May 23, 2013. The day my life changed forever. My beautiful baby girl, Olivia Grace, was born at 8:05 p.m. after 12 hours of labor including two hours of pushing. I couldn’t wait to hold her and put her skin-to-skin immediately. I can still remember how her skin felt – she had the softest, most precious skin and recall thinking I can’t believe how incredibly silky smooth her skin was. Almost immediately, Olivia and I began our breastfeeding journey together. I tell everyone she is a super star because she immediately latched on and nursed for over an hour. I, of course, was starving so my husband was feeding me while I was feeding Olivia. The first night was perfect. Olivia woke up to nurse and would quickly go back to sleep. The second night on the other hand was a different story. Olivia was not happy unless she was nursing and I was so sore, tired and exhausted that I could barely keep my eyes open. The nurses were excellent and helped me through the night. My husband and I were so elated to see the morning and be going home to start our new family.
Breastfeeding was going great, Olivia had no problems latching and the soreness went away in less than two weeks. Fast forward a few weeks, Olivia was still breastfeeding like a rock star but something wasn’t right. She was not happy unless she was breastfeeding or sleeping. I remember holding her and all she would do is cry. I tried everything and asked everyone for advice because I knew she was in pain – her tummy was just upset. Gripe water, Colic Calm, prescription from doctor, belly massage, I took probiotics hoping Olivia would get it in my milk – you name it, we tried it but nothing helped. I had so many people tell me that I needed to switch her to formula, but I knew in my heart that this was not the answer. How could a man-made formula be better than my milk?
At six weeks, Olivia’s pediatrician suggested we give her probiotics. This was the answer for her. I wish I could shout it from the rooftops for every new mom to hear. Within 2 days, Olivia was a different baby – happy, smiling, cooing, only crying when hungry or tired. To this day, we don’t miss giving her a dose of the probiotics. It made all the difference in the world for her.
At eight weeks, I began back to work part-time. Then, at 12 weeks, I was back working full-time and expressing milk while at work. I’m so fortunate to work for an employer who values breastfeeding. I’ve definitely had my share of ups and downs with it. At times, I have had ample supply and others my supply has been low. The lactation consultants at The Women’s Hospital were an invaluable resource for me. I don’t know how many times I contacted them and asked for assistance and they were able to provide suggestions on what I could do to help increase my supply. I’ve tried many things including power pumping, supplements and acupuncture. Did you know there are acupuncture points that can help increase milk supply?? I didn’t either, but The Women’s Hospital provides acupuncture services on Wednesdays. I made an appointment and within 24 hours I could tell my supply was starting to get back to normal.
Being a working mom and breastfeeding takes a lot of time and dedication. But, if you are committed to it, I really feel like you can be successful. My goal is to breastfeed for one year and I’m 8 months into it. At times, I think I can’t wait for the year to be up so I can have my body back. But, on the other hand, I really feel like I will miss that time. The time where Olivia and I are together, thinking I provided all of the nutrition she needed for the first 6 months of her life. Will I miss our night nursing sessions before bedtime? I don’t know, maybe, probably. But I’m so happy I made the decision to breastfeed my precious baby girl and I’m pretty darn proud of myself for breastfeeding her this long and I know I will make it at least a year. To all new moms – you can do it. Hang in there. Your journey may be full of ups and downs, ample supply and low supply, but it is so worth it.