This has been my struggle this last week. I should have just been able to birth a baby and instantly be able to nurse that baby. There should never be any issues. If I were like an animal in the wild and I couldn’t feed my baby it would die, end of story. Not end of story.
McKenna is now 3 months. I also just came to WA with both girls to visit family. And this is where a poorly timed dip in supply meets a growth spurt. Previously every time I fed Kenna I could pump 3-6 oz on the other side from where she was nursing, and she was good. But then suddenly she was hungrier, she’d finish the one side and fuss till I gave her the other. Which was fine for a day but then that wasnt enough either. At night, for 4 nights, she would stay latched on ALL NIGHT so I had to switch sides constantly and I didn’t get any sleep at all. Then during the day she would eat and drain both sides and would still be hungry, fussy and crying; leaving me wondering what to do. Do I give her baby cereal? No she’s just 3 months her stomachs not ready. Do I give her formula? No I really don’t want to do that, I want to be able to just breast feed. I should be able to just breast feed. God made me to be able to feed my baby, right? Ok so do I just nurse and nurse and nurse so that she has enough to survive but not enough to satisfy? How can all this crying and distress be ok? This can’t be healthy either? What do I do? Am I failing as a nursing mom? After a few days of this internal struggle finally I drop my pride and reach out for help. I am so SO thankful I did. I got some discouraging responses, but mostly I got a lot of encouragement and ideas on what to do. The two most helpful for me in my situation was 1. Hand the baby off to someone else and take a bath. Relax and give my body a shot to recharge, refill, and rejuvenate itself. and 2. Try a supplement called Fenugreek. So now after 10 days, of crying together, we have relief! I am finally producing more and I have my happy baby back AND last night I was even able to pump an extra bottle again!
This was not our first struggle and probably wont be our last and it certainly wont be the only struggle any nursing mom ever has. What I learned from this particular experience was that when responding to a mom in need don’t undermine their concerns about whats going on by saying things like “I’m sure that’s not really whats going on” or “We often doubt our bodies” because, they are the mom and often they do know at least somewhat whats going on and by saying these things, although often meant well it just hurts the mom and makes them feel unintelligent, unsure, more confident in themselves, and to not want to ask questions again for feeling foolish. I also learned that with support and the right information it is possible to find a solution and even if I did need to supplement either myself or my baby, it ok. Nursing your baby is more than feeding, but raising your baby, bonding, and nurturing them. It should be a positive and happy experience for both and its ok to take the steps needed to make it so.
*Although quite personal, I’m hoping that by letting down my guard, exposing my difficulties, and posting about my nursing experience this time around I might be able to help someone else. I only wish I had some help my first time around with my older daughter. I will later try to post about some of our previous issues with pumping, bottle feeding, binkis, and nursing strikes.