Hello! I am Suzanne, and I blog over at The Glorious Mundane. Basically, I write all about my love, our beautiful daughter, and all the adventures that we have in our “boring” life. Trust me…it’s not boring! I also use my blog to post money-saving tips and I love to guest post birth stories!
Before I became pregnant, I knew I wanted to breast feed. I grew up in Africa, and most women in Africa often have no other options. Growing up, I never saw a bottle of formula! I saw breastfeeding and simply knew it was the natural way.
While pregnant, I read every book I could get my hands on about pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. I had a beautiful pregnancy and when it came time for our daughters birth, I delivered her naturally on the floor of a birth center, yelling “SOMEBODY CUT HER OUT OF ME!” the whole time, least you think I was a beautiful, perfect “birther”. The nurses, my doula and my husband ushered me to my bed immediately after her birth and handed her to me. I was in a total fog so I have no idea what really happened, but I remember trying to breastfeed her and thinking that it went well. That night we drifted off to sleep as a beautiful, happy family of three.
The next morning during shift change, the new nurse came in. She was smacking her gum and had a look on her face that portrayed that she would rather be anywhere else than helping me out. Okkkk, then. She stomped into the room and told me that I needed to sit up at a 90 degree angle so that we could feed Tera. I complied as quickly as possible…but I did just deliver a baby and sitting up quickly at a 90 degree angle was not the most pleasurable thing to do. I kept hoisting myself up and she kept demanding that I “sit up straighter or the baby can’t eat!”. By this point, my husband, Theo was getting annoyed. But it only got worse. We brought the baby to my breast and she “latched” on and starting sucking. Great! I thought…no problem. But apparently Tera wasn’t latched on at all. So the nurse grabbed a hospital breastfeeding pillow and shoved it around my middle. Also not the most pleasurable thing to do, especially when I had brought my own pillow! By this point, Tera had started to cry, I was in tears and my husband was about to escort the nurse out of the room. She took one look at the situation and said: “This is never going to work”.
Awesome. I somehow held back the tears as the nurse marched to the phone and called lactation, demanding that they bring someone up ASAP because “this wasn’t working”. My husband asked the nurse to leave and I bawled my eyes out…because you know…hormones AND I was just told after 5 seconds of trying (but not really trying!) that “this wouldn’t work”.
A few minutes later, the sweetest lactation consultant came into the room. Maybe she actually wasn’t the sweetest, but compared to the nurse, I felt like I was being treated like a princess. Except that we were all suddenly examining my boobs. After taking one look at my boobs, the lactation consultant declared that I had “shallow nipples”. Well, then. Who even knew that was a thing??!!?? The LC then pulled a nipple shield out of her pocket and gently showed me how to use it. We brought Tera up to my breast, and she latched perfectly. That was the beginning of our breast feeding journey.
Tera is 8 months old now, and I am still breast feeding her. I exclusively breast fed her until 6 months, when we started solids. To this day, I still have to use the nipple shield, although I was told that it should help my draw out my nipples. Nope, that didn’t happen! Tera just won’t latch on if the shield is not on. This makes nursing in public a pain, as I always have to have the nipple shield, attach the nipple shield, and then make sure that the nipple shield stays attached while she nurses. It has also become increasingly difficult to nurse with the nipple shield as Tera becomes more mobile. She will roll and twist and turn and off the shield pops, so we have to begin the whole reattaching and latching process over again.
One other aspect of breast-feeding for us was Tera’s inability to sleep through the night. Breast milk is perfect for baby- it has all the necessary nutrients and calories. However, babies easily digest breast milk and often can’t go very long without eating. This was the problem that we were having with Tera. She would wake up every 2-3 hours during the night, just to eat. Finally, at 7.5 months I decided that I could NOT go another night without sleep, and I introduced a bottle of formula to Tera at bedtime. She drinks this one bottle and sleeps 7-10 hours stretches now. Hallelujah!!! To me, formula is not the best way, but it’s certainly not going to hurt her. And in this situation, I feel like it is so worth it!
Our breast feeding goal is one year, and we are only four short months away from it! It has had it’s difficult moments and it has had it’s wonderful moments of quiet cuddles and precious bonding.