Saturday, March 13, 2010

Well worth it, Krista's Story

This is the third in my series of posts about overcoming breastfeeding issues.  You can read more about my thoughts on this, why I'm doing it, and Jennfer's story of victory in the first post (here).  You can read Anne's story of over-coming "the perfect storm" of breastfeeding problems (here).  I hope Krista's story below inspires you as well!

My first son was born at 36w3d via emergency c-section. I had severe pre-eclampsia and was very out of it from the medication. My beautiful baby boy was taken to the NICU for observation and was given formula. I wasn't even allowed to sit up, I had to lay flat on my back for 24 hours and it took almost that long for a lactation consultant to come see me with a pump. I remember she talked so fast, and she kept saying "well you're still on magnesium so you aren't going to remember this anyway." I felt like I was being a pain in the butt just for needing her to do her job. So it was about 30 hours after his birth before I started pumping, and I had NO idea what the heck I was doing. Then he had to stay behind in the well baby nursery for an extra day for jaundice, and he got more formula. I was over a day behind and didn't have nearly enough milk for him. 

I brought him home on a Saturday, and by Monday morning I had put in an urgent call to lactation. I specifically asked to NOT have the same LC who had visited me in the hospital. The first thing she did was teach me how to pump, and taught me about breastfeeding-friendly bottles. She couldn't get him to latch on and nurse either, but she said he would if I kept trying. I ended up seeing her every Monday for six weeks. For seven weeks I pumped and bottle fed, and kept trying to get him on the breast. I did give up at one point. Breastfeeding was important to me, but I was so tired and frustrated... and honestly I didn't think he was ever going to latch and nurse like a normal baby. My quitting lasted about 12 hours and I realized I had way too much time and effort put in to breastfeeding to be defeated so easily. So I resigned myself to pumping and bottle feeding, but I never gave up again. I just kept offering the breast at every feeding and one day after seven weeks, for no apparent reason other than he was just ready, he latched on and nursed. Something clicked and it just all came together.

Then around 13 weeks his skin broke out. I took him first to Urgent Care, then to his regular ped several times and she brought in other peds to consult. She even sent us to a pediatric dermatologist. He had eczema head to toe and literally everywhere in between. Yes, even on his genitals, scalp, eyelids, the bottoms of his feet, everywhere. He was so miserable. I had a great network of online breastfeeding friends who taught me about food allergies and elimination diets, even as the ped. derm. told me NOT to change my diet. The doctors just kept throwing prescription creams at him, and they all made it worse. Everything with a steroid in it gave him bona fide water-filled blisters. Nobody told me to patch test the creams either, thankfully I was smart enough to figure that out on my own. I trusted in my lactivist friends from the beginning, and eliminated dairy and soy from my diet right away. It took about six weeks for his skin to clear up after I changed my diet, but it worked. Meanwhile plenty of people thought I should give up and just give him Nutramigen. YUCK! Don't get me wrong, Nutramigen is a great product for babies who really need it. MY baby did NOT need it. He had perfectly good mother's milk available if I could just go without pizza for a while. Anything worth doing is worth working for, and at this point there was no way I was going to let my love of cheese put all that pumping and bottle feeding to waste. There were plenty of things I could still eat, and plenty of alternatives too. I cooked with rice milk and even a couple of times (don't tell my DH) with my own milk when I was in a pinch. When I had to have pizza, I just ordered my half without cheese. There are dairy and soy free margarines, rice and almond milk, there is even a dairy and soy free brand of ice cream, and chocolate flavored chips. It honestly wasn't THAT hard. I still ate, and it was more than worth it.

I don't think it matters if you believe in God, or if you believe in Nature... there is no way to deny that women have breasts for a reason, and that reason is to nourish our children with the most perfect food that Nature or God intended. Sorry men! 

My second son, by the way, was also born (via VBAC) at 36w3d. He spent ten days in the NICU and never had a drop of formula. My hard work with my first son paid off tenfold for my second son. Breastfeeding was 100x easier the second time around.

About the author:  I'm Krista, mother to two boys, five beautiful angels and hoping for more healthy children in the future. My 3 year old is autistic and I'm pretty sure my 1 year old is not. I am all things crunchy: delayed vax, breastfeeding, baby wearing, hell no to CIO, homemade baby food, anti-circ and pro-AP. I didn't go in to parenthood with crunchy convictions but I quickly adopted them once my first child was born. I am a gentle and loving person, but I am fierce and outspoken when it comes to my children. I believe everyone has a calling in life, and I finally found mine when I became a mother.


Diana J. said...

Thanks for posting these stories! I had an extremely hard time getting BF started with our last baby, and this is a good reminder to me to get my story written out. Good job, Krista!

Lauren said...

Good for you girl!!! Perseverance pays off. :)

Krista said...

Thanks :-)

Onewithwings said...

Thanks for posting this! My son (18 months) is breastfed and struggles with eczema and allergies, and I have to cut eggs and dairy out of my diet so he doesn't break out. It is hard, but it is so worth it!

Anne said...

Wonderful wonderful story! Major kudos to you. We had to eliminate a few things too (gluten was a biggie), and I agree, it's really NOT that bad once you get used to it.

Brandi said...

You are an inspiration to us all! Thanks for sharing this sweet story of triumph. I'm crying happy tears =)

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