It’s 7am and you’re nursing for the fourth time in the last 6 hours. I am exhausted.. beyond all belief. My stomach is grumbling and angry from lack of food and whatever thing has been wrong with it lately, my back is on fire from hunching over in one hundred wrong different ways, and my head is pounding because mama needs some caffeine. And none of that matters. It’s all dulled at the edges by the feeling of your small, warm breaths on my chest. I can’t hear my stomach grumbling over the sweet little coos in your exhales and the squeaks you make when you’ve fallen asleep and wake up to find that the food is still right in front of your face. Choosing to breastfeed is the most insane thing I’ve ever done and stuck to. I always planned to; but never in a million years could I have imagined how exhausting it would be. It comes easily to some people; but not to you and I little one. No, we had to work for it. When you were born, you were so tired from the jaundice that you struggled to stay awake long enough to nurse and as you got older your slightly recessed chin made it hard for you to latch. So I pumped the milk instead; 8, 9, 10 times a day. I felt like all I did was pump, bottle feed you, and put you to sleep, all to start over again as soon as you were out.
Still I tried everyday to latch you at least once. I was doing it so that my milk could change based off of what your saliva told my body you needed. And then one day you actually latched and started to eat. I swear it was like the clouds had parted for the sun to finally shine through. You would only nurse for the first few minutes when the milk was really flowing, but it was something. And everyday we worked on it. Some days you nurse until you’re almost full and only need to eat a little from the bottle. Other days you just scream anytime I try to get you to latch and I have to pump some more (which never gets enough out now) and then supplement with the formula that your tummy has never taken to.
Who knew feeding a child could be such a battle?
Sometimes I swear I’ve read every article in existence that explains different tricks to getting your child to latch, or tells how to up my supply so there’s a heavier flow to keep you interested longer. I’ve read articles about getting the most out of pumping, what supplements you can take, hot compresses, breast compressions, hand expression, watching videos of your baby to induce let down. And that, I’ve read about let down, hindmilk, foremilk, different kinds of nipples, nipple confusion, and sooooo much more. It’s enough to leave anyone rocking back and forth in the corner with a box of Thin Mints and White Collar on Netflix (because Matt Bomer is yummy.)
But, it is all worth it at 7 in the morning when you’ve finally latched and eaten your fill and you look up at me, coo, smile, and pass out milk drunk.
It is all worth it. And I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.
by Ashley King
© All Rights Reserved 2017
Note: to any moms who need support with breastfeeding or are in search of some of the information I mentioned above, I recommend checking out the following websites..
http://www.lllusa.org (La Leche League. They’re the gods of breastfeeding information and support. You can even call them and speak to lactation consultants who will walk you through anything they can.)
http://kellymom.com (A blog site with “evidence based information on breastfeeding and parenting”. It’s run by a mother of 3.)
http://www.babycenter.com (This is the website for an app I used my entire pregnancy and continue to use now that Baby T is 6 weeks old. It has articles, discussion boards, community support and an all around wealth of information. Just a personal like of mine.)
Good luck! Don’t give up! It will get easier.