I got home from the hospital and came straight to my moms. For some reason, he [my newborn son] wouldn’t latch on. He had been doing so up to that point.
He kept screaming and crying because he was hungry but wouldn’t latch all of a sudden.
My mom encouraged allowing formula, but I refused.
Emotionally overwhelmed, I took my pump I never used out the box, went upstairs with his dad (who was also feeling emotional that our son wouldn’t eat) and we pulled out all the parts.
I never pumped before.
I called my friend Skye and disclosed my emotions and she reassured me that I was enough and he would be fine.
I then called another friend, who just had her daughter and had the same medela pump. She sprung into action!
She FaceTimed me and said, “okay let’s do it.”
She walked me step-by-step through how to set up the pump and also gave me emotional support when I was an emotional mess.
I had tears streaming down my face and a lump in my throat. I kicked dad out to be able to get the support I needed from my friend (Anne-Marie).
I sat there in tears pumping - the milk was coming out slowly. At that point [my son] was only 3-4 days old. She said, “Keep going. I’m coming over to bring you some stuff.”
Twenty minutes later she was at my door.
Her daughter, Alana, was born about the same size as Bryce [my son]. She brought me instant formula that she was given at the hospital. She also brought me a bunch of products that support milk expression. And with a hug and the words,
“you are enough”
I took a deep breath and poured the little milk I pumped into a sterile bottle and he drank it all. Later that night he was back to latching on with no problem.
I wanted to share this because this whole experience is so emotional. I’m not even super emotional regularly. This is teaching me how important your village is and how much reassurance you need from your family and friends during these times.
Jamila Gales proudly welcomed her first child, Bryce Broderick Walker last month. She texted me an update after our initial interview a week ago from her hospital bed.
I’m super grateful for her story because in a matter of days her breastfeeding journey drastically changed.
The following interview was conducted hours after her vaginal delivery when Jamila was still in the hospital.
Congratulations Jamila! I know you’ve been preparing for breastfeeding since pregnancy? How has it been?
As soon as he came out they put him on my chest. He was ready to feed and immediately was looking for the breast.
That’s great! It sounds like he was born ready to eat. Did he have any hunger cues?
Immediately after delivery, his mouth was open. Then he started doing this sucking motion with his lips, so they put him on my chest.
Now that he's older than 24 hours, they want me to feed him every two hours and make sure that he's pooping. He's been doing very good with both.
In between, we do skin-to-skin for bonding. When I lay him on my chest, he can smell the milk and he latches on right away.
Wow, it sounds like you haven’t had any problems.
I gave birth less than 48 hours ago, so it hasn’t been too bad yet.
I didn't have any problems with him attaching to the breast. My major concerns were is there milk coming out and if I was feeding him enough?
I kept asking the nurses if he was getting full. They told me he was fine. His first meal is colostrum.
Colostrum is very thick and some babies have to work hard for it. Any discomfort or pain?
He has a pretty good grip, so I think eventually it may start to get sore. The hospital gave me a cream if it does.
My lactation consultant also visited today and she taught me the best ways to get him to latch on.
She noticed he wasn’t getting the full nipple in his mouth and she wanted to make sure it wasn't hurting me. She taught me how to position him correctly and it made a big difference.
What position has been the best so far?
I use a Boppy and we like the football hold or for his body to lay across the pillow [cradle/cross cradle].
Nice! So how often is he feeding now?
He’s eating 20 minutes on one breast and 20 on the other. He ate for an hour straight today and I had to keep switching back-n-forth.
I’m sorry, did you say he ate for an hour?
Yes! And it wasn't just pacifying, he was really feeding for an hour.
He's supposed to eat again now, but he's been sleepy. I think that hour did it for him.
I’m so happy to hear that your first breastfeeding experience is going so well. I don’t want to keep you, so is there anything that you want to share with other expecting moms?
I definitely encourage skin-to-skin right away. Even when I feel like I'm not feeding him, we are still bonding.
Also, pay attention to your body and your baby. Breastfeeding is new for all of us and it may take a bit longer to figure out how to nurse.
Thank you so much for giving us a sneak peek into your breastfeeding journey. We wish you the best!
About the interviewer: Dominique is super passionate about documenting our stories. She calls herself a breastfeeding journalist, so please let her know if you would like to share your story too.
Daily Milk hosts articles, posts and ideas from various members of our breastfeeding coalition!