Even before my LO made his debut, I was determined to breastfeed him. I always read everything about breastfeeding. I knew it was going to be painful. I knew my boobs were going to swell. I knew I was going to be tired. I was prepared until the day finally came. Forget everything I knew. Breastfeeding was not as glamorous as I imagined it would be.
Minutes after my stitches were done, I was sent to the recovery room and was told that I had to stay there for two hours. The nurse also brought my baby for his first latch. I was excited but all the excitement turned into fear when I didn’t know what to do and so was my son. I tried to feed him but my nipples weren’t ready. They were too small and my LO was clueless. That was the first tine I actually felt like a terrible mother. Kai was too sleepy to eat. Thirty minutes later, the nurse took my son and I was left thinking. I was not sure what I was thinking but I know I was.
After two hours of staying in the recovery room, I was taken to our room. It was very cold. I was happy to see my husband. He was there waiting and looking exhausted. He asked me if I was OK. We talked about what happened during that long waiting game. He then went out to buy us dinner. It was when he was outside and I started shivering uncontrollably. After shaking, my temperature rose up and I got fever. One question was on my mind, am I going to die? I was very scared and called my husband. He came back and comforted me. I knew he was scared too. He put damped towel on my forehead and in no time, the fever was gone and I was fine like nothing happened. My body was shitting me and I could hear it saying, “Just kidding”. I was scared to death.
That night, I was sent to the nursery to feed my baby. There were two mothers inside the room nursing their child. They looked calm and beautiful while nursing. Until I arrived. Kai was crying and struggling. I could not make him latch. I could feel the two mothers’ eyes on me. I wanted to cry. I felt embarrassed. I wanted to say that I was a first time mother so give me a break and fuck off. I was very eager to breastfeed my child even if I looked stupid. It was our second time and the second time I felt like a terrible parent for not having been able to feed her child.
The next day, Kai was allowed to finally stay with us in our room. We were excited. My husband was very much excited. The whole day, I tried nursing him. He constantly cried. It was like our first argument. There was almost no milk coming out. My nipples were sore and raw. I was hopeless and frustrated. He fell asleep hungry. I was very sorry. Because I was very exhausted, I fell asleep but woke up few minutes later. My breast were enormous and insanely painful. They were hard as rock. I tried to feed my baby but he resisted. Who would want to suck a hard apple? I wanted to cry. My husband was also struggling. He even said that if only he could breastfeed Kai, he would do it. The doctors who visited taught me what to do but nothing really worked. Their words would’t work. I knew my baby was exhausted, hungry, dehydrated and angry. He couldn’t eat.
The third day was our last day in the hospital. We were sent home in the afternoon. My husband and I were very thrilled to come home with our son. The hospital was not comfortable. I wanted to take a good shower and change in my comfortable clothes. My husband and I wanted to eat the food I prepared.
After dinner, our battle begins. I tried to breastfeed Kai but he again struggled. He sucked my sore nipple hoping to get the milk out but the milk wouldn’t let down. It stung as hell. I could feel a sharp tingling pain every time he sucked. I really wanted to do this but I was a failure. My husband decided seek help from his mother. My mother in law suggested we go ahead and feed Kai with formula. It was not what I wanted but Kai was very hungry and never stopped crying. I asked my friends what formula was the best for newborn. While waiting for their answers, I sterilized the bottles. Fortunately I had bought bottles when I was still pregnant. They were intended for my breast milk. Heartbroken, I fed him with formula.We gave him 2 ounces of formula and he stopped crying after he was done. He slept peacefully like an angel. No one would have a clue what had happened earlier.
While he slept, it was time for me to face my own issue. It was truly fulfilling to have my healthy baby but I had to pay the price. From sore nipples, engorged breasts, painful stitches, cramps, swollen ankles. You name it, I have it. No one trained me for this. I think no woman will ever be prepared for this no matter how much they spent reading and studying about motherhood. My husband tried pumping my rock hard breast but it was terribly painful. The pain was making me lose my sanity.
I tried it myself after taking a shower and little by little my milk was saying hello for the first time. It was thin. It did not look as white as a milk should look like. I pumped and pumped again like a milking cow. The milk that came out was yellow-ish. I was happy to see that I was able to produce colostrum. I was very excited to give it to my son. I could see all the vitamins and nutrients in that bottle.
Pumping felt comfortable but my nipples were burning. I stored the milk I pumped and refrigerated them. This went on for 2 weeks. We only gave formula for a night and the rest were my breast milk. It was exhausting to pump every two hours. If I didn’t, my breast were gonna explode. It was hard to get a good sleep or even lie down. I slept an hour each night anyways so it didn’t make any difference. During the entire 2 weeks, I bugged my friends and asked them questions about breastfeeding. Every one has their own different opinion and each was really helpful.
Last November 29, Kai’s 2nd week, I decided to ditch the pump. I was sick and tired of it. I thought it was not normal to pump every 2 hours. My breasts won’t stop engorging. It was driving me crazy. I was leaking 24/7. The more I pumped the more more my boobs got swollen. I decided to offer my breasts to Kai once again. It was that time or my boobs would forever be as hard as rock. It was a struggle during daytime. I still offered my pumped milk until the night came and my long wish finally came true. Kai was able to perfect his latch! It was 1 am in the morning and my husband was sleeping. I wanted to wake him up but I was in disbelief looking at my baby. I did not want to move. For a moment I was just staring at him. This was how the pictures on Instagram looked like. Those mothers who were nursing their children. It was beautiful. It felt beautiful. I was celebrating. I wanted to cry. I was continuously uttering, “Thank God! Thank God!”. For the first time I felt our bond. He needed me. I will never forget that night.
The next day, he seemed to forget what happened. He struggled again but I was so determined to offer him my breasts and not the bottles. I did not pump and had no plan on giving him the milk stored in the fridge. Kai was patient. He always struggled in the beginning because I have oversupply of milk and it was making him cough and spit up. Eventually we were able to find the perfect position that he found comfortable.
Today is our fifth mother and son bond. I completely stopped offering him stored milk. He eats directly from me and I am proud of it. Very proud. I sleep more than an hour a night. I have started to gain strength and confidence. Motherhood is tough. Sometimes you would question your self even lose your sanity. Support is very important.
Kai has taken over our lives. Suddenly, it is him who matters. It still feels weird to be a parent. There are things that we can’t do for now but we will get there. We are grateful to God for allowing us to meet thi wonderful baby bear. We have so many plans for him. He is so loved by many. And I love him so dearly.