In honor of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month in the US, I reached out to mom friends and asked them to share their breastfeeding stories. A mother's intuition is most often right about any issues her baby may be experiencing. Here is Chantal's breastfeeding story.
When I started this journey, I never thought I would make it this far. My first experience with breastfeeding was beautiful, but stressful: I was working 40hrs per week, pumping and nursing as much as possible. I made it through and nursed my first daughter until she self weaned at 16 months old, when I was 28 weeks pregnant with my second daughter. This is where my story really began.
When my second daughter was born, I released control.
I took the approach that I would nurse until it became too difficult, and as long as my baby and I were both happy. Here I am 2 years and 7 months later, still nursing 4-5 times per day.
Corinne came roaring into the world via c-section, 2 weeks before our scheduled date. She has kept me on my toes since. She latched beautifully from the start, and was a voracious eater. On her third day, she cried for hours and was spitting up, and also refusing to nurse. After a few hours she finally latched, but she cried and spit up almost all day, everyday. When we got home this continued, I took her to the doctor only to be told, “maybe she’s just a miserable baby.” I knew this wasn’t true. She was happy first thing in the morning, and nursed peacefully for most of the day. But when she was done, she screamed and screamed. I kept taking her to the doctor, and she was finally diagnosed with acid reflux, but they would not do anything because she was gaining weight so rapidly.
After six doctors appointments and multiple attempts to try to help her to feel better, she was prescribed Zantac and immediately there was a difference.
She continued to nurse often and I realized, nursing had saved us.
At Corinne’s one year appointment, a covering pediatrician even told me to stop nursing her, saying she was too large and needed to focus more on solid foods. I persevered and continued to nurse her and maintain our bond. So here we are, going strong with no end in sight! I’m proud of our journey and progress together.
There are a few things I wish I could change about my breastfeeding experience, the first and most important being: I wish someone had told me that it is hard.
I was not prepared for how difficult nursing would be. In fact, I assumed it would just happen easily and naturally. This is why education about breastfeeding is so important for pregnant moms! Our prenatal class simply described the process, I didn’t even understand that I had to do anything to make it happen! Thank goodness I had a nurse who is also a lactating consultant! The second thing I wish I knew is, that it will get better. It always does. I was lucky to have a great support system. Although I have faced quite a bit of criticism for my choice to nurse well into toddlerhood, the amount of support I have received from my family has been integral in my ability to continue to nurse. I’m so happy to have made it this far, and looking forward to seeing where this journey takes us!