If I could describe my breastfeeding journey in one word it would be “powerful”. I never knew how much the woman's body was capable of until I gave birth to my daughter Lavender who is now one year and we are still going strong! I've learned so much and educated myself so well being a first-time mom that blissfully my journey has come easy, but wait that doesn't mean I haven’t struggled. “Where there is no struggle, there is no progression”. I just looked at mine positively and embraced every struggle knowing it would be worth it in the end!
First few days in the hospital went by so fast everything went by so fast…but that first latch was amazing I felt so connected with my daughter I didn’t want anyone to talk to me I just wanted to be left alone with her in that moment. Her latch wasn’t perfect I bled for the next 3 weeks and groaned in pain during nursing sessions, trying to get my nipple shields to stay on until I finally made the decision that something was not right. I started to excessively pump for about 2 weeks (thank you lord for pumping bras). My daughter was given a bottle for every feeding! So many sleepless nights pumping and mornings waking up feeling like I had just peed on myself because of how much my breast leaked. It felt like I was pumping 24/7 nonstop, and oh don’t get me started on trying to find something to wear that was breastfeeding friendly. Like come on I don’t have that big ole belly no more and I still can’t wear what I want! It started to get overwhelming, I felt sad, because I no longer had my life, lonely because I felt like I was the only one putting in all this hard work to do what's best for lavender with no one to talk to because no one could understand what I was feeling. My birth control hormone side effects and symptoms weren’t making the situation any better either! But that's a whole different story. My husband couldn’t understand these things I was going through only a mother who’s experienced what I am, so he tried his best to be there for me but all he could do was listen.
I tried my best to keep a smile on my face and be happy for my daughter so she didn’t have to see me like that. I knew she could feel my sad energy anyway. Moving forward to after my breast healed, I tried again. I used all types of resources online to make sure I was doing everything right and putting Lavender in the right position. We were able to get a good latch and I knew because it didn’t hurt while nursing! The first thing that came to my mind was “wow I’m literally on YouTube right now trying to figure this out …..(shoutout to these major social media platforms, taught me everything I know) no one in the hospital asked if I was breastfeeding … it wasn’t talked about and no lactation specialist came to talk to me or help either. When I asked they told me it was upon request. I feel as though a specialist should be in the room right after birth to help and I believe this is why so many women don’t breastfeed because there isn’t that much support like there should be! Once my daughter got a good latch it felt amazing. I had finally figured it out but of course in this journey things get thrown at you unexpected. I remember trying to breastfeed my daughter one night after I had been mastering it for some time but she would not latch. I started to have this horrible feeling that I wasn’t producing enough for her. I was worried, confused, angry. Like ‘please baby stop crying” I would whisper over and over but still she was just not having it. I felt tempted looking at those “just in case” (which is what my nurse called it) formula bottles. Asking my husband “baby, should I?” “I really don’t want to”, and of course he doesn't understand why I don’t. Come to find out she had gases and was tired, which is why she was so fussy! I was so glad a didn’t give in to those bottles and listened to my babys signs!
As you can see that was a huge struggle that came my way; I was so confused. I knew that once I gave in and gave her the formula that my breastfeeding journey would come to an end. Like thinking about it, I would've seen how easy it was to just give her a bottle. Soon after I got a good hang of things! I'd gotten used to my pumping sessions and sleep deprivation. I would pump on one and nurse on the other and I did that until I had almost 2000 ounces in my deep freezer which was for when I had to go back to work which was postponed due to COVID. Then 4 months later my pump broke and I started hand expressions until after a while Lavender was big enough to just feed on both and I didn't have to pump anymore thank God.
My journey at this point was amazing! I felt “powerful”. I had accomplished something that a lot of women can’t accomplish. I never gave up when I got let down and only was able to pump two ounces in a whole pumping session. I never gave up when I couldn’t sleep while everyone else slept, I never gave up when my nipples were blistered and bleeding! I had established a good amount of supply and pumping wasn’t necessary. I literally would just pull my boob out and feed. Then……. my daughter got her first teeth at 5 months and this is my current struggle at a year with eight teeth now, telling her not to bite my nipple off! I’m sure we still have long ways to go but I’m so grateful I even got this far, and the journey continuessssssssssss.
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