My Journey With Breastfeeding

Since it’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I thought it would be appropriate to share my journey and experience with breastfeeding Reagan.

I always knew from day one I wanted to breastfeed. Heck, I feel like now a days as (new) moms theres this pressure of having to breastfeed. Where it’s almost looked down upon if you don’t. {For the record, if you’re a new mom or about to be, there is NO shame or guilt when it comes to deciding how you want to feed YOUR child. You tell me which kid in the Kindergarten class was breastfed or formula fed!} Craziness! So with that said, I wanted to try breastfeeding. Haha. Not because society told me to, but I think subconsciously since I didn’t get to experience having Reagan naturally–you can read about my delivery here — I wanted to feel my body do something naturally for her.

When the moment came for me to feed Reagan, surprisingly enough, everything worked! She latched like a champ and I was producing. Not going to lie, initially I was a little timid having my boob all exposed and the nurses helping me but that all aside, I think it’s a beautiful thing our bodies do to feed another human! I was so relieved and happy that it was going smoothly and according to plan. However, it didn’t last long.

Looking back, I can’t really remember the exact month or time it happened but I remember noticing the first minute or so of Reagan latching, I felt terrible. Not physically, but mentally. I had overwhelming emotions of feeling so sad and depressed. How could I possibly feel this way when I’m literally providing food for my child. But I did. I would tell my husband to leave me alone for the first few minutes because I mentally went to a place where I needed to be left a lone and not engage. I would also within these minutes, get super nauseous. It definitely didn’t help when I had food sitting beside me– because when it’s feeding time for baby, its feeding time for mommy. But once those couple of minutes were over, I felt fine. It got to the point where I started to dread feeding Reagan. How awful is that?! It made me not enjoy breastfeeding and all along that’s what I wanted to do! Plus, it made me feel like I was doing the “right”  thing for my child. I honestly felt like a failure when I started coming to terms with possibly not continuing to breastfeed. I would see and read about other moms who would set these goals for themselves; “I’m going to breastfeed for 6 months” or “I’m doing it until my baby turns 1.” I thought, “how crazy!” But that’s amazing  for those mommas who can and want to do that for their child! I just know with how I was feeling, secretly, I couldn’t wait to stop.

My friend recently shared this article  with me, ironically in the middle of her nightly feed, about women who suffer from D-MER- Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex. I read this and thought WOW this is spot on with how I was feeling! Whoa! Thank goodness I’m not crazy and weird. Essentially, women that experience D-MER have dopamine levels that drop too far {the dopamine prohibits prolactin- the releasing of milk. So when the milk lets down, the dopamine drops} And this will cause emotions like despondency, aggression and anxiety.

I also felt all this pressure on myself. I was the only one who could feed Reagan. And as a new mom, you’re {at least I was} already overwhelmed with trying to remember to do all the “right” things for my child, on top of not sleeping and then feeling glued to to my baby because every 3 hours I was back to feeding again. I started opening up to my sister in law who has 3 kids and she suggested pumping so that way other people could feed Reagan and I could get a “break.” Well, I quickly learned there was no “break” lol. If Reagan was using a bottle, I was still alone somewhere pumping to stock up on more milk or prepare for the next bottle. Since this was all so knew to me, and no matter how many people tell you or talk about it, you’re never fully prepared until you’re actually in it. Also, I think I was so stressed about how I was going to feed Reagan–was I going to pump or breastfeed, that I wasn’t enjoying feeding time with her AT ALL. And I knew that needed to change.

By the third month of breastfeeding, Reagan and I traveled to Florida for the first time so she could meet extended family. It just so happened that I actually lost my supply. I went from producing 6-8 ounces total to 1 ounce from both breasts. Whaaa! How crazy is that?! Honestly, there was a big sigh of relief for me when this happened. But the mom guilt kicked in immediately. Now, I could have tried harder to get my production back. I continued to pump and still had Reagan feed off me but I knew deep down, I was done. Funny thing was, I was most nervous to tell my pediatrician that I decided to officially switch over to formula. I don’t enjoy confrontation and for some reason I was afraid she would pressure me into continuing to breastfeed. Luckily, she was so sweet and nice about it. I remember her specifically saying, “Okay, sounds great!” I think I probably gave her a funny look like, “wait, what?” “This is ok?” She was so awesome about it and super encouraging! I hope if you’re reading this, your pediatrician is the same way!

With all that said, Reagan is just as healthy on formula as she was on breast milk. She may be a little chunkster but I fully believe and feel that if you’re are happy, baby is happy!

**For anyone that is reading this and has or is going through the same thing, please know you’re not alone and you’re doing an amazing job! Were all in this together and as moms we need to help lift up and encourage one another!

with love, Danielle

 

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