day in the hospital, my daughter just wasn’t latching on well and wasn’t gaining weight. Her two states of being were screaming or asleep, and none of them were long enough for me to get any rest.

The first night home from the hospital was hard. They had sent me home with some samples of formula “just in case.” I thought about throwing them away, but since she hadn’t latched on well yet, I had doubts about my abilities. About 3:00 in the morning, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I told my husband we should just give her the formula and be done with it. He looked shocked; I had been so dedicated to breastfeeding, so determined! He wouldn’t let me do it. He told me we could find another way and that my milk hadn’t even come in yet. He took the baby and got her to sleep. The silence cleared my head and I realized that without him, I would have given in to something I didn’t want. I still feel guilty for that moment of weakness, but having such strong family support helped me get through.

It had been three days and she was losing weight, was sleepy, and the doctors were getting worried. My husband and I were so exhausted we just couldn’t think anymore. My Mom had come to stay with us and was the only one who seemed to be able to get her to sleep for any length of time. My milk had come in, but she still wasn’t latching on. I was a crying, exhausted wreck. My Mom suggested we go see a lactation consultant (LC). We made an appointment for the next day. The LC looked at me, decided we just weren’t getting a latch, and popped a nipple shield on my breast. For the first time, it seemed like my daughter was actually getting milk from nursing. I cried with relief, not knowing what a double-edged sword a nipple shield can be. She sent my husband and me home with an SNS (Supplemental Nursing System), the nipple shield, and some lanolin patches to heal my cracked and blistered nipples.

The next two weeks were a blur. We had to try to get our daughter to eat using the nipple shield, which usually didn’t work. Then, we would pump milk, feed our daughter through the SNS, clean everything, try and eat and sleep to keep ourselves healthy, and then do it all over again, every couple of hours. We had to make sure she was eating every three hours because she tended to sleep a lot. My husband would keep track of time, wake me up if necessary, get the SNS ready, hold it for me so I could try and use the shield, count the ounces to see how many she was getting, bring me water to drink while I was pumping, clean everything after, and take the baby to change her diaper if she needed it. All I remember from those next five or so days was not knowing what time it is, being hungry, thirsty, and exhausted all the time, and being so grateful that he was there.

The situation started to get a little better. We were able to take our daughter off the SNS by day eight, but she was still addicted to the nipple shield. I was distraught. I felt like a failure, that I might not be able to do it, but with the dedicated support of my husband, I not only did it, but was able to wean her off the nipple shield when she was about seven weeks old. He made me feel like there was hope and that we wouldn’t be in this situation forever.

My daughter and I are now happy in our nursing relationship. She is almost 2 ½ years old. The nipple shield is a long ago memory, the sleepless nights replaced by nights where she only nurses once or twice, but one thing I will always remember is the loving, unwavering support of my husband and all of my family and friends. Seven weeks seems like such a short time now, but I know that when I was living it, it seemed like forever. I absolutely would not have been able to get to where I am today without them.

Today’s guest post is from Rachel Langshall. Rachel is a first-time Attachment Parenting Mom to a daughter born February 2008. She is a grantwriter by trade, a lactivist, bellydancer, and reader.

 


 Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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