As I look back 6 years ago, when I had Ethan to today, life is so much different. How we have been blessed with social media as a platform to help each other out with our day to day struggles. Moms today have resources and other moms supporting them every step of the way, something that I wish I had after Ethan was born.
I haven’t really talked much about my breastfeeding story before but I thought today I would share it with you and introduce you to a good friend I met through social media as she also shares her recent story with you today.
The first few days for Ethan and I were not easy. After an emergency c-section I was taken to post op were they monitored me for hours. I didn’t know quite was happening, but something wasn’t right. I had lost a lot of blood after surgery, and I had very low blood counts. Meanwhile, Ethan was taken to the nursery until he started turning blue and they rushed him to the NICU to get him on oxygen. Both our circumstances led us to be apart for the first 48 hours of birth. I was so weak in the bones, even breast pumping was a chore. My body because of all the trauma just wouldn’t produce the amount of breast milk needed to get to Ethan in the NICU. They took whatever I was able to pump to give him something, but it was hard. Hard because I was so weak I couldn’t hold him, and how we were separated within those first hours that are so important for a mom and baby to connect.
I was angry that doctors where ignoring my current state. I was angry that I couldn’t see my baby in NICU because I couldn’t walk… All I needed was a blood transfusion. After receiving a transfusion 3 days later, I was strong enough, to get on my two feet and walk to see Ethan in the NICU and hold him.
As I tried to breastfeed the guilt started coming in when I realized he wanted nothing to do with me. He wanted the bottle. I tried so hard to get him to latch, but he just wouldn’t budge. Even then, my body still wasn’t producing the amount I needed even with pumping and knew I was going to have to supplement, but still I was determined. We were recommended to a lactation consultant, she even told me there was nothing she could do to help. I felt my $200 I gave to her was waste. After a month, he finally latched. Even then it was short lived for about 3 months. I know that I did my best and Ethan is a healthy boy. In the moment as a mom, its overwhelming.
My hope from sharing this post with you today is to know that if you are a struggling mom with mom guilt or breast feeding you are not alone. There are so many incredible resources now that help moms going through journeys that they never expected.
Today I had asked a good friend of mine to share her most recent breastfeeding journey with her twins. We were chatting about our stories with each other and thought it be great to bring awareness to the struggle it really is. Thank you Britt for sharing this story with us!
Hi there! I’m Brittany and I run the motherhood account over on Instagram @britt.maloney and I’m so honored to be sharing a glimpse of my breastfeeding story with my twin boys today on Beimomenti blog!
Until now I’ve kept my breastfeeding journeys pretty much to myself. I’ve always been very open about that fact that I breastfeed but not a lot on any of my social platforms. I’m a huge believer in fed is best and I would NEVER want to make a mama feel less than for choices in feeding, or open a wound of a mama who struggled/struggles to breastfeed exclusively. But when Amber reached out and asked if I would like to share my journey with my twin boys I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to be more open.
When I found out I was having twins I was completely overwhelmed thinking about how to exclusively breastfeed two babies and I put it in my head from the beginning that formula and bottle feeding would be the journey we walked with these boys. I didn’t want to have high expectations for a successful BF journey like I had with my first, because I wanted to avoid any feelings of failure if it didn’t work out, for whatever reason. But with all that in mind I knew I wanted to try!
Fast forward to my labor and delivery, everything was different than I ever imagined it being, and honestly I felt like the odds were against me. My baby A was born a whole pound smaller than expected and because his weight was of great concern, along with working to get him to latch, it was required that he take donor milk from a bottle at every feeding during our hospital stay. That sparked a lot of fear within me that he would end up only wanting the bottle. On top of that my baby B was immediately rushed to the NICU in respiratory distress and wasn’t even able to receive milk for days and then it was only through a feeding tube.
His feeding journey was long and very difficult. 18 days of his life went by before I could even try to breastfeed him so I continued to feel those odds stacked against me. During his time in the NICU my life was a blur of getting to know my baby at home and feeding him on demand while also pumping round the clock to be able to provide my NICU baby with exclusively my milk. It was one of the most exhausting periods of my entire life but I felt so proud of my body for doing what I never thought it could do. Everyday was practice, learning, and getting to know each other. All three of us. Holden and I had to learn how to reconnect. Everyday as he felt a little more familiar and safe I could feel our journey becoming a little more successful. One day at a time. One feeding at a time.
What you need to know though is our journey up to now has not been void of tears, exhaustion, frustration, feelings of failure and inadequacy, and wanting to quit. Breastfeeding is HARD. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am proud of where we are in our journey but not because of any length of time, but because of the fight. If I had breastfed for one month, one week, one day, I would still feel proud because I fought against every odd looking me dead in the eyes and overcame.
So that’s my message to any mom or soon to be mom reading this. You are not defined by societies definition of successful breastfeeding. You are not defined by the any length of time you chose, or you were able to breastfeed. And you are NOT defined by how you feed your baby. Period.
You are defined by your love, and that love makes you resilient. That resilience makes you a fighter. So if breastfeeding is a journey your heart wants to take, fight. Fight the odds. Fight what anyone tells you you can’t do. Fight the exhaustion. Fight the pain. Fight. But also fight that urge to feel trapped by it. Fight that urge to feel defined by what society and social media says about success in breastfeeding. Your success is your fight. Your success is your love.
There is so much power in united motherhood, and I want each of you know I am your safe space for encouragement and support in whatever your feeding journey may look like. My inbox is always open to you so don’t ever hesitate to reach out.
Thank you so much again Britt! You are an inspiration to the modern day mama!
PS I am so excited that I was able to take these beautiful photos of Britt and her baby for Mothers Day! Mothers Day is just around the corner and I have partnered with some incredible moms to bring you a beautiful mothers day mini session experience with a 25 min session, 8 edited photos, florals for mom and little me, mini make up session before your session, and custom cookie box May 8th and 10th! to schedule your mini session contact me here.