I’ve sustained life in three children for months.
Each time got a little easier but each time got harder to stop.
With my first I breastfed until he was about 4 months, and pumped until he was 6 months. I had such a weird experience with him as I didn’t have proper coaching or connections for help. I could have lasted or done better if I would have known about tongue or lip ties. For months, I had the hardest time getting him to latch and not have stabbing pain. Now I’m convinced he had to of had either of the two. With him I also battled thrush terribly as well and we kept passing it back and forth. After about two weeks I switched to pumping and it eventually went away by itself, and some herbal help, for both of us.
With my second I had even better luck nursing and was able to nurse until 6 months, and pump for about month longer. Right around the time I went back to work a little more than part-time, my supply dropped dramatically. I tried doing home remedies to increase supply (which worked) but I wouldn’t be able to extract it as often as needed during a working shift. I ended up getting mastitis 4 times. Ho-ly buckets, I thought thrush was bad.. ha! Mastitis was a whole other ball game. After the 4th time I threw my arms up and ended my journey. It’s kind of like a cat and mouse game with supply and demand. They say that your body will produce enough milk to feed your baby if your exclusively breastfeeding, and to pump after a feeding to get a storage if that’s what you wish to do. I couldn’t find that fine line between producing just enough to get a good stock and over producing.
So with my third little, I had every intention to go up until a year. I mean, I had yet the chance to get that far, so why not?! The first few weeks he had a hard time latching and getting a good latch to stay. But once we got over that hump it became the most successful, joyful breastfeeding experience I’ve ever had. I was nursing on demand, and really didn’t have a chance to stock up storage breast milk but would pump when I could here and there. I’m not sure if I mentioned in previous posts but Kase, my last one, was really colicky the first 3.5-4 months of his life. It was the hardest newborn stage I had ever endured. We cried together many times. So nursing on demand all hours of the day and night worked to keep everyone sane. I also didn’t have time to stress about getting a milk stock. With that being said I really didn’t do anything to keep supply up or increase it more. All I did was drink Mother’s Milk tea by Traditional Medicinal’s almost daily, and really made sure I was drinking enough water and electrolyte drinks.
Breast milk is incredible to watch in stages of your baby’s growth. Sometimes your milk is really fatty, other times it’s really thin and hydrating. When I first gave birth I was doing well in the IBD department. I really was craving avocados and ate at least one a day if not two some days. As things started to go south with my IBD my milk nutrient density also started to drop as well. Looking back at the milk I had stored from the beginning it was so thick and creamy looking, compared to the thin, watery milk I was getting just a couple of weeks ago.
Obviously when a mother is pregnant, all of her nutrients goes to the baby. Whatever is extra gets back to mom. The same goes for when mom’s breastfeeding as well. It’s part of the divine design to make sure that the milk as nutrient dense as possible to make sure babe is growing strong and healthy. I already started behind the 8-ball having Crohn’s, which is a nutrient absorption disease. I already don’t take in enough nutrients as is, but now I’m dumping all that I have left into a milk supply. As I got sicker and sicker my milk became weaker and weaker. My little was getting up almost every two hours because he wasn’t full enough. Now mind you, he has been in the 90th percentile for weight almost his entire little baby life. So he was not being shorted on the calorie scale what-so-ever, he just wasn’t full enough to sleep. through. the. night.
It was the best breastfeeding journey I’ve had with any of my children, but I had to end it.
The last time I nursed, I tried not to make a big deal about it. Now, looking back I wish I took it in a little bit more. When I did decide to end officially I had only a couple of days with discomfort and luckily I didn’t have any bouts with mastitis. I did have to pump a few times here and there just to relieve the discomfort but I have now officially packed the Medela away. Which I am planning to donate to another young mom in need, local to me.
I am so blessed to be able to talk about this topic. I am thankful every single day that I was able to carry 3 beautiful babies to term, with pretty normal deliveries, and I could nurse… all with an IBD. I am a firm believer in a fed baby is best. I also believe the Colostrum that is produced for the first few feedings is so dang important for development and immune support. I wish every mother was able to nurse their babies at least for the first few days of life. I was never breastfed, so it was a first time experience for my mom to witness as well. Who knows what the Colostrum would have done to my immune system? Would I be were I am today if I was? I think any amount of time a baby can get mothers milk is an achievement, whether from the breast or a pump. Every length of time is a celebration. Even for moms who can’t breastfeed, a fed baby is something to celebrate. I will say the ease of just being able to feed where ever, whenever will certainly be missed. As mixing bottles and constantly making sure we have formula on hand is a bit of a pain. I’ve nursed in some of the weirdest places and luckily never had any shame.
I was anticipating on publishing this post last Tuesday, but I ended up holding it back and making a little mini series of it. So make sure to stay tuned for next weeks post about things I’ve endured during my breastfeeding journey and how I overcame them. I know during my breastfeeding journey I googled E V E R Y T H I N G, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to tell you what did work and what didn’t work. I’ll make sure to link to products I found that worked best, which nursing cover I loved and still can’t part with, and exactly which pump lasted me all 7 years!
Chao for now