I still become upset when I speak about my nursing journey with Skeeter. I was so well-prepared before she arrived. I had spent lots of time on http://www.kellymom.com and http://www.drjen4kids.com/, researching how to approach those first six weeks. The first forty days are the most critical to establish the nursing relationship. I also revisited the book Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers. I was prepared for cluster feeding, and I was prepared to start pumping earlier. I even brought my Boppy nursing pillow to the hospital, so I could be comfortable nursing her. I made sure that the nurses knew I wanted to have at least one visit by the lactation consultant.
Imagine my anger when I realized that Skeeter had been given formula without my consent. My husband had consented to it because the nurses advised him that she needed to eat immediately to bring her blood sugar up. I was wracked with guilt that by choosing to have a caesarean section that perhaps I caused this drop in her blood sugar. I let my beautiful girl down, and she was barely two hours old.
Our nursing relationship went very well in the hospital. My milk came in on day two, and I was leaking all over the floor. Skeeter roomed in with me every night except for the last night. She had jaundice which is common with breastfed babies. Skeeter was more alert than her sister was, and she was eating like a champ. I knew that the more I nursed her, the faster the bilirubin would exit her system. We were finally released from the hospital.
At home I noticed that Skeeter was spitting up a lot after every meal. I was concerned because Munch never spit up at all. Skeeter also seemed to gag every time she started to nurse. I went online and researched what was going on. I went back to the hospital. They have so many awesome education programs, and they have weekly gatherings of new moms where you can just come and go. I went to the moms’ group, and I talked to Anne, one of the wonderful lactation consultants. We troubleshot the issue to an overactive letdown reflex and an oversupply. After six weeks, this problem should ease up. In the meantime I was to nurse reclining back. If I was engorged, I should remove Skeeter from my breast and let down into a burp cloth. At the six-week mark I was desperate. I was doing piles and piles of laundry. Finally Skeeter stopped spitting up. My supply had finally regulated.
I had a wonderful supply of breast milk in the freezer. We had settled into our routine. From time to time I still got frustrated with the cluster feeding and growth spurts. I loved nursing Skeeter. It was the only thing that I did well during my struggle with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. In fact, I nursed Skeeter for nineteen months. The weaning was gradual, and we were both ready to move on to the next chapter. Right after Skeeter weaned, she was extremely clingy. I made sure to shower her with lots of affection and love. We may have had a rocky start, but it does not diminish the fact that I was able to exclusively breastfeed my Skeeter with breastmilk until she was just shy of six months. I had to supplement with a few ounces of formula beginning at nine months due to the anxiety and stress of my postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. To put it simply, I was not getting enough sleep and relaxation. Stress can play a role in your milk supply. I am proud of my journey of nursing with Skeeter. I was able to use the lessons I learned with Munch and have a happier experience with Skeeter. I will miss my breastfeeding experience tremendously with both my girls. It gave me a bond with Skeeter when I needed it the most. It literally was my lifeline through the anxiety and depression.