When breastfeeding doesn’t go your way…

Seeing other moms discretely breastfeed their babies while sipping lattes, answering text messages, and having in-depth conversations with their friends left me wondering what I was doing wrong. Why couldn’t I make breast-feeding look this easy? I wanted to sit at Starbucks perfectly covered by a pretty, Petunia Pickle Bottom nursing cover! Instead, I was still working on getting my baby to latch correctly without biting off my boob in the process. Would it ever get easier?SCARSDALE, NY - SEPTEMBER 15, 2013: A tall Starbucks coffee in f

I know that you are all expecting me to say, “Yes, my daughter became a model breastfeeder! I was sipping my own lattes at Starbucks in no time.” But, the reality of the situation was that breastfeeding was always a challenge for me. My daughter eventually figured out how to latch correctly, but then she decided to start biting me! YES, BITING! After we had a pretty heated chat about how naughty it was to bite mommy, she then decided that home was the only place she liked to nurse. Each month it seemed like a new breastfeeding challenge arose. Each month, we muddled our way through.Mother breast feeding her baby with closed eyes

I was determined to breastfeed for at least a year. And, although I loved the bonding that breastfeeding brought, I couldn’t help counting down the days until her first birthday. Because she was a preemie, I still had to pump in order to give her fortified bottles with breast milk. The extra step of pumping several times a day in addition to nursing left me feeling akin to a dairy cow. I was exhausted, moody, and sometimes downright irritable.Cute Baby At Hands Of The Mother In An Embrace, Monochrome

Would I do it all over again? Absolutely! Reminiscing about my love-hate relationship with breastfeeding reminds me that most things worth doing are challenging. Although breastfeeding doesn’t always get easier for some of us, neither does motherhood! Poopy diapers, skinned knees, toddler melt-downs, teenage rebellion…as moms, we are in it for the tough stuff. Although I love the beautiful moments that motherhood brings such as cuddle time, kisses on my nose, and a little hand to hold; I’m also grateful for the challenges. These remind me of what I’m made of…or at least what I’m becoming…someone a little less selfish, a little more genuine, and a lot more determined to be the best at my biggest title…MOMMY!

From The Mom in Me, MD



9 thoughts on “When breastfeeding doesn’t go your way…

  1. I was fortunate enough to be one of those that sip lattes while breastfeeding. I’m commenting and breastfeeding right now. I just want to let you know that I admire mothers like you who stop breastfeed despite all the hardships. I know quite a lot who’s had problems from the cracked nipple to latching problems and they don’t give up.

    I love your persistence. I love mothers like you.

  2. I fought and fought to nurse my preterm son. It took him four months to properly latch so I pumped the first four. It’s awful and hard and beautiful and amazing. It’s a lot like motherhood. 🙂 Good for you!

  3. My breastfeeding experience was… unusual to say the least. We started breast contact when my son was 15 weeks actual, 2 weeks corrected, when he was finally stable enough. He was fantastic at attaching, despite being roughly 3lb at the time and my nipple being considerably larger than his mouth. We progressed very slowly to him feeding twice a day. He did really well. Through all this he was also being fed via NGT. At 5.5 months actual (2.5 months corrected) he hiccuped his NGT 14cm out of position, aspirated milk and went backwards by 3 months. By the time he was stable enough to try again he’d completely lost the instinct and forgotten the behaviour – he wanted to sit up, or go to sleep, not attach. (One particularly frustrating day I was dripping milk on to him while he looked up at me, completely ignoring the breast, the nipple and the milk.) It was for me one of the worst parts of the NICU experience to be honest – the one thing that was working well suddenly didn’t work at all any more. It also has had long term effects – he’s now 3 and peg fed, and I’m trying to teach him to eat and drink. No mechanical issues that we know of, but when you didn’t learn to suck as a baby it’s actually quite tricky to learn to drink.
    Still. He was breast fed in the sense that he had breastmilk (and formula and TPN at various points!) for the first 20 months of his life. I’m still really grateful to him for consuming all the milk I had stored in the freezer, I honestly didn’t think he’d ever get through it!

    • Thanks for sharing your story Alison! That is such a struggle. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been to be making progress and then have something as horrible as an aspiration occur. I know that all of your pumping was worth it though. He has benefited from all of your antibodies, healthy fats, etc. Being a mom to a preemie is incredibly challenging at times. One day something works and the next it doesn’t. Thanks for telling us about your experience, even if it wasn’t the best.

  4. Also geez I wish they’d let you have coffee in NICU, it’d make life so much easier (yes, yes I know – burns hazard. But really… it’d make life so much easier!!) 🙂

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