Here at Copperstate OBGYN we are excited to be celebrating and supporting mamas, as well as the awesome benefits that breastfeeding has to offer. Adrianna Bernal, FNP, shares her personal breastfeeding story.
As a new mom, I knew I had wanted to breastfeed. I have always been in awe of the human body, and breastfeeding is one of those things that is purely something amazing our bodies are normally capable of doing. As a labor and delivery nurse we sometimes get the honor of being one of the first teachers to mamas. Helping with the baby’s first latch, feeding positions and educating. These moments I never took for granted. In my head I knew I had the training. I had helped so many other moms, I went to specialized lactation workshops. There was not one ounce of me that didn’t think breastfeeding would be a piece of cake. Oh how naïve I was!
Breastfeeding is HARD WORK! It takes something fierce. I did not realize how many struggles and obstacles come up after you leave the hospital. I was confident when I was discharged home. I felt I had already established signs of a good, strong latch. I was comfortable breastfeeding. I was set. I came home with my new baby girl. My “breastfeeding station” was ready to go, my tracker to keep a log of my water intake, and high-quality fat snacks beside me. What could happen? My perfect little world was shattered when I found myself back in the hospital just 3 days later after I had been home with postpartum preeclampsia. As I was transported into the ambulance, I was filled with this immense fear and disappointment in myself that my daughter would have to be given formula. I felt I had let her down. I frantically began giving the paramedics instructions to tell my husband which formula (IF ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY) I needed him to get. I was worried about what kind of damage I would be causing to her gut, her immune system. Will she have asthma now? This is awful.
These were the thoughts racing through my mind.
Of course it would be absolutely necessary- what was I thinking?
I was admitted, and given a concoction of medications to rest and stabilize my pressure. I do not remember those first 24 hours. My daughter was not able to stay with me and formula was given. Thank God. She was cared for and that’s all that mattered.
I remember waking, my husband next to me, telling me how my nurses came in every 2 hours and pumped for me -throughout their entire shift. How amazing! My daughter was finally able to stay with me, and I was able to continue breastfeeding.
Things were a little different when we got home. We adjusted. We got through the sleepless nights, the realization of how time consuming breastfeeding actually is, the newly diagnosed lip tie, the repair, tongue exercises, our good and bad days. We had a routine. Life was good. 4 months later I went back to work. Pumping? Um, I didn’t go to classes for this. A pumping schedule? Milk storage? Right when I felt like I had a great routine down I now had to figure out this other routine. UGH! Eventually, after trial and error we had it down. We adapted. I knew exactly what time I had to leave to get to my mom’s house to feed her, then pump. I had my pumping schedule at work, then eventually was able to drive and pump.
We found our groove. As I reflect there were so many tiny victories. Many that went unnoticed at the time. In the end, I was able to meet my goal of 1 year.
I look back at some of the lessons learned:
- Breastfeeding is not easy, for anyone.
- You can’t control everything, regardless of how hard you try. Give yourself some grace.
- As cliché as it is, it takes a village. I am forever grateful for my family, nurses, co workers who supported me in my breastfeeding journey. If not for them, I know I would not have gotten as far as I did.
Some helpful advice:
- If you can get education before your delivery, do it. It will only support and provide you with a good foundation as you begin your journey. It will arm you with the tools to enable you to understand potential struggles and recognize when you may need help.
- You’ve got to want to do it. Just be honest with yourself and those around you, if you don’t that’s okay too. The will and desire will help you through your toughest days.
- Hydrate! As much as you hear how much water is so important during the pregnancy, its just as important, maybe even more when you are breastfeeding.
- Skin-to-skin. Remember it is not something we do just after delivery. Skin-to-skin, even when you get home can have a huge impact and help milk production. Get the baby naked, and enjoy the baby right on your chest for at least 10-15 minutes.
And celebrate those tiny victories! You deserve it and you got this!
So here’s to all the mamas whether you breastfed for 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, or more….we celebrate you!
We’d love to hear your tiny victories! Leave us a comment on our Facebook page Copperstate OB/GYN.