If you don’t know by now, August is National Breastfeeding Awareness month. While “breast is best”, it’s not always easy and sometimes breastfeeding challenges will occur. I’m happy to share my own challenges for this #ChocolateMilk campaign that my good friend Heather, AKA 1/3 of Mamas Mashup AKA Head Mom in Charge of Diary of a First Time Mom, put together. One month long of real stories from real moms that cover all aspects of breastfeeding. Heather curated this collection to educate other African-American women about breastfeeding. That way, they will be armed with information to make a decision.
Check out my story below and then be sure to share yours by tweeting @DearMomDiary using #ChocolateMilk.
Before I became a mom almost seven years ago, I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed my children. For me, it was a no brainer. I was going to nurse them for at least twelve months each. I read all I could about breastfeeding and lactation consultants. I read about how to store breast milk, how long one should breastfeed, which breast pump would be best, and so on and so forth. I researched the best bottles and storage bags to use after pumping.
But all of the research, books, blogs and Google searches never fully prepared me for breastfeeding. While I breastfed all three of my children, each of them came with their own unique manual.
I was never that mom who had a surplus of breast milk ready and waiting. No, I was the mom who struggled to produce what I felt was a sufficient amount of milk. In fact, I felt devastated and defeated, because I had to supplement early on with formula.
All three of my children ended up having jaundice as newborns. With the first two, we had to leave them in the hospital and couldn’t take them home with us because they had to be under the phototherapy lights for several days. The last one we got to take home with us, but she had the worst of the medical problems that are too extensive to write out in this post, but I do talk about it in my new book, and ended up back in the hospital for almost a week.
It was hard, because I wanted to nurse them but they weren’t getting enough nutrients in their system as quickly as they needed to in order to combat the jaundice, so we had to give them formula. And looking back, I don’t have any regrets, but at the time, it was pretty frustrating.