Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Journey through Breastfeeding...

When I first saw those two pink little lines, only one thought burst into my head. "Everything is out of your control" As a Capricorn, it's my nature to want to feel like I have the up most control in a situation, especially if that situation has to do with myself. Knowing that this was completely out of my hands, whatever was growing inside of me. I knew that there was only ONE thing I did have in my control, what I could do about it. The first thing we did, before calling our parents, or hardly even talking about it ourselves, was rushing to the Bookstore. I grabbed as many books that could fit into my hands, found a corner and read. I read like there was no tomorrow, I continued to read and read, after finishing one book, I started another. Ben did the same, I know he was never going to admit it to me at the time, but being a father scared him more than anything. He was adopted, and didn't have a very good relationship with his parents at the time. There wasn't anything he wanted more than to be the perfect father. mommyandscarlett

Then she was here. (I knew that I was going to breastfeed. That was one thing I was absolute certain of, knowing that I could bond with my daughter in a way that no one else could, I longed for it. Something just between her and I, no one else.I looked forward to this moment more than anything, her on my chest, and me giving her nourishment.) But that didn't happen. The moment she was laid on my chest, I offered her my breast, hoping that the "euphoria" I read about, would kick in.

She didn't want it. It felt foreign to her, it was like she had no idea why I was shoving this huge breast in her face.It killed me. I didn't know what was wrong with me, or her...I didn't know if my chance, something I wanted more than anything, would just disappear and I didn't even get to fight. But I did.

They offered her formula and I ripped it out of their hands. I wasn't prepared go down without a fight. I knew that a woman could make milk, no matter what; they just had to try. She screamed, and fought it, she seemed like she was in agony, but I kept trying. Finally, after we went home and I still felt like my dream was coming to an end. She gave in, and in that moment; everything felt right. It wasn't easy. The first couple of months weren't easy. I don't even know what made me keep going, but I just think now it was internal motivation. She ate all of the time, but still seemed like she was hungry. I tried everything, different positions, my diet - finally, I tried nipple shields and they helped for a little bit. But no matter how hard things were, the moment she finally did latch on, it was perfect. The oxytocin flowing through me, it was heaven. When our eyes met, it was just...right. milk

I had a really hard time sharing her for the first couple of months. To be honest, I didn't let anyone hold her besides Ben and myself. She was mine, and I wasn't going to let anyone take what we had, away from me. It sounds so childish, I'm actually disappointed in myself for not having faith, but I waited for her for as long as I could remember, for nine long months, and we had a lot of making up to do. She was finally here, in my arms and I was just supposed to hand her off to different people!? Again...I do feel bad for my family, they were so patient with me, and I'm thankful for that; not being able to hold their own granddaughter for months, but eventually I knew I had to let go..a little. bfingboat After a year of solid breastfeeding, I almost wanted to stop. Actually, there were many moments where I told myself and friends that this would be the last month. She was/is sleeping in our bed and that we didn't/don't have a problem with, but it was the lack of sleeping that was finally catching up to me. It had been a whole 12 months, (well longer because I stopped sleeping through the night around 6 months) without sleep. Real sleep. I craved just a full nights sleep more than you could even imagine. It's not like there were 'some' nights she slept through the night. I was never that lucky. She ate from midnight to 5, taking 15 minute breaks here and there. I couldn't sleep, I seriously thought I was dying. The energy she had when she woke up, I felt like she was suckin' down a Redbull instead of breastmilk. I couldn't handle it anymore.

I had to stop -I didn't want to but I needed to do it for my sanity. But...She wasn't eating solid food and I felt too guilty, I honestly thought she would die if I didn't continue, I also still loved the bond we had. The special 'just between me & you' one. We kept this up for another year and a half. I promised myself and friends again, that I would stop. By her second birthday, she would be weaned. But, she still wasn't eating solid food consistent where we felt like she would thrive if we weaned her. She hardly ate anything at all,except milk. 16 months After changing my diet, more than (it felt like) a million times, I finally decided it was benefitiful to me to start eating Raw, like Ben. He had been eating that way for three years and for some reason, during that time, I didn't feel like it was necessary for me. But I did a couple months ago. I woke up and just knew that I needed that drastic change. I felt the change almost instantly -The next morning I had energy! I was so thankful I finally found the right diet for myself! Up until the night Scarlett got sick. Because I was switching over to 100% raw, not giving myself any real time for a transition.

The detox was rough, everything that my body didn't want in there anymore, came out. I remember the night like it was yesterday, Scarlett woke me up with her crying, she had thrown up everywhere and it didn't look like it was going to stop anytime soon, I was scared to death. I had no idea what was going on except for the fact that I JUST fed her. I just had this feeling. I knew that, that would be the last time Scarlett would ever breastfeed. I knew that my milk was making her sick. The detox was hitting my breastmilk and I started to cry. I held her while she continue to "relieve" herself of all of the toxins that were in my body. We moved to the couch and she asked for milk It killed me to deny her, I was waiting for the deathly screams she has made in the past when I've denied her. But this time - she just said "okay" there was no screaming, no fights, she just accepted it; like she knew, she understood. Throughout the night and the next day, she continued to ask for it. Each time, killing me inside I told her "mommy's milk is making you sick honey, would you like something else?" and each time, she'd sigh and head to the kitchen. There was no fight though, she didn't scream and reach for my shirt, begging for it. It was like she just understood that it was gone, and it was okay.

