In honor of breastfeeding week, I want to share with you my personal story about breastfeeding.
When I found out I was pregnant with my youngest child. I was over the moon, and I wanted to make sure I did everything right! Breastfeeding was part of the plan, especially since I did not breastfeed my two older kids. I was looking forward to having such a beautiful bond with my miracle baby. Unfortunately for me, things did not go as planned.
The day Little Penny was born, I was only thirty weeks pregnant! Since she was born prematurely, she was immediately transferred to NICU. Thankfully, she was born with no significant health issues. However, she did spend 55 days in the NICU. Because she was born so early, she was fed through a feeding tube until she learned to eat by herself. One of the challenges I had during this difficult time was that my body was not producing enough breast milk. It was frustrating and heartbreaking. Nurses kept telling me that because my daughter was born premature, she needed breastmilk! The formula was the last resort. I was stressed out because I wanted the best for my daughter, but my body was not producing enough of what my baby needed! Finally, days after pumping every hour, my breast milk started to flow.
After Little Penny learned to eat on her own, I had a hard time getting her to latch onto my breast. She drank out of a bottle perfectly fine, but we had a hard time when it came to breastfeeding. Since she was in the NICU for such a long time, I had to pump. Even though I struggled with milk supply the first couple of days after she was born, eventually, my body started producing more than enough breastmilk. I was very fortunate to pump at least eight ounces every three hours and sometimes more! By the time we came home from the hospital, I had so much breast milk supply that I had to purchase a deep freezer. I kept telling myself that maybe after we got home from the hospital, breastfeeding would get easier, and it would come naturally in the comfort of our home, but it never did! I did everything I could, but breastfeeding was not in my journey! I decided to completely stop pumping about two months after Little Penny got home from the hospital. It was not an easy decision, but I had to make it because pumping was starting to take a toll on me. After I stopped pumping, I had enough milk supply that lasted until Little Penny was nine months old!
I wanted to share my personal story this week because breastfeeding is such a beautiful thing! Unfortunately, for many different reasons, many of us don't get to experience this incredible bonding moment with our child! For me, it was tough to accept it, and I'm sure it's challenging for many other Mommies as well.
Although I was lucky enough to produce breastmilk, there are many mothers that can't. Please, let's encourage! Let's NOT shame, judge, or assume about the decisions of other mothers. I have so much respect for all the mothers that have been able to breastfeed. It is a HUGE accomplishment! Especially if they continue to breastfeed until they felt it was no longer needed. Let's continue to support each other, but also understand each other's journey!
I'm looking forward to our next chat!