Stephanie on Exclusive Pumping and Postpartum Depression

Stephanie is a mom and professional, working as an ultrasound technologist, who shares her own experience with breastfeeding, supplementing and formula-feeding. She talks about the postpartum depression and anxiety she experienced by while exclusively pumping for her first baby. She discusses how important getting support to feed her baby in the way that best worked for her family was and how important protecting her mental health was for her, her baby and her family.

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The Shaming Began In My Hospital Breastfeeding Course And Never Stopped

The shaming began prior to delivery, at the hospital breastfeeding class.  A soon-to-be mom asked if she should keep some formula on-hand, just in case she was unable to breastfeed.  The lactation consultant (IBCLC) insisted she not keep any formula around because, as soon as you start feeding the baby formula, you will give up on breastfeeding and never forgive yourself! She also said it was rare for a mother to not be able to produce enough milk, which is not true.  I told her it was fine to get some formula, if for nothing than to relieve the intense pressure of exclusively breastfeeding that was being forced in our class.  The IBCLC also instructed us not to use our pump for at least twelve weeks, and even then, only if we were returning to work–because pumping would interfere our milk supply. I later learned this is also  not true.

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I Found A Way To Not Only Give My Son Breast Milk, But Also Bond With Him While Feeding Him.

Before my first son was actually born, I had all these goals and plans and expectations. Things rarely happen just as we want them to or plan for them, especially when children are involved.

I intended to breastfeed. Or rather, I intended to breastfeed via direct nursing. That was my plan all along. I never even researched other feeding methods. Everyone said it was going to be beautiful and natural. It was neither for us. 

From the beginning, it did not come naturally for us. And it HURT. I thought for sure once we got home we would settle into that elusive beautiful nursing relationship that everyone talks about. I was wrong. It felt like his gums were sharp and grinding against my nipple with every pull. We saw his doctor, and another doctor at the practice, and a few lactation consultants. Everyone said his latch appeared fine. Every time I fed him, I inwardly cringed. We used a nipple shield. We used different positions. We latched and unlatched. It never came naturally or stopped hurting. Continue reading