Our Breastfeeding Journey
Information about Our Breastfeeding Journey
A few weeks ago, we sent out a call for Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding/Pumping memoirs. Our desire was to flood the Internet with beautiful breast/chestfeeding and pumping stories of triumph, overcoming challenges and struggles, and positive outcomes, regardless of the total amount of milk a parent was producing. We are thrilled to share these stories with you, our readers, and hope that they offer support and inspiration for you, wherever you are in your breast/chestfeeding or pumping journey.
Thank you to all of the parents who submitted their stories! If after you read these memoirs you are inspired to submit your story, feel free to send it to [email protected].
This Memoir is from Casey
Our breastfeeding journey began in June of 2018, following a traumatic (for me, fortunately not my son) childbirth. Combating an unexpected c-section, magnesium treatments, dehydration from blood loss, and significant tongue and lip ties with a macrosomic baby (11lb7oz) was a rough start. For about 5 weeks, I nursed my son with a shield, then immediately supplemented with pumped milk and formula, pumping almost as often as I was nursing him. I was recommended to see an IBCLC, and met with her a few weeks later, as well as regularly attending support groups one to two times a week. Our son had his lip and tongue ties revised, and we were able to immediately drop the shield and successfully latch FINALLY when he was about 6 weeks old. I attended support groups regularly, even once we established a solid latch and experienced success, to support others who were struggling with similar issues and for the camaraderie.
As we continued to nurse, my original goal of at least 1 year came and I had a choice to make. To conceive, my husband and I require IVF. While there are some unknowns and potential risks associated with nursing through infertility treatments, I consulted an IBCLC as well as professionals who research medication interactions with pregnancy and breastfeeding and decided the potential that the treatment wouldn’t work was worth the risk of continuing to nurse my son.
In July of 2019, we transferred an embryo and became pregnant with my second kiddo. My son nursed throughout the pregnancy, dry nursing when my supply diminished from typical pregnancy hormones, and continued as my colostrum came back in shortly after. I worked through some nursing aversion that arose from those same hormones. In March of this year, literally the same day that the state of California started a stay at home order, I went to the hospital to be induced. This was my first and only time away from my first nursling overnight, as my original plan of having him come in and snuggle with me and nurse was thwarted by the pandemic. I gave birth to my daughter via c section on my second day at the hospital, and immediately began to nurse. She was much smaller than my son, only 7lbs1oz and had some temperature and blood sugar issues shortly following birth and wound up spending her first night in the NICU. (I need to say that those long term NICU moms are the bravest women I’ve ever met, and many of them were pumping day and night to provide for their babies, even as their stay was stretched over several months.)
I traveled slowly to and from the NICU every couple hours to nurse my daughter, but her sugars needed a bit of support and we supplemented with formula after nursing those first few days.
After 5 days in the hospital, we finally got to go home and see my son. I wasn’t sure if he’d still be interested in nursing after 5 days with nothing, but as soon as I sat down at home, he instantly latched as if nothing had changed. I tandem nursed both my babies for the first time- my son at 21 months old, my daughter at 3 days old.
It’s been 4.5 months and both of my children still nurse well. I’m grateful that my daughter didn’t have any ties or other latching issues and was able to gain weight well. My new breastfeeding goal is as long as each of them want to nurse, though we have scaled back the frequency for my toddler, so that I have time to function throughout the day. He was thrilled when my full milk came back in!
I will forever be grateful to all of the IBCLCs for helping me salvage my breastfeeding relationship with my son and for continuing to support me and numerous other nursing parents to provide our children with the best start possible.