I was adamant that I would nurse my firstborn. I had read all of the baby books, and I knew that breast was best. Munch was born via Caesarean section because she was breech. She nursed within two hours of her birth. I had the lactation consultants come in once the nurse asked me if I wanted some breastfeeding help. I was very uncomfortable, and I did not know what I was doing. I just knew that I wanted to get it right.
I saw three different lactation consultants throughout my stay in the hospital. Everyone had a slightly different take on how I should position Munch. I was in tears and completely overwhelmed. Munch slept in the nursery every night, and she was brought into me for feedings. We finally got the hang of nursing on one of the last days in the hospital. I was given a nipple shield, and it helped improve her latch greatly. The nipple shield saved our nursing relationship. Once she got used to it, I could not wean her from it. I did not mind contacting the lactation consultants for advice by phone, but I felt too uncomfortable going in for a consultation.
Once I went back to work, I was caught up in the pumping schedule. I did not begin pumping very consistently until about a few weeks before I went back to work. I became obsessed with how much milk she was getting. Munch went from 3 oz bottles to 4 oz bottles within the first week. I did not feel comfortable talking with the daycare provider about my thoughts on whether she was getting too much milk.
I used bottles on the weekends as well because I did not feel comfortable nursing Munch in public. I was the first one in my family to have a baby, so I was trailblazing by nursing. On my husband’s side of the family, my sister-in-law had finished nursing my niece before Munch was born. I nursed Munch in our car on Mother’s Day because I did not feel comfortable nursing in a crowded restaurant.
Eventually I could not keep up with the supply and demand. I started supplementing Munch with one bottle of formula at seven months. I was completely devastated and gutted. I felt like I had let my little girl down. I stopped pumping at work right at her first birthday. Munch still continued to nurse until she was fourteen months.
When I reflect on my first nursing experience, I feel so much sadness for myself. I did not have as many resources as I did with Skeeter. I did not have enough knowledge. Quite simply I did not have all the support that I needed to facilitate a more successful nursing experience. I needed someone to look me in the eyes and imbue me with the confidence that I alone could sustain my baby with my breast milk. My body was a marvel. I had grown a beautiful baby girl inside me. Of course I could feed this baby with my milk. I did not need to watch the clock. I simply needed to let my nursling guide our nursing relationship. My experience with Munch taught me to educate not only myself, but my husband, my family and my extended family. Knowledge truly is power. With this knowledge, I would improve the nursing experience for my next child.