I wanted to breastfeed Charlie, but with his heart, it took too much energy. He was using more energy trying to eat than the calories he was putting in. So… a pump was brought into our room and I started to pump. The nurses were all impressed at the crazy amount I was pumping. It’s really amazing what our bodies can do. My body knew that he needed lots of that good stuff filled with calories to help him grow. I immediately felt disconnected with him though. Even in the hospital, everyone else was feeding him my milk and all I was doing was pumping.
I exclusively pumped for about 5 months for Charlie and continued with supplementation until he was about 7 months. It was a lot of work (pumping, storing, making bottles, washing bottles, and feeding), but it was what was best for my boy and I’d do it all over again. However, I felt like I missed out on that great breastfeeding experience that everyone talks about.
Skip to Owen… I was very excited I was going to be able to actually nurse my baby! Owen had a great latch in the hospital and we were kicking butt in the breastfeeding department! Then we came home… everything started going downhill. Cracked, bleeding, sore, engorged. You name a problem that comes with it and I had it. Every time Owen would wake up, I’d cringe- I knew I’d have to feed him again. I cried at every latch and most of the feed. One night Tommy took him while I was crying and gave him a bottle of formula. I felt like a big fat failure- here I was with milk literally pouring out and he couldn’t have it.
I called the next day and scheduled an appointment with a lactation consultant. They couldn’t see me for almost another week, but just knowing that I had an appointment for help made me keep trying and power through. Jessie (the LC) is awesome and put him right on there and it was wonderful! Then we went home again… I felt overwhelmed and couldn’t remember anything she said. So, I called and went back in a few days later. This time, I took Tommy so he could help once we got home. Jessie suggested a nipple shield again and I took it this time. Finally, things continued to go well once we got home. It’s been 2.5 months and we’re still using the shield, but at least he’s nursing.
It’s extremely messy, time consuming, frustrating when he plays instead of eats, and at times still very painful, but it’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL when he falls asleep nursing and cuddles in with mommy.