JP and I made the decision early on in my pregnancy that I would breastfeed. I read a lot of books, asked a lot of questions and knew I would latch that little baby on right after birth. And I did! I was so proud that I was doing what the books and nurses told me to do and I was even more proud that my wee little hour old baby knew what to do. I thought to myself, this is awesome, my baby knows what she’s supposed to do, this breastfeeding thing is easy. (I’ll be eating those words in a few days)
Fast forward to THE NEXT DAY, I’m writhing in pain when this little milk monster latches on. The “hooter tutor” assures me I’m doing a great job and all is well in breastfeeding world. JP is watching closely as I sit topless in the hospital bed taking in every word that the “hooter tutor” says and secretly wishing she could come home with us. JP was hands on from the start and with our powers combined we would continue to latch this little human on my raw, cracked nipples, because we were going to breastfeed this little baby.
Day four, home with the baby and my milk comes in full force, breaking all flood gates and turning my petite chest into something we called Pamela Anderson boobs. I seriously was toting around bowling balls on my chest. They hurt, they shined with ripeness and my nipples were no longer useful for baby girl to use. That’s right, my nipples were so stretched out with engorgement that my little 6lb baby could no longer latch. And let me tell you, it hurt. It hurt to latch her, it hurt to not latch her, it hurt to watch her sleep while I was engorged with enough milk to supply a dairy farm. So what did I do? I hand expressed milk, because the “hooter tutor” told me not to pump, I’d send my body and boobs the wrong message and produce MORE milk, I didn’t think that was possible, but I listened and found myself leaned over the sink hand expressing milk into a shot glass. And because it was near impossible to wake a sleepy baby who just couldn’t latch on my bowling ball sized boobs, we let her sip milk from a shot glass. Her first shot AT FOUR DAYS OLD.
It was heaven for my nipples, until 3 a.m. it came all too quickly and our sleepy baby was just too tired to care that my boobs needed emptying and her tummy needing filling. I cried, I fell asleep as JP tried to latch her on for me and I cried some more pleading to the breastfeeding gods that JP could lactate. I mean he helped create this human, why on Earth can he not help feed her. I begged for him to feed her and he calmly and sternly said he would have fed her if he could have, that if he could lactate he would have helped and let me sleep a bit longer or let my nipples rest. Although he later admitted that my nipples looked like the Hells Angels practiced wheelies on them and it looked like they hurt. Yeah, ya think? My eyes welled with tears every time she latched and it was toe-curling pain but we persevered.
Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months and looking back I don’t remember the pain (as much), and I don’t remember how hard she was to wake (as much) and I feel like an old pro (sort of). I’ve officially and successfully been breastfeeding for 8 months and 2 days.
Now, you’re probably wondering how we did it and why we didn’t give her a bottle. I didn’t give up, and I had A LOT of support. I was supported by my family and most importantly my husband. And the support was the driving force behind me making it through the first 8 weeks. I later ate my words because breastfeeding is hard! It was honestly harder than pushing baby girl from my nether regions, harder than pre-epidural contractions and to do this day I still ask A LOT of questions. Now, through my pleas of wishing JP could lactate, why didn’t we give her a bottle? Well I was advised by many to wait at least 4 weeks to introduce a bottle, and since they knew more than I…I followed their directions to a tee. On week 4, I pumped milk and JP sat, for the first time, and fed her a bottle and it was heaven to watch.
Then JP traveled for work and honestly, pumping is time consuming and not nearly as easy as just “putting the baby to the boob”. And I was told to not feed her from a bottle myself. So I didn’t, and the weekends got busy and JP tried a bottle again after a couple of months and she SCREAMED, stared him in the eyes and pleaded with him, “Daddy, please don’t make me drink from this contraption, I want mommy and fresh milk, RIGHT NOW“. And JP’s poor heart couldn’t take the screaming and sad look in her eyes, so we stopped trying the many, many bottles/nipples we had for her.
And although I don’t get a break longer than a few hours, we’re ok with that. We made the decision to breastfeed and it was the best decision we made, aside from not finding out the sex of the baby…but that’s for another post! I suppose you’ll have go read my blog to read that story.
Have questions? Need support? Email me, I’d be happy to share my not-so-professional-breastfeeding-for-8-months-and-going-strong- opinion and answers.