A few months ago, we sent out a Call for Breastfeeding Stories. Our desire was to flood the Internet with beautiful breastfeeding and pumping stories of triumph, overcoming challenges and struggles, and positive outcomes, regardless of the total amount of milk a mom was producing. We are thrilled to share these stories with you, our readers, and hope that they offer support and inspiration for you, wherever you are in your breastfeeding or pumping journey.
Thank you to all of the mothers who submitted their stories! If after you read these memoirs you are inspired to submit your story, feel free to send it to RobinKaplan@sdbfc.com.
This memoir is from Amanda, from https://exclusivepumping.com/
When I was pregnant with my second child, I was planning to breastfeed her. I was also really nervous about it because of my experience with my first child.
After my son was born, we struggled with nursing while we were in the hospital. Each nurse suggested that I hold him a different way, and it always worked when they were standing right there. However, after they left and I tried to nurse again on my own, I could never get him to latch. I remember being so sleep deprived from labor that I couldn't really listen to what they were telling me and have it sink in.
Additionally, the hospital had a lactation consultant, but there had a been a huge snowstorm a few days earlier, and she "hadn't been seen since the blizzard." So that form of assistance wasn't available, unfortunately.
(After my nurse told me that, I had this mental image of the lactation consultant getting lost on her way to the hospital in a sleigh or something. Hopefully, she eventually made it back.)
After three weeks of struggling and my son still not being back up to his birth weight, I ended up deciding to exclusively pump for him. I had a lot of complicated emotions around this - guilt for not trying harder to nurse, inadequacy for not being able to make nursing work, pride in myself for managing to breastfeed by pumping only. As a Type A person, I became pretty obsessed with it - how much I was pumping, how much he was eating, how much my stash was, etc. Exclusively pumping became such a big part of my identity as a new mom that I started an entire website about it.
So, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I wanted to make sure that she got breast milk, too, just like my son did. At the same time, I knew how hard it was to exclusively pump, and I was already terrified of having two kids under two years old. Exclusively pumping with a toddler and baby seemed impossible to me, and I wasn't sure if I could manage it again.
As soon as she was born, though, it was obvious that this baby had a completely different temperament than my son. While he had screamed for his entire first hour of life outside the womb, she just cried a little and then latched on like a champ.
There were definitely some bumps in the road over the first few days - again, I struggled a bit with latch in the hospital - but we moved past them pretty quickly, and she was back up to her birth weight after a little over week.
I have such great memories of nursing my daughter while on maternity leave. Some days (instead of going to Stroller Strides or trying to run errands) I would just decide to be lazy and spend the whole day on the couch with her - snuggling, switching to the other breast from time to time, and watching entire seasons of Game of Thrones.
I ended up nursing my daughter until she was 18 months old. I don't think I had much milk left at that point, and it was just part of her bedtime routine. When I ended up needing to go on a trip without her, my husband to put her to bed, and that was the end. I was sad to be done with nursing her, but it also felt like it was time.
Being able to nurse my daughter really helped me heal from the feelings of guilt and inadequacy I had felt after not being able to with my son. I'm so grateful for both breastfeeding relationships, though, because they taught me different things - my son taught me that I could figure things out as a mom even when things didn't go the way I'd planned, while my daughter taught me the importance of being in the moment and savoring time together.