Breastfeeding stories are meant to inspire and motivate you to breastfeed successfully.
After all, “breast is best”, right?
Listening and reading about other moms breastfeeding stories helps you understand the immense emotional and physical investment that goes in to this rewarding yet challenging phase of motherhood.
But what’s more, it teaches you a humble lesson of compassion, empathy, and solidarity.
Breastfeeding stories also give you an insight at the different struggles and successes of any given breastfeeding mom across the world.
It is with that sense of empathy that I share with you my breastfeeding stories in hopes it helps you, motivates you, and encourages you to embrace your own breastfeeding journeys as it comes.
Once you read both breastfeeding stories, we will go over some tips and takeaways.
As a result, it will help you avoid some breastfeeding mistakes and apply some successful breastfeeding tips to your own journey.
My breastfeeding Stories: Why One Failed and One Succeeded
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My husband and I have 2 children.
A 5-year-old (boy) and a 2-year old (girl).
I thought I had everything I needed to succeed when I was pregnant with my son (first child). At motherhood and at breastfeeding.
After all, I am a nurse with a good base of knowledge about the human body and pregnancy as a whole.
I had also attended my birthing hospital’s breastfeeding class and I have seen other moms breastfeed throughout my life.
But boy was I wrong…
Although breastfeeding knowledge is extremely important to have a higher success rate of long-term, successful breastfeeding, there are many other factors that play a role.
Next, I will walk you through my breastfeeding stories.
After that, we will go over what went wrong and how to prevent it. As well as what went right and how to implement it.
That way, you can be more equipped when your time to breastfeed comes.
Attempt #1: A Failed Breastfeeding Story
He was born naturally on his due date after my water broke the day before while walking around the neighborhood.
After, 45 minutes of pushing, hemorrhoids and internal stitches made sure I couldn’t sit down for a solid two weeks.
My perfectly healthy 8 lb 4oz little boy was born.
He was immediately taken to the warmer as they suspected meconium aspiration.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
However, it was enough to rock the foundation of the “expectations” I had set for myself.
Breastfeeding started as soon as we received the clear of no meconium aspiration 20 minutes later.
Latching took a while, but baby and I both seemed to have figured out eventually… or so I though.
He was sent home with a bili blanket for two days in attempts to reduce elevated bilirubin levels.
Thankfully, it worked. But not without leaving another mark in my already overwhelmed and bruised perspective.
The first few days after the hospital were rough.
I couldn’t get myself to sleep. Not even when my husband would offer to watch the baby. I felt helpless, exhausted, and overwhelmed.
Although I had somewhat of an idea of what to expect after giving birth, the reality of it was much tougher that I was prepared for.
We reached out for help, and a breastfeeding consultant gave us a few pointers which helped improve some of our breastfeeding problems.
Breastfeeding went on for a few more weeks because of the guilt I felt about stopping.
But I wasn’t happy.
I wasn’t enjoying the breastfeeding process or motherhood for that matter.
At 4 weeks postpartum, I developed a clogged duct and a few nipple blisters that forced me to only breastfeed from one breast for a few days and exclusively pump from the other while it healed.
Consequently, we switched him to formula after a few more days of what seemed to be eternity.
My heart sank a little. I cried a few days following the switch to formula because of the inability to feed my child the way “nature” had intended me to.
Later of course, I realized that a happy and healthy baby goes far beyond breastmilk and that I shouldn’t feel guilty for giving it my best shot.
Attempt #2: A Successful Breastfeeding Story
We found out where pregnant with our second child when our son was a little over 2-years-old.
Coming into it, I knew I wanted to give breastfeeding another try.
This time confident about what I had learned from my previous experience and a few other resources and breastfeeding tips I had gathered along the way.
To our amazement we also found this second baby would be a girl (yay!) and that she would have the exact same due date as her brother!
Just like her personality today, that was something she wasn’t going to settle for.
Share her birthday? NEVER.
So, she made her grand entrance the day after her due date all on her own.
Contractions started two days before her due date, but she held her own until the day after her due date when I finally caved in and headed to my birthing hospital.
My water broke on its own at triage. Contractions got strong and fast, quickly!
After 3 days of contractions the epidural seemed like a good option, so I had it.
But, the epidural didn’t do much of its job so, I felt almost everything.
So much so than in less than 4 hours after my water broke, I felt an “I need to poop” sensation, and I knew the time had come.
My husband alerted the nurse, I was rechecked for dilatation, and that was it… it was go time.
With one minor problem… The doctor was 10 minutes away, so I was told not to push.
Had it not been apparent that this child would have her way much before conception?
Sure enough, as the doctor walked in through the door, my daughter’s head was already visible. And as she said her first set of “OK, PUSH!” repetitions, my daughter was born.
She was placed in my chest immediately.
It was utter bliss.
No intervention, no commotion, no rush. Just her and I for what felt like eternity.
The nurse patted her down a little bit more next to me, suctioned her, and ensured she was ok. After that, she was placed back in my arms to start our breastfeeding journey.
This time around I felt more confident, I was more prepared (both physically and mentally), and I felt more at easy.
Because of the fast labor, my body didn’t feel as depleted or overworked. Hemorrhoids weren’t as bad, and no stitches were necessary.
I didn’t feel depressed or overwhelmed. Something I prayed so hard for it not to happen again. God made sure I was taken care of this time, that’s for sure!
What a relief!
