I got to hear such a great story at the Latch On event on Friday so instead of sharing our surprise activity that got cancelled, I thought I would share OUR breastfeeding story. ❤️ And I say OUR because Eric, our families, ALL OF US, have played a major role in keeping the “manos” (Narra’s pet name for breast milk) love alive!
I grew up in a family of four kids with two younger siblings. One wonderful thing I remember from my childhood was that my mom breastfed my youngest sibling, Shaun, until he was 2 years old. I saw the wonderful things breastmilk did for my brother as a baby (he hardly got sick, he is super smart, breastmilk was FREE). So with that in mind, I knew that I would be breastfeeding for sure!
I made sure to educate myself as much as possible about breastfeeding. I went to a training on it, asked my breastfeeding mom-friends what to expect, made sure I had all the latest research and breastfeeding websites on hand. I also thought, my mom made it look so easy and she had 3 other kids to parent while breastfeeding one more, I DEFINITELY was going to have this! It would come natural to me, baby was going to have an awesome latch and the milk would be FLOWING!!!
Fast forward to the time after my emergency c-section for Narra.
We got skin to skin immediately after the surgery and Narra took to the boob like a CHAMP! She sucked and sucked and sucked. Our latch looked great, it looked like she was doing awesome. I had no idea otherwise, plus I was DONE after having 4 days of no sleep (the induction didn’t take).
We went into recovery and the weighing started happening. Narra lost weight, and then some more. And then they wouldn’t discharge us because she had lost 10% of her body weight and she was slightly jaundiced. She wasn’t getting enough milk from me. It seemed like my milk hadn’t come in yet.
The lovely nurse gave us options on what to do. We needed to feed from the breast, supplement with formula or donor milk, and pump to encourage more milk production. She started explaining and informing me and all I could think was how I was a FAILURE of a mom.
I couldn’t feed my own daughter. This is what I was MEANT to do. What I’ve been biologically programmed to do. And I couldn’t do it. I broke down and cried for a good 5 minutes before Eric and I decided that donor milk was the best for us.
I know how incredibly lucky we were to get that option of having donor milk. The milk at BC Women’s went through rigorous testing before it could be given to babies in the NICU, and anything else extra was given to newborns who needed in the hospital, newborns like Narra.
We were DETERMINED to go home. We knew what to do. We just had to make sure Narra was “eating” and she would gain weight and we could, after nearly a week of being in the hospital, finally go home and be a FAMILY.
We began the intense process of breastfeeding, pumping, getting my pumped milk into Narra, then giving donor milk through a bottle. I say WE because Eric was with me every step of the way, handing Narra to me while I was recovering from my csection, making sure I had pillows, requesting for more lanolin when I was out, and everything else I needed.
After a full day of the “process”, which really felt like FIVE, our BEST nurse whom I will NEVER EVER forget, weighed Narra, signed our discharge papers, checked Narra’s car seat situation and off home we went. You’d never seen a post-c section mama walk out of the hospital so fast. 😉
I’m happy to say that once we got home, the milk started FLOWING. I encouraged it along with lots of milk producing home remedies and of course, LOVE. I had the support of Eric, my mom in law, my sister and her boyfriend who came to visit frequently, my mom who brought me buckets of soup, my friends who made sure we were all fed, everyone pitched in to make sure my milk was available and ready for Narra.
I want to say that our breastfeeding career was all roses after that, but like all stories, ours had minor speed bumps like nursing strikes, questions if I had enough supply (most moms have MORE THAN ENOUGH for their babies), nursing aversions, plugged milk ducts and all night nursing sessions that Narra was ecstatic about, mommy not so much. 😝
But when I look at how LONG and how HARD I have worked to give something so special to my daughter, something that NO ONE ELSE could give her, I cannot help but feel proud.
Not just this Thanksgiving, but everyday, I am grateful to have given her this gift in life. The gift of an unbreakable bond, a head start, a strong body and a *thirst* for all things good and healthy. ❤️
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Do you have a breastfeeding story you want to share? I would love to hear it!