Every breastfeeding story is different
Updated: May 29
In this week's guest post, Catalina shares her breastfeeding stories from her experience with her three children when they were young babies. Do you have a new baby, or are you expecting one soon? Consider taking our free lessons in the New and Expecting Parents category on wichealth.org. And don't forget, your WIC staff can answer your breastfeeding questions and provide lots of support!
Breastfeeding is portrayed as a magical time. It is also often portrayed as an easy connection between mother and baby. It can be, and it should be! However, there can be obstacles along the way. Demanding work schedules, other children needing care, exhaustion, breast engorgement, stress, baby's inability to latch on properly, and mastitis are just a few of these possible obstacles.
Moms should rest assured that every breastfeeding story is different. Number one concern should always be: is baby getting the nourishment she needs?
With my first son, he was not latching on despite all the books I had read on the subject, and all the earth momma intentions I had to be there for him. I found a way around it however, by pumping my breast milk and by supplementing his feedings with formula. I kept trying, however, and after he was 1 month old, he suddenly latched on. We had unlocked the mission together! My baby boy continued to breastfeed successfully until he was 9 months, when we both had had enough.
With baby number 2 it was also a rough start. My baby girl had a condition we would later learn, that made her muscles extra floppy, including her tongue. She was unable to suckle properly and her weight dropped alarmingly in her first days of life. Nonetheless, I pumped all the colostrum (the first milk) I could muster, and froze it and gave it to her via bottle.
Finally on day number 5, my sweet angel was grasping for the breast and learning to suckle. We both felt much better! She continued breastfeeding until 6 months. (She developed teeth early on, and thought it was great fun to bite down on my nipples despite my best efforts to get her to stop. So I pulled the plug and got her off the breast at 6 months.)
My last baby was another boy. The breastfeeding story with him was an immediate love story, straight out of a diaper commercial. It was sweet, and organic, we simply plugged in and the rest worked like clockwork. I considered it a gift and treasured the experience with him until he was 18 months old.
If breastfeeding had been so easy to me the first time, I would have struggled far worse to understand why we were having complications.
What I learned is that every effort was worth it, and that even if you can't do this directly with your baby, a breast pump can be your best friend. The milk you produce is liquid gold. Any amount will always be better than none.
Don't give up momma! However, if you must use formula, let go of the guilt and enjoy your baby regardless.
This blog was written by one of our guest WIC mom bloggers, Catalina. As Catalina mentioned, some babies tend to bite while teething. If your baby is one of those, check out these ideas from WIC.
I am a mother of 2 boys and 1 girl. I had a hard time coping with them in their baby years, but as they grow I tend to enjoy them much more. I am thankful to the WIC program, as it has made healthy foods easily available to them. We are in a low income bracket, and produce and fruits are not always affordable. WIC has made it possible to have a steady supply of fresh foods. My hope is that they continue to choose healthy foods in their later years, thanks to learning how to eat them early on.