I gave birth out of hospital and with no drugs. Afterward, I felt completely proud and so empowered – like I could take on the world! …And then I started breastfeeding, which was a completely different and far more challenging journey.
I hadn’t really thought a whole lot about breastfeeding aside from the fact that it was something I planned on doing. I wasn’t stressed about it, because I just viewed it as a totally natural thing that women have been doing since the dawn of time. I figured that if I could have an unmedicated birth, I could do anything – breastfeeding would be a snap! But, apparently I was wrong.
Breastfeeding did not come easily for me – it was quite honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. I struggled with milk supply from the beginning and felt like a complete failure. Not being able to provide your baby with one of their most basic needs is a difficult thing to deal with and a lot of tears were shed as I followed a rigorous regimen to boost my supply. I would nurse for at least 45 minutes, then syringe feed Fern supplemental breast milk which usually took about 15 minutes, then I would pump for 30 minutes, and since babies need to eat every one-and-a-half to two hours, I would basically have to start over by the time all was said and done. It was seemingly never-ending and exhausting and I was incredibly emotional. I hated breastfeeding and I honestly believed I would never make it through this.
But, then around the 4-month mark something changed and I realized that I actually enjoyed breastfeeding. It didn’t happen all of a sudden, it was actually a very gradual process, but I was actually finding myself looking forward to nursing sessions with Fern. My supply never increase to full capacity, so I’ve always had to supplement, but I’m ok with that, because the bonding that has happened throughout the course of this journey of nursing has been so worth it.
Now that Fern is 11 months old, I can hardly believe that we’re still at it. I look forward to these quiet moments together – especially since she’s becoming so wriggly and isn’t really into snuggling at other times. I know that this won’t last forever and I’m soaking up every moment. I actually really love breastfeeding now and I’m so glad I stuck with it, despite all the challenges and the seemingly never-ending uphill battle I had to face.
So, there you have it; the story of how my disdain for breastfeeding turned to appreciation.
Did any of you struggle with breastfeeding? How was your experience?