The Milk Pumping Factory

We’re happy to share a guest post by our friend Gini and her breastfeeding experience. The story of the breastfeeding journey she and her daughter went on will be shared here in parts. Today we bring you part 1.

Hi, my name is Gini! My husband, Luke, and I welcomed our beautiful baby Claire into our family on October 11, 2009. I also have a step-daughter, Bella who is six, and we live outside of Birmingham, Alabama. I only have a few dozen readers over at The McGlothin Family but I thought I had a pretty good story to share. I hope you’ll agree.

Let me first start by saying that I am not pro-breastfeeding. Nor am I pro-pumping. Nor am I pro-formula feeding. I am pro-baby feeding. I think people that make you feel bad about the decisions you make for your family are morons.Those who give their babies bottles or those who nurse in public are both given the side-eye. Moms can’t win. Now I’ll get down from my soap box.

After a long labor and more than three hours of pushing, I was exhausted but overjoyed, holding this little angel in my arms.I just knew I would cradle her, look into the beautiful blue eyes passed down to her by her father and a glow would surround us as we began the bonding that is breastfeeding. I mean, this is supposed to be natural, right? Women have done this for centuries, right? How hard could it be, right?

Wrong. And wrong some more. Claire would fight the boob like it was poison delivered by a nipple made of broken glass. She would have nothing to do with nursing at all.I broke down and fed her formula (gasp!), which I was perfectly fine with. I was nervous about nipple confusion, but I still was naive enough to think she would come back to me and that glorious glow would find us again and we would both become breastfeeding pros in no time.

Also to consider was, long story short, I was laid off from my job last April when I was 16 weeks pregnant with Claire. Needless to say, I could not find a job given the economy, and on top of that I had an already big belly brewing. I knew I would be out of work at least until early 2010, so we needed to stretch every dollar in order to make it on one salary. Breastfeeding was part of that. We needed to save money at every turn, not spending it on formula when we could feed her breastmilk for free. Not only did I have the pressure I put on myself to be the perfect mom but I also had dollar signs flashing in my mind. The day after Claire was born I said to myself, come hell or high water, I would breastfeed Claire. I would not let her or my checkbook down.(And I am fully aware that this is pressure I put on myselfnot that anyone else put on me.Don’t ever let someone pressure you do something or be someone.)

So I spent lots of time with the lactation consultant in the hospital, and things slowly got better. Claire needed four or five formula bottles while we were there, and other than that, was starting to get the hang of the boob. I was so proud.Proud of myself. Proud of my baby. Really proud of my super supportive husband. We were a family, and we were making it through the first of many obstacles together.

And then we go home. And things got worse. Claire had lost more than the average 7% of her body weight before we were discharged. And when we saw the pediatrician again at 4 days old she was down almost 2 pounds from her birth weight. The pediatrician recommended we up the formula because Claire was simply not gaining enough weight. I began to doubt the idyllic breastfeeding situation I had fought so hard to create.

My milk finally came in when she was a week old. Now, I knew we would get back on track. Wrong again. Even with my crazy-full boobs waiting to be relieved, Claire still wasn’t getting enough to eat. So at ten days old, I packed up my momma and my babe and we trekked back to the hospital for another visit with the lactation consultant. The visit that would change everything.

To be continued…