The final installment of my breastfeeding stories comes from a dear friend Sarah. She is an amazing mother, and does everything to make her daughter Zoey's life awesome. She wrote her story to show that even if you aren't able to make it to you goals that the fact you tried is all that matters. And you children will be happy for anytime they were able to bond with you on such an intense level.
When I found out I was expecting, the choice to breastfeed was not hard
to make. It didn’t require much thought. She was my first child and she
would be given the very best of everything that I could provide for her,
and it started with breast milk.
At 29 weeks I was diagnosed with
gestational diabetes and had to follow a strict diet, monitor my blood
sugar, and attend NST’s every week. This being my first pregnancy and
not knowing much about gestational diabetes, I was frightened and
overwhelmed by all of the information and orders being hurled at me. I
wanted to do the very best for my child, I wanted her to be healthy and
happy and when I found out I had gestational diabetes, I felt like I had
failed right out of the gate. She wasn’t even in the world yet, and I
had failed her.
Despite my growing disappointment with myself, I
altered my diet and exercised daily. My blood glucose levels were being
controlled and I would not require medication. Still, when my healthy,
nearly 10lb baby girl was born into the world, her blood sugar levels
were frighteningly low because her tiny body had been producing extra
insulin to compensate for my body’s inability to create enough. She was
very slow moving, very quiet with no cries, and they wouldn’t even let
my husband or I hold her. The nurse kept telling me things like “she is
going to have to go to NICU” and “you won’t be taking her with you to
the recovery room”. I was beside myself with anger and sadness. I wanted
to hold my child. I wanted my husband to hold her, too. Finally (five
hours later) the doctor from the NICU came to evaluate her and told me
that the best thing to do is to feed her and try to get her glucose
levels to rise. He told me that she was alert and looked very strong and
that there was no reason to take her from me.
I continued to
breastfeed her with great success until she was 6 months old. She began
to cut teeth and bit me a few times, and I attempted pumping and bottle
feeding her with not so much success. I planned to breastfeed her for an
entire year at least, and when my milk began drying up, I felt like a
failure again. Once again, my body was failing her and there was nothing
I could do about it. Was it because I took her from the breast and
began pumping? Was it due to the stress of my husband being gone for
seven months? Was I not eating/drinking the right things? I tried
everything from Mothers Milk Tea to breast massaging to pumping
immediately after breastfeeding to help create a bigger milk supply.
Nothing I tried seemed to help. She was growing so much, and had more
than doubled her birth weight by 6 months and was no longer satisfied
with the amount of milk my breasts could offer her, especially since it
had started dwindling. I was calling and visiting the doctor’s office
and lactation consultants so frequently that they knew my name, my story
and why I was there every time.
I was eventually advised to
introduce formula, even though I was completely against it and did not
want it for my child. She was not getting what she needed from me, and
it was the only option left to ensure that she continued to be healthy
and strong. I started her on formula with much reluctance, and to my
surprise, she had no issues with it. She was finally getting a full meal
in her belly, sleeping through the nights, and wasn’t fussy and crying
to be at my breast all the time anymore.
It was hard to give up that
bond of breastfeeding. It is a feeling unlike any closeness I have ever
felt. I am glad I was able to do it for the short time that my body
would allow me to, though. I know that I gave her the best start I
possibly could, and that I had tried everything in my power before
giving in to formula feeding and I was glad that we had made it 6 whole
months because some mothers don’t even make it that long. It is a hard
pill to swallow when your body doesn’t do what it is designed to do,
especially when it comes to your child’s health and well-being. There
are some things in life you can’t make happen, no matter how hard you
try. I had to make myself understand that it was not my fault and that
ANY amount of time spent breastfeeding was better than not doing it at
It blows my mind when I hear women say that breastfeeding “creeps
them out” or isn’t something they are even willing to try. I understand
to each their own, but I cannot wrap my mind around those who aren’t
willing to sacrifice being uncomfortable so that their child is given
the very best they can offer. I envy those who have made it a full year
and beyond. I will try again with my next child, and I will give it all I
have to make it work just like I did with Zoey.
If you enjoyed reading these stories, come back and visit again. My blog is filled with fun parenting adventures, and there are many more on the horizon. Also you can enjoy my familys adventures as we travel through Europe, and occasionally a fun craft or two that I indulge myself in. It has been great seeing new faces checking out my blog lately and hope that I can continue to bring you interesting stories, and pictures!!
Here is the link for Part 1 if you and Part 2 if you missed them!