I want to share with you something that some may consider too open for the internet, but I also know there are SO many women who are in my same exact shoes and need some encouragement as badly as I did/do! It’s my breastfeeding journey with Lily.
I wrote about this back in September when I was processing through the struggle we were facing. Lily refused to breastfeed most of the time, she also was really fussy, and seemed to have an intolerance to dairy. You can read more about where I was in September HERE.
Not to mention the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding that are BRUTUAL pain as both of you get used to the tugging and sucking lol.
In July after she turned 3 months is when she refused breastfeeding (except when she woke up in the morning). I worked hard for about a month to increase my supply. I eliminated dairy (and soy for a short time) out of my diet. The doctor also thought she may have silent reflux, but I read many times eliminating dairy helps relieve this naturally for the baby. And I began to pump 4 times a day and then feed her breast milk in a bottle. I was motivated to give her breast milk because I know there are so many benefits, but also most formulas have dairy in them and are so expensive!
I got used to a dairy-free diet and Lily took a bottle like a champ. Once I got over missing the bond of breastfeeding which I wrote about in my previous post, I was okay except I HATE pumping.
It’s hard to describe unless you have to do it, but it’s so time-consuming, it’s not comfortable, and it’s stressful trying to save enough milk for your baby while also watching your baby. I also was only able to pump JUST enough ounces for Lily, so I couldn’t afford to miss a pump session during the day. This meant that my whole day was planned around pumping. My going in and going out was difficult since pumping is so time consuming and I had to pump every 3 hours. If we had people over, I had to excuse myself to pump for 20-30 minutes.
I did this every day from September till the middle of January so almost 5 months. Then, I had this horrible stomach virus that lasted for about 5 days. I could barely eat or drink which made my milk supply drop drastically. I was still pumping, but I barely was getting any milk. Jim and I decided that I would stop pumping except once a day because it was causing so much stress and anxiety.
I started eating a little bit of dairy to see if Lily could tolerate it because many times, a baby will grow out of their tolerance by 9 months. And thank the Lord she did! I don’t go crazy with dairy, but I am so glad that I can use dairy formula now! We use Baby’s Only with lactorelief (here’s the one that’s normal dairy!) which is an organic, healthier option as it contains brown rice syrup rather than corn syrup like many mainstream formulas have. It’s also very affordable!
Once I decided to stop pumping as much and that giving her formula would be okay, I also decided to try to breastfeed her again. I am so thankful to say that she breastfeeds half the day now!
She breastfeeds when she wakes up in the morning, before her first nap and before her second nap. After that, she refuses, but I also think I don’t have as much milk in the latter part of the day. I feed her a bottle of pumped breast milk before bed and then pump before I go to bed. I usually pump just enough for her to drink for her bedtime bottle!
I am so thankful and it’s a huge answer to prayer that she will breastfeed. I am less stressed about it because I know I have the formula for backup and she is eating 3 solid table meals a day. Plus we only have 2 more months until she is 1 year old! It is strongly recommended that babies stay on breast milk or formula until they are 1.
I didn’t imagine I would have problems with breastfeeding. I wish my expectations were a bit lower so I wasn’t so disappointed when it didn’t go as I thought it would. But I am so thankful for the way God taught me how to lean on him and trust him as a new mom with something so ordinary as feeding my baby. It made me learn more how much I need Him in every moment and every step because I don’t know what the heck I’m doing!
I also hope to encourage other new moms in this because being a new mom can be so overwhelming and challenging since we’ve never been through it before, but it always helps to hear from someone else that you aren’t alone!
Thanks for reading a little of my journey as a first time mom!