My breastfeeding story. If I can do it, so can you!

9:00:00 AM

Hello darlings!

This is my breastfeeding story.

It's long, it's hard, it will make you angry and maybe a little sad, but it does have a happy ending I promise.

I have talked in the past about my decision to breastfeed Natalia for as long as we both want.

Her second birthday that’s coming up in tomorrow, marks the goal I had set in mind as I took on this breastfeeding journey. Actually the two years mark was my super, duper, I’ll-be-the-happiest-mom-ever-if-I-pull-this-through goal. So as you can guess I am super duper happy!

But I didn’t start out that way.

Anyone who's been a mom knows how difficult, frustrating and exhilarating all at once, breastfeeding is. Regardless of whether you made it work effortlessly or something didn't go as planed, of whether you did it exclusively or you used supplements, or whether it lasted a couple of months or a couple of years, it was a challenging experience I am sure! For me it was the one thing I stressed most about from the moment I gave birth.

Well not exactly that moment but the next day when the doctors told us she's lost a lot of weight (a lie), she's having an elevated jaundice (another lie) and then finally when they said she's hypoglycemic (yet another lie). I stood my ground and refused a formula supplement when they said about her weight and jaundice but I gave up when they told me that hypoglycemia could make her seizure (not a lie but not a truth either with her test results).

You see I thought I was very well informed. I had read everything I could get my hands on about the difficulties of breastfeeding, about doctors pushing hard for formula and all the things they could say to convince you, but I missed the hypoglycemia lie. So, when Natalia was born a bit on the small size (just 2580grams) they said she was too small to nurse effectively (the biggest lie of all, since she latched on as soon as I held her and never let go!) and she should have some formula. I ended up giving her a bottle (30ml) in order for them to let me take her home. We stayed an extra day in the maternity hospital and left after giving her 3 bottles of formula and her gaining 100grams in one day (talk about sugar, right?).

When we went home I breastfed her exclusively for a couple of days but then her doctor told us to give her some more formula since she wasn't gaining the 30grams per day she supposed to. Needless to say I have changed doctors after a couple of months.

That was the downhill for us. That, and a wrong decision on the part of the lactation specialist we hired to help us with my milk production. She was right when she told me to buy a supplemental nursing system (SNS) but she was wrong when she told me to use it in every feeding! I should have used it in half the feedings and give her the boob alone for the rest.

Long story short, I used an SNS for 4 whole months. My life consisted of writing down how much she ate and how much I could cut of off her formula so that she could exclusively breastfeed someday. For those of you not familiar with a SNS it’s this bottle thing shown in the photo that has two thin tubes that end up on your boobs. 
The logistics of using such a thing have a learning curve as wide as a pregnant belly (see what I did here?). You are supposed to fill the bottle with the formula, close the tubes, wear that thing on your neck as a jewel, and tape (yes actual tape) the end of the tubes on your boob just below your areola. The goal is for the baby to latch on your breast and drink from the tube too. Easier said than done. Honestly, I look back and I am amazed I didn’t kick the thing to hyperspace after so many fails, plugged tubes, baby not latching, baby crying, me crying, both of us crying and so on.

Oh and you should have seen me trying to use this thing outside! Oh the fun we had!!! Nick said I look like a modern tribal woman wearing the SNS like a necklace. I didn’t find that funny to be honest. Then again I didn’t find many things funny when I had a human parasite attached on my boobs! 

I also rented a very expensive hospital grade pump and tried really hard to pump but it wasn’t happening. I am not sure if my breasts weren’t responding to the pump or the small amounts I was able to get (10-15ml of milk from both breasts each time) was all that I had. 

So exclusively breastfeeding Natalia never happened!

There was never a day in the first six months after taking her home that I managed to cut of her formula and just give her my milk. The one thing I am grateful for is that she never drunk more than 200ml of formula a day and that Nick, being Nick researched high and low and found an organic goat milk formula but that's not much to be grateful for is it? I mean I know I could have breastfed my baby exclusively, I just know it!

