A Breastfeeding Battle {Lifestyle Photographer, Seattle, WA}

April 08, 2018  •  1 Comment

You would think by baby number three, breastfeeding would come easy. Especially after number one had breastfeed for 16 months and number two for 21 months. When Oscar was born, I thought I knew what I was doing. This was going to be easy. I had done this before. Oscar was born at a whopping 9lbs 2oz at 39 weeks. He was "large for gestational age" and needed his blood sugars monitored for the first 12 hours. With my other two, I fed them as often as they needed. With Oscar, due to the testing, I could only feed him every two hours on the first day of his life. I don't know if this had anything to do with our struggle or not, but I think it's worth noting.

At first, I thought everything was going fine. We went home 48 hours after he was born and I had no worries or concerns. The following day, I was a little worried about how much he was sleeping. I mean, I know how much newborns sleep but this seemed abnormal. I had to wake him to feed him and when I did, he would only nurse for a couple of minutes before falling back to sleep. The following day, I was having a lot of pain every time he nursed. I mean, crying, toe curling pain. That day, we had to go back to the hospital for a check up and I mentioned the pain. The nurse helped with positioning and I felt like things were a little better. The following day, we visited the pediatrician and his weight was 8lbs 7oz. Down a bit, but nothing to be concerned about. The next few days, breastfeeding got worse and worse. I started to dread it. He was still super sleepy and nursing about every three hours, but only because I was waking him.

At three weeks, we visited the pediatrician again and he was 9lbs 1oz. 1 ounce away from birth weight. I was a little concerned but the pediatrician wasn't. She said he was gaining at the lowest rate they'd like to see, but still gaining so everything was fine. The pain was so bad that it would hurt all the way to my back and last for two hours after feeding him. I would cry the entire time he was at the breast. Despite being used to nursing in public, I couldn't do it with him because I would be crying the entire time. I started to have anxiety a couple of hours after feeding him because I knew it was almost time to do it all over again. It didn't help that we had just bought a new house and were in the process of moving too. There was a lot going on at the time so I kept putting off visiting a lactation consultant. At exactly three weeks, he had fallen asleep at midnight. I woke up at 4am and he was still sleeping. I thought "I'll just close my eyes because he'll be awake any second." Next thing I knew, it was 8am. My three week old baby had just slept 8 hours straight. It sounds good, but it really wasn't. I had mastitis. I knew as soon as I hopped in the shower that morning. I was achy. My whole body hurt, and I couldn't decide if I was hot or cold. I was shivering one minute, sweating the next. Luckily, my doctor sent through a prescription so I could start on antibiotics right away. I knew I had no choice but to see a lactation consultant so I made the phone call. They could see me the next day, the 4th of July and the day before we officially moved into our new house. The first thing they did was weigh him. He was 9lbs 1oz. He hadn't gained anything in 5 days. Not good news for a little baby. The lactation consultant was amazing. She helped with positioning and recommended that I start pumping to make sure he was getting enough milk. Knowing that I wanted to continue breastfeeding, she suggested pumping enough for 2 bottles a day, and nursing the rest of the time. I was so new to pumping that I didn't even know how much an almost one month old ate. My other two had never had bottles so this was all new to me. I walked out of there, pump in hand, ready to do anything to make sure we got the hang of breastfeeding. I hated pumping with a passion but was determined to do anything to make sure he got breast milk. He started gaining weight, and slowly, his latch started getting better. When he was 5 weeks old, I took all three kids to the zoo. We went to the indoor play area at the zoo so the older two could play and so that I could sit down to nurse Oscar. I remember sitting there nursing him and for the first time, I felt like I had my life back. Breastfeeding was so much better and I was no longer afraid to nurse him. His latch wasn't 100% but it was so much better than what it had been. 

We battled on. His latch was never perfect but it was so much better than it had been. He was gaining weight, slowly but surely. He settled around the 20th percentile mark. It's a lot lower than his birth percentile (90th) but it's on par with where my other kids are so I'm not concerned.

There were many times I wanted to give up, but here we are, 10 months in and still going strong. Breastfeeding this one has been so rewarding given our rough start. I even booked a nursing session with another photographer next month to document it. At that stage, we'll be approaching the one year mark. I feel like after all we went through, we need it documented!

Mamas, if breastfeeding is important to you and it's not going well, don't be afraid to seek help. I'm so glad I did. The best advice I received was "Don't quit on your worst day." I'm so glad I didn't xxoo

breastfeeding baby, seattle wa


Comments

Kirsty(non-registered)
This is so inspiring, thank you for sharing! And I love how beautifully you photograph breastfeeding mamas!
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