I cried so many tears the day my son had his first bottle of formula. What did I do wrong? Why isn’t this working? If breast is best … my son is ruined! These were the crazy thoughts going through my hormonal head as my husband and I decided to start supplementing breast milk with formula. I read all the “right” books, I scanned all the best breastfeeding blogs for tips, I used a Boppy, I drank water every day out of my giant hospital water bottle … and still, breastfeeding was a nightmare with my first baby. My husband listened to my worries, held my hand, and spoke the truth to me – the truth that our son was loved and that we were doing exactly what he needed us to do to care for him … that breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding was not what made someone a good mom or a better mom. My husband was my support during this season.
You can imagine my anxiety as I got ready to try this whole breastfeeding thing again with my second baby. Thankfully, this time it worked – well, in fact! My son was HUGE! There was no denying that my milk was in and full of fat. Unfortunately, I had so much milk that I kept getting mastitis and a slew of other painful boob problems (things you would never imagine pre-babies). I had such horrific pain that I had to wean on one side and attempt to feed my son with my one giant boob! I’m sure you can imagine how awkward it was to have one nursing boob and one non-nursing boob … wow. Thank goodness for my midwife and the lactation consultants at St.Luke’s during this crazy season in our family’s life. My midwife was supportive and encouraging; she didn’t even make fun of me for my one giant boob. She responded to texts and was just the right voice of encouragement when I needed it. The lactation consultants from St. Luke’s were also a great support. They listened well to my concerns and did a great job helping me to problem-solve what might be going on to cause me so much pain.
Every time I meet a mom who’s about to have a baby, I just want to hug her and ask, “DO YOU HAVE SUPPORT?” (I don’t, because in most situations that would be awkward, but …) To you, I ask: do you have people to walk with you through your first year? Friends? Family? Support groups? Church? Playgroup? Co-workers? Something? If not, find it! It takes effort, but it is needed and well worth it – for you, and your baby. Our body was made to breastfeed – and if it works, then GLORY, but if it doesn’t that is OKAY. Through both experiences, I needed support. You need it, as well. Find it!
Below are several local resources that can help you get the support you need. Beyond those listed here, find other moms you can talk to about breastfeeding (or who can nurture you in your new breastfeeding adventure), help your spouse or partner to understand how they can better support you, and remember that whether breastfeeding works or not, you are that baby’s mama – your love is what they need most.
Local Support Groups:
Kansas City Breastfeeding Support Group – A Facebook group where you can chat with other moms, encourage each other, and ask questions. This group also offers regular meetings and other events.
St. Luke’s Hospital MOM2MOM breastfeeding support groups – join other mothers and their babies to share experiences, get encouragement, and learn ideas from experienced lactation consultants. Scales available to weigh babies. Meets Mondays from 12:30-2:30 p.m. on Maternity Unit. No registration required.