Saturday, August 10, 2013

From Bottle to Tap: Carol's Nursing Journey

As part of my ongoing National Breastfeeding Month celebration, today we have a guest post from Carol. Here is the story of how she persevered and, after months of exclusively pumping, finally got her baby to latch.  
I thought nursing was going to be easy. After all, we wouldn't have survived as a species if it wasn't simple, right? So, when my son was born, I hadn't bothered to do much research about it and I was in for a rude awakening. Latching was an issue from the very beginning and everyone seemed to have different advice on how to breastfeed. I went home hopeful that everything was going to work like it was supposed to. I don't know how many times I called the lactation consultant in tears the first couple of days but I finally figured out to express milk before nursing to make it easier for my son to latch. I was soaking cloth diapers before every feeding and decided to utilize those bottles they send home with you (for formula I suppose) and offer breast milk in a bottle to my fussy frustrated baby. It was like night and day, the contented, quiet, happy baby that was finally satiated. I would have done anything to keep him happy so off to the store we went for a pump. I figured it was only going to be temporary since I was determined to make breastfeeding work. 

I started pumping and giving my son a bottle, it was hard work but I knew he was getting what was best so it was worth it. Soon, I was cursing the bottles that had to be washed and dreaded being hooked up to a pump for over 5 hours a day rather than snuggling my little newborn. Why, oh why, hadn't I gotten that double pump? Baby was also sleeping longer and I had to set an alarm to wake up and pump and it seemed that no sooner had I fallen asleep than baby would wake up and want a bottle. I decided to do my research this time but I didn't find a whole lot of information on getting an older baby to latch. I had also developed a huge over supply issue as I was pumping enough milk to feed twins and then some. So, armed with what info I did find, I started trying to relearn how to breastfeed. 

I slowly worked on our latch and, once that was decent, I started to wean off the pump. It took almost two months to transition from exclusively pumping to nursing and I found I had to nurse in positions I never had thought possible to make it work. After 3 months of exclusively pumping and another 1.5 of transitioning I finally pumped my last on Jan 7th. We have faced more normal challenges since then of course: biting, distractions and of course nursing a soon to be toddler that likes to stand on his head. Just recently it was discovered that my son is lip as well as tongue tied and, as I look back, I suspect that this was the root of our troubles in the beginning. My baby is almost a year old now and I don't see weaning in our future. Breastfeeding was a bumpy road but I am so glad we stuck to it and persevered in the end.

About the Author:

Carol is a 30 year old stay at home mommy to a wonderful almost one year old boy. She loves to craft and sew and is also active in her local La Leche League and babywearing groups.

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