After a couple days, I realized that I was done. She slept her first night in over two and a half years and I woke up that morning, feeling like a human again. But I also felt lost. That special bond only her and I was gone, or so I thought.

It took me a while, and even now it hits me, that she's done. She's actually eating real food and not relying solely on me for her nourishment. Even though I didn't sleep a full night for a whole two and a half years, I never regret any of it. I don't regret the moments where we'd be in a store and she'd ask for it, I don't regret the moments where I'd have to pull over, or not eat my own food, because she needed hers first. I don't regret the countless nights, laying wide awake while she ate. Even though it was more than tiring, I love that I was strong enough to do that - for her. I don't feel like I'm the strongest person, at all really. I feel like I'm pretty less than average, when it comes to being special. I don't do anything "special" or have any real "talents" But I am more than proud of myself for giving my daughter nourishment for two whole years. I'm so proud that even though the first year was SO tough, I still continued. Even when she cried and cried, begging for more and I was completely empty. I continued to try, and eventually there was always more. I quit everything I'm not an expert at right away (horrible ethic, I know) but I didn't quit this. I love that I am able to say that, and I hope one day Scarlett will be able to give her children what I gave her. 17months


  1. this was a beautiful post. :)

  2. This is amazing! I've decided to breast fed as well and am excited about the bond it creates and being able to provide something for my child that no one else can ;).

    I may just have to bother you for your tips!

  3. :) Thank you so much, Kristina.

    Deanna, thank you for your kind words!

    Dee! Thank you so much, and I'm SO glad you decided to breastfeed, I know you're going to enjoy it as much as I did. :) You're NEVER a bother, and I would be so fortunate if you came to me for tips! :')

  4. This post was wonderful, thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. Oh Megan what an amazing post. I'm so happy I read it this morning. You described so well what so many women feel like- and at the same time your experience was so unique. You are a strong, inspiring mama.


  6. You, lady, are such a wonderful mother and an inspiration to all of us breastfeeding mama's who weren't able to go as long as you did, despite your own needs. And for that, I will always respect you. Always.

  7. Love love loved reading this, we're at 6 months and counting, those first 2 weeks sucked but now it's been smooth sailing. here's to as long as possible!!

  8. He there Megan, I followed you from Tumblr to here. I have to say this is one of the most moving posts I've read from you. I can't wait to have my own little bundle of joy & I'm right there with you in breastfeeding until there's no possible way anymore. Try try try again!

    Loved it. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Whitney, thank you! :)

    Danielle! :') Thank you so much! I feel the same way about everything you write! I always feel like "wow, I totally needed this today" :) you're so great! I hope your breastfeeding experience is smoother than mine was! ha! <3

    Amanda, thank you ALWAYS for your sweet sweet words...really.

    Jennifer! I have a feeling you'll be going a lot further than I did! ;) Thank you!

    BNM! Thank you so much :') that is so sweet to hear and I can't wait for you either!

  10. i really loved this post. i'm not a mother, and don't hope to be for a very long time, but this is something i look forward to very much. being able to provide for a child like no one else can. the other day these 2 men (i use that term loosely) at work were discussing how wrong and gross it was for a woman to breastfeed a child until they were 4 years old. all i wanted to do was smack and scream at them simultaneously. who is to say what's normal? and maybe 4 is a little too old, but who cares. do what you want is my attitude, as long as you aren't hurting anyone. idk, this just made me think of them. and how negativity is always eating away at people. it's nice to see such a positive, beautiful post. :]

  11. Such an amazing post. I am so glad you were able to continue breastfeeding for so long. I tried with both of my babies. Kali I was only able to for almost 2 months. Kam lasted almost 4. I wish I could have continued, so much.

  12. Everything about this is absolutely beautiful. Not only the fact that you waded through the difficulty in those early months, but that you also continued to do it once it was wearing on your own body. It is an incredible gift you've given to sweet Scarlett, one that will remain with her for the rest of her life. She will be healthier and happier, because of your strength and perseverance. Someday Scarlett will look back and feel thankful to have a mother who cares as much as you always have.

  13. I just started reading your blog and I must say, this post is amazing. Thank you so much for writing it. My son is almost 11 months old and he nurses all night long. Some days I am so tired and so ready to quit but I have to remember how special this time is and what a gift breastfeeding is. I hope to make it as long as you did with Scarlett.

  14. Goodness, lady. You are so darn inspiring! Charlotte was born with a high level of bilirubin and the doctors practically forced us to use formula as a way of flushing it all out in ways my breastmilk could not. I was feeding her my milk at the same time, but was completely fearful that she wouldn't be able to wean off the formula (silly me, it was only a few days, but still). Anywho, she is 100% feeding only on breastmilk & I've already fell so deeply in love with this journey. Your story is so inspiring and it's so nice to see someone who doesn't sugarcoat the breastfeeding journey. Thank you for writing this!

  15. i love how open you are about this stuff, wonderful post Megan x