Our breastfeeding journey started when I was pregnant with Zander. I was able to breastfeed my first for 18 months, but it was not an easy journey and I had hoped to have things go a little smoother the second time. I had a c section with Kinley and knew as soon as she was born that I wanted things to go different if we ever had more children. Breastfeeding is hard and not as natural as everyone says, it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance. I wanted to educate myself. And let me also say some people just can't breastfeed and that is ok. My choice was to breastfeed my children.
I spent endless hours researching VBACs and how to have a successful VBAC. I knew I did not want another c section and would do every thing possible to make that happen. I wanted to know that if I was not successful I did everything I could to set myself up for success.
I knew I was going to breastfeed Zander but I was unsure how things would go the second time around. I was hoping that if I had a VBAC it would make our breastfeeding journey a little easier than the first time. Having a c section the first time made things a little more challenging looking back.
I am proud to say I had a successful unmedicated VBAC on April 6, 2016. It was the most amazing experience ever. Zander was placed on my chest immediately following his birth and he stayed there for almost an hour. He made his way up to the breast and latched on his own. It was amazing to be so coherent and share the first latch experience with him. I did not have any pain medications so I was fully present and able to soak up every second of our first latch.
I had some pain initially, which is normal, but was so nervous about it being detrimental to our journey; I had excruciating pain with Kinley for about 6 months. I had done a lot of research on tongue ties and lip ties, because looking back that was the reason for all the agonizing pain with my daughter. I was adamant in having the doctors and nurses check for tongue and lip ties. Thankfully my husband is and was an amazing support to me through all of this. It is so important to advocate for what you want and what you think is best for your baby, I truly believe in mother's intuition. Before we left the hospital one of the nurses informed me he did have a little bit of a lip tie but if the pain subsided after a few weeks and he was gaining weight it shouldn't need to be fixed.
I tried to believe in myself and know things would work out. Stressing makes breastfeeding harder so I tried to remain calm and lean on my husband for support. Having a toddler running around also made things a lot more challenging for me. Zander and I could not lay in bed all day while he nursed, my toddler needed attention as well. I was determined to be successful with breastfeeding. That is what I wanted for myself and my baby. I have no judgement for people that want to give formula but I knew that was not for us and breastfeeding my baby was going to be the best for our family.
About 6 weeks in things started to get easier. The engorgement was gone and the majority of the nipple pain was gone. I used a LOT of lanolin in between feedings. I also did not pump at all, which I think really helped.
We have had a few hiccups in the road but nothing major and nothing we haven't been able to work through. I am proud to say we are almost 8 months in and we both couldn't be happier. I pump while I work so he gets breast milk while I am gone and he nurses when I am with him.
One thing that really helped me is to not have high expectations and to go with the flow. I knew I wanted to breastfeed and knew I would do everything I could to succeed, but if it didn't work out that was ok; at least that is what I told myself. Thankfully for us it has worked out. I think it is so important to have a support system and be able to lean on other moms for questions when it comes to feeding your baby. Everyone has a different story and there is so much to learn from everyone. Do what is best for you and your baby and do not get caught up in what other's think. The best supports will support whatever decision you make. We choose to breastfeed.
I wouldn't trade looking into those big blue eyes while we share one of the best experiences ever. I am so thankful to have been able to breastfeed both my babies.
The Honest Company Feeding page is a great resource and supports all ways to feed your child if you need additional information.