If you’ve had any length of conversation with me in the past 9 months since Tara’s been born, it’s more than likely that breastfeeding has come up. Sorry for those of you who felt it was TMI (you’re probably right ;)) It seems like for weeks and months at a time it was all that I talked about, or thought about, which makes sense considering it was one of the only things I did all day and especially all night.
My thoughts on breastfeeding now are much different than they were before I had a baby and even different than they were just a few months ago right after having had a baby. My thoughts before I had her were that breastfeeding was the BEST and it was free and healthy and I would DEFINITELY do it, why wouldn’t I?? My thoughts in the first few weeks/months after having her were that breastfeeding was the WORST and it was costing me a million dollars in nipple creams and pads and lactation consultants and APNO prescriptions and it wasn’t healthy because my baby wasn’t gaining weight and I would DEFINITELY stop doing it because it was torture.
Now 9 months later? I’m somewhere in the middle. After 6 weeks of pretty intense pain (and cracking and bleeding) and Tara not thriving in the weight department we hired a IBCLC who discovered her upper lip & posterior tongue tie. This was then (begrudgingly) confirmed by her pediatrician who still didn’t totally agree that this had any effect on breastfeeding or feeding in general – yet this was the same person who had us going in for bi-weekly weight checks and making us wake her up at night to feed her. We decided to have her ties released via a local preferred provider that came recommended by our doula, IBCLC & pediatrician.
By the time we made the appointment at the pediatric dentist I was almost exclusively pumping, minus trying to feed her once or twice a day. I probably would have given up breastfeeding all together at this point, but Tara still wasn’t gaining well or eating well via bottle and my supply while pumping was fine, in fact I had an oversupply, which comes with issues of it’s own like clogged ducts and not being able to sleep as long as the baby slept (which as you can imagine wasn’t even that long to begin with).
It took several more weeks after her procedure for her to latch on without pain (and even longer than that for her to latch without the nipple shield) and things got worse before they got better. It was a super stressful time for both of us and between the lack of precious sleep and raging postpartum hormones I honestly can’t say that continuing to breastfeed/pump at that time was the best thing for me. We were lucky to find a free local breastfeeding support group and made some good friends through that which helped a ton (there was no such thing as TMI there). I realize despite the difficulties I was lucky to have the option to choose to breastfeed. I fully believe that fed is best, and what is best for you is what is best for your baby, but like with most things in life when you exchange the words ‘you’ for ‘me’ and ‘your’ for ‘my’, it’s harder. So much easier said than done.
I love that World Breastfeeding Week is a thing, not just because I’m pro-breastfeeding but because I’m very much pro about having the feeding conversation out there (TMI and all) and seeing so many people being open and honest about their own experiences. It’s such a heated topic associated with a lot of guilt and judgement but please know that whatever you’re going through (loving it or hating it or somewhere in between, or formula feeding or doing a combination of both) you are not alone. In the end we’re all in this together just trying to do what is best for our babies and hopefully, what is best for us too.