Why I stuck to breastfeeding

As many of you may have read one of my firsts post about my breastfeeding journey, you may have wondered why I stuck through it when I could have given up and gave my son formula. Yes it was a painful beginning to my breastfeeding journey, but as I stuck to it I figured out what works best for me. Although my son gave up taking my breast due to a heavy flow, I did not give up giving him my breast milk. From breastfeeding I went straight to pumping and feeding him from a bottle.

Yes, I was stubborn in the beginning and to start even giving him my milk in a bottle was for some reason heartbreaking. Not only heartbreaking, but I also felt like I was letting myself down or not being the mom I was “supposed” to be. Breaking the bond of skin to skin. I knew all the benefits of breastfeeding and could not drop that for the sake of my son. My goal was, and still is, is to have my son be the healthiest he can be. And the thought of dropping breast milk for the ease of myself came across as selfish to me. When I say I badly wanted to give up, I mean I really wanted to and almost did. I was crying for days contemplating what to do and trying to justify it if I was to convert to formula. My husband was being as supportive as he could, but seeing me in such a down state regarding this issue, he was also trying to justify formula so that I could have the ease of mind.

And I did, I said “tomorrow I’m dropping everything.” But then tomorrow came and I put my emotions aside as I looked down on my son and knew he deserved the best I could offer. And I did have milk. I had ALOT of milk. So for me to give up what I had, in my eyes was upsetting. Those that struggle with their milk supply, that’s another story, where definitely your child needs to eat and if they aren’t getting enough then yes supplementing with formula is an option. But to me, a woman who was producing more than enough milk, to get rid of that, was like getting rid of gold. And therefore I couldn’t.

My son is now 14 months old and although I have stopped pumping several weeks ago, I still had a frozen supply left. I am almost out but right now at 14 months my son has been getting the best I could offer him- my breast milk.

Breastfeeding isn’t easy if you have an oversupply. And pumping isn’t easy if you don’t have a portable pump. But I guess this is where we learn to sacrifice for our children, God’s creation. Whom He has entrusted us to look after and raise. I wouldn’t change my decision of breastfeeding. As I currently am a month pregnant now, breastfeeding is still my go to for our second child, and I can only hope it starts off better the second time since I am more experienced and well informed. I’ll keep you updated on my current pregnancy in future posts. 😉

My Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? You just feed the baby with your boob. Well, as easy as it sounds, it couldn’t be any farther from the truth. My breastfeeding journey did start off easy, and I thought I had lucked out or that secretly I was a pro and had breastfeeding all down to the core, as my little newborn come out latching perfectly, making me one proud mama.

I had taken a breastfeeding class prior to my giving birth and was confident that everything was going to go well. Little did I know that I would soon become educated and experienced when it comes to milk ducts getting clogged, Mastitis, as well as breast abscesses. Yes, it did go that far for me and yes as horrible as it sounds, it was so much worse.

A week into my breast feeding journey I had a home nurse visit, which was optional, just to check in and make sure I was adjusting well with the baby and if I had any questions, as well as weigh the baby and such. I was never thinking too much about how my breasts were feeling until she started asking me questions, did my breasts feel okay, have I noticed any tenderness, soreness, any spots warm to the touch, etc. Which in turn had me answering that everything seemed to be going good.. That is until she left and I started seeing and feeling all the symptoms that she was describing. The symptoms for a clogged milk duct.

Photo credit belongs to http://loveandbreastmilk.com/wp/blocked-ducts/

Once I realized that I had a clogged milk duct, I freaked out. I called my breastfeeding mentor and completely broke down over the phone, telling her how scared I was. A great way to get rid of a clogged milk duct is to apply a warm compression to the area while massaging it. That is if your little one can’t suck it out. You are still supposed to feed from that breast, because nothing can suck better than your baby. But aside from that, definitely apply a warm compression and massage the area with your thumb, putting pressure outwards as if you are pushing the milk out. That’s what cleared my first clogged milk duct.. As well as the second.

Now when it came to my third clogged milk duct, I must say I did not take it as serious as I should have. And what made it worse was that it was in the same spot as one of my previous clogged milk ducts. My third clogged milk duct developed into Mastitis.

Mastitis occurs when the clogged milk duct becomes infected. You start to get fevers and the pain increases. Once I got Mastitis, I was given antibiotics by my OB. Which I took for several days. The antibiotics did not work and I then was referred to a lactation consultant and prescribed a different antibiotic. At this point my mastitis had already developed into a breast abscess.

I was once again seen by my OB who confirmed I now had a breast abscess, and boy was it painful. I had been going through misery for about a month at this point, getting adapted to my fevers and the pain in my breast. And at the same time I hated looking at myself and seeing this huge lump just bulging out the side of my breast.

I was referred to a surgeon at the nearby hospital and scheduled for them to drain my breast abscess with a needle. Ouch! Relief flooded my body as I was finally going to get rid of this lump of pain. Or so I thought. That same night my breast abscess returned and just as big. The next day I sluggishly dragged myself to the emergency room, for I was exhausted mentally from having to deal with this for so long. I was again scheduled for surgery then and there but this time the surgeon was to make an incision and I was going under anesthesia.

That night I was going to drop breast feeding all together, for fear of having this all happen again. For the sake of my son, I stuck to giving him my milk, for I knew that was what was best for him. Through all the aches and pains and even to the last string, a mom will always be a mom, and will always stay strong for the sake of her children.