Little Sunday story time by Courtney
My breastfeeding journey started out relatively easy with no latch issues and support from my doctors, nurses, family, etc. After birth, my son nursed instantly and was attached for at least 45 minutes. It was a new world for both of us, but it felt comfortable and natural. Breastfeeding in the hospital was guided by the nurses and a certified counselor who showed me the best nursing positions suitable for me. I tracked how many times he fed on each side at the hospital and when I arrived home I used an app to track which I quickly deleted after meeting with my doctor and finding that every baby is different. I became obsessive. I wish I knew a newborn could cluster feed for what seemed like hours on end. I began to get stir-crazy as I felt like all I was doing was feeding. As a new mom, I was nervous to leave the house and need to breastfeed in public. However, that quickly changed as I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety (mild) at 5 ½ weeks postpartum. My doctor urged me to venture outside the house even if it was quick coffee run. He was right – it helped monumentally. However, Bodhi cried a lot when he was not nursing, and this made me worry if I was away from him. I thought maybe he had colic, but the nurse didn’t think so. My instincts thought something was wrong as I noticed he had a distended belly, crying spells, and mucous-filled stool. The first Nurse Practitioner I saw said he could have mild colic, but not to worry. He will outgrow it around 3-4months. I wasn’t okay with that answer as my instincts told me he may have a dairy intolerance (I did A LOT of research and joined a few Facebook Groups). The second doctor I saw told me he was most likely in pain and based on his stool samples I brought in, he had a dairy intolerance. I cut dairy out of my diet around 2 months postpartum. Two weeks without dairy and my family noticed a HUGE difference in my son’s behavior. However, I didn’t think dairy was the only culprit as his diapers were still an issue. I cut soy around 4 months postpartum and he was EVEN better. Finally, I cut egg at around 7 months postpartum and we were in the CLEAR. I am now almost two years postpartum and my son can have dairy, soy, and egg without issues. In fact, we had him allergy tested at 19 months and found out he had no LGE mediated allergies but has FPIES to shellfish. My son still nurses frequently when we are together. In fact, he is nursing like a newborn again as I think he is working on his two-year old molars. While allergies/intolerances are no longer issues, I do find growing criticism as I am nursing into toddlerhood. I think you NEED to have a good support system to get through this stage of motherhood as everyone will criticize something they DIDN’T do. I find most of the criticism comes from people who didn’t nurse into toddlerhood or didn’t nurse at all. Currently, I am obtaining my certificate in breastfeeding counseling. I’ve found a passion for helping women with nursing their babies/toddlers. If I could give one piece of advice it would be to “never quit on a bad day.” The first few months are extremely difficult. Not only are you learning to take care of a newborn, you are also learning how to take care of your postpartum self. Two years later and I’ve realized I am not only my son’s comfort, but he is mine. We’ve created an extremely strong bond and I think nursing has a lot to do with that. I take pride knowing I gave my son the best first food of his life and continue to nurture him as he is busy growing into a strong boy.