Do you ever have something on your heart that you feel needs to be said? That no matter how hard you try, you just can’t shake the feeling that you need to express your feelings, to let go of the heaviness that weighs on you? That’s exactly where I’ve been and what I’ve been feeling since Sarah was about a month old.
Breastfeeding seems to be quite the hot topic so I was admittedly scared of being vulnerable and honestly, I’m still scared but its time. It’s time to share my struggles and my successes. It’s time to share the vast differences that are my three experiences in breast feeding. It’s time to be me.
Part One: Luke
To know why Sarah’s breastfeeding story is what it is, I feel like you need the full back story as well, so I’m starting way back at the beginning. When I was pregnant with Luke, I wasn’t sure that I was actually cut out for this whole breastfeeding thing. I’m a super modest person and the thought of being so exposed really creeped me out. I mean, having to nurse in public?! Never!
And then my sweet baby boy was born.
My entire outlook on breastfeeding changed. A light switched on and I was bound and determined to try as hard as possible to make this thing work. I was going to be able to feed my son with all of the nutrients and calories that he needed to grow, to thrive. We were a team and we were going to make this work.
Luke’s two week well-check offered me a rude awakening. My baby who’d been 8 lbs. 11 oz. at birth was now less than 8 lbs. He wasn’t gaining weight and it was such a drastic change that his pediatrician told me he was becoming close to be a “failure to thrive” baby.
I was devastated. In all of my post-partum, anxiety-laden glory, I was a wreck. Not only was I unsure of how this whole parenting thing was supposed to work out with the lack of sleep, but now I was told that I couldn’t do the most basic and natural thing I could think of: nurse my child. I called my husband sobbing because I was failing as a mother. I had no clue Luke wasn’t getting enough; he never cried or fussed. He was the most angelic, calm baby, never demanding for more food. My body didn’t do what it was supposed to and I didn’t know how to deal with that disappointment.
After having a massive pity party for the rest of the day, it was time to come up with a plan of action. After talking with The Husband, my mom, and a couple of my closest friends, I formulated a plan: I would nurse and bottle feed Luke at every feeding. Yep, you read that right — I nursed and bottle fed at every. single. feeding. I wanted to make sure that Luke received the beneficial nutrients of my milk, but the adequate calories that the formula could provide.
It was a labor of love and one that I happily dealt with. I had found a way to make both my heart and my head happy and we happily trucked along for the next six months until I realized that my milk supply was dwindling at an alarming rate. Pumping more, taking supplements that are supposed to boost production, and breastfeeding more often did nothing more than stress me out. I nursed Luke for the last time on his seven month birthday.
Luke has obviously turned out well. At six years old, he’s off the charts for his height, can add double digit numbers in his head with ease, has a kind heart and loving heart, and loves to play any kind of sport we throw his way. While mine and Luke’s breastfeeding story didn’t turn out exactly as I’d hoped, it ended up being exactly what was best for us.
Reagan’s story comes next and it’s nothing like Luke’s. In fact, all three of my children all had vastly different stories. Stay tuned for Part Two: Reagan!