I’ll never pretend to be perfect and I don’t know it all. I’ve had a heck of a journey with all four kids in the first year and definitely different experiences with them all too.
#1 & #2:
My twins were born at 34 weeks. They were a tad early and needed help learning to suck and swallow. So they were fed via feeding tubes. We had just become parents for the first time, to two babies, and they were early. Good times. Hubby and I had watched videos on YouTube on how to tandem breast-feed. We got a great big nursing pillow and all the books too. Then they told me to Pump. What? What wasn’t in my book? I don’t know how to pump? Because the twins were in the NICU they wouldn’t let me breast feed…I’m guessing that was their reason anyway. I was at the hospital for 5 days after they were born. I had had one vaginal and one via C-section so I was a bit of a wreck. Every 2 hours I had to pump, and hubby had to help me (even though he wanted to sleep). And I pumped and cried and pumped and cried. I didn’t know what I was doing and no book I read had prepared me. Nurses weren’t helping me breast-feed or making sure I was pumping correctly and I was too scared to ask. So I pumped. I pumped round the clock and even after I went home (and they didn’t) I kept pumping and bringing my milk in every day to the hospital. It was awful but I knew it was the best for them. They came home 21 days after birth and I continued to pump, then pump and give formula (because I ‘thought’ my supply was depleting) then at four months we went to straight formula. Looking back now…I’m upset with myself that I didn’t fight for my babies or myself. I’m upset no one helped me or taught me how to pump properly to keep my supply up and I’m upset with myself that I gave up so early. I still think about it a lot. They are healthy growing boys but I have my own regrets.
He latched right out the gate! Hungry, happy and healthy! All went well until it didn’t. One day he forgot what he was doing right in the middle of days of cluster feeding and things went down hill. I was sore and tired and he was starving (not literally) I went to a mom group and the lady that ran it helped me. Told me what to do and what to buy and I did it all. She fixed him and me! I will forever be grateful to her. She wouldn’t know me from a hole in the ground but if it weren’t for her, I would have quit. She gave me knowledge and confidence to keep going and it meant the world to me. We went just over eleven months, I was sad the day I quit and for weeks after. My job was the only reason I had to stop or I would have continued for who knows how long!
My perfect little angel baby lol this kid was the golden boy the first couple days. Nurses, dr’s, even the lady collecting garbage’s at night could not believe how great he was or how well we were both doing…and then someone flicked the switch. Someone had enough of this perfection and shit went bad lol we had cluster feedings that would take down the strongest of women, clogged ducts, milk blisters, thrush…I couldn’t win. And I couldn’t fix it! I had four kids; I was supposed to know what the hell I was doing! I did not. So I began to reach out, to put aside my pride and ask for help. For some reason there was no one around? No one could help. Every number I called passed me off to someone else, every person I talked to didn’t know how to fix it or who else to call. I tried everyone, even my trusted ‘hero’ from baby #3. She was away that day and her employee passed me off of someone who wanted to charge me $75 to look at me! I had no money, I was on mat leave for God sake! My heart was broken and I was failing. My husband was at a loss and watched me cry in frustration every night, helpless. Until one day, an angel! The most perfect nurse from the health unit called me back. The talked me off the ledge (not literally) for an hour. Gave me tips and tricks and told me what to go buy. A weight was lifted off my shoulders! I ran out and bought everything and came home and did everything! The next day she was at my house checking on me and calling me and texting me and stopping in again! Would it have been weird to hug her? Because I wanted to lol She brought me back to life. I don’t think I ever really told her that.
There is something about failing that makes moms unable to ask for help. I made the jokes about having 4 kids and not knowing what to do before anyone else could. Still do. We are back better than ever and I cherish every second I get to breastfeed him. And I have a new found respect for moms that are too scared or to ashamed to ask for help. I try to talk about my experiences all the time so they know they aren’t alone. Once I got better I blasted it on Facebook! If I could help anyone to not feel the way I did that would be amazing! No matter how many kids you have, it’s like the first time every time. It’s hard. Its really really hard.