Natalia was a happy infant but I personally think now in retrospect that she was never really full. She used to cry every one and half hours and wouldn’t sleep for more than that. I feel sorry if the reason for that is that she was hungry. That all changed when I introduced solids at six months old.

She went from a thin little thing to a little on the chubby side in a couple of months. She now has a pretty cool relationship with food and that’s partly because she’s a cool kid and because we let her eat when she wants and how much she wants without any pressure. That’s the fun things about attachment parenting!

Anyway, by the time her first birthday came around, I stopped the formula and gave her small amounts of fresh organic goat milk. She drinks really small amounts like 50-100 in the morning and before bed too and she breastfeeds on demand.

The second year of our breastfeeding journey was really easier on both of us. She nurses when she wants to but also listens when I say I am a bit tired after she’s gone boob surfing all night long.

We did have some ups and downs when I got breastfeeding aversion (I wanted to scream GET OF MY F*CKING TIT!!!) due to lack of sleep but we are past through that now. And I did suffer when she started biting me but I used the gentle method and asked her not to because mommy is hurting. She got the message but not until some months (and a lot of pain) went through.

Recently I participated on a gentle weaning seminar in order to find the way to night wean her gently in hopes of sleeping better. It hasn’t worked yet but I hope it will soon and it will improve our sleep.

But I am not looking to wean her totally. Ideally I want her to naturally wean on her own time but I am not sure I am ok with waiting for a year for this to happen. I am so grateful that I was able to continue nursing her till now!

So here’s to me and my lovely Natalia for managing this wonderful journey for two whole years! I am high fiving myself and no, that’s not weird. We need to celebrate our achievements from time to time!

And if I did it YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!

If you really want to breastfeed your child here are some things you need to know beforehand.

  • You can do it. All women -with no medical reason not to – can. 
  • You need help. All women do.
  • It will hurt. It will stop hurting after 3-4 months. Then it will hurt again when they start to bite. It will stop hurting again.
  • You will feel trapped. It will go away.
  • You will feel overtouched. It will go away.
  • You will feel euphoric that you made it! It will never go away.

  • You will feel hunger. Use your husband or your loved ones to feed you.
  • You will feel exhaustion. Every mother does. Bf or not!
  • You will get bored. Here’s a list of things you can do while breastfeeding to keep sane.
  • You will be tempted to give formula. When that happens wait a day. Use that day to educate yourself and talk to a lactation specialist. Then go ahead and do what you decide is best for your child. Do not listen to anyone else! You are the mom, you are the decision maker.
  • You will not be able to easily lose weight. Doesn’t apply to everyone. Maybe you are going to be lucky on this. Maybe not. It’s ok, you will lose it later on.
  • You will never feel more connected to another human being. Ever! Enjoy the feeling, you got this mama!
  • You may or may not experience trouble when you nurse your kid in public. I didn't. Other than one time when an older lady gave me dirty looks in a high end restaurant, I bf Natalia EVERYWHERE and I was never mom shamed. I hope you won't too!

A note for those who couldn’t or didn’t want to breastfeed their kid(s). You are still a good mom, you can still be my friend. This post was not written to shame or offend you. This is my story and I would love to hear yours!

Lots of love

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  1. Wow just wow. I didn't know doctors have such a thing for formula. I wish everyone could be supported in breastfeeding. It's the best for the babies.

  2. I am not a mother yet, so usually these articles tend to scare me. But yours didn't. You are so optimistic! Love the article and the tips :)

  3. Oh my goodness! You actually breastfed your daughter for two years. That is truly amazing, you must be so happy that you successfully met your goal!

  4. How amazing your story are. I know breastfeeding can be hard especially when they started to grow teeth. Though I didn't have a kid yet but I heard it from my mom about breastfeeding.

  5. It's such a personal choice these days. I bottle feed my first two, but tried so hard to breastfeed with my third. I tried and tried, but we just couldn't get the hang of it and stopped after about 3 months. Good for you sticking it out!

  6. Breastfeeding can be so hard! The women who say it's easy just got lucky. For most of us, it takes a lot of work (and tears) to be successful. Way to go that you stuck with it and made it work! (But I have learned that not breastfeeding is okay, too. Feeding your baby is the important thing.)

