Thank you to everyone who sent in stories! We know this topic was a little bit difficult, but we received some very wonderful and inspiring ones. After much discussion, our staff has narrowed it down to 3 finalists. Now its up to you, our fantastic fans, to pick the ultimate winner!
Please comment or message us with the first name of your favorite story by Monday September 8th and we will announce the ultimate winner on the 9th.
Here are the 3 finalist stories, in no particular order . . .
I’ve tried to be kind to myself and set small goals, so that I wouldn’t become frustrated by being unable to achieve a big goal that I set for myself. Initially my goal was just for my daughter to breastfeed – it took a couple of weeks after she was born for us to figure it out and for her doctors to be convinced that she was gaining enough weight that we could stick to exclusively breastfeeding. My next goal was to keep her exclusively breastfed until I went back to work – done! Then I wanted her to take bottles of breastmilk while I was at work – done! Bosom Buddies was great support during this time with the supplies that I needed, and checkups for me and my pump when I was struggling with pumping at work. Then I wanted my daughter to get to six months exclusively breastfed. Done! I had just set my sights on nine months when my daughter had to be admitted to the hospital. Thanks to lactation consultants at the hospital and the pumping expertise I’d gained from Bosom Buddies while pumping at work, I pumped during her two week hospital stay and was very gratified when a hospital pediatrician told me she was impressed that I was still making milk given the stress of the situation! My daughter is home now and doing well – and that is the best goal achieved that I could ask for!
When I found out I was pregnant with my first, the option of breastfeeding was a no-brainer. Of course I would do it! Why wouldn’t I? It’s easy, right? And formula is so expensive. Oh, how naive I was… While many moms are eager to share their birthing stories (horrific or wonderful), no one talks about breastfeeding. I had no idea what I was getting into! I thought that you just give the baby your nipple and let nature take its course. I was unprepared for figuring out “latching,” sore nipples, and the strange sensation of my let-down. Then my poor baby girl was colicky (we later found out she had reflux – poor thing!), and my over-active let-down was only making matters worse. Things were getting so difficult that we even tried formula to see if that would help. But after tasting mommy’s milk, my little one refused the formula. (Can’t blame her, really. It smelled nasty.) So we had to keep trying. I finally got some help from a La Leche League lactation consultant, and we were successful! I learned how to lessen my supply and tame my over-active let-down, and my baby girl nursed like a pro! She continued to breast feed until she was about 15 months old. She self-weaned as I was pregnant with number 2. Her little brother is now 4 months old and thriving. He’s had no difficulties with feeding, and mom feels much more confident. I’m so glad I stuck it out, and I’m grateful to La Leche League for helping me and my baby girl. I would like to encourage new mamas to keep trying. While it may not be as easy as it seems, it is definitely worth it. There is nothing wrong with asking for help.
Breastfeeding falls under the “I wish someone would’ve told me…” category. I thought breastfeeding would be easy, inexpensive, healthy, and a great way to bond with my baby. It turns out, breastfeeding is SO much harder than anyone could’ve ever told me. But it is so rewarding to be a mom that works full-time and still nurses her baby, and I am hoping to go well beyond a year. There are moments, though, when I feel like life would be so much easier if I just stopped breastfeeding. Undoubtedly I’d get more sleep, be able to go more places for longer periods of time without worrying about having to find a place to nurse or pump, be able to exercise harder without worrying about my supply, but I know that it provides my love with more immunity and a better head-start, and there’s nothing like looking down at your little one latched to you, hand on your breast, looking up at you with big, loving eyes. I had a fairly-emergent C-section and it took my milk a good ten days to come in. During that time we purchased donor milk at the hefty price of $16 per four ounce bottle. My daughter became very dependent and expectant of these bottles and became a very lazy nurser. She would fall asleep at the breast and nothing we did would rouse her to the point of wanting to eat again. I was determined to make breastfeeding work. No other part of my birth plan went as expected, so I was hell-bent on making this part work. Our daughter lost over 15% of her body weight in the hospital and the pediatrician started to discuss implementing formula. This, of course, put my in tears. There was no way I wanted my daughter on formula, and I decided to do whatever I needed to to make breastfeeding work. During maternity leave I attended a breastfeeding clinic twice a week, with wonderful lactation nurses. They helped me try different positions, different nursing pillows and helped me to add and tweak supplements for healthy lactation. They helped me figure out when to pump and how to start building a freezer stash for when I went back to work. I even made my first mommy friend at the clinic and our daughters are best friends. Six months later, we still have our ups and downs, like when my daughter decides to grab my nipple and twist as hard as she can, or decides to quickly turn her head sideways while still latched (sometimes, I have to check to make sure my nipple is still attached!), or preferring to eat off only one side, but I have learned to have more confidence in my ability to nurse her. While still in the hospital, I always had a nurse come in to help me to make sure I was doing it right. What I lacked was confidence. Now I know that if it doesn’t seem like she wants to eat off one side, I should change positions, or switch breasts. I don’t question if I’m doing it “correctly.” I recently even boldly breastfed in public, without a nursing cover. I was hot and sticky, as was my daughter, and she was having none of it, so I took the cover off, ready to battle anyone that gave me trouble over it. An elderly gentleman sitting across the aisle from us at IHOP turned and said, “Excuse me, I think that’s just beautiful.” It was very empowering to hear that. I have received so much support, from having a pumping schedule for work (and a very supportive environment in which to do it) and home, to getting kudos for pumping in an airport bathroom (a mom has to do what a mom has to do), to having my husband bring my daughter to a work function so I can nurse her, and all the support fuels my journey and goals that much more. I am hopeful I can make it well past a year and will do everything in my power to make that happen. My journey has led me to help support other women, from donating our excess donor milk, to making lactation cookies for friends, to discussing supplements and techniques for increasing supply. It has made me seriously consider going to nursing school and becoming an IBCLC. Only time will tell.