Motherhood and My Breastfeeding Challenge

This is not like me. I have always had things under control. I’m not so much of a control freak, but for everything before, I always had the opportunity to handle things in such a way that I like the outcome or I expect or get to foresee the outcome. And yet now, I am frustrated. I literally find myself crying over… crying over ‘I have no idea’ actually.

It has been 1 week and three days since our little bundle of joy was born. The minute she was born, my husband and I were in cloud 9. It was such a great feeling to have a child of your own to love, to hug, to kiss and cuddle. Since I had a C-section, I was in the hospital for four days.

During those days, we had a difficult time adjusting to the baby’s sleeping and feeding schedule. My personal goal is to the be the best mommy that I can be. Even before Zeeka was born, I vowed to myself that I would exclusively breastfeed and I would stick to that. My goal led me to ask for the baby to be roomed-in right after she was born, so just few hours after my operation in the morning, Zeeka was already with me in my room late that afternoon.

Since I was not that mobile yet, I breastfed her in the hospital doing the side-lying position. Thankfully, Zeeka had a good suck. She latched right away after our second try. We, Ej and I, would get up every so often to feed her and change her diapers and have her burp. We would monitor each and every feeding and diaper change. These were days of sleepless nights.

When we got home, we continued to have sleepless nights. I then had problems since my nipples started to sore and bleed. We tried different breastfeeding positions and for some reason, Zeeka could not latch well. I felt so frustrated. I didn’t know what was suddenly wrong. I kept on thinking that it was my fault. I kept on crying and crying, since I really felt like a loser ‘mom’. Why did so many people seem to direct breastfeed so easily? They seem so calm and relaxed in the pictures that we see on the net and even in real life.

I know I did everything I could. I attended breastfeeding classes. I attended three in fact. I attended birthing classes. Why can’t I get Zeeka to latch well. Of course I know that my sore nipples were due to Zeeka’s incorrect latch. I gave up and started pumping.

When I started pumping, I got to collect around half an ounce of milk from both breasts. This made me frustrated again. It entered my mind that I didn’t have enough milk. I got to hear from friends that they collect as much as 2 ounces of milk and some even more. Again, it felt as if it were my fault. Every time I would hear Zeeka’s shrieks and cries, I would cry, too. I felt so unfulfilled. Everything felt so uncontrollable — my milk let down, the hunger cries of my baby, my sore nipples, etc. I felt so useless.

At this time, I was already thinking of mixed feeding. Although, at the back of my head, I really wanted to exclusively breastfeed and formulas were really a no-no for me. It was a good thing that I stuck to this commitment. I just kept on convincing myself that if I had to pump every hour, I would.

At this time, Ej and I decided to already call on the help of Abbie Yabot, a lactation consultant to help us fix our latch. She came to us yesterday, early morning. It was just the right time, since I was losing it. Before she arrived, I was crying over spilled milk (literally) that I pumped.

She arrived at almost 8:00 am. When she came, we immediately went straight to trying to latch Zeeka, and in just a minute or so, she successfully latched on to me. We learned a lot from Abbie during her visit. We learned a lot of things, both incorrect things that we were doing and tips on how things should be done. The session was really helpful. We are now perfecting and practicing our latch and I am more at ease with all these things going on with Zeeka and with her feeding.

They say that motherhood is one of the best things that could ever happen to a woman. When I look at Zeeka, all bundled and cuddled up, I do believe that this is true. I read this beautiful article that a friend shared with me, Beautiful Catastrophe: The Death and Rebirth of Becoming a Mother, and I couldn’t help but cry. I could relate to the writer in so many levels.

No one or nothing can really prepare you fully for motherhood. Your mother, your grandmother, a lactation expert, etc. can give you all the advice in the world, but you will still have to adjust and learn with your child. Both of you, with your husband, will have to take the journey together. This is what I learned with my experience.

And if you accept the fact that…
1. you are not perfect and are only human
2. that not all things are within your control
3. and that motherhood is a learning process…

everything will be waaaay easier.

To end this, I leave you with this quote:

β€œThrough the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” ― Debra Ginsberg

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

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Comments

  1. it will get better ginger! take it one day at a time! i had the similar issues with N too! check out my breastfeeding story

    • Hi Jenny!

      Thank you for the words of encouragement. Ang hirap pala talaga. It’s really a commitment and it takes a lot of determination to keep on breastfeeding. It’s a good thing that my husband is very supportive. In times na naiiyak na ako and gusto ko na magstop, he’s the one who tells me na kaya ko yan and not to give up. I think having people to support you is very crucial.

      I’ll read your blog and look for your story. I need lots of inspiration. πŸ™‚

      Love lots,
      Ginger

  2. Hang in there Mommy Ginge. Know that i am with you in this journey. I too experienced difficulties – poor milk letdown, sore nips, suka after long feeds, back to zero feeling – couple that with no decent sleep =( But seeing my baby wake up bright eyed every morning keeps me going… =) Never give up.

  3. Breastfeeding is a gift… enjoy every moment and don’t give up. πŸ™‚ Welcome to motherhood! πŸ˜€

  4. Soraydaa Agarrado :

    You can do it. Always put in your mind that you have a lot of milk. I too cried for several weeks while getting adjusted to breastfeeding. πŸ™‚ Now, 21months into direct milk from the tap, it’s a breeze. Every momma goes through this stage but don’t give up. Hugs hugs hugs to you for sticking with breastfeeding! Sending you lots of love. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Honey! πŸ™‚ Yes, I will really commit to breastfeeding πŸ™‚ I’m glad to say that since Monday, I have successfully ‘direct’ breastfed Zeeka! yey! πŸ™‚ I’ll take it one day at a time… πŸ™‚

  5. Hi Ginger! Congratulations on giving birth to Zeeka! Naku, we almost have the same story. As I’ve bombarded Jenny with tons of breastfeeding questions, in the end it does get better. The first few days and weeks will really be a challenge but eventually all seems so natural, mothering becomes such a joy! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Jackie!

