I knew, or had been told, that breastfeeding is the best nutrition. And I apparently couldn't live up to that.
Each week we ask a Real Mom if they would like the NurtureGoods experience. These moms use a breast pump from NurtureGoods in order to describe and share their experiences. In this way, we hope to raise awareness of the NurtureGoods experience and help you make a choice. This week it's the turn of mom Anouk. Will you read along?
Bottle, breast, pump, art; fodder for the maternity period.
There you are. Completely overwhelmed by emotions, hormones and exhaustion. With a baby in your arms. And then it starts, because that baby needs to be fed. Spontaneous food for uncertainty, lack of clarity and a big mountain of questions. Even if in your eyes you have made all the right preparations.
The first time
I was like that too. After the delivery of my first son, in the hospital. A big boy, with hunger. And I thought just now I have to breastfeed. But so much happened at once. Because it didn't work immediately to attach him properly, he had to be fed immediately because of his high birth weight. And so I was already 1-0 behind. I had prepared myself, hadn't I? How come this doesn't work?
How is the feeding going?
All night I try to comfort the crying little baby. And while sweat gushed from under my armpits and breasts to put him back on. Until the moment when I could only conclude that I had to choose what was best for both of us. He needed to be fed and I needed to rest. I put a line on my intention to breastfeed. Much to my chagrin. Where the following weeks I was constantly confronted with the question of how was breastfeeding going? And stories of brand new mothers who seemingly had a baby drinking at the breast with ease.
Creating a new experience
As a new mother, it mostly brought sadness and uncertainty. I knew, or had been told, that breastfeeding was the best nutrition. And I apparently couldn't live up to that. Looking back I can look at it with the insight that what I had labeled as preparation was just information gathering. And that the approach 'I'll see' is not wrong, but in my case not sufficient. Those insights only came during the pregnancy of my second son. I wanted to replace the experience of the first time with self-confidence. Not so much a successful attempt of months of breastfeeding, but at least discovering how it could be done.
It has to. But why?
It was certainly a different experience because I followed an extensive course on all aspects of breastfeeding and that alone gave me so many new and beautiful insights. And thus a whole new feeling about how I wanted to handle this. What I had not counted on was that my second son would be born at 37 weeks. A small man, but with more ambition and attention for drinking at the breast than my first son. I had confidence. I was allowing myself time. But not everyone around me thought the same way. He has to drink. You have to do this like this. Otherwise, try that. While I actually just thought let me do it. With a pump I managed to collect small amounts of breast milk. The biggest challenge was the reflex. It took a long time and a small baby with little strength has difficulty with that. So it became pumping. An uncomfortable activity, sitting awkwardly in a bed, while I held the bottles on both sides. But it was worth the pumping to be able to breastfeed my little guy afterwards.
I hadn't counted on this
The first time, I didn't do that giving myself, but left it to the nurse, because she claimed it could be best inconvenient. Some of that, in my eyes precious breastfeeding, ended up on his shirt. Inside, I cried. So after that, I did it myself. Until the moment when my body decided not to participate anymore in other areas. An infernal migraine attack killed me. I could really do nothing. The days that followed were incredibly intense. Especially emotionally, because after a long talk with my husband, I chose what was best for me and my baby and unfortunately that was not breastfeeding.
Yet at the end of the first week, there was a bright spot. Or rather an emotional rollercoaster. Because I had a lot of engorgement and really wanted to start breastfeeding again. But I did not have a pump at home and neither did I have the knowledge about which steps to take. What if I would only pump now? In order to be able to breastfeed sufficiently? Or to leave the feeding to someone else. With sadness and confidence I stuck to my earlier decision.
You can't give up anyway
Should I have persevered? Not give up? Bite through? Well, that is the feeling that was playing. But at the same time I also knew that in this case I had chosen what was best for me. And that is the most important thing. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your child. And in my opinion, that should be the starting point when it comes to food. And that is exactly how I feel about my third pregnancy. With the knowledge and experience of the previous times. But also the disappointment and sadness. So this time I asked a lactation consultant for advice for the first week. How do I take it when there are setbacks? What scenarios can I follow with confidence, without being distracted by advice from others? And what do I really need? A comfortable pump. Because that's what's going to help me.
So attempt three. Three times in a row. Along with the Dual Efficient Smart 3.0 from NurtureGoods. A pump that's fast. Hello letdown reflex. And comfortable. Yes, please! Because everything else is uncomfortable enough I'd say. Together with the experiences. And the advice for the scenarios in the maternity week, it does seem to me to be a key to successful feeding.
Always choose what feels really good
Trust remains the most important thing. In the moments when everything else is or seems uncomfortable. My body knows what to do. My baby later on basically does too but that's not always a match. That doesn't mean, that I can have another experience in breastfeeding. With the support of products that are meant for that. Whether it's a pump, a well fitting bra, or a bottle with a special teat. Doing what feels right, what really feels right for you and not because you think it should be, is still the best choice when it comes to feeding your baby. Because that's the feed you need for maternity time. So that you and your baby are relaxed and happy together.
Want to know more about Anouk? Follow her on Instagram @anouk.boetzer