Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A little of my history

I remember the first bottle of Similac I received in the mail while pregnant.  I looked at it sideways and wondered how they got my address.  Immediately I wanted to discard it because I knew I wasn’t going to give my baby any of that stuff.  I asked my sister if she had any friends who had babies who would use it and it was gone the same day it arrived.

Fast forward to the day I gave birth in the hospital: It was beautiful, my daughter was born, nurses asked me if I wanted to have skin to skin contact, I said yes.  They asked me if I wanted to breastfeed, I said yes.  She nursed for the first time minutes after I gave birth and I felt so good.  The next couple of days in the hospital she continued to nurse but one nurse offered a bottle and said the doctor recommended it.  No other explanation was given as to why or what doctor recommended it so I refused it and it just sat on a table in our room.  Breastfeeding for some reason didn’t hurt while I was in the hospital, it could have been because I was on Motrin and Vicodin round the clock, or because nearly every time she latched there was a nurse present to help with positioning her mouth and body. At that point thought breastfeeding was going to be a breeze.

However the night I was discharged it started to be painful.  Initially I thought I could endure the pain, and just switch breast each time, but the pain got worse, till one time I was crying asking for my husband to go to the store in the middle of the night and buy some formula.  I didn’t know what to do.  I desperately wanted the pain to go away but I didn’t want to give my daughter any artificial milk either.  I tried to hand express some milk into a bottle and I was able to squirt out maybe half an ounce at most.  She drank that but obviously it wasn’t enough.  I began to supplement, but only for a while I thought. 

The next morning we went to see the pediatrician and found out our daughter had newborn jaundice.  The doctor recommended we supplement.  I had already begun supplementing, but it broke my heart to hear a doctor recommend it.  I felt like I had failed so soon.  She was only a few days old and she had lost too much weight.   We then went to see the lactation consultant who told us to follow the doctor’s recommendations but to also start pumping and give her breastmilk via the bottle.  This is when I learned I had flat nipples.  The LC handed me some nipple shields but did not show me how to use them.  The only thing she did show me how to do was to use both the hospital electric pump and the manual pump she gave me.  I pumped 4 ounces in her office and felt good at the time because this was the first time I saw my milk come out so fast.  We fed my LO breastmilk in the office and went on our way. 

That night I sent my husband to the store to buy a double electric pump and I began pumping almost exclusively.  I was pumping every two hours and giving maybe one or two bottles of formula a day for about a week or so, then from there on out we were only using breastmilk.  I would try to get her latched on at least once a day, then twice a day, till we were about half and half with pumping and nursing.  I did the thing where you open the baby’s mouth so they can latch, I also had to pull my nipple out manually and sometimes with the latch assist so that she could feel the nipple.  It took a lot of patience and repeated practice but eventually we got to a point where around 4 months we were exclusively nursing, with the exception of when the hubby and I had a date.  Then at 5 1/2 months I returned to work and began pumping again.  

Now here we are at 9 months and I feel blessed.  

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