For those of you who weren’t around initially, Carter was born at 5 lbs 15oz. He was a tiny tyke, and because he was small, I was given formula right away, so he didn’t end up in the NICU. Of course, as a mama, I didn’t want that to happen, so we put Carter at the breast and followed up with formula.
However, once he passed his glucose monitoring, I immediately stopped supplementing, and I kept him at the breast.
The goal was 3 months. I just wanted to do this for 3 months.
Carter was needy. I was tired. He nursed round the clock. But I was so determined. I knew I had to keep going. I knew my body could do it.
When I ran into issues, I’d reach out to friends who had breastfed, I’d frantically search online, I’d reach out to the moms of the FB groups I joined, and THANK GOODNESS my aunt is a Doula & Lactation Consultant.
A few things I realized about a woman’s journey with breastfeeding? None of them are easy. It’s SO hard to nurse. It’s never simple. It may be simple one way and difficult another. For instance, we never had “supply issues,” but when we found out Carter was dairy intolerant at 3 months, and I had to give up dairy, too, that was a big change for me. I love cheese…but I love my baby more. So, I did it. I kept going, and here we are. Dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free ME, and Carter, thriving, growing, and the happiest boy.
I found that to make it 3 months, 6 months, shoot, 3 WEEKS, you have to have breastfeeding support.
My husband asked me a lot over the first 3 weeks if I “just wanted to do formula,” and I was tempted. We had the formula in the house… so why not?? I was almost going to stop until I had a blissful moment with Carter at one of his 2 AM feeds. He was not eating as much as I thought he should, and I was frustrated because earlier that night, he had gotten frustrated at the breast… I had seriously contemplated just giving up breastfeeding and going to formula. Then, at that 2 AM feed when he was done… He nestled into my breast and fell asleep. It was in that moment I realized that I could do this forever. If he needed me to, I could do this for a bit longer.
That next morning I told Sam to “stop offering formula,” and we’ve been trudging along ever since. Now we’re nearing a year, and we are so close to a goal that I never thought I’d even set out for, let alone REACH.
I’ve spoken to so many moms about nursing and found that the support or lack thereof is one of the biggest reasons a woman will not continue. Whether at home or when she gets back to work… support is necessary for breastfeeding.
I found something today that says,
“Employers are required to provide a reasonable amount of break time and a space to express milk as frequently as needed by the nursing mother, for up to one year following the birth of the employee’s child. The frequency of breaks needed to express breast milk as well as the duration of each break will likely vary. The space provided by the employer cannot be a bathroom, and it must be shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers or the public.”
Did you know that? That you’re ALLOWED time to pump so your baby has adequate nutrients? So, if you’re ever feeling unsupported.. start educating yourself. Join some groups & get some mom friends behind you. And if you don’t have that? I’ve got your back, mama.