by - Thursday, December 29, 2011

For Sof and I, this breastfeeding journey has been such an amazing experience.

I can't believe it's been half a year already!

I figured I could check in and give you all a peek into the way we've been doing things, especially since I've been reflecting on it lately.  It hasn't all been perfect, and it's definitely a learning experience. I hope sharing my story will help other moms and future moms that come across the same issues.

Looking back at what's positive:
Sofia was breastfed exclusively her first 3 months of life.  Besides her short bout with jaundice when the hospital ordered us to supplement, she remained formula free until I went back to work.  Half a year later, we're still breastfeeding 3-4 times a day.  We'll continue on with this schedule until she's older and starts getting teeth-  but the best part has to be that Sofia still prefers the breast to any other method of eating, and I know she's getting the nutrients she needs daily.  

When things don't work out:
When I started working full-time again in retail, there was no easy accomodations to pump on a regular basis.  And let me tell you, I fought!  I fought so hard for my baby, for our bond, for her health.  I would try to sneak away every couple of hours and store her milk in the freezer at work.  Three, (count them- THREE) broken breast pumps later, I was left engorged and no way bring home my milk to feed my child.  There were times I just felt so helpless, there was nothing I could do except go to the bathroom, try and relieve some of the pressure from the milk into the sink with my hands, and I would just sit in the stall and cry.  I had to give up the dream of having my daughter only have breast milk from me.  Introducing any amount of formula made me feel like a failure.  

Continuing to fight for what's best:
Believe it or not, even friends and family that KNOW you're breastfeeding will still try to have you succumb to bottle-feeding for the sake of convenience.  It's annoying, but it's an honest mistake for people.  We as mothers work so hard toward establishing a milk-supply-- and for me now, it's maintaining that milk supply-- so whenever I choose or am forced to bottle-feed, it tells my body I don't need that milk.  You have to stand up for what you know is best for your baby, regardless of the conditions and stick with your routine.  I'll have people offer to help me, or want the opportunity to feed Sofia themselves, but sometimes they don't realize that we need to still breastfeed certain times of the day.

I want anyone that's been struggling with some of the same issues to just keep moving forward, it gets better and if you stay strong, you can continue to have the feeding relationship you want with your child.  I still hope for my next baby I can try to work in an environment where I'm able to exclusively breastfeed and not have to introduce formula at all.  Especially... especially after reading stories like these.  But at least I know how hard I've worked and how happy I am that Sofia and I were able to breastfeed at all.  I still think that any amount of breast milk is better than none at all.

I'd love to hear your stories!  Have you struggled with any of the same issues or are you worried about anything with breastfeeding in the future?

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  1. Beautifully written. Breastfeeding my little man has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Relentless is the word I use over and over to describe the journey. Every day you have to work, plan, and commit and then start again the next day. We struggled from the get go and still battle supply issues and nursing strikes. We have been blessed to make it this 9 1/2 months and I am pushing hard to hit the 1 year mark. I can assure you that if I wasn't so lucky to be able to stay home that we wouldn't have made it this long. It is a full time job keeping this guy fed :)

    I too had others try to make it easier for me without really understanding my convictions. As with you I just leaned on daddy the most and we did what our family of 3 felt best!

    Congratulations on doing everything you can for that sweetheart. She is getting EVERY benefit of breastmilk and you should be very proud!

    Love ya!

  2. Love you too! Yay you got to comment! :D
    Thats so awesome. I hope I can hit a year too, even if its only a few feedings I really think every little bit counts.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Kate- I hope you don't mind me commenting here. I have a little experience with breastfeeding, after having 4 kids. The most important thing is to not beat yourself up. We all have ideals and think we know how things should go, but life is not perfect. You should feel great that you want to provide the best for your child. My first child, I nursed for 1 month!!! I was working full time then, and it was very hard. So the next three kids I was an at-home mom, and more relaxed. I nursed them all for 10-12 months. The point is, whatever you do for your child, any time spent will create a bond. Don't worry about that! Now that they are older, there is no difference between the kids I nursed and the one who only made it a month.
    You are a very strong and smart mom, and Sofia is lucky to have such great parents to care for her!

  4. Thanks for stopping in Sharon! It means a lot to know that there are other women out there offering to share their own stories with breast-feeding and for whom the journey wasn't the easiest... it definitely makes me feel good to know I'm supported!

    Sof and I are doing everything we can together, it's been such an amazing experience.

  5. I love reading about other mom's experiences with breastfeeding. I feel like barely anyone does it anymore...and it was something I really enjoyed with Ben. I breastfed him for 10 months. Exclusively for 4 months, then introduced 1 4oz bottle of Alimentum when he suddenly stopped sleeping and we worried he wasn't getting enough milk from me. Not sure that was the case, but it was still a nice feeling to just give him 1 bottle a day (we had been giving a bottle of pumped milk up until that point, so he got used to the bottle). But constantly pumping each morning was becoming tiresome.

    You are working, and the fact that you are breastfeeding through all that is commendable. As long as she is getting ANY breastmilk, she is benefiting from your immunities and the nutrients. So, great job! Ben never even had a runny nose until I stopped, and I swear now he gets one once a month, it's frustrating. I wish I could go back to that time, when I felt he was almost invincible with my immunities and the goodness of breastmilk. Keep up the great work! I just found your blog, love it.