I had spent my entire pregnancy preparing for VBAC-vaginal birth after cesarean. I knew all the conditions by heart and my doctor and birth team were all aware. I was exercising, eating healthy, practicing my breathing, drinking enough water and pretty much being an awesome preggo. I knew all the signs of labor and I knew exactly what to do to speed up the process.
I went through the labor and successfully delivered a healthy baby girl via ceserean. Rested for the recommend 6 hrs, turned over and for the first time held my baby girl in my arms. That moment was priceless and so short lived because while I was basking, baby girl was trying to eat!
Mom and Mom-in-law helped us get the first latch and I was not prepared for what came next… there was no milk. Zero. Not. A. Single. Drop.
My baby girl pulled as hard as she could, but nothing came. Everyone said, just let her keep suckling, the milk will come and I thought, yes, it’ll get better. We stayed in the hospital for 4 days and still no breast milk. The nurses gave the baby glucose (through a syringe not a bottle) to keep her stable while we waited for the milk to come. By day five, both my nipples were sore from the sucking. They were cracked and bleeding, I was in so much pain and baby girl was crying nonstop.
By day six I couldn’t watch my baby crying non stop anymore I had to give in. We bought a cup of formula and started to supplement while trying different techniques to stimulate milk production. By the end of the second week, my milk started to flow. I was soo excited! I stopped the formula immediately and started breastfeeding exclusively. To me, this is the most beautiful part of motherhood and every mother who is able to should breastfeed.
Managing milk supply
While I was pregnant, my focus was on birthing the baby. I didn’t think much about life after birthing baby. I learned the hard way that my approach was wrong. While it’s important to prepare for labor like you would a marathon, it’s also important to prepare your mind and body for breastfeeding. I didn’t even know how to hold my baby properly for breastfeeding. It was a struggle but eventually, I got it. Now, we can breastfeed anywhere. I’ve even learned how to position her without exposing my boobs, lol.
When it was time to go back to work, I tried to introduce formula but Tarlee wouldn’t take it. Whenever we fed it to her she would puke and become very weak. This was the hardest part about going back to work. So I started expressing the milk. I tried them all – electric, manual, and hand expressing. I enjoyed using the manual pump the most because I could do one boob and breastfeed with the other. I also thought it was less painful than the electric pump or using my hand. I would express as soon so I got home work and again in the morning before I left for work. Some days I produced more and other days less but I made sure to always have enough for her to eat during the day. It was hard but I didn’t gave up. I pushed myself until six months.
Formula and solids
Two weeks ago, I introduced solids. We tried avocados, papaya, split peas and ripe plantain. She loved them all. Last week, we introduced formula again and this time she accepted it though she doesn’t take it as compared to the breast milk. I guess she prefers real foods to formula. We will continue to experiment with food and breastfeed at night or anytime we are together. I don’t have a timeline for weaning her. As long as she wants to breastfeed, I’m willing to breastfeed her.
Benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is great for you and your baby. Breast milk contains antibodies that boosts immunity and is the natural food intended for babies. Breast milk Protects against allergies, diarrhea, stomach upset, bloating, constipation, viruses, and other life threatening illnesses. Breast milk will help your baby grow stronger and may protect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Mamas, breastfeed your baby and give him or her a great head start in life. I know it can be hard but when there is a will, there will always be a way.
I never thought I’d breastfeed up to three months, let alone breastfeed exclusively. I used to be one of those ladies who’d say things like I don’t want my breast to sag; or that’s what formula is here for. But when I held that tiny bundle of joy in my arms, all I could think of was doing everything within my power to ensure that she grows healthy and strong; and if that meant breastfeeding for one year, so be it.
Have you ever breastfed? If yes, let me know your experience in the comment section below.