Hello my name is Chelsea I’m a twenty-eight year old mother of five. My babies are eleven, four, three, one and a half and two months. I’ve had a grand total of 10 pregnancies but I only have five live births. I have two full term babies and the rest following were preemies. I lost my first born at five month and was pregnant with my second pregnancy about five month later. Due to delivering that baby so far in gestation I believe is why my body naturally was triggered to begin lactating originally. I lactated throughout my entire second pregnancy. At the time I was really young and knew nothing about hand expressing, so id leak a lot throughout the pregnancy until a really nice sales lady at motherhood maternity introduced me to breast pads!
I gave birth to my first born at the age of seventeen. Breastfeeding my baby girl eleven years ago came as a natural instinct, although it wasn’t immediate. Being a first time mommy I naturally assumed that you gave birth and your baby would latch on right away. This wasn’t the case at all. My baby girl was born at 12:55am and was just as exhausted. Mommy and Daddy enjoyed Baby Elle for a little while then the nurses took her off to the nursery. Around 6:00am I woke up and realized it was a dream and that I in fact had given birth. Immediately got up and rang the buzzer to request my baby.
I was never walked through the process of nursing to be honest. I watched a lot of “A Baby Story’ on TLC. While admiring my princess I noticed she would turn her face towards my body and open her mouth like a baby birdy. I took that cue as she was hungry and attempted to nurse her. She was a natural and nursed for about 20mins on one breast. Although my one on one bonding experience was amazing I had a horrible experience with the nursing staff. I’m not sure if it was because I was so young or not but they really treated me like I was just dumb. I was yelled at by the nurse stating that I didn’t even have colostrum yet and that I had better feed the baby these similac starter bottles by time she returned. My sister dumped half a bottle down the sink needless to say the hospital had a shift change and she didn’t return. I wrote a four page letter in utter disgust with how I was treated during my stay.
Moving forward Baby Elle nursed every three hours or as often as she seemed hungry. I noticed she seemed hungrier than the usually formula fed babies. I grew slightly skeptical as to whether she was actually getting the proper amount of milk while nursing so I began pumping to bottle feed her so I could monitor her amounts of feeding. I later was told by a fellow nursing mommy I met at a park reassured me that breast milk is thin like water and digest so fast that the baby would in fact be ready to nurse again sooner and longer as time progressed that it was absolutely normal!
I was put on maternity leave from school with a home tutor and graduated a year early which allowed me to spend more time with my munchkin. I decided to go to work when my daughter was about 9 months. At this time didn’t even think to bring my pump with to work I had a nice supply of milk in my freezer for her to drink while I was away. My issue at the time wasn’t losing my supply but losing my bond with the baby. She weened early and no longer preferred to latch on. She did continue to drink expressed breast milk until her first birthday!
My next two were lost early on miscarriages in 2007 & 2010 followed by a still birth in 2011 at 5 months. I gave birth two week later on Valentine’s Day. Once again due to delivering at five months gestation my body naturally began to lactate exactly a week after delivery. I got pregnant with my now four year old Leilani a few months after and delivered a year and day after her sister to date. Leilani was born two weeks early at 5lbs 1oz I lactated the entire pregnancy and somewhat skipped the colostrum stage and went straight to nursing the second she was laid on my chest and began pumping 20mls hours after birth.
Coming home she nursed like a champ every 2 hours and would go for almost an hour at times. She was a very healthy eater. When she was about nine months I found out we were expected again. I nursed Leilani throughout the pregnancy. I noticed my milk changed a little while pregnant became slightly bitter at times but the more I nursed the thicker it got. For whatever reason my right (favored breast) was sweeter than the right. I gave birth at thirty-five weeks to preterm to a healthy 4lb baby girl. I tandem nursed both Leilani and Ayianna.
