“I’ve been to hell and back,” mother describes breastfeeding journey

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“Much like every other challenge we face as new parents, there are no rules. You have to trust your instincts and make your own.”

Many mothers expect their breastfeeding journey to be a glorious, beautiful experience, only to be disappointed when it turns out that it’s actually the opposite.

Mom Michelle Won Park, in her Huffington Post story, details her “to hell and back” breastfeeding journey.

It begins with an Instagram photo of her and her baby daughter she calls “M.”

She says that it’s even a miracle that such a photo exists, because for the first few months after giving birth, her daughter refused to breastfeed.

“I gave birth on November 25, 2015. My husband and I were thrilled, excited, and scared out of our minds to welcome our beautiful baby girl,” she says in her story. “As first time parents, there was a lot to learn: from soothing, to changing diapers, to (you guessed it) breastfeeding.

“We saw four lactation consultants, and everyone just kept telling me to shove my nipple into the baby’s mouth.

“It seemed so violent to just yank her tiny head towards my engorged breast. But that’s what they all said, so for the first 12 or so hours, my baby didn’t actually eat much. And she cried quite a bit.

“Everyone kept telling us that if we introduced the bottle, she would not go back to the breast. They scared us with terms like ‘nipple confusion.’ Causing lots of new parent confusion in the process.”

Finally, Michelle grew fed up and trusted her maternal instincts. If her daughter was hungry, she would feed her, no matter the source from which she received the milk.

So she gave her daughter formula, and just like that, her baby stopped crying.

During the first few weeks in her new role as a parent, Michelle learned that when it comes to your children you have to make your own decisions, tailor-fit to you and your baby’s needs.

Two weeks post-partum, however, Michelle rushed to the hospital because of a hemorrhage, losing about 3.5 pints of blood. Two days later, she hemorrhaged again.

This time, she passed out on her bathroom floor. Thankfully her husband found and called 9-1-1.

“This incident may not seem to be part of my breastfeeding story, but oh boy, was it.”

Every time Michelle stood up or even sat up, her blood pressure dropped and would need to be hospitalized overnight.

Read the continuation of Michelle's story next page

“You see, we had a relatively painless start to our breastfeeding journey. And then― bam!―I lost half the blood in my body and lost all of my milk.”

She describes the weeks after coming home from the hospital as “hell”; she’s determined to get her milk back, and she would do it at all cost.

It was a tough journey.

First of all, her baby rejected her nipple. “After 24 hours of drinking formula from a bottle, she did not want to breastfeed,” says Michelle. Her baby wailed and protested.

“Then, I figured out that if I put a pacifier in her mouth and then, quick as a wink, pulled it out and replaced it with my nipple, 7 times out of 10, she would latch on and nurse. So, we did that for about a week and she was finally willing to latch on again.”

Second of all, she had very little milk after losing so much blood. She and her husband even rented a hospital-grade pump to help them.

“There were days when I would pump, and my husband would immediately bottle-feed her the ounce I had just pumped, as I continued to pump more.

“She was hungry and wouldn’t latch and I wanted to meet her demand as much as possible. They say your body will adjust depending on how much the baby eats, but my body had no idea what the heck was going on.”

Slowly but surely, however, Michelle began to gain more success breastfeeding.

“Two weeks, countless bottles, and many hours of pumping later, we were only supplementing with one 2oz bottle per day. After that, it became 1 oz. And then, I can’t remember when, we were exclusively breastfeeding.”

Seven months later, Michelle says her baby is a pro at breastfeeding. Her baby can even find her nipple and latch onto it without help.

After everything she’s been through, Michelle says she is also now a proud breastfeeding mom, whether she is in public or not.

“For the moms out there who are struggling in their own breastfeeding journey, know that you are not alone. Much like every other challenge we face as new parents, there are no rules. You have to trust your instincts and make your own.”

 

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