So, you think that breastfeeding comes naturally or maybe you don’t really think too much into it. I never thought breastfeeding could be a challenge. It’s what the body does. It’s natural. It’s supposed to happen, right? What could be a problem? Well, reality hit after I had my daughter a week ago. Let me dive into the issues that I have discovered along this journey.
1. Cluster Feeding – This is where you get tired. The baby feeds are close together. I was finding myself feeding my baby almost constantly. I would feed her for 20 minutes and then put her down and then 10 minutes later she would want to eat again.
2. Tongue Tie – I found out that the reason my daughter cluster feeds is because she has a pretty severe tongue tie. I didn’t even know this was a thing or a common thing. A tongue tie is the restriction of motion the tongue has. The piece of skin under the tongue is short. This has been causing eating problems and causing her to cluster feed because she wasn’t getting enough food.
3. Not being able to express milk – My milk started to come in but I wasn’t able to express any. This caused so much pain! So much! Your boobs harden..mine felt like rocks! It also made things more difficult for her to get food. It turned out, in my case, that I wasn’t using the proper breast pump. We ended up renting a hospital grade pump and it worked! Let there be milk! I also worked closely with a lactation nurse which helped! She made me feel normal again. I highly recommend seeing one if you are experiencing problems.
4. Supply and Demand – My daughter is eating 3 ounces every 2-3 hours. The problem is that I can only pump about 1 ounce every 3 hours. Things were great the first two days but have gone downhill. My lactation nurse mentioned going on the drug called Reglan which I may try! She says that it increases your milk supply, but due to the side effects, they only allow you to be on it for one month. I have been supplementing formula here and there and mixing it with my own milk.
In the beginning, formula wasn’t even an option for me. I want to feed the natural way because of the wonderful benefits it has for both my daughter and myself. I felt like I was already failing at being a mother. Not being able to feed your child makes you feel like a disappointment. After speaking with friends, I soon learned that these problems are pretty common and that I am not the only one that is feeding my baby formula. I also have the best supportive husband in the entire universe who has helped tremendously.
Being a bad parent is not feeding your kid. I have to remind myself that we are doing the best we can with what we have. I haven’t given up on breastfeeding entirely! We are doing all that we can right now.