I was formula fed, so are almost all the babies in my circle past and present. Before becoming pregnant, I never wanted to breastfeed and why should I? I turned out fine. Then I became pregnant, my husband and I weren’t planning but we weren’t prohibiting. I decided then (looking at the cost of formula) that I would give breastfeeding a whirl at least while I was off work. My theory was that I was on maternity leave to take care of my son, so I’d muster through nursing.
You’d think we would have had a rocky start. Planned C-section (I also had to have an unviable ovary with cyst removed), right after surgery my son was rooting big time. However, I was told not to nurse him because he was having difficulty breathing (also told that was common with CS babies because the fluid isn’t smooshed out), so I didn’t nurse and went against every instinct. They whisked him away for evaluation in NICU; apparently, after four hours they either check him in or let him return to my room. They cleaned me up, rolling me like dough back and forth since I couldn’t move waist down. That resulted in the worst nausea I’ve ever had in my life. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t open my eyes, it was terrible.
They wheeled me in the bed (eyes tightly closed) to NICU because 45 minutes later my son’s sugar is plummeting and NOW they want me to nurse. NOW? I can’t move without the urge to dry heave (remember surgery, nothing in my tummy) and the thought of tearing open my incision freezes me. The IBCLC is manhandling my breast (with my permission; I just don’t want to move) and my husband is feeding me ice chips. My little son (born 5 lb. 14oz.) sounds like a baby goat crying and trying so hard to latch with no luck. His first feeding was formula per the IBCLC recommendations.
Did I feel like a failure, no. Looking back, I should’ve whipped a boob out when he was rooting. My first goal was maternity leave then nurse six months, then a year, and, now, who knows? It never seemed hard for us. Over a year later and we are still breastfeeding. That first feeding of formula was his last.
Honestly, those first days of a sleepy, jaundiced baby were rough especially at night. However, they are a blur and it has been super easy since then. I wish more mothers would just push through those first weeks and breastfeed at least while off work. I work full time and pump what seems like all the time, but it is well worth the effort in the end.
About Lynn: I’m happily married and our 13-month-old son is our first. I also work full time and have a love/hate relationship with my Hygeia, but it’s a necessity!