When it comes to breastfeeding, there are moms that struggle to make enough and then there are moms like, “Oh! She latched on perfectly and it’s just been amazing and I pump like a gallon of milk every 2 hours.” And they show you their freezer stash and you want to punch them in the face. I am not one of those moms. I’ve never been a super supplier when it comes to breast milk.
My breastfeeding journey started with my son. He was quite the angry little dude and he didn’t want to latch when he came out. They said to give it time – I pumped and syringe fed him every 3 hours like they said. He still wouldn’t latch. After 24 hours my midwife suggested nipple shields. The lactation consultant (I didn’t have a great one, so make sure yours is really awesome) told me it was a bad idea and I just needed to try harder. She suggested sprinkling formula on my boob to “entice” him. Yeah.
He pretty much just screamed at my boob, and I cried. So we used the nipple shield and voila! He was nursing. We discovered just after that he had a tongue tie. We went to get it clipped at 1 week old, thinking it was the magic bullet that would make everything easier. Not so much. My inverted nipples didn’t help much, even after it was clipped. It was a long 6 weeks. I was glad I threw out all the formula samples they sent, because so many times I wanted to quit.
I was lucky enough with my son to be home with him for 10 months while I ran my marketing business. (What She Said Marketing Solutions is my company, we do digital marketing). Our breastfeeding journey ended abruptly when I got pregnant with my second. Around 14 months (4 months pregnant), I got severe nursing aversion and we cold-turkey weaned after a few weeks.
My daughter was born 6 months ago and it’s been even more difficult in a completely different way. She did latch when she came out, but also had a tongue tie (which the same doctor clipped at a week old). After that we were able to perfect our latch, but when I put her into day care at 12 weeks, I’ve struggled to pump ever since. When I pump I get between an ounce and 2 ounces from both breasts. My body responds poorly to a pump. We have a breastfeeding group that a few local moms started on Facebook a few years ago – I’ve been troubleshooting every possible thing I can. The only thing that works is building an oversupply so that I get closer to 2 ounces and basically pumping around the clock. Add to all this – my period returned at 8 weeks postpartum, so for 2 weeks almost every month, my supply lessens even more.
My concerns are your concerns. I worry that she’s not gaining enough weight. I struggle to produce. I am torn between my career and breastfeeding. I am bitter at times. I cry. I have meltdowns. I am determined. We’ve made it 6 months and thankfully I’ve found a local mom who donates to me on a regular basis when I am a little short, which also helps if we want to go out to dinner. I tried feeding her at the day care, but it only caused frustration for everyone.
For the last two years I’ve been perfecting our lactation cookie recipe. I’ve had to remove a lot of the most delicious ingredients for us (which is why we have so many different kinds), after a food sensitivity test found issues for my daughter – but the cookies help. The cookies, eating oats in the morning, drinking Mother’s Milk tea – all of it helps. I still only pump 2 ounces total from both on my best day, but I’m doing it. And you can, too.
Breastfeeding is a struggle. It’s not for the weak of heart. But we started this business to give moms everywhere the strength, insight, encouragement and boost that they need to help them continue nursing their children for however long they want. That’s our mission. That’s our cause. It’s not about cookies, it’s about empowering moms to believe that they can do it and helping them get there.