One thing I always wanted as a mama was to breastfeed my babies. With Waverly, we had an interesting start at the very beginning and she needed a little latch correction, but nothing that lasted more than a week. From there on it was smooth sailing until she was 13 months old. At about that time my milk started dwindling and she weened with a breeze. So with Brody, I had very similar expectations, but hopes for an even smoother introduction into breastfeeding, as that I had some experience under my belt. Life always seems to have a different plan.
Brody came out a screaming and hungry. We were able to get him to latch within minutes of arrival into this world and he nursed both side successfully. Just the start I had hoped for. After a few hours I knew Brody's latch was not quite right, but my stubborn self just pushed it off and told myself it was just sensitivity since my boobies were a bit out of breastfeeding shape. My milk came in with a vengeance on day two; I know, totally lucky right. I was having so much trouble regulating that milk was literally dripping into his mouth, so he barely had to latch or suck to get all that he needed. As my body started regulating and my flow got under control, he had to start trying harder again, and it was bad, oh so bad. One night after breastfeeding, I found blood all over Brody's swaddle. Trying not to panic, I went to the good ol' Google machine. Usually this is probably the worst thing you can do, reading all the horrible scenarios that really don't apply to your situation; but this time I got lucky. I found a very obvious answer,
"Consider these likely causes. If you see some red flecks or pink-tinged newborn spit-up or vomit, the source of the blood is most likely to be swallowed maternal blood. The blood came from you, either by the baby swallowing blood during the birth process or from your breasts or nipples during breastfeeding.
Yup, that was happening. My nipples were so cracked and bleeding I had no doubt that was what was wrong. I run to the nipple creams and shield. By this point so much damage was done, I knew I needed to attempt to give them a little break. I started pumping every other feeding to allow a bit of healing. Two days later Brody falls ill with RSV (This is another story in and of itself, so I am not even going there right now.) He was hospitalized and put on a feeding at 10 days old, and was there for 10 days. The doctors and nurses told me there was a large chance that he would never breastfeed again with such a big hiccup at an early state. While in the hospital I pumped around the clock to keep my supply up and so they could feed him the mama goods through the feeding tube. I was determined to prove these doctors wrong. Good news, my nipples healed during this time. Coming out of the coma and off the feeding tube, the Doctor allowed me to breastfeed my sweet baby, but he kept spitting it all right back up and was not getting the nutrition he needed at the critical point. So we pumped and bottle fed the rest of our stay.
Upon going home, I was nervous about keeping Brody well fed, so we went to about 50/50 breastfeeding and pumping. However; the cracked nipples came back. At my 6 week check up my OB was worried about the well being of those beat up boobies; she glanced in Brody's mouth to say, "He has a tongue tie." HOW DID NO ONE NOTICE THIS BEFORE!?!?! She got me into a specialist the following day, and we got that little baby clipped, yet the doctor told me the chances of him ever getting his latch right were very slim.
At this point Brody is nearly two months. I tried, oh how hard we tried, and it just wasn't working. Brody was a grumpy, unhappy boy. I felt like a failure as a mother. But I pumped allowing him to latch once a day. My milk dipped. I took every supplement, drank all the teas (this was my favorite by Promise Prenatal) and loaded myself with all the right breastfeeding foods. Not many worked; but here's what did work...Kale, Blueberries, Quinoa, Red Meat and Oatmeal (Here's a recipe for the best milk boosting salad). And WATER, so much water. I went from pumping 22oz a day to 30 by incorporating these foods into my diet. After a month of this, one night during Brody's latch time, something shifted. It didn't hurt and I felt my milk just flowing. So the next day I attempted a 50/50 day, and everything was clicking. After a week, my baby boy was 100% breastfed. His demeanor completely changed and our bond grew by leaps and bounds. He started loading on the pounds and smiles. I'm not sure what happened, what changed, but I am so happy I fought for it. Here we are today, 8.5 months old and I have the happiest, healthiest, breastfed baby boy.
I'm not pressing breastfeeding on anyone; if it's not your thing and you choose formula, no judgment here. But for me it was what my heart desired. No one ever said breastfeeding is easy. Don't throw in the towel too quickly, it took us 3 months to get it right and I wasn't a first timer. Don't be afraid to look for help if it's just not working.
If you're on the hunt for a great nursing cover, we love our's from KeaBaby. Because when baby's hungry, you've got to feed them regardless of your surroundings.
Best of luck. Here's to happy mamas and healthy babies.