Hands down, my breastfeeding journey was one of the most humbling and delicate experiences I have ever had. Nixon is my first baby, and as a typical first-time mom I was overly concerned about every little detail, and breastfeeding was one of them. From how to store my breast milk, to when and how to pump. Do I need to dump? I always wondered if he was eating enough, how do I know? What should I be eating! The questions were endless. I would stay up all night researching and asking my lactation consultant Tessa for all the help she could give. I found that having a lactation coach was very necessary and I was grateful to have Tessa. She came the second day I was home after giving birth and the timing was perfect. She set me up to be successful at the beginning and throughout my breastfeeding journey. One of the major things she did for me was build my confidence, which as most new moms know, can be very low right after having a newborn.
It was not until about month 3 that I felt like I had a good rhythm going. However, just as soon as I was getting the hang of things it was time to return to work. I was beyond nervous to go back to work because I was not sure how I would pump and continue to give my baby all the milk he needed. I am a teacher and finding personal time is a challenge. Fortunately, I worked with a team of all women and every day we had to have team meetings, so that is when and where I pumped. Yep, right there in the back of the room amongst coworkers! Occasionally we would have random (male) visitors that would pop in unexpected, but I had my nursing blanket over me, and this mama kept on pumping! There were times I spilled milk in the meetings, and I would have full on meltdowns. One time the pump just stopped working…que another melt down. I am very thankful that the women I worked with were very caring and understanding so I never felt uncomfortable, for the most part. I had a steady schedule planned while at work and then after work would bring its own challenges at times.
It was exactly 11 months when Nixon decided he was over nursing, and I cried like the baby. I continued to pump but I just could not produce enough milk. I took fenugreek and tried various teas and techniques, but it was as if my body just knew it was time to stop. I supplemented with a European brand of formula and Nixon loved it. My goal was always to nurse/pump for 12 months, so I was very disappointed in myself that I came up a month shy. I kept telling myself that it was ok, we had a long run, I did my best, but the time I spent nursing my baby was very precious to me and I longed for it when it was over. Now he is 16 months and healthy and happy. I have learned to trust my body and my baby for we both are in sync with one another.