Why I'm Not Breastfeeding
The first few weeks — heck the first two months after giving birth to Adeline were so hard for me.
Like I said in one of my Instagram posts, I didn’t really give postpartum recovery some thought, so I didn’t expect all the pain that I felt. I actually still feel the pain now because my wound didn’t close up (yeah, I know huhu), but that’s a post for another day.
Today, I want to talk to you about why I am not “breastfeeding” Adeline. There will be no tips and tricks here. Just my thoughts, my experience, and my feelings about the whole thing.
This will be a little TMI but it’s key information to this whole story so here goes nothing — I have inverted nipples. Yes, they are a thing, and I didn’t think they were normal until I got pregnant. I thought that I was weird and abnormal my whole life because I practically do not have nipples! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google it. Now that we got that out of the way, it’s only common sense that I will have a challenging time getting breastmilk out of me because milk comes out of nipples, which in my case, are hidden inside my boobs. It’s almost impossible!
At the hospital, hours after Adeline was born, they taught me how to feed her — how to hold her, where to position her, which hand does what, all that kind of stuff — and I’ve never felt defeated in my life!😩 It felt like my boobs didn’t have milk at all, and Adeline just couldn’t find a nipple to latch on. We tried so many things that first night (the little squeezer thing that helps pull out the nipple for breastfeeding, and the hospital grade Medela pump), but I was able to only squeeze out a tiny drop of milk. And though the nurses encouraged me that things will get better, I still felt the pressure to make breastfeeding work. I was adviced to call for a lactation nurse to help me with my problem, but I had to wait until the morning, so during the rest of the night, I tried my best to latch Adeline on me so she could get food in her. Guess what, I failed over and over again, but I was still optimistic. After all, the lactation nurse will help me right?
Come morning, a lactation nurse arrived. She taught me how to stimulate the boob but still no milk came out. Also, when she came, Adeline was asleep so she said to call her when Adeline woke up. When Adeline woke up, I called her, and she said that she will send someone to come see me. This second lactation nurse felt very off and a little judgmental. I didn’t like her at all! She taught me how to use a nipple shield though which was great. It acts like a fake nipple, which will help Adeline latch on to me which will result to a successful feeding. It’s actually genius, until my nipples started to bleed!!! If you know me well, you know that I’m scared of blood, so the sight of my nipples bleeding was too much for me to handle. I declared my boobs defective at that moment! Oh gosh they hurt so bad!!! 😭 I felt so worried for Adeline because she legit has not drank milk at all, only that tiny drop I gave her. Then my saving grace arrived, my third lactation nurse. At first I thought she was gonna be awful like the last one because she didn’t approve of the paci which Adeline was sucking on, but at the end, she helped me soooo much!
I explained to her my current situation and she felt my pain when she saw my bloodied nipple shield. She gave me a bigger one because she thought the first one was too small for my “nipples”. She taught me how to properly use it (again) so we tried feeding Adeline, again. My nipples were still very sore, but anything for my baby right? Nothing. It didn’t work. And guess what, my nipples bled, AGAIN! As a lactation nurse, her job was to promote breastfeeding to all new mothers, but my case was complicated, so she told me that it should be fine to give Adeline formula because it seemed like there was no other way. She showed Jorge and I how to feed a super newborn baby and guys, it was so tedious! I’m so glad those days are over. She also talked to my insurance to grant me special access to a hospital grade Medela pump so I could have a good pump to use at home. Seriously, thank God for that woman!
And whew, that was a jam packed morning for sure. I was half asleep most times, internally crying from all my postpartum pain, but I felt extremely overjoyed because Adeline was finally here and we get to take her home.
The photos above show how we fed Adeline the first few days. It’s like we were feeding a defective baby bird, but in reality, it’s because momma bird has defective boobies. :( Not entirely sure why this method was taught to us, and though it was extremely tedious, it worked for the meantime.
