Note: If you are pregnant and have never breastfed please do not read this story. I had difficulty and I do not want to concern you. You will do just fine. 
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Not everyone has it so easy, so please don't judge. Encourage and help other mommas. 

I remember preparing for the birth of my first child and knowing I was going to breastfeed. There wasn't any doubt about that. I went to the classes, learned all I could. Had books, a pump, a nursing pillow and 6 lactation consultants (LC). I thought I was prepared, but I wasn't prepared for everything.

They tell you, it will be hard at first and then Boom! your milk comes in and your breastfeeding. You will have more milk then you know what to do with it. Only a very few will need to supplement and even fewer won't be able to breastfeed at all.  

That's not entirely true.

After giving birth, my first child Peanut latched on immediately. According to the LC on staff, it was a perfect latch and she was getting colostrum (first milk). Everything was on track. 

The next day, she became super fussy, so I called the LC in again to make sure everything was fine. She once again assured me everything was good, the latch was still perfect. However, the LC did ask me if I felt she was getting enough milk. I was a first time mom and I was exhausted how would I know?

Once we got home from the hospital, Peanut was so fussy. At first, she would breastfeed for 30 minutes at a time. Then she went to 45 minutes. Then one hour. When she was 4 days old she was up to 2 hours of breastfeeding at single sitting. She was so fussy. We thought, "We have a colicky baby." To say I was physically and emotionally exhausted is an understatement. 

Finally, on day 5 my husband had enough and gave Peanut a bottle of formula. I had mixed feelings about that. After all, its not as healthy as breast milk, right? But Peanut stopped crying. She slept so well, like a healthy baby should. And I knew something was wrong with my milk supply. 

I contacted all 6 of my LC's. I learned one of the medications I had been given, lasix, had dried me up. No one, not my doctor, not my nurse, warned me this would happen. And my hospital LC, one of my 6, never checked my medication.  Peanut had lost 11% of her body weight in 6 days.  
PictureImage from lupusuva1phototherapy
After I learned the cause, I took EVERYONE's advice. I went on a pumping marathon which consisted of me siting in a room, pumping for 10 minutes then taking a 10 minute break then pumping again. I did this for 24hrs. I also pumped an additional 10 minutes after every feeding. 

I took all kinds of herbal medication. Mother's Milk? Check. Fenugreek? Check.  Mother's Milk Plus? Blessed Thistle? Brewer's Yeast? Check, check, check.

I drank dark beer (YUK!), ate oatmeal (YUK) and snacked on lactation cookies (YUMMY!)

I was even prescribed an oral medication. Its most common side effect, sever depression. Just what a new mom needs.

After weeks of this, I was exhausted and ashamed. My milk supply had only sightly increased. I felt like I was failing as a mom. I had plenty of people encouraging me, my husband and family. However, I was so ashamed, I didn't tell my friends, most fellow mom's my own age.

I turned to mommy forums to get support and chat with other mom's who were having similar problems because I needed to know I wasn't alone. And I wanted to be anonymous. I wrote on one forum titled "Breastfeeding Problems". That turned out to be a terrible idea.  

I was not encouraged, I was told I wasn't trying hard enough by other moms. One fellow mom told me I needed a lactation consultant after I said I already had 6! I was ridiculed and belittled. The support and encouragement I so desperately needed was not given.

I was slipping down the slope of sever depression. One day I woke and no longer felt connected to Peanut. I immediately quit taking my prescription. Then my husband told me he was getting worried about me. At that point, I decided enough was enough. 

I finally had to tell myself I wasn't a failure. I had done everything in my power to exclusively breastfeed. Now, I needed to focus on bonding with Peanut and stop all this craziness. Because bonding with Peanut and making sure she was healthy was the most important thing.  Not breastfeeding.
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Image from the daily green.
After I went through this, several of my friends had their first child (we had a mini-baby boom LOL!). Most of them had breastfeeding problems. I wasn't alone after all. It's really not as rare as they say. So I choose to support, encourage, and share everything I learned with them. I was no longer ashamed but honored I could help others. And a few of them were able to exclusively breastfeed after trying some of my advise. 

So, I am here to encourage you. To let you know it will get better. Most mommas will produce plenty of milk eventually.  If not, so what? It's ok. You are not a failure. 

You are not alone.
Amber
 


Comments

10/14/2013 1:18pm

I enjoyed breastfeeding my kids. It was tough the first couple weeks with my oldest, but after that it was great most of the time.

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10/14/2013 2:07pm

Thank you for sharing Jessica! I know most mother's have a wonderful experience. We just wanted to show some love to those out there who have some trouble.

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