I feel inspired, friends. Inspired to share my story of breastfeeding Remy Bea. It turns out, I haven’t actually mentioned anything specific about our journey, other than the fact that she won’t take a bottle.
So let me tell you a little bit about breastfeeding Miss Bea…
The Beginning //
As soon as I met Miss Bea, she latched. Easily, happily, latched. It was perfect. She nursed and nursed and nursed. My milk even managed to come in at the hospital — not at all the norm!
But a couple of days after we came home, my breasts became engorged and my nipples inverted. As much as I tried to nurse her, I reached out for some physical support — the nipple shield.
With the assistance of the shield, she continued to nurse and continued to thrive. Even after the engorgement went away, I still had such an oversupply of milk that I kept using the shield just prevent her from choking on the surplus.
The Middle //
For some, it’s hard to judge a book by it’s cover. For me, it’s hard to judge our breastfeeding journey by it’s middle. The middle was riddled with doubts, anxieties, and so, so, very many sleepless nights. The struggle was real. For a long time.
So I just kept on breastfeeding her on-demand, which was every 3 hours. A very consistent, every three hours, per her rules (and screaming). It was just a game of survival.
There were many times I tried to get her to nurse without the shield. And each time, she would refuse and scream even more. It was a war of wills, and she won. I gave up the battle, but kept on at the breastfeeding war.
I thought for certain since she would only nurse with the shield, that she would undoubtedly take a bottle. But nope. Never. And because she was still nursing every three hours, even throughout the night, I was pretty much the only one who could care for her. It sucked.
There were so many times I thought about how much easier it would be to just give up. There were moments where people would say “You know, if she just tried formula in a bottle, I’m sure you could get some rest.” But, for personal reasons, this breastfeeding journey was non-negotiable for me.
We just kept on.
And then, after we finally bit the bullet and took Miss Bea to the chiropractor, things took a turn for the better. After several appointments, and several adjustments, our pediatric chiropractor suggested, quite strongly, that I give up dairy. Per the doctor, dairy is very hard on babies tummies; and Miss Bea’s system has been riddled with antibiotics because of her UTIs, which leaves her gut extra-sensitive.
So I began our dairy-free journey!
I would call it something else, but I know we’re not anywhere near the end. Miss Bea is almost 11-months old and our breastfeeding journey is probably just halfway through.
But I’ve learned so much.
For one, I learned that I should have given up dairy when she started with the colic. I am stunned by the change in her mood and general temperament since removing dairy from my diet. So much so that I wish I would have just done it at the beginning. She’s seriously a different baby.
She still isn’t a great sleeper, but she is sleeping so much better than before. And she is just so much happier in general, which has made the no-bottle-feeding, only-taking-the-breastfeeding, feel so much more rewarding.
I’ve also learned that the relationship between a nursing baby and Mama is a special one. She will randomly glance up at me with her milk-drunk smile, and my heart will just explode into a million pieces. So although breastfeeding has been a major cause of stress and anxiety over the past 10.5 months, it’s also been one of the things to help bring me out of my postpartum depression.
We’re nowhere near the end of our breastfeeding journey. Yes, I’m one of those ‘breast is best,’ extended breastfeeding, Moms. No, I don’t plan on breastfeeding her until she’s 5, but at this point I’ll keep it up for as long as is appropriate for our family.
And for those of you that have followed us on our journey, thank you so much for your love and support. I’ve been amazed at how much ‘help’ a breastfeeding mother needs on her journey — especially emotional and mental support! So thank you from the bottom of my heart!