By: Rose Alhanti-Ayala
Breastfeeding has been such an incredible experience for me. Every Mama has a different journey. Here’s mine...
When Nathan was born, he was diagnosed with a bad case of Jaundice. As a new mom, I was so scared when the Doctor told me this news. Knowing that my Baby wasn’t 100%, brought me to my knees. I never prayed or cried, so hard, in my entire life!
I only breastfed him for two days before we had to move floors in the hospital, and my baby would become the patient. It was brutal! In the hospital, they put a lot of pressure on me to produce milk. As a new mother, I was already struggling to try to get the hang of breastfeeding. I was fortunate that we had a good latch, but no one could prepare me for the tenderness that comes along with breastfeeding. And because my son was incubated, I had to learn how to pump, and fast if I didn’t want them giving him formula. Because he had to stay under the lights, I had to give him my pumped milk in the bottle. Later causing nipple confusion. The main nurse that was tending to my son was the least reassuring person I could have asked for. Every time I pumped she would look at me with distaste and say, “that’s all you got?” I felt like I was failing. I remember looking at my baby with the sun goggles on under the lights, and I said to him, “I won’t let anything happen to you. Mommies’ got you and you are healthy, loved, and we are going home soon! I promise!” I was an emotional wreck, but my determination to get my son healthy kept me going.
The pumping was terrible for me, my nipples ached, and the stress didn’t help the colostrum production. He was allowed less than 3 hours a day outside of the lights, and I dedicated every waking moment of that time to get skin-to-skin while breastfeeding. I started drinking a gallon of water a day, eating oatmeal every meal, mangos, and taking Fenugreek pills. Anything that anyone suggested, without hesitation I did.
I know that every nurse is different, but the first two nurses that were in charge during my baby’s stay were the least comforting people I have ever met. The nurses made it seem like there was a possibility that he wouldn’t make it. I didn’t know anything about Jaundice, so their expressions and off-putting stories almost wedged doubt into my head. I started doing more research and learned that it was more common than not. I prayed and stayed by his side 24/7, while downing liquids and pumping like a machine.
Thanks to God, he started to get better and were able to go home on the sixth day.
We pushed through the nipple confusion, bleeding, clogged ducts, and made it through to the other side. I couldn’t be more grateful to have the privilege to breastfeed him. My experience really solidified that breastfeeding is a privilege and it was an obstacle that I am so grateful I was able to overcome. Whatever obstacle that is standing in your way, knock it over and keep it moving!
I know you might have heard this before but it’s true it does get easier. Becoming a mother has made me more resilient, stronger and confident.
Stick with it Mama, you’ve got this!