I remember when I was pregnant with Honey Bee (my first child), I was so excited to breastfeed. I educated myself as much as possible and even attended breastfeeding workshops. When I was 9 months pregnant my colostrum came in, and I just knew that I would rock breastfeeding.
I delivered Honey Bee via c-section, and that’s when our breastfeeding journey began. Do to the pain I was in from the c-section it was hard for me to hold my baby the first time to help her properly latch.
Honey Bee was a hungry newborn and when I couldn’t get her to latch properly she quickly got frustrated and started screaming. I buzzed the lactation consultant and she came into help me. I was sore, frustrated, tired and felt so defeated. She showed me the football hold, which was very easy for me. She also showed me how to latch Honey Bee. However, when the lactation consultant left the room I was filled with anxiety and I was intimidated by my newborn.
Not only was it taking my milk a long time to come in, Honey Bee was a very sleepy baby so it was hard to keep her awake to nurse. I was also still having trouble getting her to properly latch. That’s when it hit me that breastfeeding was not coming to us as naturally as I thought it would.
Honey Bee lost more than %10 of her body weight and the doctors were pressuring me to supplement and give her bottle. Of course I didn’t want her to starve so I gave in.
Read About My Breastfeeding Journey With Bumble Bee
The Beginning of the End?
I put the bottle to her mouth and she quickly drank the bottle. It was in the moment I felt inadequate. I was happy my baby was getting satisfied but I became incredibly sad that I couldn’t fulfill her needs.
I sat on the edge of the bed in tears, and realized that all of my efforts were in vain. I just wanted to breastfeed my daughter. I would slowly walk over to her bassinet and pick her up and attempt to feed her, and she would cry because my milk wasn’t coming out as fast as the bottle.
Don’t Give Up
I was overwhelmed so I sent her to the nursery for awhile. I was determined to breastfeed her. I asked the nurse for a breast pump and began pumping milk for her. During my first session I got exactly 2oz from both sides combined. I felt elated! I gladly fed my hungry baby my breast milk from a bottle! That gave me a sense of accomplishment. I continued to pump for her. However, I was plagued with the fear of getting her to latch. What if I couldn’t get her to latch again?
As I sat on the bed after calling the lactation consultant for the 100th time, the nurse on called walked in and handed me a dvd. She saw me struggling with getting my newborn to latch.
“Watch this. I think it will help you”, she said.
It was a dvd with a small baby on the front. I put it in the dvd player and started watching.
In the video a mother laid her newborn on her chest and the baby actually crawled to it’s mother’s breast and self-latched. I was in disbelief. I wasn’t giving my Honey Bee enough credit. With a slightly doubtful mind, I tried it with Honey Bee. I slowly laid her on my chest and her little head bobbed around for a few seconds and then she latched!
I cried tears of joy because it was the first time time she latched without anyone else’s assistant.
When we were released from the hospital, me and Honey Bee had established a pretty good breastfeeding relationship. Occasionally she still got upset when I couldn’t help her latch fast enough, but eventually that went away. I grew more confident in my abilities and tuning in to her needs.
Keeping The Right Frame of Mind For Difficult Breastfeeding Relationship
When breastfeeding doesn’t go how you plan it can take mental toll on you. Some mother’s feel like failures, defeated, and can become depressed. If breastfeeding is your ultimate goal here are a few suggestions to help you along the way.
Keeping the Right Frame of Mind
- You are not a failure if you don’t succeed the first few times at breastfeeding. Some babies have a difficult time latching.
- Stay focused on the health of the baby. No matter if the baby is breastfed or bottle fed, the most important thing is that the baby is getting fed.
- Don’t get discouraged if it’s harder than you thought it would be. You may have to try a few different techniques and methods in order to find out what works best for you and your baby.
- Seek support and use the resources the hospital provides for you. If the hospital has a lactation consultant don’t be afraid to use her, that’s what she is there for. Also, express your frustration and feelings to her as well, that way she can assist you properly.
Where to Find Breastfeeding Support
- La Leche League
- Kelly Mom
- Breastfeeding support groups offered through your hospital or doctor’s office
- Facebook Groups for breastfeeding mothers