Let me preface this by saying that I’ve never had a deep desire to breastfeed. While I know some people absolutely adore it, I didn’t have a yearning to do it. To each her own, right? Well since my youngest of three just turned one, I would like to share my completely different breastfeeding experiences with each one.
With my first son Noah, I was petrified of everything regarding motherhood. At the young age of 25, I welcomed my first baby, and while I was over the moon excited, I was equal parts nervous. Like I previously mentioned, I didn’t have a strong desire to breastfeed but I was totally open to it. When I worked with a lactation consultant in the hospital, I felt completely lost. Between learning to be a new mom and trying to get my newborn to latch, I was overwhelmed.
Then I tried pumping, and after a few sessions in the hospital, I found out that wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t get it to work for me. I even remember the lactation nurse calling me at home asking me how it was going and to see if I wanted to rent a pump. I felt like a failure! While I didn’t let it beat me up too much, I gave my baby 100% formula and didn’t look back or feel ashamed. It’s what worked for me … for him.
With baby #2 arriving prematurely, I had no idea what I was going to do. This was my first micropreemie, and I knew nobody with a preemie. Do they get breast milk? Do they latch? When can they latch? Are they given special formula? I didn’t have to think of those questions long at all because as soon as I was rolled into recovery after my emergency c-section with my son Liam, that beautiful yellow Medela pump was waiting for me along with a lactation nurse.
I remembered my pumping experience with my first son Noah but didn’t dwell on the past. What worked then, may not work now and vice versa. I’m so thankful my sister was there because she helped me while the lactation nurse was visiting, and I was actually producing milk! The nurse explained to me all the benefits of breast milk for my 15oz baby and from then on, I took on this challenge to give my baby my breast milk for as long as I could.
That pump traveled with me every where and I couldn’t live without my hands free pumping bra. I pumped at home, in the car and in the NICU … you name it! Some days I felt like quitting but I kept to my goal of pumping until RSV and flu season were over.
Liam was in the NICU for 101 days, and I’m ecstatic to say that I pumped for 6 months! SIX months, y’all! I was so proud of myself. We made it through cold and flu season with him receiving breast milk, and I couldn’t have been happier.
When my son Luke arrived at 27 weeks just like his brother Liam, I knew the drill of pumping for a preemie. However, that was 5 years ago and I would now have 2 kids at home while juggling the crazy life of being in the NICU. While I knew what to do this go round, I was still a bit stressed out. Having a baby in the NICU brings anxiety that I can’t describe, and then to add pumping 6-8 times a day is beyond exhausting. However, I knew this was what was best for my baby so I strapped on that pumping bra and set some goals.
The first goal I had was that I would pump until he came home from the NICU, then it was 3 months, then 6 months and so on. I would even treat myself at times by trying out the newest Starbucks drink while I pumped or downloading some new songs on my iPhone.
I’m happy to report that I’ve made it a YEAR pumping. A SOLID YEAR! I still can’t believe it while I type this out. While there have been some exhausting moments, I feel so incredibly proud of myself for making it to my ultimate goal.