My Breastfeeding Journey

The beginning

Once I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed my child. When my son came into the world on February 1st 2019, it was through an emergency caesarean section. So I could not feed my son right away like I originally wanted to do. After, an hour in the post operation room I was finally able to nurse him for the first time. It hurts the first time he latched on, his latch was not right because he wasn’t opening his mouth wide enough. Since his latch was not wide enough it caused my nipples to bruise and bleed, it was very painful in a sensitive the slightest touch made me want to cry.

Another problem we had was my son was constantly spitting up from having amniotic fluid in his lungs. Since he was a caesarean baby he was unable to get the amniotic fluid out of his lungs, which babies born vaginally do during the birthing process. He spitting up breastmilk with the amniotic fluid, so I had to feed him more often.

Like every newborn my son was cluster feeding his first few nights. Anyone who has breastfed a cluster feeding baby knows how exhausting and draining it is. My son was eating every half hour for 10 minutes each time. So while trying to recover from having a major surgery (caesarean section) I was also feeding a newborn all day and night with zero sleep.   

I thought about quitting in those early days, we even got formula from the hospital. One thing my husband and I did in the beginning was give our son a pacifier. You are not supposed to give a breastfeeding baby a pacifier or bottles for at least 3 weeks so they do not get confused since the sucking is very different. However, the pacifier actually helped our son learn to open his mouth wider making his latch a lot better.

The Struggle Is Real.

I had so many fears in the beginning, on whether or not my milk would come in or if I can produce enough. I had friends and family members who were unable to breastfeed, those who were able to only last a few weeks because of lack of supply. When my milked came in I felt so much relief, I even had an over supple in the beginning.

In had several clogged ducts, this terrified me because clogged ducts can lead to mastitis. For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it occurs when a blocked duct doesn’t clear, it causes swelling and inflammation. On top of having a tender inflamed breast, you can become achy, feverish and develop flu like systems. I was able remove the clogs before they turned into mastitis, through heating pads, messaging, and different breastfeeding positions.

When my son was 5 months old he got thrush. For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, its white, slightly raised bumps in your mouth. It is an infection in which the fungus candida albicans accumulates in the mouth, aka a yeast infect in your mouth. I did research when I first started to breastfeed, so I knew what to look out for. Once I saw the first signs on his tongue I got him into the doctor as quickly as possible. It took 3 dose of medicine a day and two weeks to fully clear up.

My son was born 6 pounds 10 ounce, he was little. He has been in the lower percentile for his weight since he has been born never getting about the 10th percentile. I seen other babies his age or younger than him gaining weight so rapidly, while my son was gaining but always remaining small. He was in 0 to 3 size clothes until he was 6 months old. I was worried my son wasn’t eating enough. After doing research, talking to other mothers, and my son’s doctor I came to realize my son is gaining fine he is just going to be smaller. As long as he doesn’t still seem hungry after he nurses I know he’s getting enough milk.

The Reactions

My husband has always been supportive. He left completely up to me on whether or not we breastfed. He does like how it saves us money, and how it helps with keeping him from getting sick.  He doesn’t like how when I have to feed my son with other around us I usually go off to a different room to feed our son (I am personally not comfortable breastfeeding in front of others and my son likes to play peek-a-boo with the cover). Me leaving to go feed our son hinders what is going on and creates a bit of awkwardness. Breastfeeding has made it harder for my husband to form a bond with our son because he couldn’t feed him (he did form a bond it just took a little longer).

In my husband family my son is the only one to ever be breastfed. They do not understand how breastfed babies differ from formula fed babies. Breast fed babies differ by feedings are a lot faster, pooping is different, they do not need water as early, they don’t get sick as easily, their weight is different and they do not sleep as well.  I have tried to explain how it is different, but since they have never experienced it before they do not understand. Sometimes they feel like they know what is best for him and want us to switch him to formula so fatten him up. However, as an exclusively breastfed baby he hardly takes a bottle and doesn’t like to eat as much as formula fed babies.

I have lost friends over breastfeeding because they were unable to breastfeed (look at mom experience guilt blog for more details). However, I have also become closer to friends through my breastfeeding journey.

 I know people will come in go and not like things or become jealous of what others do when it comes to parenting, however breastfeeding is something that is very personal to me.

Would I do it again?

Yes I would defiantly do it all again. My first breastfeeding experience is starting to wind down with the beginning stages of weening off. I will breastfeed all of my future children, long as I am able to.

Thank you for reading this very personal blog

How Having a Food Allergy And How it Affects My Family’s Life.

When I was eighteen years old I ate a small can of cashews. The next day I woke up with my lips triple their size, eyes swollen, sharp pain in my throat, and hard to breath. I developed an anaphylaxis allergy to cashews and related tree nuts and related fruit. My food allergy includes: cashews, pistachio, pecan, mangos, and papaya. I avoid all other tree nuts and tropical fruit because of how closely they are related to my allergy foods, they can even send me into minor allergy attacks. I CAN EAT PEANUTS BECAUSE IT IS NOT A TREE NUT IT IS MORE CLOSELY RELATED TO BEANS THAN TREE NUTS.

Ever since my allergy attack when I was eighteen, I have to watch what I eat. The fear of cross-contamination in foods have become my every day. I am always checking the back of products for “may contain tree nuts”. It is not just food I have to watch for, Procter & Gamble uses tree nut oils in their products, some medications use tree nut oils or mango flavoring. I have carried epiPens until they got too expensive with a monopoly on them $300 to $650 for a pack of two, which has to be replaced every few months. It became easier to just avoid my allergen than have to pay for new epiPens. I can take benadryl with minor reactions.

When I first started dating my now husband a few months after my allergy attack, one of the first things I mentioned was my food allergy. If he wanted to be intimate with me, he had to be careful on what he ate around me. He chose to give up tree nuts so not to risk me having an allergic reaction.

When my son was starting to get to the point of eating purees, I had to look at his baby food to make sure that it doesn’t have mango in it. I have to be selective on what he eats because he is exclusively breastfed and can cross-contaminate to me, making me break out in hives. When he gets older and no longer breastfeed he will be introduced to mango.  Tree nuts would have to be introduced to him away from me because even the dust makes me react.

When I go out to gatherings with friends and family I am always asked if I can eat something or not. It gets old quickly always having to repeat what I can and can’t eat. I still have family who cooks with tree nuts so I am always checking with them on what they put in some stuff like cookies, they get annoyed by it every time. Living with a food allergy isn’t easy and can affect so many people in my life.

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