Obstacles to Breastfeeding – My Story
I was recently chatting with an acquaintance and the subject turned to breastfeeding. She has two kids. Both breastfed for around four months. She didn’t want to stop nursing her babies at four months but they weaned early. It’s a story I’ve heard countless times. It was almost my story, twice.
When my eldest child turned three months old he decided he no longer liked nursing, or so I thought. He would pop off and on, over and over. After a couple of days of this I began to worry. That’s when I found kellymom.com and learned about ‘The Distractible Baby’. Nursing him only in his room, with the lights off helped some.
And then my period returned. I became fertile again for the first time in over a year, ovulating when he was about three and a half months old. This, coupled with my distractible baby, sent my milk supply spiraling down. Now I had a full-blown supply problem.
I was beside myself. One evening, after trying unsuccessfully to nurse him, I handed him off to my husband, and went to my room to cry. I didn’t just cry. I sobbed. I was completely distraught. And very surprised at my reaction. I never thought in a million years I would be that attached to breastfeeding my child. I wasn’t about to give it up.
We had quite easily made it through the first three months of breastfeeding. I had never been sore and my baby was getting bigger. Much bigger. I thought we were home-free. My new-mommy-world was rocked.
I flipped through my breastfeeding books, both The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and The Nursing Mother’s Companion. Eventually I got on the internet, and again found myself at kellymom. I read everything I could about low milk supply. And I did everything I could to increase it. I ate oatmeal. I took Calcium/Magnesium supplements. I took Fenugreek until I smelled like a bottle of maple syrup. I rented a hospital-grade breastpump so I could pump right after he nursed and/or between feedings. I asked question after question on the forums over at kellymom.
Praise God, by the time he was five and a half months old the problem had been resolved. I continued to nurse him until he self-weaned at 16 months old and I was 8 weeks pregnant with his little brother. Unfortunately I had the same problem with little brother, although it was worse, and we didn’t get it resolved until he was almost nine months old.
I have to share this with you because I believe that many (most?) women, especially women who haven’t nursed before, don’t think they’ll have supply issues after they get over the initial breastfeeding period. Isn’t that what we all hear? The breastfeeding classes and advice we get center around getting the breastfeeding relationship off to the right start. But time and time again I hear of women who deal with supply issues long after they bring their baby into the world and sooner than they anticipated the breastfeeding relationship would end.
I’m not going to leave you here. We’ll talk more this week about supply problems, what factors contribute to supply problems and what we can do to counteract the issues when they arise.
Did you have a breastfeeding relationship that ended earlier than you wanted because of supply problems?