I still remember the moment I burst out into tears. Three days freshly into motherhood, hearing the words “you’ll need to supplement with formula,” felt like daggers piercing into my heart.
I felt like a failure.
After having three babies, I realize now that these were unnecessary pressures I put on myself as a first-time mama. But, it didn’t change the challenges I faced with breastfeeding back then, again with my second son, and now with our newest babe.
I’ve learned after three babies that the guilt I put on myself for having a not-so natural transition into something “so natural,” was completely unnecessary. The different struggles and challenges I faced during the beginning weeks of my breastfeeding journey with each of my babies has given me the confidence to be their mama and to trust my instincts in my parenting choices.
It also helps that this third-time around I have a resource like the Happy Family Infant Feeding Platform! Their goal is to make sure all families feel supported during their infant feeding journey. Happy Family provides infant feeding support via a Live Chat with lactation specialists and Cornell-Certified nutritionists, Monday – Friday from 8 AM – 8 PM EST. I love that they are moms supporting moms who want to breastfeed. But, they understand that it isn’t always possible or easy. I love that the Happy Family Infant Feeding Platform provides the support and tools moms need to feel confident with their feeding journey.
Delayed Milk Production / Weight Loss
As a first-time mom, I had a really bad reaction (IV edema) to the epidural and IV that I had during my labor and delivery. Due to severe postpartum swelling, my milk didn’t come in until a week after birth. Baby A lost more than the average 10% from his birth weight and we supplemented for a couple of weeks until my milk fully came in and I was able to establish an adequate supply to meet his needs. From that first month on, I nursed him until 13 months until he self-weaned.
Jaundice / Tongue Tie / Oversupply (Forceful Letdown) / Infant Reflux
The second-time around, my milk came in right away after a speedy and non-medicated labor and delivery. But, Baby C had high bilirubin levels that forced us back into the hospital for an overnight stay to treat his jaundice. (TALK ABOUT GUT WRENCHING!) To help speed up the flush out process, I supplemented with formula during our hospital stay and a few days after to ensure that his bilirubin levels decreased to a normal level. While we were at the hospital, he also had his tongue tie clipped to help with latch issues. We started nursing exclusively shortly after our return home. But a few days later, C started having issues with Infant Reflux. This was probably due to my oversupply and forceful letdown. He was on baby Zantac for a month to help ease the discomfort. My supply started to stabilize and from that first month on, I nursed him until 11 months when I weaned because he became a habitual biter. (OUCH!)
Shallow Latch / Nipple Confusion
This time around, my milk also came in right away after an even faster and non-medicated labor and delivery. We proactively started to supplement right away because of our fears of jaundice issues. I also wanted to ensure that the baby was getting enough milk in the early days because of the weight issues we had with baby A. So far two weeks into my breastfeeding journey with Baby B, I’ve had two clogged ducts. And we’re now dealing with shallow latch issues. He may have a slight lip or tongue tie. But, I don’t want to put him through any procedures at this point. So, I’ve opted to pump bottles until we get a better handle on his latch. I’m hopeful that we’ll work out the issues and have a similar breastfeeding journey as I did with my two older boys.
So without a doubt, between all three boys, I’ve experienced numerous challenges with breastfeeding. But, it’s also been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Four years into this motherhood gig, I’ve matured as a mom. I know that everything I did and am doing for each of them is enough. While I wish I had a resource like the Happy Family Infant Feeding Platform with my first son, I’m grateful for the lessons that I’ve learned with feeding each of my babies during their infant months. Each pregnancy, each baby is unique and different. You’ll face different challenges and learn different things along the way. And that is not only okay, but perfectly and absolutely normal.
For the nursing moms, did you face any breastfeeding challenges? How did you overcome them?