Our breastfeeding journey lasted 9 months as a result of a few other factors but I was incredibly content with that!
She developed baby eczema at 2 moths old. By removing all dairy from my diet and applying Vanicream Cream twice a day as instructed by my pediatrician, I began to see a complete turnaround.
That did the trick. A week later she was eczema free and has been until this day.
Although she was thriving, I wasn’t taking the necessary means to make sure I was also doing my best.
Because of my dairy restriction (and no vitamin supplements for almost 7 months) I started to feel ill which landed me in the ER in one occasion.
Vitamin D deficiency turned out to be the only thing that needed to be addressed (thank God).
I was put on supplements and little by little I started to feel like myself again.
At that point, we decided to give my body a rest and switched her to formula but with her known cow milk protein sensitivity we opted for Nutramigen from Enfamil.
Nutramigen is a hypoallergenic formula for babies with a cow milk allergy.
She adapted well to her formula and mommy and baby were back on track in no time.
Tips and Takeaways
As you probably already noticed there were a lot of factors that took place in both breastfeeding stories. Some which were in my control and some that were not.
On either instance, there were a lot of things I could have done on my end to have perhaps ensured a better outcome.
Next, we’ll cover what I failed to do and what I could have done to correct it. Then, we will see what I was able to do successfully and why it worked out in my favor.
THINGS I FAILED TO DO AND HOW TO CORRECT THEM
I allowed a few things that didn’t go according to plan to get me discouraged and overwhelmed.
Granted, postpartum hormones are often uncontrollable. But having a more optimistic outlook would have probably made a difference.
I would have saved myself a lot of disappointment had I embraced and owned my own labor process. Instead of getting so caught up in what I “expected things to be like”.
By my second pregnancy these were all things I worked on mentally and emotionally.
Changing my perspective allowed me to see things differently the second time around and it helped set the foundation to a healthier breastfeeding journey.
Although, I attended a breastfeeding class, it wasn’t effective for me.
After all, talking about breast and cracked nipples in a classroom with other woman (and man), was not my idea of a good time.
Learning about breastfeeding in a more intimate and paced environment would have made a huge difference.
I had a breast pump but didn’t know how to use it effectively which could have helped in alleviating the clogged duct.
Milkology also has a great course which navigates through how to pump effectively along with other important information.
When we got home from the hospital, positioning and latching were a constant struggle.
In turn, my nipples weren’t happy.
Again, something I could have had more knowledge on.
However, I knew the baby was getting enough milk because of his wet diaper count and weight increments in his prenatal visits.
I wasn’t able to heal my nipple blister faster because I didn’t have the proper resources.
Had I known about nipple shields and how to use them effectively I would have given my nipples a better chance at recovering faster.
THINGS I DID THAT WERE SUCCESSFUL
I noticed an incredible improvement the second time around in the way I approached breastfeeding.
I was more optimistic, had a better outlook on things, and I didn’t create expectations that were not in my control.
Instead, I listened to my body, followed my daughters’ cues, and put to practice everything I had learned.
BREASTFEEDING AND BIRTHING EDUCATION
Education played a crucial role the second time around.
Instead of “winging it” and looking for answers after something had already gone wrong, I knew what to do to prevent those things from happening.
In addition, if something did come up I needed help with, at least I knew where to find the best answer.
Best breastfeeding resources I’ve come across:
Best Online Natural Hospital Birthing Class:
In addition to education, there were some breastfeeding essentials I couldn’t have done without:
- Boppy Pillow: I LOVE this pillow. It not only allowed me to breastfeed comfortably, but both my kids have used it through all of their milestones. Until this day they use their Boppy as floor cushions in their play area.
- Breast Pump: Having a great breast pump and knowing how to use it was a game changer. My Medela Pump was a blessing in my life, and I am happy to say that it has also been a blessing to the life of others. Ever since we purchased it 6 years ago, it has gone around through our circle of friends helping mommies continue their breastfeeding journey once they have gone back to work. The Medela In-Style Pump comes built in a hand bad which makes it extremely convenient for on the go pumping.
- Nipple Cream: After my first experience, taking care of my nipples was priority. So, having an effective, organic, and safe to use nipple cream was a must!
ASKED FOR HELP
Contacting a breastfeeding consultant was the best thing I could have done at the time.
She gave me insight on things I would have probably never figured out on my own and gave me clarity about things needed to do differently moving forward.
My mistake, however, was not reaching out to her again after the initial consultation.
Breastfeeding is hard!
Truth is, that although breastfeeding IS the best thing for baby, it isn’t always suitable for every mother.
Breastfeeding isn’t something that happens with the click of a button or the flip of the switch.
There are a lot of factors that play a role in the success or failure of a breastfeeding journey (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually).
Some of those things are in our control, and some aren’t… but one thing remains true:
You are lovely. You are strong. And you are MOTHER.
Breastfeeding doesn’t define you. It enhances you. You are still a great mom whether you are granted with the incredible blessing to breastfeed, or weather you choose not for other reasons.
Don’t let ANYONE guilt you into thinking otherwise.
Your motherhood journey is yours and yours alone and it goes far beyond choosing to breastfeed.
Educate yourself, use all of your resources, and try your very best to breastfeed.
At the end of the day, without a rule book, as moms, that’s all we ca do.
Just try our best.
Was your breastfeeding story a successful one?
If you are pregnant, what do you hope to accomplish?
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