In my experience, breastfeeding didn’t come easy. It was a struggle from the first day. Ever since then, I have tried to share my story with other women to encourage them.
So here’s my adventure in breastfeeding…
When I came home with my daughter Jesse just over four years ago, I was feeling overwhelmed, scared, and excited.
She was so beautiful and perfect, and I had been dreaming of being a Mom.
I had just ended one season of my life and entered into another.
I had no idea what challenges awaited me.
My Mom and Dad were there when I gave birth. It meant so much to me, especially since my Mom had breastfed me and my siblings (including twins). It felt good to have a “veteran” available 24/7 to answer questions and provide moral support.
Just after my Mom and Dad left a week later, I was feeling a little nervous (and a little emotional) but things seemed to be going ok.
Then, overnight- my milk came in. I was so engorged; and it was painful. Jesse couldn’t latch on and she was wailing. I was stressed out, tired, and emotional. I didn’t know what to do.
I ended up just pumping and giving her a bottle.
I felt like a failure. I wasn’t breastfeeding.
What was wrong with me?
Wasn’t this supposed to be natural?
I started to dread those times when I would try to feed her, afraid she wouldn’t want to eat and feeling insecure in my ability to get her to latch on. Finally, we went to see the lactation consultant. She was great. She was so patient and even though I was a little embarrassed by how “familiar” she was with my breasts, I knew she was just trying to help me feel comfortable and confident about what I was doing.
I left the hospital with my hubby and daughter feeling much better. However, problems continued. I became engorged again and got mastitis. I was running a fever and my breasts felt like they were on fire.
I had no idea what was going on, or what to do. Thankfully, I was able to call the lactation consultant at the hospital again and she encouraged me to pump until I was empty and then go see the doctor.
I ended up having to be on medication for the mastitis. I was feeling so discouraged and foolish- why was I having so many problems? This was supposed to be easy and natural.
I wanted to breastfeed my daughter so badly, but we had gone back to using bottles. I was so tense and doubtful in my own ability, I stopped trying.
And then, God intervened.
He cares about a tired, emotional Mom who’s heart is broken because she wants so badly to breastfeed. He knew my fears were getting the best of me.
My hubby was boiling all the parts of the breast pump one night to sanitize them.
We lost track of time and they melted.
So, he ran to the store right before they closed and he thought he got all the parts we needed…except he didn’t.
So, it was the moment of truth. Either feed her from the breast or go get formula.
I prayed, took a deep breath, and…we did it!
It was a turning point for all of us. I started breastfeeding her every day and could pump and use a bottle if we needed it. I was so thankful for the opportunity to step up and face my fears- and I give all glory and praise to God.
It was a dream come true; and such a beautiful and intimate time with my daughter.
Those first few weeks were agonizing; an emotional roller coaster.
If you are determined to breastfeed, don’t give up.
Keep trying- even after you have started using bottles. I was not prepared for how emotional I felt, nor how hard it was to breastfeed. Even though we had taken a class, I still was amazed at how hard something “natural” was for me.
So if it is really important to you, pour out your heart to God. Pray to Him concerning your fears and troubles. Seek help from a lactation consultant, family member, or friend who has breastfed their kids.
It was also a poignant reminder that though things may seem small or insignificant- God cares about all those things– and is available to meet our needs when we call on His Name.
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