This post was written by Ashley Yates of Well Bred Baby. We are thankful and thrilled that she was happy for us to share her feeding journey with our network. She hopes her story will bring comfort and reassurance to women who may be facing the same struggles.
Without further ado, it’s over to Ashley…
“Breastfeeding. The absolute hardest thing regarding pregnancy.
At least for me.
It wasn’t something that was successful for me the first time around with my daughter but I was determined to make it work the second time around with my son. Everyone kept telling me that it is different with each child and I had a ton of support which gave me hope.
Immediately after Rowan was born we faced our first obstacle. He couldn’t latch. This was not foreign to me as I had this same initial issue with my daughter, so we started the same way, with a nipple shield.
For those that may not be familiar with a nipple shield, it is something recommended only for temporary use as it can hinder milk production due to a lack of stimulation while feeding. Which then added to my next road block, milk production.
During those first days while at the hospital babies sleep more than anything. Most babies hardly cry. Seems easy at this point.
We met with the lactation specialist and watched all the videos available on breastfeeding.
Then you go home.
Our first night home with Rowan was a rollercoaster. I am still using the nipple shield because he is refusing to latch without it. I am waiting for my milk to come in as I am told it can take 3-5 days. And at this point, he is getting pretty hungry, so crying has officially began.
We go to our first appointment at the pediatricians and of course he is losing weight which is common in their first week of life. But it is the next couple of weeks that really get rough.
He is crying, more times than not. I am breastfeeding for hours at a time. Literally, once I fed for 4 hours straight and he was still screaming after. When I wasn’t feeding I was pumping. And when I was pumping, I couldn’t even get an ounce.
I was still waiting for that feeling of fullness to come. So I began drinking 96 ounces of water, taking Fenugreek and drinking mother’s milk tea everyday. For some this has shown success. Unfortunately that was not the case for me.
One week appointment, still losing weight.
Two week appointment, still losing weight and it was recommended that we start supplementing formula.
This is where it became harder than ever.
Now my daughter was formula fed her whole first year. So you would think that would have made it easy to go that route this time around.
I was so determined to be successful this time. I felt pressure from every angle. All I heard was “breast is best” and “don’t give up”. When I would look on the internet for any kind of reassurance that I was not a bad mother for giving my child formula, all that I could find were articles telling me that I was not trying hard enough. That I was doing something wrong. And that there was no way I could not be producing milk.
After giving Rowan formula that first night, it was like we had giving birth to a brand new baby. He was completely calm, happy, and full. And every bottle after that was only confirmation that we were doing the right thing for our child. Feeding him.
By week 3 we were finally back to birth weight and that is what mattered most. It is then I decided I had to share my story; that there needed to be more articles on the internet that didn’t make women feel guilty about feeding their child formula.
And a reminder to all women that “Fed is best”