The first night back at home, I felt really down and frustrated with myself that I burst out crying. I hated that my body couldn’t function the way it’s supposed to! I felt like a big failure as a mom. I was blaming myself for the exhaustion from feeding her. I blamed myself for the extra expense spent on formula. I blamed myself for starving my daughter the first couple nights at the hospital. I was in such a bad place. But before I could completely shut down, I brought myself back out because it was a situation I had no control over. There was nothing I could do, and that I was being unfair to myself for thinking those things. I just had to accept the situation and move forward. It helped a lot having Jorge with me the first few nights. He really helped me out a lot with feeding and taking care of Adeline when I could barely move. I was also in constant contact with my sister in Canada and my friend Angela (who’s a new mommy) those first few days. Their input really helped me a lot. I felt so encouraged by them and without them, I probably would have fallen into depression.
Anyway after a few days, we went to Adeline’s 5-day appointment and saw another lactation nurse. We learned that Adeline lost a few pounds but she said that it was completely normal. We talked about breastfeeding and I explained to her our situation. I loved her so much because she was so open, unlike the nurses at the hospital where I felt pressured to JUST breastfeed. Jorge and I also learned so much from her! She absolutely respected my choice to just try pumping first with the hopes that my boobs will start working better. When she asked us how we fed Adeline, she was shocked! She told us that the nurse at the hospital was too hardcore and that we shouldn’t be burdened even more with the way we were feeding our daughter. She said that it was already hard enough being first time parents. So, she told us that we could start feeding Adeline through a bottle. We just had to make sure to use preemie/soft flow nipples. Jorge and I left the clinic feeling so relieved! No more bird feeding method, thank God! We opted to use Dr.Brown’s bottles because it had the slowest flow nipples compared to the Avent and Medela ones we had at home.
Being the responsible mom that I am, I started pumping every 2-3 hours as recommended. The day after we arrived home from the hospital, we received this Medela pump and we were able to keep it for 30 days. Again, bless that lactation nurse from the hospital. My first successful pump, I was able to produce only 1 oz, but I was so happy! OMG! I could pump milk out of me!!! I didn’t think that it was still possible. The first few weeks of pumping was a little tough on me emotionally though. I thought that I had already escaped the pressures of breastfeeding but I was wrong. Because my supply was so low, at home, I was fed with lots of liquids and foods that were supposed to up my supply. It felt as if my body was being forced to produce the milk I was expected to give my child. Not that I don’t appreciate the gesture, it was just sometimes, I wanted to eat and drink different things, but I couldn’t because I was given other stuff that made me full. I know it sounds so silly but with just a few weeks postpartum, my hormones were still a little cray. I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt this way. Also, pumping hurts!!! It’s not that easy! Not to mention all the washing that I have to do while I was still recovering. :((
Anyway, eventually, my milk came in, like a lot of articles said it would. My body just needed time to warm up. My supply went up and just continued to go up! I was on a roll!
I was producing milk alright, but unfortunately, my supply still wasn’t enough for me to exclusively feed Adeline breastmilk so I was feeding Adeline breastmilk and formula. I was okay with that. But after the two-month mark, everything just kind of went downhill for me. Present time, I’m still pumping, but the most I could produce on a good pump session is 4 oz. My average pump has gone down to 2 oz.! I’m currently at this point where I’m asking myself if it’s still worth it to go through sleepless nights and constant pumping just to get 2 oz. I thought about giving up already, but I also didn’t want to chicken out so quick either! Adeline just turned 3 months and I think it’s too early for me to completely give up pumping. I know, fed is best, and I’d be absolutely happy with just giving her formula. But I also want to still give her the best milk possible.
So if you’re a mommy and you’re reading this, I want you to chime in on this. What are some ways that you found effective in upping your milk supply? I am desperate at this point, but not desperate enough to shell out $$$ on Legendairy Milk supplements. I find their prices too expensive! :(( Please leave your recommendations in the comment box below!
That’s my breastfeeding journey so far!
If you’re in the same boat as I am, I want to encourage you. You are doing your best. Don’t allow people’s comments or advices make you feel like you aren’t doing enough. Trust your instincts. At the end of the day, you are the mom and you call the shots. You’re doing great momma so don’t stress too much. Enjoy each moment because time is fleeting.