For something that’s suppose to be so natural and instinctive, breastfeeding is fricken hard! I struggled from the beginning when it came to nursing. From day one, Lucy totally rejected my right side, for reasons still unknown, which quickly led to engorgement and multiple trips to lactation consultants.
I was super determined to exclusively breastfeed Lucy, but unfortunately that only lasted a couple months. I suffered from a major supply drop around 8 weeks and never really bounced back from it. Between Lucy and I getting sick and the natural regulation around that time, it really hit me hard. I went from pumping 8+ oz per pump session to less than 2, which slowly kept dwindling more and more until I could barely get a half an ounce per session. Needless to say, I was concerned. I had to start supplementing, which just led to a lower and lower supply.
After spending hundreds of dollars on medical grade pumps, lactation consultants, drinking 4-5 teas a day, taking 9 pills of herbal supplements, eating herbal milk cookies and spending countless hours power pumping and stressing about my supply, and even doing a tongue tie procedure; nothing seemed to work. It was so frustrating and left me feeling totally hopeless and somewhat of a bad mom. I knew it wasn’t my fault but I couldn’t help but feel all the pressure. I couldn’t provide for my daughter like I was suppose to be able to.
Eventually I had to come to the decision to just stop worrying about it and just let whatever happen, happen. The amount of time I spent stressing and worrying about getting my supply up was getting tiresome and quite honestly, pathetic. I needed to stop focusing so much on it and start focusing on other aspects of my life, like being a good mom and wife. It was difficult at first to deal with but I finally came to terms with it and I feel so much better. It really was the best decision I could have made, as it took so much stress out of my everyday life and really let just be the mom I wanted to be to Lucy. Who cares if I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed her for the whole year. I was still a good mom and nobody can take that away from me. I was at least able to exclusively breastfeed for a couple months and I even made it to my 6 month goal (partially), which was good for me! I tried so hard and no one can say otherwise. Not everyone can breastfeed their babies and no one should ever feel bad or guilty for it, no matter what their reasoning is.
The pressure towards woman these days to breastfeed is intense, to say the least. But in the end, it has to your decision and you have to do what’s best for you and your baby, no matter what that might be. Whether it be a supply issue, a medical condition or it’s just simply to painful, don’t be too hard on yourself. Some may say breast is best, but it is really when the mom is totally unhappy and beating herself every time she tries to nurse or pump? Breastfeeding shouldn’t be an indicator whether your a good or bad mom. It is a beautiful and natural thing, but it sure didn’t come easy to me and millions of other moms out there. If you’re one of them, you are not alone. Do what’s best for you and screw everyone else. That’s the best advice I can ever give.
Some helpful information for nursing moms:
- Local breastfeeding support groups are offered at most local baby stores and hospitals. You can find a good list of some local San Francisco/Bay Area locations here.
- Find reputable Lactation Consultants in the Bay Area here. I highly recommend Jennifer Suffin at Care In The Curve or Ami Burnham at AmmaSource.
- Get delicious lactation cookies here or on amazon. They have oatmeal/chocolate chip, oatmeal/raisin and lemon. My favorite is the oatmeal/chocolate chip. Yum!
- Find Milkmakers Teas here or on amazon. I definitely noticed an increase in my supply when drinking this tea. Be aware you will be drinking a lot of tea though.
- Learn about all the different herbs you can take here. I tried fenugreek and didn’t have much luck, but then tried Morenga and saw a small increase in my supply. Ask your pediatrician or lactation consultant for more information and always be sure to check with your pediatrician before starting something new while breastfeeding.
- Rent medical grade pumps at Day One Baby or Newborn Connections in San Francisco. Otherwise a good place to start looking is Yelp.
- Learn about power pumping here. When done correctly, it can actually be really beneficial. Be sure to talk to a lactation consultant for a more specific pumping regimen.