*This is my experience with nursing. I fully support a moms right to nurse or use formula and do what they feel is right for there family.
Even though Riley is my second child this is my first time breastfeeding. Brayden didn't take to the breast because she was in the NICU and has always had feeding issues. I pumped for 5.5 months so he could have breast milk in a bottle, supplimented with preemie formula for extra calories.
This time around I really wanted to nurse Riley. I assumed that it would just come naturally and it would be blissful...not the case.
In the hospital she wouldn't latch. It was frustrating and heartbreaking because I really wanted to feed her and it just wasn't clicking. In the first two days she ate only a few times and each time I had lactation there helping me but as soon as they left Riley would scream and flail around and wouldn't latch. She was hungry and would cry herself to sleep....meal-less.
She dropped 9% of her body weight by the third day. Dropping 10% is normal but she dropped it quick, it was clear she wasn't getting enough food. Lactation gave me a nipple shield which helped but she still screamed and wouldn't eat well. The Drs were telling me they were going to have to supplement if she kept loosing.
This was hard to hear as I really wanted her to be breastfed, no formula. I felt I was putting in all the effort, asking for support, getting help, and still not getting results. It's like studying hours and hours for a test and still getting an F. It was hard.
They agreed to discharge her as long as we went for a weight check the next day, if she wasn't gaining she would need formula.
That first night home I tried so hard to get her to eat. I was tired and stressed. I fed her in the am, put her in her boppy lounger and she spit up...the whole feeding. I lost it!!!! Que mommy meltdown. All that food she finally ate gone!
Luckily at the first wight check she gained 1.5oz so no formula. Relief!! But they still wanted another check two days later.
That night (4 days old) my milk had been in for a day already and something just clicked. She latched right on and ate well each feeding. It was like we had both found our groove. For anyone who knows the frustrations of the first days of nursing this was a miracle moment. We looked at each other at I swear it was like we were both saying 'I got this'.
At her weight check two days later she had gained 8oz and was back up to her birth weight. I was shocked! Our efforts were finally showing results! Our lactation lady gave us the OK for a paci since she had found her latch.
Since then she has been doing great. I am still using the shield, it really works for us.
I have also been pumping in the am, for relief, and to build a supply for when we introduce a bottle. I would like to go at least one month on just breast then try a bottle (of breast milk). So far we are soaring in the supply area, I am happy I don't have an issue with that.
Although I am tired and getting up in the early hours is hard I love the quiet time I get with Riley to nurse. It's been really special. I did tell D that when she does get a bottle I want 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep one night, LOL.
As far as nursing in public I am struggling with the covers. I ordered the free one online where you just pay shipping and it's crap. It's like a sweat lodge in there and it's small. I found this one on Etsy that I can't wait to try. Breathable and large! With time I will be more comfortable and hopefully it becomes second nature.
Nursing cover found here
I never grew up around women who nursed and was never exposed to it as being 'normal' but I really support the normalize breastfeeding movement. I want to be able to nurse her anywhere (with cover) and make it normal for us.
I wish that more women would talk about the struggles of nursing, and the joys. I didn't expect the beginning to be so hard. I am lucky that I have a very supportive husband and I had great help in the hospital, and after. I can see how women throw in the towel, it's hard. I am really glad I stuck with it and now have a successful nursing relationship with Riley. It was hard to admit that I have no clue what I'm doing and I needed help but I'm so glad I did. Nursing may be 'instinct' but it's something new and you have to learn.
My goals for nursing are to wait a month to introduce a bottle. Nurse for at least 6 months and see how things are going then. Introduce food around 5-6 months.