      I’m getting used to it nga now, but there are still times na I wonder if things that I encounter are normal (especially when Zeeka is fussy). What I want to learn naman now is baby wearing. I want to bring Zeeka out but it seems that I have a hard time getting a good latch when we leave the house. I don’t know if I’m the one stressed that she can’t latch as efficiently as she does at home. So right now, we just stay in the house. Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the message, Jackie! πŸ™‚

      Love lots,
      Ginger

  6. Michelle Gurrea-Ching :

    Hi, Ginger! I can totally relate. I cried so many times before, and I didn’t understand why breastfeeding hurt even if I’ve read books and articles and attended classes, and thought my baby’s latch was fine (which they confirmed it was when we consulted the lactation center at Medical City a month after giving birth). It didn’t help that my baby was a small baby (less than the average Filipino size baby), muntik na maging preemie buti umabot sa due date. I kept reading stuff like it’s not supposed to hurt when baby’s latching fine, but my baby was latching fine and it still hurt. It took me 6-7 weeks for the pain to go away, like they say, “namanhid na” hehe it differs from mommy to mommy, for the ones I’ve talked to some adjusted well after two weeks, for some it more three months. I hope you were able to adjust sooner than later πŸ™‚

    Then pumping was the next challenge for me, since I didn’t get a lot of milk, and it got me stressed out seeing I could barely produce an ounce, and the more I got stressed the less I produced. So I’d rest and try again another day. I drank lots of soup and water and also took malunggay supplements (for just a few days). I used to deliberately wake up in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning to pump, because there was a time I noticed I had more output during those times. And I read about pump every after feeding to empty out the breasts so they’d produce more, but I’d just get frustrated pumping very little milk that I’d pump at least two hours after a feeding instead, when my milk supply is replenished. Eventually I was able to pump enough to stock up on milk, and baby’s still taking breastmilk exclusively. Pumping when away from baby (like at the office) produces more as well. Once in a while I order Mommy Treats (lactation goodies), though I could never match the output of some of my fellow BF mommies. But even if I’m able to pump just a moderate amount of milk (I’m not as gifted as my other BF mommy friends in the office who could produce 6-10 oz of milk in a single session), I’m still able meet her demand, and that’s fine with me.

    Training baby to bottle-feed a couple of weeks before going to work was another challenge, and a different story hehe

    Anyway, like what the other mommies who’ve posted comments here said, it gets better πŸ™‚
    I’m no expert, I speak just from experience, but in case you want to ask something or just feel like talking to someone, your hubby EJ’s my Facebook friend (I used to work for HP and was part of the then AMG eLT group, though our paths didn’t cross much in our line of work so EJ and I didn’t get to talk much).
    Hang in there! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Michelle!

      Thanks for sharing your experience with me. You’re right. As of today, I don’t feel that much pain anymore. I think “namanhid” narin ako. What I do is I do direct feeding and just pump and store in the ref. I think the milk lasts for 24 hours lang so I give it to Zeeka at times and just pump again during that feeding. I use the stored milk just in case I want to go to the grocery, etc.

      I can’t wait for Zeeka to turn one month. They say that their schedule gets better after a month or so. πŸ™‚ How old is your baby na?

      Thank you for your message and for the support! πŸ™‚ Hope you keep reading my blog and hope to meet you soon! πŸ™‚

      Love lots,
      Ginger πŸ™‚

      • Michelle Gurrea-Ching :

        It’s good news na di ka na nasasaktan πŸ™‚ My baby is 6 1/2 months old, she just started eating solids recently. Yes it does get better when they can sleep through the night πŸ˜‰ Sakin mga around two months mga 3-5 hours na yung interval ng feeding sa gabi, ngayon usually 4-6 hours. Usually she’ll feed a lot before sleeping, stocking up on milk I guess hehe
        I’ll drop by your blog every so often, I’ll check out Manila Workshops as well, the yaya workshop looks interesting πŸ™‚

        • Hi Michelle! πŸ™‚

          How cute! 6 months na pala πŸ™‚ I’ll be waiting for Baby Z to adjust her schedule. Right now, there’s no schedule pa really. πŸ™‚

          Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

  7. Tina Arana-Banez :

    Hi Ginger!

    This is Tin (Cherryl Arana’s younger sis πŸ™‚ ). I just discovered your blog. Thanks so much for sharing the article and your own motherhood experiences. It’s always a pleasure learning about the lives of fellow moms, helping me realize that I’m not alone in this (everything’s normal). I’ve gone through the same struggles with breastfeeding and other challenges (I even went through post partum psychosis). I must say that motherhood really takes you to another dimension. Thankfully, I have learned to embrace all the pains and joys of motherhood now that my son is almost 5 months (though I’m sure there will always be more new experiences to come). Congrats for having a cute and healthy baby πŸ™‚ Wishing you more sleep and lots of happy days to come!

    • Hi there, Tina! πŸ™‚ Wow, how is Cherryl? πŸ™‚ Thank you for visiting my blog and sharing how you feel and what you have experienced. I hope everything’s okay already.

      It’s so true that Motherhood takes you to another dimension, but I’m sure you are enjoying every bit of it! πŸ™‚ I’d love to meet you and your son soon! πŸ™‚ Take care! πŸ™‚

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