My Breastfeeding Journey

July 20, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted a natural childbirth. I didn't want a c-section. I wanted to give birth in a bathtub. I didn't want my water to break before labor began. I wanted to breastfeed my child. I had this perfect picture of what my labor & mama life would look like. I was so sure that through it all - I could accomplish exactly what I wanted - everything I practiced and planned (which, everyone knows you can't plan any of this) for. The one thing I was most nervous for and knew I couldn't control, was breastfeeding. I knew, in my heart, that was the ONE thing I wanted above all else. I wanted to breastfeed my little girl.

 

Emily was born at 5:39 a.m. on February 12th. By 6:15 a.m. she was breastfeeding like a champ. She had no problem latching & fast forward through the first three weeks postpartum, we struggled like any other first time mom & baby struggle. My nipples were sore & night time feedings were taking a couple weeks to master. Do you keep all the lights off knowing one of you will end up irritated because you are both still learning? OR Do you turn on your bedside lamp knowing you both will end up more awake than you like making it harder to go back to sleep? BUT I was breastfeeding and so very grateful for that. 

 

Right around the three week mark, something terrible happened. Something that would send our perfect breastfeeding plan in a downward spiral. Emily vomited - vomited so bad I was sure there was no way she kept any of her last feeding inside of her. Immediately, I assumed she was allergic to dairy - I had an intolerance at her age and was left to stop breastfeeding at 6 weeks. I eliminated dairy but the vomiting persisted. Not only did the vomiting persist but her tummy was so upset breastfeeding was no longer a joy, it was a job and a very hard one at that. The poor girl would cry each time she ate. She will throw her head back and scream as if she was in pain. I would switch her from breast to breast, hoping that would help. I would pause every couple minutes so the two of us could gather our composure. We would do bicycles & belly rubs in hopes of making her feel better. I would cry - cry so much. We would spend 30-45 minutes trying to feed just enough to make her happy, for her to then just vomit it up. Breastfeeding had become stressful & was doing more harm than good.  

 

As much as I didn't want to - we needed to consider giving her a bottle with formula. At this point cutting dairy had only helped a little bit. She was clearly allergic to something greater. Her vomiting was persisting and making us worry that she wouldn't gain the necessary weight. She hated the bottle - would scream bloody murder. My husband tried. My mother tried. My sister, brother in-law - anyone I could get to try and give her a bottle, tried. She wasn't having it. At this point, we visited our second GI doctor for a second opinion. He recommended cutting the top six allergens (soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, seafood, & nuts) since she won't take a bottle. We had to try and rid both of our bodies of whatever she was allergic to. 

 

Well, as I sit here and write this, my daughter is 4 months and 5 days old. We are still breastfeeding, but still on a restrictive diet and still practicing the bottle everyday in hopes she will take it. She is still having big tummy problems causing us stress during breastfeeding. & I know our journey is almost over. I know she will either be taking a bottle or will have a feeding tube inserted, very soon. Her health depends on it. We cannot clear her gut of whatever allergy is affecting her so. 

 

I cry. I cry almost everyday. I want to continue breastfeeding. I love this bond and relationship we have created during this time. BUT I know in the long run it's what is best for her & probably for me. I will soon have more freedom because others can feed her. I will soon be less stressed because feeding her won't be as difficult. Soon breastfeeding will be in the past and I will be so grateful for even the smallest amount of time I was able to provide 100% of my daughters dietary needs. 

 

**Update

This was written one month ago. One month ago we were fearful that our daughter would endure a feeding tube. One week after writing this, we received a phone calling letting us know that our daughter's  hemoccult was negative. We had eliminated the allergy from her body. She was no longer vomiting & it seemed that her body was starting to heal from the damage the allergy had created. I cried so many happy tears. 

 

We are still breastfeeding, but definitely not in the clear. Because she is allergic to something that has yet to be determined, I am still on a very restrictive diet. She is still struggling with tummy issues {mostly acid reflux} that cause her struggles throughout the day & she still won't take a bottle, despite our hardest efforts.  

 

Some days are really rough. If she is unable to have a bowel movement, she might go {up to 6 or so} hours without eating. It stressful. If she doesn't eat enough, she doesn't nap & spends her whole day trying to make up the extra calories. BUT we are on the up swing & are still breastfeeding. So much to be thankful for.

 

Until next time, much love,

 

 

 

 

 

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About Chelsea

I joined the journey of motherhood in February when I gave birth to my daughter, Emily. Motherhood is such a blessing, but in no way easy. I blog to encourage, love, and support other moms.