Ever since I was a little child, I used to play in my room with my baby doll. Pretending to care for them, changing their diapers, feeding them, pushing them around in my little doll stroller.
As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to work with babies. I used to want to become a pediatrician. But life got in the way. I ended up having children at a young age, and my main focus was caring for my children.
Fast forward two years later. Going through my own pregnancies, deliveries of my children, and navigating the breast-feeding world. I developed a passion to help mothers succeed on their breast-feeding journeys. When I gave birth to my own children, I had initial support from the lactation consultant in the hospital after I delivered. But I remember every single lactation visit was brief. I remember the lactation consultant being in the room for no more than 10 minutes. Grabbing my baby, placing them onto my breast. And trying to get them to nurse while I was laying there in pain and exhausted from delivering this precious new life into the world.
When I got home, I did not have anyone to help me. Long gone we’re all of the staff coming in and out of my room checking on me and my baby every hour. Gone was the call bell that was so useful after delivery to summon someone into the room to support me in my time of need.
Now I found myself alone, at 1 o’clock in the morning, healing from childbirth as I was desperately trying to latch my newborn baby onto my breast. As my newborn was crying hysterically, I also found myself crying hysterically. And wondering why my body was failing me? Why was this baby not latching?
I remember desperately reaching out to my babies pediatrician for help. A lactation consultation was made in the local pediatrics office and I remember feeling so hopeful as I wheeled my baby stroller into that office. I was hopeful that I would magically be able to latch my baby onto my breast. Then my body would stop failing me, and produce adequate milk for my child.
I desperately try to watch my babies onto the breast, baby after baby this situation replayed it off every time that I had a new life. And even though I had prior experience with each baby that I gave birth to, I still struggled with producing milk for my babies. I struggled watching my babies onto the breast. It was an endless cycle that I found myself in time and time again.
No matter how many lactation consultants that I saw, or the YouTube videos that I watched, or the mommy Social Media groups that I joined, I still found myself in the same situation of needing support. Eventually, as many mothers find themselves in the same situation, I gave up on breast-feeding altogether. As I struggle to heal my bruised, cracking, bleeding nipples, and just spent countless money on lactation cookies, lactation supplements, lactation shakes, lactation teas.
None of these things worked. I was just desperately pulling at straws trying to produce enough milk for my babies. For some of my babies, I ended up pumping and exclusively giving them breastmilk, but with others, I suffered loss by. So despite the countless dollars that I spent at the various stores and on the various lactation websites, I was unable to produce an adequate amount of breastmilk to satisfy my growing babies. And I had to resort to giving my babies formula.
Now, formula in no way is horrible or terrible. And as a mother who used formula myself on many occasions to feed my children, I am in no way anti-formula. But as a mother who desperately wanted to breast-feed my children, just really played a toll on my mental health. I became severely depressed because I felt like my body was failing me. My body was supposed to make milk for my child, why was I not producing this milk so that my baby was not hungry?
I felt so alone and inadequate. On the social media groups, I saw all of these posts about how mothers had so many ounces of breastmilk in the freezer, while I struggle to produce even half an ounce of breastmilk for my baby. Wondering, day after day what I was doing wrong? Why my baby refused to latch?
This is the reason I decided to become a lactation consultant. Because I did not have the adequate support that I needed to continue on my breast-feeding, pumping journey. I did not have someone to come to my home, or speak to virtually, who has experienced enough to sit down and spend the time helping me. Listening to me, I believe that lactation is a journey. It is full of ups and downs.
Having someone who can advocate for you and your baby’s best interest is vitally important when it comes to lactation. Every woman’s body is different. And instead of buying all of this unnecessary stuff to produce more milk, or following social media mommy groups and comparing ourselves to other women in these groups, we need someone to sit down with us and help advocate for our and our babies best interest. We need support more than ever on our lactation journeys!
if you are reading this, and you find yourself in the same boat, know that you are not alone! I hear you, I see you, and I am you!