Live breastfeeding unfortunately didn't work out, so I started pumping full-time. How proud I was to be able to give breast milk to Lily this way.
Every other 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 mom Yentl's turn. Will you read along?
Yentl's NurtureGoods experience (Instagram @yentl.duchatteau)
By pumping I was still able to give breast milk
Even before I got pregnant, I knew that once the time came, I wanted to breastfeed. At least trying, because succeeding did not come naturally. Just like getting pregnant, which turned out not to be a given for us either. After 3 years, including an IUI and an ICSI process, I got pregnant after the first embryo transfer.
The pregnancy went well, except for some ailments. Every ultrasound I was surprised that our baby was doing so well, because I was always prepared for disappointment. In the last weeks of my pregnancy I developed hypertension; high blood pressure. I had to go on medication and there was a good chance I would be induced. At 38 weeks we had a meeting at the hospital to discuss this initiation. It was scheduled for the following week. But our baby girl had other plans. The next afternoon my contractions started and that evening our daughter Lily was born.
What a magical moment when you take a little one like that and put it on your breast. During the golden hour - when you are eager for your baby to latch on for the first time - Lily was still very tired. She was a little purple when she was born and clearly needed to recover. We'll try again later.
Because of my high blood pressure, we had to stay longer and were assigned a room in the maternity ward. Here we received 24/7 support from a nurse. Also in terms of breastfeeding. Every 3 hours we tried to put Lily on. Sometimes it worked a little, but often not. Lily's energy level remained low so latching on cost her a lot of energy. But we kept trying from time to time and in the meantime I started my first pumping session.
After two days we were allowed to go home and received daily guidance from our maternity nurse during breastfeeding. To get my milk production going properly, I started pumping again at home. The Dual Efficient Smart 3.0 pump came in handy! It was a relief compared to the pump from the hospital. The maternity nurse was impressed by the design of the pump. Well, it looks good too.
I found pumping quite exciting and in the beginning it also felt strange because nothing was coming out yet. There was a massage cushion on the breastplate, which made it feel a lot more pleasant. Fortunately, the pump is also very easy to use and I quickly got the hang of it. After a day or two, I started getting congestion and the breastfeeding started. How proud I was of those few milliliters I was able to give Lily through a syringe and later a bottle. We did notice that live breastfeeding was still too intensive for Lily.
It felt so good that my milk production increased every day and I could feed Lily with my own milk. Then again, that congestion was less pleasant, but thankfully that went away after a day or two. To stimulate my milk production even more and to be able to feed Lily fully with my own milk, I started pumping full-time: every 2-3 hours. Live breastfeeding unfortunately didn't work out, so I started pumping full-time. How proud I was to be able to give breast milk to Lily this way. It is quite tough. You're always on, day and night. Then a double and electric breast pump is really nice.
It was hard work, but with progress each day, the fact that Lily started growing through my milk and the nice moment together when live feeding did succeed sporadically, gave enough motivation to keep going.
But there were plenty of times when I wondered if it was all worth it. The alarm clock would ring to pump again, while I felt I had just finished a pumping session. It was also at the expense of my moments with Lily, when I saw Marijn feeding her and I was pumping again. When Marijn went back to work I took over all the nights, I had to pump at night anyway. But double the work, so double the time spent.
On top of that, my milk production suddenly went downhill. I already did not have a high milk production and could barely keep up with Lily's supply/demand for the first 2 weeks. With my production going down and Lily just needing more, we had to start giving artificial milk. That first bottle was a big deal. Nothing against artificial feeding, but I was so proud that she could be fed earlier with just my breast milk. Still, I got over that and was happy with every drop I could give her. But seeing after each pumping session that there is less in the bottle does hurt. It then feels like your body is failing and I had that feeling so many times during the fertility process.
Under the guidance of a lactation consultant, I put everything I could into boosting that production. You name it, I called in all the help lines. For a while things went in the right direction. Yes! But when I pumped a little later, the production decreased again. In short, I had to be on top of it all the time to keep the production up to a reasonable level.
I kept trying to put it on now and then too, but Lily got especially upset. For me, of course, this was not pleasant either. I couldn't make the decision for a long time, but at a certain point I knew I couldn't do it anymore. And then it was final. The "breastfeeding" chapter was closed. Although it felt like the right decision and gave peace of mind, it hurt. I had so hoped to be able to breastfeed Lily (live) and somewhere I kept hoping that this would still work out, but now I have to accept that this is not going to happen. Who knows if I will ever be allowed to breastfeed in the future, but for now the chapter is closed.
It was a tough period, but I wouldn't have wanted to miss it either. I am so proud that I gave it a chance, there were so many times I could have thrown in the towel. Thanks in part to the fine breast pump, I was still able to feed Lily for 5 weeks with pumped breast milk. Should we welcome another baby in the future, I will definitely try again. Although the pumping always went well, I hope then that I can feed live with occasional pumping sessions in between. Then a pump from Nurture Goods will definitely be part of the baby kit again.
Much love, Yentl
Want to know more about Yentl? Then follow her on Instagram @yentl.duchatteau