Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Breastfeeding Problems? Cut Yourself Some Slack, Momma!

As if the changes in your body aren’t enough, giving birth to a preemie adds a whole other element to recovery. I was always uncomfortable talking about breastfeeding and was never the type to share breastfeeding posts or advocate for it. I wasn’t against it or anything, I just didn’t talk about it.

Our Kylie, less than a day old

Our Kylie, less than a day old

When my milk finally came in though, it was a whole other story. The days before that I became very informed and educated on breast milk and the positive effects it has on babies, especially premature ones. I couldn’t wait to breastfeed my little girl! Kylie was 10 weeks early, but started to develop her suck/swallow/breathe reflex around 33 weeks, which was earlier than her NICU doctor had expected. She latched on the first try, and although she tired quickly, I was hopeful we would be a breastfeeding team in no time. I pumped regularly and was very scheduled. I brought my little milk capsules with me to every visit and was sure I’d have some in stock to take home with us. That was, until I went to the NICU one day and the nurse said I was running low on supply.

Kylie had started eating more and my 3-6oz per pump session wasn’t doing the trick anymore. I kind of panicked and tried a few things the nurses recommended to increase my supply. I talked to a lactation consultant and tried several suggestions, but I still was not pumping enough. Once we got Kylie home, we had to supplement the breast milk so that she continued to gain weight and that made things even harder for breastfeeding.

Kylie was about 6 weeks old when my milk completely stopped producing. I felt like such a failure. Especially because so many moms would say, “That doesn’t make sense, did you try this? Did you try that?” “YES!” I had literally tried everything. I tried pumping more, I tried different positions, I tried Fenugreek, I talked to several nurses – it just wasn’t happening. After having another baby and again having problems and again feeling like a failure, I learned that sometimes it just doesn’t happen for moms. You may be able to pump 5oz at a time or you may be able to pump 100, we are all different. I have realized that I have to come to peace with the fact that I TRIED. I tried my hardest and breastfeeding our kids until they were at least a year, as I had planned, was just not in the cards for us.

I hope that if you struggled with breastfeeding that you know you’re not alone and you’re certainly not a failure. Being stressed out over breastfeeding isn’t healthy for you OR your baby. I think there is SO much pressure on moms to be able to breastfeed for a certain amount of time, but just have peace knowing that you tried and any amount they got is good! Let me be the first person to tell you that you are doing a great job! Give yourself a hug, don’t beat yourself up over it, and let’s all support each other in this process of motherhood – breastfeeding or not.

Dani Curliss About Dani Curliss

Dani Curliss (TX) is the mother of two, Kylie and Austin. Kylie was born 10 weeks early, weighing 2lbs. 10oz., and Austin was born at 37 weeks. Both babies were born early due to preeclampsia. Kylie is now three and has no lasting complications from her prematurity. Dani and her husband have made their life mission to raise awareness of prematurity and preeclampsia and she shared Kylie's NICU journey on her personal blog. She learned a wealth of information during their six-week NICU stay, and finds healing from their experience by helping and encouraging others with their story. You can find Dani on Pinterest, or email her at d.curliss@outlook.com.

Comments

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. I too had a baby born almost identical to yours. His name is Travis and he was born 9 weeks early weighing 2 lbs, 7 oz. My milk supply has absolutely SUCKED every second since his birth. I got amazing amounts of colostrum, but since then, it takes 20 minutes on both breasts to get even the slightest amount of milk and I have felt like a failure through it all. Especially because I breastfed my daughter easily for 8 months. I so appreciate you posting this and letting this mama know that I am not alone in this battle. Formula fed babies are great babies too! 🙂

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