Guest Post by Keyona Grant
One of the things that surprised me most about breastfeeding after my first baby was born, was how much dedication it takes. During those newborn weeks, that baby was attached to my boob 24/7.
Support and breastfeeding seem like a topic that shouldn’t need to be discussed. Of course, everyone should support a mother’s choice to breastfeed. Especially when it comes to close family.
But not all moms get that same support. Some are shamed or criticized for their choice to breastfeed. Told that they won’t be successful or they are breastfeeding too long or that they should give up.
In today’s guest post in our National Breastfeeding Awareness series, Keyona tells her story of overcoming an unsupportive family to make her own path when it comes to her breastfeeding journey.
No Family Support and Breastfeeding
I’ve always known that I wasn’t breastfed as a baby. My mom said she tried twice but it was too painful. And I was too greedy. Her words, not mine.
I just assumed I wouldn’t breastfeed either. I was formula fed and I turned out great (if I must say so myself!). Besides, I didn’t want saggy boobs nor did I want the stretched out nipples.
When I found out I was pregnant, everything changed. It was like a switch got flipped. I suddenly had this intense desire to breastfeed my baby. The nurturing seed was blooming inside of me.
When I shared this with my family, I wasn’t greeted with the response I expected. Instead, people told me how horrible their breastfeeding attempt was. Why they didn’t do it for long. Why they never tried again.
When I shared this with my family, I wasn’t greeted with the response I expected.
They thought I was crazy for even wanting to. No one offered any support or guidance. I was very discouraged, to say the least. But, I was now more determined than ever!
Never let other people’s negative experiences discourage you from even trying!!!
Once I made the decision to breastfeed, I was all in. I took a class at the local hospital. Learned nursing positions, how to manually express milk, and proper latch techniques.
They emphasized the importance of using the lactation consultant even if you had breastfed before. I think this would have helped the women I encountered who had negative experiences.
Yes, breastfeeding can be uncomfortable in the beginning. But, it shouldn’t hurt every time. If it does something is not right.
The lactation consultant can look at the baby and see if they are latching correctly. They can help solve the problem so that breastfeeding is no longer uncomfortable for you or the baby.
After the class, I was excited. I felt prepared. Now all I needed was a baby! What could go wrong?
I had a planned c-section and did skin to skin with my baby as soon as possible. I read that was very important in helping my milk to come in. She was ready to nurse immediately.
I remember bracing myself for the pain with latching. It never came (at least not that day)! I had fallen head over heels in love and couldn’t feel a thing. I was also on pain meds!
I didn’t want anything to interfere with our breastfeeding journey. I wanted us to succeed. The classes I took and everything I read said to avoid bottles and pacifiers. We didn’t want to create nipple confusion.
My colostrum wasn’t getting the job done. They wanted to supplement with bottles of formula.
The hospital burst my bubble within hours of my daughter’s birth. She was born at 36 weeks and unable to maintain her blood sugar. My colostrum wasn’t getting the job done. They wanted to supplement with bottles of formula.
It went against everything I had learned about successfully breastfeeding. What was I supposed to do? Of course, I wasn’t going to sit and let her blood sugar continue to drop.
The lactation consultant was my advocate. She insisted they allow me to nurse my baby followed by a blood sugar test. If her blood sugar was low, then she would be offered half an ounce of formula.
From day one, my baby showed that her preference was the breast. She got just enough formula to keep her blood sugar up. After those two days, she was only fed from the breast until I returned to work.
The classes didn’t prepare me for the cluster feedings (when baby wants to nurse constantly, typically at night) or the various reasons outside of hunger that make a baby want to nurse.
I thought I wasn’t producing enough milk for her. I became obsessed with how many wet and poopy diapers she had. Turns out she was getting enough and has continued to get enough.
I gave birth 13 months ago and guess what? I’m still breastfeeding my daughter.
I gave birth 13 months ago and guess what? I’m still breastfeeding my daughter. This is amazing to me, especially after everything the naysayers told me in the beginning. My original goal was to make it 6 months. I never dreamt of going past a year.
Funny thing is, now I don’t see an end in sight.
If breastfeeding is something you want to do, do it! Utilize support groups, follow your instincts, and nurse on. You got this momma!
About the Author:
Keyona, co-author of the It’s a Baby blog, is the mother of a beautiful 13-month-old baby girl. When she’s not mothering her new baby, Keyona works as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, (CRNA), in North Carolina. She enjoys all thing s HGTV and DIY. When her daughter gets older, she hopes to be able to relish in one of her other loves, reading. You can read more about Keyona’s experiences at her blog Professional Momma.