Eight babies. How did my mom ever do it? Compared to her seemingly effortless experience, my initial six weeks of breastfeeding felt like a marathon. Was it this difficult, or did I simply lack the patience my mom seemed to possess? (Honestly, I don’t recall her ever complaining!) Maybe it was just the new-mom haze. Did every mother face these same breastfeeding battles?

Sleep Deprivation

My first two weeks of being a mother were a blur of exhaustion. Bless his heart, Cyd seemed to have a built-in three-hour sleep timer, and each beep meant another feeding session—upright, of course. His cries were high-pitched shrieks that defied the logic of such a small body. Thankfully, we stumbled upon the magic of side-lying feeding. He loved the constant access, and I cherished the stolen moments of rest while he nursed contentedly. Sleep, at last, became a little more manageable.

The Myth of Endless Milk

No one mentioned the initial dip in milk supply, which is actually quite common, especially for moms who have C-sections. I naively thought my body would just know what to do and produce milk whenever the baby needed it. My mom, on the other hand, seemed to have an endless supply – she never worried about running out (it probably helped that she delivered all eight of us vaginally, with some even happening at home!).

It turns out that a hormone called prolactin is crucial in milk production, and anything from stress to lack of sleep can affect its levels. Thankfully, the baby’s natural suckling is the best way to stimulate milk production, and some foods and supplements might also help. We ended up with a cabinet full of lactation-boosting goodies in the hopes of giving my supply a little extra kick.

Sore, cracked nipples

I pictured latching as an automatic, blissful process. Reality check: Cyd and I spent a good five weeks mastering the art of pain-free positioning. It was a constant negotiation – sometimes I’d lead, sometimes he’d take charge. This exploration phase left my poor nipples cracked and sore. There were moments when quitting seemed like the only option. But what kept me going? The knowledge that breastmilk offered him immunity, and frankly, the sheer inconvenience of sterilizing bottles and prepping formula every time hunger struck.

The Witching Hour

Around sunset, a fussy time many parents call the “witching hour,” my baby seemed to hit a hunger peak. This coincided exactly with my own dip in milk supply – bad timing! It might have been his way of stocking up for a long night of sleep.

Whatever the reason, those evenings were a struggle. His cries and intense rooting (searching for the breast) signaled he needed more than I could offer right then. Thankfully, I found some distraction techniques to keep him calm while my milk production ramped back up. Gentle rocking, soothing lullabies, and short walks around the house often did the trick. These calming activities gave my body a chance to catch up with his demands, making him happier and me less stressed.

Cluster feeding

Perhaps this was the biggest surprise of all. Growth spurts hit around weeks 1-2 and 3-6, the time when these tiny humans turn into bottomless pits, demanding milk every 30 minutes – a relentless feeding marathon! Exhausted, I questioned everything. Each latch offered a glimmer of hope, then… back for more. It was a non-stop buffet leaving me zero downtime.

Lucky mom friends never experienced this. While I craved their smooth-sailing breastfeeding journey, I learned cluster feeding is nature’s way to boost milk production for their growth. Knowing it was temporary helped me push through. A crash course in patience, it also offered unique bonding, even if it meant couch-potato marathons with a nursing pillow and endless snacks (thanks, Neil!).

But Then There’s the Love

Despite the challenges of breastfeeding during the first six months, there’s this undeniable connection. The way he looks at me, like I’m the most fascinating creature on earth—how can I resist that? While I cherish any free moment, especially during naps or daddy time, there’s a quiet joy in feeding him and seeing that look again. These days, the love far outweighs the initial struggles.

So, tell me, mama warriors, did you have your own breastfeeding battles? What was your journey like?

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By Issa

2 thoughts on “My Breastfeeding Journey”

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