Good Morning Everyone!! My name is Jessica and I blog over at Better Together and Forever! I am so thankful for Julie allowing me share my story of breastfeeding. I found hers and other's stories on The Breastfeeding Diaries so helpful while I was pregnant and wanted to share my own story.
Mommy and Luke - 3 Months Old
If you would have asked me 2 years ago if I would breastfeed, I would have laughed and said no. It wasn't until my husband and I began to try for a baby that I became more informed in breastfeeding and I then decided that I was going to breastfeed. Everyone told me how hard it would be, but that made me even more determined that I was going to breastfeed. Once I became pregnant, I began to be even more interested in breastfeeding and how the whole process worked. I read blogs, I read books, I took a breastfeeding class and brought along my husband with me, and I even joined my "Birth Club" on Babycenter.com to learn more about breastfeeding.
On Friday, September 12th, 2014, my son Luke Andrew was born in this world at 2:10 AM after 18 hours of labor. I told my nurses that I wanted to do skin to skin immediately after birth and then try to breastfeed him before we allowed visitors in the room. Thankfully Luke was born with no medical complications and I was able to accomplish skin to skin and breastfeeding.
Mommy and Luke doing skin to skin immediately after birth
My first try at breastfeeding went way better than I expected. The nurse helped me latch Luke on and he did great! After a feeding and his first bath, I decided to send Luke to the nursery so that I could get a couple hours of sleep. He was brought back in to me at 7 AM and I felt like a new woman.
At 25 hours of age, your baby goes through the newborn testing. The nurse and I spoke about when to take Luke for his testing. We agreed that after his feeding at 1 AM that I would call her and she would take him to the nursery for the testing. He came back to me about an hour later and the nurse told me how it went, but to honest, I don't remember what she said because I was just so tired! I awoke around 7 AM and asked the nurse again what she said. She told me that his bili-rubin level was elevated and the pediatrician would be checking on Luke to find out if he needed to lie under the lights to get rid of the bili-rubin. Around 8 AM I fed Luke and he was then taken to the nursery to "sun tan". He could only be in my room to nurse and then was taken back to the nursery to drink some formula and go back under the lights. At that moment, I knew that nursing Luke would start to become difficult. I tried to feed Luke a bottle of formula but he just wasn't having it. The nurse told me that sometimes babies don't want to take a bottle from a mother who is breastfeeding.
You can see Luke's "raccoon eyes" here from suntanning.
Breastfeeding with Mommy
Two ounce bottle after breastfeeding.
This was the first bottle that Luke took from me.
We were suppose to be allowed to go home on Sunday but because Luke's bili-rubins levels were too high and they wanted him on the lights overnight once again. Because I was breastfeeding, the nurses were able to find an open room for me to stay. I was officially discharged at midnight and no longer a patient, but I had a room to stay and be with my son. The nurses would bring him into my room to feed and I would take him back to the nursery. I cried to my husband that night that I felt like he wasn't mine and I had to give him back.
Monday afternoon we were given the green light to take our baby boy home, but with our very own portable bili-bed. The bili-bed became a constant pain to have to drag around the house with us. He was to be on the light unless he was eating or needed a diaper change. So needless to say, breast feeding on top of the stupid bili-bed/blil-blanket became a challenge, but I was determined to make it work.
Bili-bed at home with Luke
Day Two of being home and we were sent the bilk-blanket instead of the bili-bed.
This allowed us to be able to hold Luke more than we could than with the bili-bed.
My routine looked like the following: change Luke's diaper, nurse Luke on both sides, give him a bottle (around 2 ounces of formula), lie baby back on lights, pumped both sides for 20 minutes at a time. Start routine over every 2 hours. We also were to take Luke every 2 days to the hospital to get his blood drawn to check his hemoglobin levels.
Another blood draw
My pump stash after a couple weeks.
I wasn't producing a lot of milk but at least I was producing some!
16 days after Luke was born we did yet another blood test. The results came back that afternoon and a phone call from our pediatrician scared us. We were to take Luke to the ER for additional testing. You can read about that experience here. Luke eventually received 2 blood transfusions (one in his left hand and another in his scalp) and we still were breastfeeding and formula feeding at the time.
Nursing Luke in ER #1 that night.
Nursing baby during our overnight stay at the Children's hospital.
Baby napping in the crib at the Children's Hospital
Blood Transfusion #1 in his left hand
Blood Transfusion #2 in his scalp
On our way home after Blood Transfusion #2 and fell asleep holding onto Mommy's finger.
Eventually the stress of Luke's anemia and blood disorder became too much to handle and I decided to throw in the towel with breastfeeding. He started to realize that he could get his food faster from the bottle than breastfeeding and that I wasn't a substantial source of food for him. November 12, 2014, was the last time I breastfed Luke. I was sad but knew it was time to end our breastfeeding journey. I even had my husband take a photo of the last feeding. Strange I'm sure, but it was a way for me to document this journey for me.
Last time breastfeeding
In the end, I am SO proud of myself for sticking with breastfeeding, even if it was for 2 months. Do I wish that I stuck with breastfeeding for my original goal of 1 year? Yes, of course, but I made the best decision for me and my son. I tried to up my water intake, I tried taking a ton of fenugreek, I ate oatmeal and I drank Mother's Milk tea. None of it made the difference and stress took over. Formula is fine for my little guy and he is thriving. Today at 6 months of age he is 19 pounds and 29 inches long. He is the happiest little guy and smiles on cue when I say "cheese" with my camera. All I ever wanted was the best for Luke and even without breastfeeding, Luke is still getting all the nutrition that he needs and that is all I ask for.
We love stroller walks!
Luke - 6 Months Old