A gorgeous nursing session in the sunflowers of Pope Farms with a lovely group of mamas and their babies. This is Kris’s story in her words.
My Journey of Breastfeeding
“When I became pregnant with our first child, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed and hoped that I would have enough of a supply to continue for at least 6 weeks. I went to the childbirth education classes with my husband and I remember a nurse and lactation consultant informing the class the breastfeeding does not hurt but is a bit uncomfortable until you and your baby “get the hang of it.”
After our daughter was born, she latched right away. The nurse called her a little barracuda. What I had not planned for after all the hours of exhausting labor was the pain associated with the latch. A lactation consultant visited us and encouraged me that I was doing the best things for our baby. All I felt was pain and she cried those first few days when there was no milk. The first three weeks were honestly the most difficult and if my husband and mother weren’t there to encourage me to push through it, I would have easily given her some formula.
To my surprise I had more than enough milk. It also appeared that when I ate certain foods, it made her uncomfortable hours later- so I changed my diet and things improved. Within a few months, I had some milk collected in the freezer. Breastfeeding became easier and then an enjoyable bonding time with my girl. It was challenging to start work when she was 16 weeks and figure out when to pump and try and keep a supply for her.
Fast forward to our second child, another “barracuda.” I found it a bit easier to nurse him because I knew what to except. If I could make it through the uncomfortable sensations for the first three weeks, I knew I would succeed. Then my milk didn’t come in for 6 days. He was hungry, crying and not sleeping. The stress of him losing weight and me unable to provide his nourishment was so terrible. Luckily, I contacted the Mother’s Milk Alliance. I picked up some frozen breast milk and we fed our son through this little syringe that I would either tape to my breast or give him by hand. I was grateful when my milk finally came in. I was in graduateschool and working with our son, and it was exhausting trying to keep up with the demands of life and still provide that nurturing time for him. There were many times early on that I wanted to quit. Not because it hurt, but because I was pulled in several directions with work, being a mom to an active toddler, studying and completing clinical rotations.
When I could have a date night with my husband, I was bringing along the breast pump and ice packs. My body was not my own. At 9 months the stress started to affect my milk supply and he weaned himself. I was very sad that I didn’t make it one year.
This year our third child, a little girl was born. She is our little surprise blessing. It had been almost 4 years since there was a newborn in the house. I had completely forgotten the joys and tears that came with the first few weeks at home. Again, I had a good latcher and milk supply was good. The difficult part was getting her to take a bottle, she only wanted to nurse. Six different bottles later we found one that worked. She transitioned to daycare at 12 weeks and I went back to work. This position is a bit easier to set aside the time to pump at work. I still struggle between the decrease in milk supply with working and caring for two other children. I decided to start some supplements to help. I have a goal of nursing her the longest…one year! I know I can do it.”
-Kris & Raina