The Breastfeeding Diaries: Stephanie from Stephenomenal Life

February 26, 2014

Hey everybody! My name is Stephanie and I blog over at stephenomenallife. I'm a wife to my high school sweet heart, Clint, and mama to our sweet son, Reuben. 

Julie started The Breastfeeding Diaries just a few weeks before Reuben was born and her first few posts were invaluable to me in the beginning so I'm happy to be able to share with you and hope you find my store encouraging! 

I was adamant about breastfeeding from the day I found out I was pregnant. My best friend had had a baby a few months before I got pregnant and I learned all about the benefits and I knew I wanted them for my baby. That's about as far as I got in thinking about it though. I figured my son would latch on the second after I pushed him out after a wonderful, peaceful, natural labor and we'd just figure it out as we went along... I was totally wrong.

When the time came, my birth plan went out the window. You can read more about my birth story here, but the short story is that I had to have a c-section at 37 weeks due to HELLP syndrome. Afterwards,  it was a major uphill battle to get any sort of milk to come in. I was on magnesium sulfate for 24 hours and labetalol 3 times a day to try and get my blood pressure down. They also had me taking percocet every 4 hours for pain. Add to those the fact I had a c-section 3 weeks early and you've got one big anti-milk mess.

I was nursing Reuben ever 3-4 hours, just like I was supposed to, but he was taking forever to nurse and in a few days, he'd lost close to a pound. The doctors were concerned and by the time we left the hospital, I was nursing him for 20 minutes, pumping for 30 minutes after that, feeding him what I'd pumped and supplementing with formula to make up the difference, all without really knowing why or having any sort of cut off date. We went in for a weight check and he'd gained weight, but I didn't know which part of everything was working, so I kept doing all three.

It. Was. Exhausting.


  I dreaded every single feeding. I'd cry when it got dark outside because I knew I couldn't just go to sleep like I wanted and so desperately needed to. I'd have to wake up every 3 hours for at least an hour, just to feed Reuben. Cracked and bleeding nipples, blood blisters, and plain frustration led me to exclusively pump for a few days because nursing was so painful and Reuben was getting frustrated with my low supply. It all came to a head when he was 2 weeks old and screaming at my boob after eating for 1.5 hours straight. I set him on the bed and told my husband I didn't want to feed him anymore and burst out in hysterical crying. (Hormones are nuts, y'all!)


It was then that I realized I needed real help, that I couldn't go on the way I had been because it was effecting my bond with my sweet son. I wanted to quit, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm super stubborn and a major cheapskate so I didn't want to waste the $300 I'd spent on a brand new pump!

The next day I face-timed with my best friend who's a breastfeeding champ and she fixed his latch and watched him eat, giving me tips along the way. I decided that day he wouldn't get another drop of formula, no matter what. I texted her after every single feeding for a couple days. "He ate x minutes off the right and x on the left. Is that ok?" And one time I called her, freaking out about him not wanting to eat, and when she asked what was wrong I said, "He's just laying there, asleep. He's perfectly content!" And she was so kind to not point out how straight up crazy I was acting and stuck it in the back of her mind to help me laugh about it later, haha!


Between her and my husbands encouragement, we made it through his 8-freaking-day-long two week growth spurt and he hasn't had a sip of formula since. I kept pumping after his early morning feeding to build up a freezer supply, and ended up with more than I could ever use and got to donate it to another mama! I was terrified my supply would tank or that he'd prefer a bottle (since he liked them so much more than me at first) once I went back to work. But thankfully he'd rather have it straight from the tap and my supply actually increased when I started feeding him on demand at home. Pumping twice a day at work has been a MAJOR pain and I will do a happy dance when I can finally put my trusty pump away, but I'm very thankful it hasn't been a challenge. He always has enough milk to drink.





Reuben just turned one a few weeks ago and we're still going strong. I've nursed him just about anywhere and everywhere you could. It started out very private and covered in the corner, bathroom, or the backseat of my car, but I've given up on that. Definitely still discreet and modest, but I've finally gotten over worrying what people are thinking about me. I'm going to take care of my baby's needs, wherever we are. Nursing is completely different now than it was a first. He can be done in five minutes, only does it a few times a day, and we can have fun and play silly games while he nurses. Much different than the original, boring 45 minutes it would take 8-10 times a day in the beginning!


I have no game plan for totally weaning him because I don't see the immediate need to. Morning, naps, and nighttime are about where he's at now. It's SO easy now, incredible bonding time (I mean seriously, is there anything sweeter than a nursing babe playing with your hair?), and still majorly benefits both of us health-wise.


Ladies, you can do it! Educate yourselves. Stick up for yourselves in the hospital. Find someone to be your cheerleader, whether it's your husband, a lactation consultant, or just a friend who's been there and knows the challenge it is. If it's something you really want to do, don't give up! It gets SO much easier and is 110% worth sticking with it!

 Want to share your experience with breastfeeding? Email me at thegirlintheredshoes @gmail. And be sure to catch up with the entire Breastfeeding Diaries series at the top of my navigation bar.

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3 Comments »

3 Responses to “The Breastfeeding Diaries: Stephanie from Stephenomenal Life”

  1. I enjoyed this one a lot. How awesome of your friend to face time and help with latch issues! It's so important to have support. I feel the same way about the convenience of nursing with naps, bedtime, etc. and feeling no need to wean (mine is 21 months and still going). Your counter drying photo looked just like mine. I don't miss it though! Great post, thanks for sharing!

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  2. That's awesome that Rueben just turned one and you're still going. My little one is turning one next week and we have no plans on weaning yet either. I have to say I remember those nights when it would get dark and I'd be jealous of everyone that just got to go to bed. To be honest, my son still has never slept through the night - not even close, so sometimes I still have that envy. I know it will end someday and I'll be glad I was there for him.

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  3. Such an awesome story after a rough start. And I LOVE the name Rueben. A favorite of mine forever!! Great job!

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