Once Ayianna was about nine months I found out we were once again expecting another bundle of joy. I again nursed both Leilani and Ayianna throughout the pregnancy. I gave birth at thirty-two weeks due to Ava being born so early although 100% healthy she was obligated to go directly to the NICU but stayed only two weeks. Baby Ava was given a feeding tube on day two and while kangaroo holding her skin to skin I guess she smelled my milk, turned her head and opened her mouth wide. I decided to see if she'd humor latching on and by George she did!! We screamed for the nurse to see. All the staff was in complete awe affect. They notified the doctor team who then decided to move her feeding tube to her nose so that she could nurse more comfortably. Although we had great moment in the NICU it was still stressful with her being there so long. I was encouraged to speak to the lactation consultant who explained that stress was the number one enemy! She taught me to power pump hand express before nursing as well as after and more importantly before and after pumping.
I had never had luck with mother milk teas but came across an organic one that works wonders and taste pretty yummy! This helped significantly as well as having the baby physically latch on. It’s something about the baby’s tongue physically touching the nipple that stimulates your mother maternal instincts to lactate. Baby Ava was born in August and I was called back to work early in October due to losing our store manager. Unfortunately My job was not considerate with a nursing mothers needs to pump every three hours for 15-20 mins and my milk drastically depleted then to add to it Baby Ava weened herself away from me and became independent without mama home. This was very depressing due to Ava being the last baby little did I know that daddy never got fixed like he was supposed to be and I was pregnant again come December but lost the baby in Feb we then decided together that we in fact wanted to try for one last baby and shortly later were blessed once again with child.
I continued to tandem nurse my three and two year old over the summer. Ava for some reason around her first birthday decided to latch back on every once and awhile. I was due on Valentine’s Day and delivered at thirty-one weeks on 12/17/16 to our first baby boy Mateo. He is our last miracle and such a champ he’s been nursing from day one in the NICU surprising the entire nursing staff. Mateo was given a feeding tube just like his sister Ava the year prior to monitor how much feeding her was getting and actually digesting. He kept his feeding tube for about two weeks although the staff had already began feeding him with a bottle to make sure his suction was sufficient. This time around being my fifth baby I’ve nursed and currently tandem nursing three others at home gave me a large supply in milk. I would produce 1800mls a day that’s exactly 30 (60ml) bottles a day. The NICU called me their S.M.M.C “Super Milky Mom Champ”!!
Breastfeeding is definitely a challenging for us but I never thought of giving up. I know it is what’s best and we kept at it. Day by day brings on a different challenge be it our daily schedule for the kids schooling, dance activities, work, someone being sick, doctor appointments but we push through. It gets better every day, little by little. My eleven year old nursed up ‘til 10 months and had her last feeding of Breast milk at her first birthday! My now four, three and one and a half year olds are all still currently nursing strong whenever they want it. And my youngest who just turned two months nurses on demand every 2-3 hours.
No matter how many children you have each experience is unique in its own. Breastfeeding can and will be different with each baby. While you as mom may know what you are doing, this new little one may need time, patience and even help to get it right. Relax, keep faith and have lots of patience is key!
In Conclusion, gaining knowledge about breastfeeding during early on is the key in having a good breastfeeding relationship. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt and shouldn’t be a battle. There is support and encouragement all around. You just need to find those people and resources. La Leche League is a god sent. They also have a consultant line which is available 1-877-452-5324. Some items that really helped me when sore is “Medela Tender Care” Lanolin cream and Hydrogel Soothing gel pads. Last but not least get yourself a good breast pump. Recently went online to amazon.com and purchase my new best friend!! It’s a Spectra Breast Pump it comes with a rechargeable battery and tote therefore I can pump on the go whenever where ever I am! Now I have no excuse for missing a pump session. I can literally get my kiddos secured in their seats start up the car adjust my pump turn it on in the driveway and by the time I reach my daughters school ive pumped a good 3-5oz. due to having to different locations to drop off in the morning I now attempt to power pump. So as soon as I cap off the first two bottles I grab two more then turn my spectra back on and drive off to drop of my little one to her prep school, I usually have another 2-3oz by time I reach her school.