I have lately looked with a little bit of envy to the breastfeeding mamas out there because I have always wanted to be part of that “tribe”. Not breastfeeding my little baby was something unthinkable to me while a was pregnant, it was never an option in my head: I was going to breastfeed him no matter what. There were not many things written in my birth plan but one of them was to have skin-to-skin time with him right away so that I could breastfeed him as soon as he was born… that’s how determined I was!
I went through a completely natural birth, without painkillers, with no epidural, just the strength of the mind against the body and a little one that was ready to come quickly to this world (lucky me!). So if I was able to do the hardest part, how I was going to fail in the easy one? After all, breastfeeding is just something that comes naturally, right? Well, I was wrong…
My little munchkin weighted only 2.6 kilos at birth (that is 5.15 pounds) so the doctor told us that we had to stay one more night at the hospital so that we could monitor his sugar levels and make sure that he was fine before sending us home.
“Make sure that you feed him well or his sugar levels won’t be good” – The nurse said. – “I know you are adamant about breastfeeding but if the levels are not high enough we will have to give him formula”
I took her words very seriously and I breastfed him as much as I could, but his latching was not strong and neither was my milk supply. I would have him at my breasts mostly every hour and in between I would express milk with almost no success… No matter how hard I tried, there was little to no milk coming out.
The first two sugar level measurements went well so I thought that I just had to continue doing what I was doing… However, the third sugar check up came and it was not high enough. I was devastated… Nurse looked at me and I begged her: “Please, let me keep on trying, I think he’s latching a bit better now…”. But she explained to me that we were putting him at risk. As soon as I heard her saying that he was in danger I let her do her job and we gave him some formula. I have to admit that I felt really bad about this. I had always dreamed that I would exclusively breastfeed my baby so giving him formula when he was just one day of age was not exactly in my plans…
This little bump in the road was not going to stop me though! I continued breastfeeding and expressing some milk and the following levels were good. It was working and I was ecstatic! I didn’t sleep the night that I was in labor and I didn’t sleep the night after since I was non-stop trying to breastfeed him. However, the adrenaline rush had me going and I was not even tired. We got home and I continued my breastfeeding quest.
24 hours after we left the hospital a nurse came home to check on the baby and to make sure that we were doing fine (I know! Canadian system is just amazing!) and she gave me some bad news… Baby had dropped more weight than expected so we needed to keep an eye on that. She referred me to the postpartum lactation group so that they would help me with the latch and the feeding techniques and I got an appointment for the next day. I was shocked and glad with all the support that I was getting so I was confident that everything would work out in the end…
Do you want to know what happened next? Read my next post at “Diary of a non-breastfeeding mama” series.
Did you have the intention to be a breastfeeding mama and you could not? Have you gone through a similar struggle? Share your story in the comments section below!