I don’t come from a family of nursing women. Or I guess I should say I wasn’t breastfed. My mom couldn’t handle the discomfort, but my oldest sister is a breastfeeding guru. All the young moms in our family (cousins, nieces, etc.) ask her for advice. She also offers advice even when you don’t ask, but it usually turns out great. So all through my pregnancy she was asking if I intended to nurse. Well needless to say I don’t think I had much choice, but it was also something I wanted to do for our child. So I asked other people too; friends who I knew liked to breastfeed, and my husband and I talked about what we wanted for our child.
Right out of the womb our daughter, Peyton, nursed for almost an hour, which was different and exciting. So I thought it was going to be easy… well I was wrong. Peyton was born a fantastic sleeper, which meant eating was a secondary concern for her. This meant that she wasn’t eating enough and lost nearly a pound within 4 days of being born. This was SUPER scary because she was jaundice and the Internet can make you think that this is worse than it is. So our doctor gave us newborn formula and told us to supplement.
I thought, “Formula…I don’t want to give her formula. I got Milk!” Well it turned out she didn’t want formula. She wouldn’t eat more than ½ and ounce no matter how much she had nursed and my milk came in at the hospital… I just didn’t know. So instead we decided to supplement her feedings with milk. We were scared because you can never tell how much a baby eats when you are strictly nursing. So I began pumping and nursing around the clock during her first days home. Each time she nursed I followed by offering a bottle with an ounce in it OR would pump and giver her 2 oz. of milk in a bottle. We kept this up for 3 days and she gained an entire pound. She was back to her birth weight by the end of her first week.
After her 4-week visit, she began latching fairly well when she wanted to. I started going to a breastfeeding support group and the lactation specialist saw her latch and said she was doing fine. She said, “you see you both can do it, now its just about consistency.” That was encouraging so I kept at it. Peyton would wake to eat on somewhat of a schedule (we were using Babywise techniques) and was gaining steadily. I was able to weigh her to see how much she during support group.
I am only 2 months into this process but I plan to breastfeed for a year. I know that they say the biggest benefits are over after a few months but in my mind this is the best for our daughter. She was born 7lb 4 oz. (though some of that may have been fluid from my IV) and she was 10lbs 14 oz. at her 8 week well visit. Now she latches well and probably overeats but is gaining weight and looking great. There is no right way to do this… but this is the way we are doing it.
Update as of August 3, 2016: Ayanna is back to working full time again and her daughter attends day care. Ayanna's daughter, Peyton, is still breastfeeding at 14 months old! Once or twice a day, mom and daughter still get a few precious bonding moments through breastfeeding even though Peyton is now on soy milk during the day. Let the journey continue...