The Breastfeeding Diaries: Sarah from Sweet, Simple, and Small

November 5, 2014

Hi Ladies! I’m Sarah and I blog over at Sweet, Simple, and Small. I am a lover of the outdoors, Jesus, iced coffee and am happily married to my awesome husband David. Together, we have the happiest little girl Gracelyn. I am so honored to be sharing my story with you!

During my entire pregnancy, I had such an overwhelming desire to breastfeed so I read just about everything there is to know about the topic. Once Grace came out, she was very tired and lazy and didn't latch at all- she barely opened her mouth! It took nearly two hours before she finally startled suckling. The first time she latched was such a surreal moment and I was relieved because I was dead set on staying as far away from formula as I could. I think as a new mom, we fear failure more than anything and I didn't want to fail at the most natural thing a mom was supposed to be able to do. It took about a day or so for her (and I) to get the hang of it but without the help of my amazing LC, I would not be where I am today.  I felt like things were going well since we were bonding and it didn't even hurt!

 After 2 days in the hospital, we were ready to go home. On day four, we went back to the doctor because she was slightly too yellow and we found out her bilirubin levels were all messed up and she had to be admitted to the hospital for a 48 hour UV light treatment. I immediately burst into tears. I can clearly remember the doctor kneel down in front of me as I held my tiny little girl in my arms and gently explain the importance of getting my baby healthy as soon as possible.

The two days in the hospital were a blur. I used a hospital pump right away and began storing milk for her. Because she had to be under the lights as much as possible, I could only take her out for up to 30 minutes at a time to feed her. I breastfed as long as she would take and then I fed her some pumped milk with a medicine syringe. Seeing her under those lights hurt so bad but I knew we had to do it. I was not going to let this stop me from breastfeeding so I pushed through and when we were able to go home again, it was the best feeling ever. I am so grateful for my husband and family who came and stayed with us, prayed over us, called or visited with us when we were there.

At home, we nursed every 2 hours and I usually kept at this routine:
Nurse on one side- 20-30 minutes
Pump the side she hadn’t nursed on- 10 minutes
Store the pumped milk and clean parts- 15 minutes
Lather on some Earth Mama nipple cream and repeat in 2 hours!

Thankfully, I was able to stay home from work for 8 weeks and in that time I was able to bond with my sweet girl, relax, pump and just take things slow- it was fantastic and I loved every minute. At week 3, I woke up extremely sore and noticed I had a white blister on my nipple and flu-like symptoms. I googled my symptoms and self-diagnosed with mastitis and a milk blister. It was terribly painful and I began to dread every feeding as I knew I could not ignore the blister. I had clogged ducts on and off for 2 more weeks and during that time I remember thinking "Why am I doing this to myself?" This is not fun. I hate this. Usually, my thoughts were interrupted by a crying baby ready to feed again. It wasn't until week 5 that most of the pain was gone and I was actually able to relax and feed more confidently. I began to enjoy it and switch sides during each feeding. I started to look forward to the next feeding as it was my time to truly bond with Grace. There is nothing more special than to see her big brown eyes staring up at me or the adorable smile as she is eating while I tickle her toes.

Now, at 21 months in, I feel so much more confident in myself than I ever have before. Breastfeeding is the most difficult, most rewarding thing I have ever done and the thought of it possibly ending soon makes me extremely tearful. I have loved every second of it and never thought I would make it this far (my first goal was just 6 months). 

If breastfeeding was a person I would thank her. I would thank her for this amazing experience and the ability to provide my daughter with the best nutrition for her. I would hug her and cry in her arms because I feel like breastfeeding gave me confidence as a woman- as a mom and breastfeeding gave me an incredible bond with my girl- one that I simply cannot put into words. Grace feels safe in my arms and knows that I am always ready to give her just what she needs. Breastfeeding did that. Because of breastfeeding, before bed, Grace will look up at me and sign “milk” while saying “noose” (her word for nurse) and rub her eyes. Every night I get to watch my little princess drift off to sleep while nursing and I get to go to bed each night knowing I did my absolute best for her. So if breastfeeding was a person, I would say thank you and tell her that I have loved her company more than anything.

I know breastfeeding is not for everyone or maybe didn't work out for everyone. One thing I have always said to myself throughout my whole experience as a mom is this: I am not a good mom because I breastfeed (make my own baby food, use name brand, etc.), I am a good mom because I love my baby and try my absolute best every single day.

If you or someone you know is struggling with breastfeeding then I urge you to seek help from a lactation consultant or an experienced mom. Breastfeeding is such an honor but it does not come easy-It is SO hard sometimes. If you end up using formula, donated milk, homemade formula etc. then please know that you are doing an amazing job. We as moms are sometimes so hard on ourselves or are quick to judge others. We are all going through motherhood together and as long as we keep loving these sweet babies…well, that’s all that really matters. 

Thank you, Julie, for this opportunity!

Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar.

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3 Responses to “The Breastfeeding Diaries: Sarah from Sweet, Simple, and Small”

  1. Mastitis is no joke - I had it twice in the year that I breastfed my son, and the flu-like symptoms were a dead giveaway both times (along with a hot, red breast). So glad you were able to push through and keep breastfeeding! Good job, Mama!

  2. Always an interesting read to see the journey other mommas have been on - motherhood and little babies are such a miracle x

  3. I have been following your blog regularyly for a few years now and never commented (stalker, I know) but this post really spoke to me! I LOVED the part about "if breastfeeding was a person". It so well described my experience and gratefulness for my journey.

    Thanks for all the wonderful stories! Maybe I'll share mine someday :)


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