So here we are, at the end of our journey of breast feeding...or exclusively pumping I should say. Its been a long & far from easy road. I wanted to share my story for that maybe it may help another mom tackling the challenge of breast feeding.
While pregnant, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding. I was determined to make it work somehow and knew I wanted to give it my all, because as a parents we should all at least try to do whats best for our babies
Sienna was born and latched on great 40 minutes after birth, but that only lasted a day...I'm not really sure still what the problem was. She would suck for a few seconds, then let go and cry...she cried and broke my heart because I knew she was hungry but wouldn't stay on long enough to get a decent feeding. It made me feel like such a failure...I was made to do this, it was the natural thing to do. So why wasn't it working? it killed me. We had 2 different lactation consultants come in to help...from nipple shields to tricking her with drops of formula...nothing worked. I think I went through every emotion there is that day....I was so happy I finally got to have my baby and at the same time I was heartbroken, miserable and beyond exhausted from a rough birth.
first feeding...about 40 mins old
We kept trying and going at it hoping she would finally get a solid feeding in, she didn't. We both cried & cried. Noone tells you how painful breast feeding is at first...lordddd I think it was as bad as contractions if not worse. My nipples were so beat up they bled as that sure took the pain to yet another level. I had to stop trying to latch her on because she would be sucking blood..YUCK! So we tried a nipple shield...no luck. So the last option that remained was pumping...The nurse bought me a pump...this thing was HUGE, it was no little medela pump...but it did the trick.
I sat there in that hospital bed holding a loud, cold pump, instead of holding and nursing my brand new baby. It made me feel like crap, but it was that or formula.
accomplishment came through a tablespoon of colostrum...I felt like I had just produced pure gold. I gave it to her through a syringe...definitely not how I envisioned I'd be feeding my baby, but I wasn't gonna give up just yet.
When we got home from the hospital I went right to pumping, trying to get my milk to come in ASAP...I sat there clenching my teeth through the pain. On the 4th day, it finally came in HALLELUJAH, I remember waking up Danny...It was such a moment of relief. I pumped and pumped storing any extra I could get, trying to build up my supply.
My stash grew as quickly as Sienna did and I was a milk making machine. Little miss was a super small eater, so I was able to put a lot away after each pumping.
I literary had to walk around my house topless with an inch of lanolin cream smeared on my boobs...it was quite a site haha my girls were quite beat up.
Sienna decided that she would only nurse while half asleep in the middle of the night, it was quite bizarre and I'm not sure if she did it for comfort but it was better than nothing, at least I didn't have to mess with making bottles all night long. After each nightly feeding I would pump to empty out and try to trick my body into thinking I need more than she ate that way Id make more.
It worked. It was no ideal, it was a ton of work but one way or another she was still eating breast milk and that's all that mattered. We rented a hospital grade pump and I went at it every 2 hours at first then every 3. I hated being tied down to it, we couldnt leave the house for more than 3 hours at a time and there were times I wanted to quit, I told Danny I was DONE DONE DONE! and I'm glad he helped me and talked me out of stopping.
We reached our first goal, 6 months and I believe I did a little skip, yes I was proud. I made it so far and then I extended my goal to 1 year, not really sure if I was going to make it that far.
Though Sienna still woke up throughout the night, she stopped nursing at about 7 months. My supply dropped, I still pumped because some milk was better than no milk right?.....And then she became mobile...pumping became hell, she climbed on top of me...pulled the tubes, wanted me to hold her. I was miserable and I stopped doing it every 3 hours, it became impossible to do it with her around. I did it when she napped and when Dan came home and would take her to another room which meant it wasnt as often and my supply dropped some more.
So at 10.5 months when I pumped for 20 mins just to get an ounce or less, I decided not to bother anymore. Bittersweet, I loved being free of this chore but somehow I still have guilt that hangs over me too. I particularly wanted to last though flu season so she would get my antibodies, but it is what it is and I should be happy to have made it this far.
So what is Sienna eating these days?
well the picture above is what my stash currently looks like, still have a decent amount and after much research I found a formula that I'm comfortable giving her, the ONLY one I feel comfortable with as I can read all ingredients and know they're organic. Its called "Babys Only" I buy it at my local spouts. Its quicker to make her a bottle of than rather than defrost a bag of breast milk for 15 mins when shes hungry, or when we are on the go. She ALWAYS has BM before bed and whenever we can prep it before she gets grouchy hungry.
So there you have it, my whole pumping journey.
Id do it all over again for her...hopefully with the next baby it will be easier,