  7. Ugh, being bullied to use formula is not cool! I breastfed both kids and the second time was so much easier. We kept formula around in case of emergency but never used it!
    Feeding your baby is crucial and you've got that covered!

  8. This brings back memories. I breastfeed both my kids, my first for 18 months, 8 months exclusive and my second for 30 months, at least 6 months exclusive. My first was quite the chubby baby, my second was a good healthy weight. Now my son is over 6' and 17 years old. I had the support of my doctor with both my babies, my doctor had her son 2 days before my first, so we saw each other in the hospital too. Thanks for sharing your story.

  9. Sorry they bullied you into the formula. That would be awful. They didn't bully us but we had other issues because of some medications which made us go to formula faster than we would have liked.

  10. Omg sorry that you had to go through all that it sounds kind of traumatic but I'm glad everything worked out okay and that you learnt so much through you experience and are now able to benefit other first time mom's with your knowledge.

  11. A really touching post. I'm not a mother but I remember some things my mother told me some time ago about when she nursed me. I saw these memories in a few lines of your post.

  12. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. It is sacred, and one of the most important things you can do - for you, for baby and others! By sharing your journey, others can learn from it too! I committed to breastfeeding both my babies until they were 3 years old...and regardless of the ups and down, triumphs and challenges, I believe that they are, and I am, better for it. My many blessings to you and your Loves <3 Xo Evelyn, PathofPresence

  13. Loved this article. I breastfed both of my kids. My son for 2 years and my daughter for 1. I am lucky that my hospital did not push formula at all... actually they pushed breast feeding more. Thanks again for the grest info!

  14. Breastfeeding is not the easiest but so worth it. I have had to endure a lot of the pain you went through too, from SNS to renting hospital grade pump. In retrospect, I feel as long as the baby is happy and healthy I could have stressed less.

  15. Breastfeeding can be so far at time, I can totally relate. Now I'm kinda worried how much it'll hurt when he has baby teeth.

  16. In all honesty, as I am preparing myself for the arrival of the baby breastfeeding is one of the topics I am nervous about. Since, no story is the same I wonder if I will be able to, thank you for sharing your story.

  17. Great encouraging story for mom who are considering breastfeeding. I dont have kids yet but i am definitely going to breastfeed when I have kids.

  18. Breastfeeding was such a challenge for me. With my 3rd daughter, I really pushed through and was able to breastfeed for 3 months. Had we had another, I would have done it even longer. I loved the bond.

  19. spoken so true my friend- breastfeeding had its challenges for me with both my kids - my second was easier but it can be a challenge! thanks for sharing your story!

  20. Wow what an amazing story and so inspirational. I found breast feeding tough, I managed 4 months with my first and zero with my fifth. I found it painful and my children were premature and tube fed and I had no support. It was hard!

  21. What a touching and inspiring story! I'm not a mother yet so it's really hard for me to truly understand but I hope to be a mom someday so I definitely have learned a thing or Two that would guide Me on my own journey someday. thank you so much.

  22. I am not a mom yet but I know this because of my Mom and sisters. They also want to exclusively breastfed their babies but stopped at 4 months because of some reasons.

  23. I don't have children, but from what I hear from friends, it's definitely not a walk in the park. It's the best option for all moms however, I am also aware that not all moms can do it. I'm glad you're sharing your journey to encourage other moms!

  24. thank you for sharing your experience. its always good to hear about different perspective. its all about personal choices

  25. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience! It is always good to know more, especially when you did not have kids yet. Help to be better prepared!

  26. You really do feel connected with your child when you breastfeed. It's beautiful, but at times, stressful. Glad you were able to find a happy medium in all this.

  27. It`s good that you listen to your instinct, after all if it is your first baby or not, you simply know it. Glad to hear the second year went better.

  28. I think for some of us (like me!) there are health situations that make breastfeeding impossible. But I could only imagine how it is for the moms who do it though! Thank you for sharing your experience!


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