While I was pregnant with Blair I wasn't sure if I wanted to breastfeed. It seemed scary to me. But after researching it and learning more about all the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding I knew that I wanted to do it for my baby. I wanted her to have the best that there was to give.
So I started to prepare! I read a book on it, I did tons of research, read blogs about it, and took a class. And after the class I just knew I would have no problem breastfeeding. I even told Jacob, "this is going to be easy". (HA!)
It was 12:15 AM and after 19 hours of labor and 2.5 hours of pushing I was completely exhausted. I tried to feed Blair as soon as I could but she couldn't get a latch. I finally got her on and she was chomping down. It hurt so bad that I couldn't stand it, so they said I could try again in a little while. The lactation consultant wouldn't be available until morning so I only had the nurses to try and help me.
Soon they came back and told me to feed her because I needed to keep her blood sugar up. So once again I tried. I couldn't get her to latch and Blair was red faced and screaming her head off because she was so hungry and I couldn't feed her. It was the worst feeling ever. The nurses were trying to help by forcing her on (which is so wrong, and I learned that in the class but I didn't care at the time I just wanted her to be able to eat). We finally got Blair on and she was once again chomping down but this time I let her. I wanted her to eat. I wanted to feed my baby. Forget the pain. After that my nipple was so tore up I was bleeding, it was absolutely awful.
Several more times we tried and the nurses tried to force her on. Blair and I were both crying and exhausted. Blair would only try to nurse on one side (the tore up side) so that made it even worse. One nurse that was trying to help me asked if she could just milk my breast! Haha! I said yes and she did. She milked some colostrum into a spoon and we fed it to Blair. It wasn't much but it was something. The next feeding time rolled around and I just tried to do it myself. But after trying and trying Blair and I were both in tears and I called in a nurse to help me. This nurse tried a nipple shield. But it didn't work. She could see how upset I was and how bad I wanted this. And she asked me, "Have you ever thought about pumping? Let me go get you one and get you set up if you want." I immediately said "YES!" I honestly wish I could go back and hug her neck, it was the best thing any nurse could have done for me that night.
I pumped and got so much colostrum out that the entire staff was extremely impressed, haha. I got to put it in a bottle and for the first time, I got to enjoy feeding my tiny newborn. It was the best feeling in the world. Blair fell right to sleep on my chest after eating, ahh it was the best. I soon fell asleep too. I had some leftover so I was able to continue to feed her!
The lactation consultant saw us first thing in the morning. She couldn't get Blair to latch and after trying several different positions and techniques she said she would come back and try again later. The next time she came back she tried and tried for the longest time. Tried to help Blair (not forcefully, thank the Lord). Finally she looked at Blair's mouth and determined that Blair had a lip-tie and if I wanted to breastfeed her we would need to get it sliced because it was preventing her from opening her mouth up completely and getting a good latch. She even went and brought us a doctor's name that could do the procedure and some more information about it.
Of course Jacob and I said, "Absolutely not! There is no way we are slicing our tiny baby like that." So we decided then and there that I would exclusively pump. Jacob went and bought a double electric Medela breast-pump (seriously amazing). And his mom told me how I would need to pump every 2-3 hours to keep my supply up and going.
So that's what I did! I started out by pumping every 2.5 hours during the day and every 3 hours at night because that's when Blair would wake. Jacob was dedicated to my decision and he would get up with me every single night and feed Blair when she was hungry so I could pump and then wash all of my pumping gear. Every day and night we did this, but it became extremely difficult when Jacob went back to work. Having a newborn and pumping all day is super hard. It was very exhausting but I was determined to feed her breast-milk.
About 2 months in though Blair started sleeping through the nights so I wanted to do the same. I didn't want to get up and pump anymore, I was tired. And that's when my supply started to dwindle. And soon I was only pumping every 4 hours during the day because it was so hard to spend 25 minutes pumping, then washing the gear when I had a newborn baby to take care of. It got to the point were I felt like I never got to spend anytime with Blair when she was awake because I was pumping and washing the gear afterwards. It was also hard to be able to do anything because I would need to pump!
One time we decided to go to Fayetteville for the day, and I had to pump in the car on the interstate. Another time I had to go to the hospital and forgot my pump stuff. I was stuck there for hours and needed to pump so bad it hurt. Luckily the kind nurse brought me one and I was able to pump. When we would go to church and then to lunch I would need to get right back home and pump, we couldn't be out doing anything for very long periods of time. It was very frustrating.
I exclusively pumped for 4 months. I am very proud of myself for doing so. I wish I was able to go for 6 months, which was my goal, but I just couldn't do it anymore. I was tired and I couldn't keep up with Blair's appetite any longer. I also wanted to be spending that time with my baby, I felt like I was really missing out.
I still feel horrible when I don't get to join in on conversations about breastfeeding and how amazing it is. And sadly I feel judged by a lot of people when I have to break out the formula and make Blair a bottle. I wish I didn't have to feel this way. I wish other moms would just accept whatever way people decide to feed their children, because you don't know their story and really all that matters is that the baby is being fed.
I hope my story will show people not to judge other moms for their feeding choices. And I hope that if you are ever in a similar situation that you will ask the nurse for a pump. Don't be scared to ask. I wish I had known I had that option much sooner. Then I could have enjoyed my newborn baby girl instead of stressing about trying to feed her.