Our Breastfeeding Journey

Happy Friday! It has been one rough week in the Cothran household! Caroline and I both got sick. I thought she was doing better until today and now she seems worse! So, we have been resting and taking advantage of the extra snuggles.

Anyways… what we are here for. BREASTFEEDING.

I had a spinal fusion when I was 12. When I was 12, Google wasn’t so big and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Since then, I have never googled a future surgery because in my case the less I know, the better. Before I had my c-section, I did read a lot of blogs about others expierence but I never looked up “medically” about c-sections. I decided to do the same about breastfeeding. I did attend a class, but I didn’t read any books or google any videos. Part of that was because I was scared. I didn’t want to be the Mom that would beat herself up because I couldn’t breastfeed. I wanted to be able to feed my child, of course… but I also didn’t want to put so much pressure on myself that I stressed about it.

Fast forward to the day we had Caroline, if you read our Birth Story than you already know about our whole scare about the nurses (actually, just one nurse) thinking that Caroline might have down syndrome. We went through three days of testing and three days of thinking about this different kind of life that we weren’t prepared for. At that moment and time I wanted to do everything I could to keep my daughter healthy.

Caroline was able to latch right away and the first 24 hours felt like a breeze because I was still medicated from my c-section. I would even be able to pump on high because my body still wasn’t feeling much pain. On my second night, I started to have serious discomfort. Like toes clenching and tears rolling down my face but I kept telling myself that this must be normal and it will go away.

TMI** Our lactation consultant came in to see us on our third day and told me that my nipples were a bit inverted when my milk came in and that I should try a nipple shield. I would literally feed Caroline for 30 minutes a side and the nipple shield complicated things. All of a sudden we were learning to not only breastfeed but then we had to add this thing on top of my boob to help us!

We fed Caroline every three hours, still 30 minutes a side and still everyday she would loose weight. On our fourth and last day we found out that Caroline lost over 10% of her body weight and that I should give her .5 – 1 ounce of formula with each meal. Again, I didn’t blink. This is what was best for our child and that was my number one priority! This changed things for Caroline. All of a sudden she was happier which made me so much happier.

We did this consistently for the next five weeks.

Then… then everything went crazy. All of a sudden Caroline would latch and scream and scream and scream. I would cry and cry and cry. For one feeding, I decided to pump ( I was pumping already but in between feeds not instead of a feed,) and after 20 minutes of pumping I only produced less than one ounce of milk. I googled and called so many people. I called my Dad’s aunts in India and asked them for all the remedies for breastfeeding. There were a few and I tried them all- nothing worked. I made lactation cookies, drank beer, filled myself with water, no caffeine, but still nothing.

At one point Caroline rested her hand on my chest with her middle finger pointed up, I took a photo and sent it to my Mom that she doesn’t like me because I can’t feed her. Can you say “hormones on fire!?” But, I genuinely felt like our bond was breaking and I was entering some type of sadness that I wasn’t familiar with.

I called my doctor and was told to come in and meet with their lactation consultant. They hooked me up to this machine that manipulates a baby eating and the same result happened. Twenty minutes of pumping and less than a half ounce of milk this time.

I would try to feed her one meal a day and I noticed that It just wasn’t happening. If you have ever used a nipple shield before, there is always some milk in there when you’re done. I started noticing that there were no milk in my shield and my boobs didn’t hurt, at all!

I ended up stopping two days before her two month birthday. Months before I ever expected but I had accepted that this was best for my child.

We invested into a formula machine and never looked back.

I still have moments when I feel bad. Especially when even family members just stare at me when I make a bottle. If someone you know is struggling with breastfeeding, don’t judge them or look at them differently. Be positive. Remind them that they are doing what was best for their child. Remind them they are a great mother. Life them up. Do not judge. (Can you tell I have some experience here?) The one thing I have learned since becoming a mother is that everyone is different! Everyone will have their own ways and reasons. It is not up to us to judge someone else, but to control what we do with our child.

My baby doesn’t drink breast milk. She drinks from a bottle. She sleeps 10-12 hours a night. She is in the 99% for height and 80% for weight. She is thee happiest baby and her laugh makes everyday the best day!

I hope this helps one of you feel like it is ok to not breastfeed.

Happy Weekend!