the first days
the first days where just hell, I’m gone be real with you guys. because I was induced I had to stay overnight in the hospital. and over there everything went fine, she latched great, no sore nipples, no pains or complains. but when I came home the next day all of the trouble began, she didn’t latch correctly, there wasn’t coming any milk, and I felt so insecure. luckily we had a great nurse because in the Nederlands you get your own nurse at home for the first week or two, she cleans, cooks and takes care of you and your baby. every time I tried to feed her our nurse made sure I felt safe and in control, but after a few days my milk still didn’t come in and my daughter was loosing a lot of weight. so my nurse ”said don’t worry it’ll be fine, I had the exact same thing with my first one. what we will do now is feed and pump every 1 to 2 hours” so I did even trough the night because I wanted it to work so badly. but every day my nipples where even more painful than the day before, I had gotten blisters and cracks on my nipples. but still I did’t give up, my doctor was already talking about stopping and using formula. but luckily my nurse told me not to worry and to just keep on going. after 5 days my daughter had dropped 10% of her birth weight, I felt so discouraged so I gave in on giving her a bit of formula just so she would have something in her stomach and I could rest for a bit and start again with the next feed. I had my nipples smothered in nipple cream and had frozen menstrual pads on them just to help them recover for a bit. with the next feed she finely latched on correctly and it sounded like she was actually getting milk, I was still in pain put that did’t matter to me I was just so proud of myself for not giving up. after that my milk finely came in she did come every 30 minutes at day 6 but I didn’t care, as long as she got it from breast milk I was happy. so at the end of day 6 the nurse weight her again and she had gained 5 grams ok it wasn’t much jet, but it was such a relief to know that we were going in the right direction.
week 2 and 3 after birth
I was still in pain because my nipples were still torn up, but it was getting easier. I continued to pump to boost my supply and my daughter went from every 30 minutes to every hour with her feeds. my daughter was gaining weight and I felt incredibly proud, but even tough feeding her was getting easier the overall wasn’t. I had to deal with my own insecurities, judgment from strangers and friends and family, recovering from giving birth and judgment about what I ate. at home the judgment was mostly about how often she fed everybody said it was to much and that it wasn’t normal, but I went with my own instinct and got conformation from other nursing moms. the judgment from strangers was 50% people who judged because I was very young and 50% because people thought you shouldn’t breastfeed in public even tough I did it very modest, but I just tried to brush them of and focus on the good. like all the people who came up to me and said how wonderful they thought it was to see a young mom breastfeeding, and all the people who didn’t even realized I was breastfeeding and came up to me and gave me a complement for respecting the people around me who might find in uncomfortable to see. and focusing on the good helped me so much with my insecurities because I began to see how far I had come, and how far I would come if capt it up.
month 1 to 3
day after day week after week everything went easier and easier, I felt so good about everything. my daughter was growing very well and I found it easier to deal with all the judgment, it still got to me if somebody said something negative but it was easier to brush it of afterwards. I began going out more with my baby because I thought I had the hang of it, but feeding in public isn’t as easy as it looks. because you don’t always have a arm rest or a comfortable seat to do it in, sometimes I even had to feed her while walking because there was no time or place to sit down. but luckily I soon began to find some easy tricks for my public feeding problem, I learned myself how to position her in the sling in a way so she could feed whenever she wanted without me having to hold her or take her out. I learned how to position myself on a seat without arm rests in a comfortable way, and everything just became so easy for on the go. by week 5 I had stopped pumping because my daughter was feeding every hour for 20 to 30 minutes and I would pump 10 to 20 minutes, she wasn’t really drinking the breast milk out of bottles because I did’t want her to I wanted her to get it straight from the source. a lot of people asked me why I stopped pumping they all said ”isn’t it easier to pump because then your partner can help out as well” but it was way easier for me to feed her myself then to pump, because when I pumped I felt like I was pumping and feeding all day and couldn’t do anything else. it just helped me regain my life a bit I could actually do something on a day to day basis besides feeding my baby, and for what ever reason people around me just didn’t get that. and when I told them why I would just get a comment like ”is she feeding that much? that can’t be good maybe better to switch to formula” or ”she doesn’t want to be fed that much, you are just making an excuse for being lazy” witch is very discouraging taking all that I had to go trough to get where I was. but luckily I had my sweet boyfriend who always knew what to say to me to make me feel better.
month 3 to 6
by month 3 we where passed the new and scary stage and I started caring less about what people thought and said and just did my own thing. when my daughter turned 4 month old there was a new type of judgment, because the people around me where convinced that I had to give my baby solids otherwise it would be bad for her and she would become a picky eater. people said to me ”you just don’t want her to eat solids because you are afraid she isn’t gone feed as much” or ”because of your obsession with breastfeeding you are harming your baby by not giving her the food she needs”. but I did’t care I had had so many negative comments that I was becoming a pro at not giving a f*ck what other people said about my decision to breastfeed. my little girl was getting everything she needed from breast milk, and I was letting her lead the way on when she wanted to feed. I stopped holding on to the guidelines of feeding every 2 to 4 hours at her age, and my life became so much more relaxed. I wasn’t looking at the clock when she was crying for food I just gave her whenever she wanted and it felt great, I felt like I was in charge of my own life and what happened to my daughter. month 5 and 6 where mostly just living life and feeding whenever however, until someone told me ”wait until she starts teething see how you like it then” witch scared me a bit. because I had never been trough that before so didn’t know what to expect, and most older moms around me had never breastfed so where just scared of the thought of a child biting in their nipples. that comment just stuck to me and I just didn’t know what to do or expect, so I talked to the 2 moms I know who have breastfed their children while teething and afterwards. they luckily made me feel a lot less scared because they had never had one of their children bite them, so I was hopeful I would have the same luck. my little girl didn’t teeth at 6 months but at least my nerves were calmed down a lot. and I could definitely say that I love breastfeeding and all the pain, judgment and difficulties where all worth it.
tips that have helped me
- frozen menstrual pads on your nipples against the pain
- medela purelan cream against the blisters, pain and to nourish
- pumping after every feed to boost your milk supply
- drinking fennel thee against cramps your baby might have and to boost your milk supply
- drinking more than 2 liters of water to stay hydrated
- eating as many fruits and veggies as I wanted to get an the right nutrients
- listening to your baby on how much he or she wants to nurse to help you not to get stressed out
- reading and hearing other moms stories and struggles so you won’t feel so alone in your struggles
- listen to your own motherly instinct and not giving a f*ck what the rest of the world is saying