In our series, “Mom’s Story,” members of our community share snapshots of their real, personal journeys through motherhood. Every story is different. We ask all members to be respectful in their comments on these posts. Offensive or disparaging remarks will not be tolerated.
Life with Leon is great. Every day is different and very interesting. For me, it’s very important to have a routine for each day. Clean up, bottle feeding, occasional solid food feeding. If we stick to a schedule, then there’s no crying, just a happy boy. We try to do at least one activity a day, maybe a yoga class, lunch with a friend, hiking or Mommy & Me. I don’t have a nanny; I’m around my baby all day and do just about everything with him. I was surprised by how fast the baby develops, especially how fast they learn to smile. It all happened quite early. He’d smile when my husband came home. Leon rarely cries, he’s a happy baby and a good sleeper too.
In the beginning, things were very different. It was exciting to come home with him, but it was not easy. My mom was here from Switzerland, which was very helpful but hectic. My husband stayed home for the first two weeks and gave me a lot of support. My mom is a baby nurse, so we learned a lot from her. Without her, it would have been very rough.
I never expected breastfeeding to be hard but it was a fight in the beginning. He was taking in milk from the breast, but it was not enough. Everything I read said to feed on demand, but it wasn’t working. I tried everything from herbs to diet changes but my supply would come and go. I tried everything to have enough milk and I just couldn’t do it. After a couple of weeks, my pediatrician recommended that I start supplementing with formula because Leon had lost too much weight. I would breastfeed first, then give pumped milk, then formula, then pump for the next feeding. It was incredibly time-consuming.
For the next 4 months, I still breastfed Leon for every feeding and then did formula supplements. Pumping was helpful and increased my milk supply. But it was such an awful experience! If you want to breastfeed your baby, pumping is awful. I hated the sound, the feeling, the sucking. After 5.5 months, he started to refuse the breast. He had never had a problem switching between the breast and bottle before that time. I decided not to fight with him and stopped breastfeeding. Now I feed him with a bottle 4 times a day and 2 solid foods for lunch and dinner.
My first experience with Linda Hanna, my lactation consultant, was great. She said it wasn’t only about breastfeeding but also about feeling comfortable at home too. I learned positions in the hospital too, but it’s different when you can do it at your home with someone sitting next to you. She gave me tons of ideas and fun things to do with the baby. She suggested reading books to him early on and Leon loved it. It was helpful to be able to text her for advice.
What shocked me is that my friends never said anything about their difficult experiences with breastfeeding until I opened up about mine. I struggled, and when I finally told my friends, they said, “Oh, that happened to us too. It’s normal.” I said, “Why didn’t you say anything?” I wish women would be more open to sharing those struggles. For me, what’s worked best is to have the baby on a schedule. Introduce a schedule after 3-4 months. I learned it in a Mommy & Me class. Leon and I both have routines and we stick to them and it works. It’s not easy to introduce them, but when the schedule starts to work, it’s great.
Are you a new mom looking for more breastfeeding guidance? Reach out to one of the lactation consultants on our team for more personalized support.