Breastfeeding my first born was never an easy task. We hit a few major roadblocks before we finally came to terms with our breastfeeding future. And by “we,” I mean me, and by “terms,” I mean hers.
I had never heard of a nursing strike until I was in the midst of dealing with one. From birth, my daughter would switch from boob, to bottle, to pacifier with no problem. So I thought it would be no big deal if I went to a four day conference for work. Besides, I would be home at night and I could nurse her then. She was two and a half months old. After that conference, she nursed a total of three times.
Every time I would try to feed her, she would turn her head away and scream. I tried all the tricks. I did skin to skin. I took a bath with her. I wore her. I tried the bottle that’s like a breast so the muscles to use it were the same as if she were nursing. I met with a lactation consultant. All to no avail. It was so frustrating and hurtful. I couldn’t help but take it personally. What was I doing wrong?!
She obviously still needed to eat, so I would just end up giving her the bottle. My “favorite” moment in the midst of this confusion happened one morning at 4 am. My daughter woke up because she was hungry. She was refusing the breast and screaming her head off. My husband took her from me to try to calm her down because I was bawling my eyes out. And our golden retriever was having a grand mal seizure at his feet.
That was when I started to come to accept our nursing future. Or rather, our non-nursing future.
I became an expert at pumping. It became my life. Aside from my little girl of course.
I wore out two pumps, then used an extremely painful one for a bit. Finally, I got a nice one that lasted nine months with my daughter and I am currently using it for my son.
I was pumping 6-8 times daily and I was producing a ton of extra milk. My freezer was packed full and I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I found a milk sharing site on FB.
I found a mama in need for her daughter. Her little girl just happened to be the same age and have the same name as my little one. The first time she came by for milk, I gave her over 1,000 ounces.
Thus began a wonderful friendship. She started to come over weekly for a play date, some milk, and some very much needed adult interaction. I credit this amazing mama for pulling me out of the “Baby Blues”-who knew I simply needed another new mama to talk to?
So, if it weren’t for the strike, we wouldn’t have met these friends. I guess there’s always a silver lining, even if we have to be patient to see it.