What does Breastfeeding mean to you?
For me, breastfeeding is the most amazing gift I can give my daughter. I can provide her with exactly what she needs in the exact way that nature intended.
What has been your biggest breastfeeding challenge?
My biggest breastfeeding challenge came at the beginning. Ella came to us three weeks early and on the small size, she was 5 pounds 2 ounces when we brought her home. That combined with my rather large breasts (DDD) made the whole thing difficult. We did well in the hospital with the comfort of a bed that moved and the lactation consults at our beck and call. Once we got home, that all changed. I had to use one hand to support my breast and other to support Ella and even then, she had trouble keeping her latch. The night before her first doctor’s appointment, we couldn’t get her to eat at all. I was terrified to give her milk in a bottle but she wouldn’t eat and I think my anxiety made it that much worse for her. My husband got the lactation consultants on the phone right at 8 am and took control. We got Ella fed, made it to the doctor where we learned that Ella had gained back to her birth weight and that despite my feelings of failure, we were doing great. We discovered I had major oversupply and once we learned how to manage that, it was smooth sailing!
What do you love most about breastfeeding?
I love the connection Ella and I have and how happy nursing makes her. There are times when she almost jumps out of her dad’s arms to get to me. I love that feeling. I also love when she tries to smile at me while nursing. Her eyes light up and she makes this wonderfully weird slurping sound when the corners of her lips curl up breaking her latch. It always makes me laugh which then makes her laugh and sometimes ends with a little stray milk.
Who (or what) has offered you the most support?
My husband was and still is my greatest support. He kept me sane when things weren’t working quite right. He kept me well fed when Ella kept me on couch for hours of marathon nursing. He kept us awake during all the late night feedings. Most of all, he kept us happy and still keeps us happy every day! I also found great support online through the KellyMom Breastfeeding Support Group on Facebook.
Any advice for other mothers who want to breastfeed?
The best advice I can give is to keep at it and ask for the things you need. I asked questions of everyone I knew who had breastfed. I asked questions online in support groups and forums. I asked for the things I needed, whether it was my dinner cut up and served to me on the couch so Ella could keep nursing, or for someone to hold Ella so I could get a quick shower. Nursing my baby is the most important thing I can do for her right now, so whatever else I need to keep going is just as important.in