This year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme of goals got me to thinking about my own experiences breastfeeding my kids.
Before I had kids, my goal was to breastfeed for at least a couple of years. Having worked at Bosom Buddies for years, it just seemed like the normal thing to do. Having a mom who is a lactation consultant didn’t hurt either. It’s what nature intended. Not always easy to do I know, but I had the knowledge and resources for help if I needed it. Then the kids came…
When I got pregnant the first time, I felt pretty in control and like we had things planned out. Then we found out we were having twins. Less than 3 weeks later, my husband got laid off from the perfect job. A couple of normal months, then I was put on bed rest in the hospital for two months of the pregnancy. Doctors and nurses told me at any time I could deliver and what the complications would be with such premature babies. There was some fear, but I just never felt like it would happen. A level of determination set in that I would do whatever I could to keep these babies cooking as long as I could.
And cook they did! People started joking that they would have to induce to get them out. The doctor talked about releasing me, thinking I would be back to deliver that night. As my due date got closer, I did get to go home. And the babies didn’t budge.
A couple of weeks later they did have to induce. Hard part is over, right? The babies will come, nursing will be wonderful and all will be good. Not so much.
One baby was an ok nurser. The other not so much, and boy did he have a set of lungs on him. And my body didn’t get the message that it was supposed to produce milk. So we learned about how to write a prescription for donor milk (apparently it is very difficult to write “donor milk” on a prescription pad), how the milk bank works, how to finger feed, using a supplemental nursing system, and pumping. For weeks we did triple feeds (nurse, supplement, pump) around the clock. And I do mean we. I had such a tremendous amount of support, I’m not sure there was a feeding for at least several weeks that I had to do without help from my husband or family.
I do remember being frustrated. I remember hating pumping. But I also remember (with much help from others), believing my body would eventually do it and never even thinking giving up was an option. We’ll get there and have that storybook image of nursing these boys into their toddlerhood.
I did reach the honeymoon stage of nursing them. It took a couple of months, but my supply was not only enough for them, but enough to stash some in the freezer. They would both nurse at the same time, we got the latch down, all seemed good.
When the twins were 4 and a half months old, I got sick. Really sick. My husband was told to get my affairs in order. Again due to the support of family, I did pump for awhile. But it just wasn’t possible at that time to keep nursing the boys. I look back with regret, but it was a reality at that time. So much for my goal.
For quite some time, I saw that as a failure. I quit too soon. We should have done more to keep it going. What could I have done better? But the reality is, that’s the hand we were dealt, and we playing the best we could at that time.
Stay tuned to hear about Round 2.