I never posted the picture above because I was ashamed. Ashamed of my breastfeeding story. But I’ve decided during World Breastfeeding week is the time to tell it because we have to share all our breastfeeding stories. Only in sharing can we support and find support from one another.
With baby #2 (Patch) I was so determined to breastfeed. I struggled with Pumpkin and ended up Exclusively Pumping for 19 months. I’m a pumping supporter but I have to admit it’s a TOUGH road to go down. You are never far from that pump and it definitely impacts your daily life. I wanted to be free. I wanted to be a mom that just needed to lift my shirt and place the baby on her breast. Just pop him on wherever we are. I couldn’t wait to breastfeed in public. Experiences I thought were important.
Patch was born premmie (36 weeks) but man was he an eater. He was able to bring my milk in while we were at the hospital. HUZZAH! I thought! Already things were looking up. But then he got jaundice. He went from laying on me all the time, to being in a warmer. He went from breastfeeding to bottle which is probably where we started having issues but definitely not the worst part.
Shortly after the tanning bed, Patch got more bad news. Hip Dysplasia. Which meant this full body brace that kept his legs at a 90 degree angle. He was such a trooper and did so great while wearing this brace (23 hours). I can write more about that experience another time, but it made breastfeeding pretty much impossible. I went through three breastfeeding pillows and 4 visits with an LC at $200 a visit to try and find a comfortable position. There weren’t any. It was just so awkward and he would get so upset. I resorted to pumping and bottle feeding in the meantime but kept trying to get him to latch a couple times a day.
Once his brace came off, he ended up getting a Doc-Band for the flat part of the back of his head. Again, a tale for another time, but this also impacted our breastfeeding. It was awkward and he did not enjoy any particular position. I continued to pump and bottle feed.
Then my swelling came into play. I could no longer even attempt the awkward positions I was trying to hold him in in order to get him to latch. I took a pillow with me all around the house and with one more LC visit could still not get comfortable. At this point I was fed up. I was in pain, and had spent probably $1000 trying to get him to latch. Pissed off I went with what I know. Exclusive pumping. And that is where I am at currently. It’s not fun. I have to pump in public. I have to take a pump everywhere (even to Vegas). I have pumped at the beach, Knott’s, museums, friend’s houses, anywhere and everywhere because life doesn’t stop especially when you have an older toddler that needs to go places.
In the picture above…that was the last time I got him to latch. It was a random day and he was being so fussy I decided to try and get him on. To my surprise he did latch! Hope was ignited. But it has never happened again. Maybe I could try, but now my swelling would prevent me from being able to hold him correctly.Plus he’s so used to the bottle he may just cry or look at me like, “oh what is this teething toy?”.
This is our last baby and it makes me sad that I never got the latch down. But I am trying to do what I can to provide him with mama’s milk for as long as I can. Sadly, that too is being cut down short possibly because of my health issues. Currently, I’m just aiming for one year (instead of two). I hope we make it, but I know in my heart that I did all I could. World Breastfeeding week is important to share everyone’s tale. Because god damn is it not easy and people should know that. They should also know there is no shame in your game. Do what you need to do for you and your family.