Spilt Milk: Your Postpartum Stories (Story #1 - Sarah)
Spilt Milk: Your Postpartum Stories Story #1 - Sarah
In this series, we sit down with fellow moms to talk about their postpartum journeys—the highs, the lows, and everything in-between. Here's our Q&A with Sarah:
How many kids do you have? How many did you breastfeed?
1 child breastfed.
How long have you breastfeed/been breastfeeding?
Did your journey to conception go as you planned?
Did your breastfeeding journey go as planned?
Yes as far as duration. The beginning had a challenging learning curve.
What moment, good or bad, from your postpartum journey stands out to you the most?
I had a c section so the immediate postpartum recovery posed it’s challenges with not being able to sit up by myself, delay in milk coming in, and guilt not feeling like I was doing enough for my son. sweet postpartum memories are the early morning feeds where we would both just fall asleep together in the rocking chair after.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face/faced while breastfeeding?
We struggled to get a latch because my nipples were flat. The size of breasts also made it hard to get situated with a nursing position and I actually had a receiving blanket that a lactation consultant tied up into a sling to elevate my breast. The delayed latch caused more weight loss than anticipated, and little to no supply in my right breast. This caused me to pump around the clock to get my supply up. I used nipple shields at first to give him something to latch onto. I also used a suction tool to draw out my nipple as well. Eventually we found a latch and my nipples changed in shape. There was a lot of soreness and burning in the first 12 weeks or so. I am glad I persevered because it has been one of the most meaningful parts of the first year of motherhood.
Did you stop breastfeeding earlier than you wanted for any of your kids?
No, I was able to breastfeed longer than anticipated.
Do you feel like you got enough support for your breastfeeding journey?
The lactation consultant in the hospital was wonderful but she was so busy I didn’t get enough time with her when I needed it in the hospital. I attended a breastfeeding support group at the hospital a week after giving birth. They gave helpful tips and weighed my son before and after the feeding. It was helpful. I definitely had to seek out this help tho. I received no tips on how to manage pain, and burning or even feeding techniques that can help avoid those things.
What are some ways you wish you received more support during breastfeeding?
I recently read about the Thompson method. Its practices supposedly aid in pain free breastfeeding. They vary slightly from what current lactation nurses practice and teach and I wish I had tried that. Or had been given more advice in general on how to prevent nipple pain and soreness.
Did you ever question if your breast milk alone was enough for your child?
Yes. But when I pumped I was encouraged and did read that babies draw more out of you than pumping does. I still second guessed myself of course. Especially when doctors bring up weight percentile.
If you knew exactly what’s in your breast milk would this give you/have given you more confidence in your breastfeeding journey?
Other stories you'll love: https://lactationlab.com/blogs/the-drop/your-empowered-stories-tracey-from-cake-maternity
Is there anything you wish you knew before you started breastfeeding?
How often you have to do it at first, how long it can take when they are newborns, that it may hurt and how to manage it, that c section mammas have it a little tougher and that’s ok, how to pump. I pretty much knew nothing!
What advice would you give to your postpartum self and other moms in the postpartum journey?
It’s really hard and really exhausting at first but it is one of the most beautiful experiences you will ever have. The bond it will create and strengthen between you and your baby is indescribable. Keep going and ask for help!
What about for someone who is on the fence about breastfeeding?
The bond that breastfeeding fosters between you and your baby is both emotional and scientific. Your body is incredible and it creates exactly what your baby needs. The serotonin released in your brain when you breastfeed is probably exactly what you need postpartum as well.
Is there anything you would change about your experience with breastfeeding?
I would have learned more before hand. I just assumed it was natural and would work itself out.
What’s been the most rewarding part of breastfeeding?
The bond with my son.
Do you have any must have nursing/baby feeding products? If so, what are they?
Boppy pillow, lanolin cream, forage feeder with breast milk pop freezer tray.
Note: The views expressed in this article belong to the author.