My Breastfeeding Journey

So now that the cat is out of the bag, I figured I’d share something personal and challenging for me. I’m 17 weeks pregnant with baby boy number four. It was a bit of an unexpected shock to say the least. My youngest son is only 7 months old and about 10 weeks or so when I was still exclusively breastfeeding, he started losing weight. Was grumpy all the time. I had successfully breastfed two other kids to 2 and 3 years old so I didn’t know what was going on.

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I soon realized that I was late. I was taking birth control so I was definitely in denial. But I took a test anyways because the only time my milk has ever dried up, I was pregnant. But that hadn’t happened until my older kids were eating three meals and snacks a day and they were able to dry nurse until my breastmilk came back in and then wean when they were ready. So I took the test, and sure enough it was positive.

At first, I had breastmilk donors. I am part of a couple local communities that help each other and moms were happy to donate their pumped milk to my baby. But  I was only able to find so many donors and eventually that tapered off and I had to start supplementing with formula. I was heartbroken. I felt like I was failing my baby. I had successfully breastfed my other kids and it was so important to me for him to be breastfed as well. I applied to be a breastfeeding peer counselor for WIC once. My mom was a breastfeeding peer counselor for WIC. Breastmilk is the best food for babies. Flu season was picking up and all I could think about was how he wasn’t getting antibodies from me anymore and what if he gets sick? So yeah, breastfeeding is very important to me.

But as he started to eat solely formula, he started to gain his weight back. He still dry nurses for comfort and I figure when this baby comes I’ll tandem nurse them both for a while. It’s been rough emotionally. As parents, we want to give our kids the best, and breastmilk is the best food there is for most babies. But you know what, he’s still happy. He’s growing, hes just as attached to me as he was before. I still feel disappointment, especially when I see other moms breastfeeding, but in the end, we can’t beat ourselves up because something doesn’t work out for us. Breastfeeding will continue to be something important to me. I will continue to offer advice and support to breastfeeding moms, but this experience has taught me that it’s okay if it doesn’t work out. As long as your baby is happy and healthy, that’s really all that matters.

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