I have to admit, I was so naive to the whole concept of Breastfeeding. To the challenges, the worst case scenarios, and to the beauty and vulnerability of it. Breastfeeding just seemed like such a simple concept before the baby got here. In the classes with AdventHealth for Women (which I explain more about here) we learned it all….. except the actual experience! We practiced the holds, learned the tips and tricks, and really, did as much as we could without actually having Baby.
BUT THEN…. baby came. And not only do we have baby’s incredibly demanding schedule (including diapers, feedings, nurture, etc), but we also have healing from delivery, post-partum challenges, AND BREASTFEEDING, which is a full time job in its own. Studies have shown that the amount of hours a woman puts in to breastfeeding is equivalent to that of a full time job. I’d like to see the study on changing diapers hahah
The beginning of my breastfeeding journey was absolutely beautiful. The lactation consultants at AdventHealth for Women were available and by my bedside THE SECOND my baby was born. I clearly remember them quickly getting him to latch on to my breast and teaching me techniques for Breastfeeding. Angela was an angel. She was there multiple times throughout my stay to ease my fears and answers all my questions.
One thing I remember at first, and a common thing my followers were saying, is that the baby would only feed for a couple minutes, then fall asleep. We always worry that the baby isn’t eating enough… but we have to remember at birth the baby’s stomach is the size of a cherry! That is so tiny!!
The middle of my breastfeeding journey is a raw, real and awful experience. But, they say, experience is the best teacher! When we got home I didn’t think I was producing enough. I was pumping and breastfeeding. And I started taking some cookies to help me make more milk. I really didn’t know how much I was supposed to be producing, and truly, I think I was producing just the right amount.
A combination of over supply and sleeping through my over night pumps/feeds resulted in the DREADFUL mastitis. After trying several at home remedies, I decided to go to the Doctor. She put me on amoxicillin and another ten days went by with no improvement, and it ended up getting worse. Turning in to a very bad infection, of which I was sent to the hospital for.
I remember leaving my OB, driving myself to the hospital, SO upset, screaming on the phone with my mom. My baby was three weeks old at the time and I could not imagine leaving him and going back to the hospital. I had just spent 5 days there for labor and delivery and you throw the virus in to the mix of things and I just couldn’t stand it. I was in near excruciating pain, I couldn’t hold my baby, nothing was working. I tried the cabbage, massages, hot showers, hot/cold compress, dangle feeding, everything!
Let’s talk about what mastitis really is. Swollen tissue of the breast, often accompanied by an infection. It needs a strong antibiotic, not amoxicillin, not augmentin. And it is very, very painful.
Driving to the hospital, I phoned Doreen, THE SAVIOR for all things medical. Read more about Doreen here. Doreen is the Women’s Health Navigator at AdventHealth for Women and can help women in Central Florida get connected to any type of health care service they need and answer any questions. I explained with much emotion my situation, and she said give me a second. Doreen GETS THE JOB DONE! and she does it well. Within minutes she called me back and had scheduled me an appointment with Raegan Taylor, a Physician Assistant at AdventHealth Medical Group.
Reagan Taylor is an amazing provider. She provided me so much comfort to my very challenging situation. To put it as real as it was, I was a wreck going in there. So sad, scared, overwhelmed, in so much pain and completely over it at this point. So many remedies and medicines had been tried and still no healing. I had been dealing with this infection for three weeks… on TOP of post-partum, a new baby, and breastfeeding. With extensive experience and expertise Regan Taylor saved me from going back to the hospital and was literally a God send.
At this point I was only pumping because I was in too much pain to put the baby back on my breast. And I was scared. Very, very scared.
I was still producing milk, and you better believe I wasn’t going to skip a pump, so I had to figure it out. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. That’s when I looped in the Lactation Consultants at AdventHealth for Women. They have a direct line at the hospital and they were unbelievably helpful. How amazing it is to have access to these incredible resources at only a phone call away! I actually should have been using them all along. Truth be told…. Breastfeeding is not as simple as it looks or sounds. It is challenging, demanding, and very very rewarding at the same time.
My mom had begged me on multiple occasions to stop breastfeeding because of everything I was going through, she hates seeing me suffer. It probably seemed insane that I would even try to continue. But I had support from thousands of women on my platform encouraging me and helping me continue. Women who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, and prayed me through those AWFUL days and nights. And I had the Lactation Consultants who didn’t have a doubt that I could make it happen despite what I had been through.
You can take a look and access all of the AdventHealth Breastfeeding Support and Resources here
So you may be wondering, like many people were, WHY did you breast feed?
I am breastfeeding because of five reasons, though there are many. And this is not to underestimate the many benefits of formula feeding in ANY WAY. I was a formula fed baby. But this is simply WHY I have decided to press forward.
- Baby’s Health and Immunity
- Baby’s Cognitive Development
- Mom’s long term health
- Cost savings
I want to! And Mom’s have the BEST intuition for their baby’s!
However YOU WANT to feed, may you find hope and encouragement from those around you during that season. Bc to be honest, that is what has carried me forward.