Breastfeeding Struggles

I chose to repost this story from our archives because if you didn’t notice I have breastfeeding on the brain.  It is a lovely story of faith involving establishing a breastfeeding relationship.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. -Robyn

I will say no more than to just publish this beautiful story as it was submitted to us by Julie Mills.

To start I have always struggled with nursing my children (we have 5). However, nursing has always been very important to me. So when my daughter was born (she’s our 4th) it was no surprise to have some struggles in the hospital. It was typical so I didn’t think that much about. By the time we got home it was getting harder and harder and more painful. I began to see why it was getting worse. My first three kids are boys and now we had this little girl. Well, her mouth was much smaller than her brothers had been. Her mouth was too small to be able to latch on properly. This is because I am (unfortunately) very large busted and so she just simply couldn’t do it. By the time I finally figured this out, I was in tons of pain every time she tried nursing. My face would just run with tears. She and I were both upset and struggling. I began bleeding every time and when she would let go, she would have blood around her mouth and that of course just made me cry more and feel like I was failing her.

We went to see the doctor because we were afraid I was going to develop mastitis. The doctor let me know that I was fine. He then told me that it’s no big deal not to nurse and that I should just give up and not worry about it. Well that wasn’t going to work for me. I got a really good pump and began pumping for her. I pumped and pumped and pumped. I pumped everything she ate. I kept a log of how much milk I pumped, what she ate and how much I had in reserve. I also had a system to make sure the milk was being rotated properly.

My family and I prayed and prayed that Elise would be able to nurse. After a couple of weeks and then months, I pretty much gave up on that idea and just accepted the fact that she wasn’t going to. I would try from time to time to get her to nurse, but she didn’t like it. It would just make her mad. My oldest son Jake (he was 5 ½ at the time) was not willing to give up. He continued to pray. He was very faithful about praying for us everyday.

There were some blessings I gained from pumping. My husband David was able to help feed his little girl. He really enjoyed taking part in this. The boys also enjoyed in helping out their new little sister. I think it helped them realize how special she was. They are so close to her and absolutely adore her! She really, really looks up to them a lot. Also it forced me to be more organized. Pumping to that degree takes a lot a time and so I needed to be very careful with my time. Plus my milk supply is very sensitive. If I missed a pumping or was more than 15-20 minutes off my schedule, I could see the effects of it the next day. So this experience really taught me several things.

Then one day when Elise was about 4 ½ months old, David asked me if I had tried nursing her lately. I said no, because I had just accepted that I was going to pump and that nursing wasn’t going work. Now, like I said, Jake would not give up on praying for us. He was very diligent. David encouraged me to go ahead and try one more time. So I did… and she took right to it!!! I couldn’t believe it. My little girl was 4 ½ months old and started nursing. To us it was a miracle and a true answer to prayer! I am so incredibly grateful that Jake never gave up! After that, she and I had no more struggles with nursing. But I did have one other problem… I had 432 ounces of breast milk stocked up in my freezer!

2 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Struggles”

  1. I have this same problem, but it was my first and only child for right now and I gave up I could never get her to. I did get a nice hospital pump and my husband help feed her while I pumped I really think he loved it. I’m happy that you did get her to nurse thank you for telling your story it had helped me know I’m not the only one with this problem.

  2. Good job pumping for so long! It can be hard and very taxing. My little guy had to be on a feeding tube for the first month of life because of medical reasons and so I was pumping all the time to keep my milk supply up. Once he was past using the feeding tube he was able to nurse great but I had the same problem of a freezer full of breast milk. I had a sister in-law who doesn’t breastfeed that I gave it all to. I later found the sight that connects moms with milk to moms with out milk. If I have to pump again and have a ton of extra milk this is where I am going to go to give my milk away. Or you can save it until you find a mom you know who needs milk. Or you can save your milk if your own milk dries up before one year is also a good idea. My child refused to take a bottle so this would never really have worked for me.

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