Another community member shares her breastfeeding story as World Breastfeeding Month continues...
I am a new mommy of a precious three-week old baby boy. I also had a breast reduction five and a half years ago. They told me then that I might not be able to breastfeed.
Honestly, at the time I was in my early twenties and I didn't think breastfeeding would be a big deal for me. I wasn't even sure I even wanted kids. Alas, I was in a lot of pain (back, shoulder, neck, chest, plus headaches) and desperate for relief -- surgery being my last option. And it was the best thing I ever did for myself.
When my husband and I decided to start trying to get pregnant last year, I began educating myself on pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. By the time we conceived, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I also knew it might be a struggle, but if it was at all possible, I had to try. I didn't want to accept defeat before making an effort, so somewhere early in my third trimester my husband and I prayed and just decided to carry on as though I would certainly be able to nurse. During pregnancy my breasts didn't seem to grow terribly much but I did have to get a bigger bra. Two or three weeks before I delivered, I started noticing colostrum when I took baths. It was a great sign of things to come. When my baby boy was born, my birth doula assisted me with my first latch within a half hour of birth and he latched on like a champ.
In the days that followed, we struggled with his latch and we tried many positions as well as a nipple shield. On day three, we finally found a position that he did great with and it's been a go-to ever since. The day after we came home from the hospital, my milk came in and I was engorged! It was so painful, but it was a great problem! No milk supply worries; what a relief! Baby's weight and diaper counts have been awesome, so I know my son is getting plenty of milk.
One week later, I had a clogged duct. I dealt with engorgement and the plugged duct the same way... warm compress, massage, hand expressing, pumping, and nursing, nursing, nursing. Latch struggles, engorgement pain, cracked nipples, and plugged ducts did not deter me and I'm so happy to be able to give my baby precious nourishment designed perfectly for his body by mine. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, and I considered giving up several times (especially when bawling my eyes out in the middle of the night), but I know it's worth it!
My biggest supporters in my nursing journey have been my husband and my sister, but honestly I have a great network of supporters including family members and other moms. My favorite product is Lansinoh 3-in-1 TheraPearl Breast Therapy (for warm compress)--very soothing for sore breasts and is great right before pumping. I also use Lansinoh's nipple cream.
I'm a happy nursing momma, three weeks and counting...
E. R. Arroyo, Tulsa, OK