Jenn is one of my best friends, she is a caring mother and a wonderful wife to Reginald. Most definitely a best friend that I can always count on. One of the things I can say for certain is that she adores her children and they are her top priority.
Here is her experience with breastfeeding…
“Even listening to a nursing mother talk about nursing makes me all emotional.”
I miss nursing my children so very much, it in fact bring tears to my eyes. Sometimes at the most randoms times of the day. More specifically, I miss nursing my youngest, seeing how I nursed him for 20 months. In comparision to my daughter whom I nursed for 5 months. However, the duration of how long I nursed Vaeh was not by choice and I did have very intense emotions during my nursing period with her. I think the fact that I was pregnant and sick with hyperemesis detached me a little bit from the entire nursing experience.
If you’re not too familiar with what that is, according to a Wikipedia definition: hyperemesis is a severe form of morning sickness, with “unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids.” Hyperemesis is considered a rare complication of pregnancy but, because nausea and vomiting during pregnancy exist on a continuum, there is often not a good diagnosis between common morning sickness and hyperemesis. Estimates of the percentage of pregnant women afflicted range from 0.3% to 2.0%.
I am so grateful that I was blessed with just one more opportunity to experience the beauty of nursing through my own breast to nourish my beautiful bundle of joy and that the duration of our experience was able to be at such a great length. I know that it could have possibly went longer but we both decided to wean from one another. I did experience all of the pain associated with weaning, though it was NOT abrupt it was still painful. So the different tips mentioned in Whispered Inspirations’ post, I actually had to use, in fact I had different tricks I used in addition to those.
When I found out I was pregnant I had a wide array of emotions, mostly joy and fear all at the same time. I was newly married and simply did not feel I was ready to be a mom yet, but I had to be! Soon after I found out I was expecting I began what is commonly known as “morning sickness”. However, I simply couldn’t understand who invented that name because it was morning, noon, and night. Not too long after my “morning sickness” became very agressive, to the point of having to go from full-time to part-time at my job. It got so bad that my doctor completely took me off work all together for the remainder of the pregnancy, due to the hyperemesis. I was getting sick so often that I began losing weight at a rapid rate, causing great concern for my OBGYN. On a good day I got sick approximately 14-20 times in one day, on a bad day it was closer to 25-30 times in a day. My head was always hovered over a toilet or bucket. I could not eat ANYTHING or drink ANYTHING without getting sick. I would even get sick from the prenatals so I stopped taking them. After trying medication after medication to attempt controlling this nothing deemed effective.
At this point I was around 7 months pregnant and 65 lbs lighter than when I found out I was expecting. Then after an appointment with my OB and just one step away from a PIC line, I was prescribed with a dissoluble tablet called Zofran. After researching the medication (It is safe during pregnancy, and is usually prescribed to people going through chemo). Within minutes of taking this I had no nausea at all. Not that the hyperemisis had gone away, I was simply able to control it effectively. The moment I felt nausea I popped a pill on my tongue, it dissolved and I was good to go minutes later. The remainder of my pregnancy was now bearable and I was able to enjoy my last few weeks before I beautiful first born was delivered into this world. I knew I would NEVER go through this ever again. My body was just not digging the whole pregnancy thing. LOL. I was simply happy I was blessed to finish the pregnancy and that she was born healthy and happy. While enjoying our 2 month old infant, loving being parents and having our world turned upside down…
We found out we would be doing it ALL OVER AGAIN!
AHHHHHH, I like to have died when my pregnancy test read POSITIVE+ OMG!
No way was I pregnant again! I think I cried for a week, and then snapped into the reality of “its real so get used to it”. Of course the hyperemisis came back. However did not last the entire pregnancy this time because my OB and I already knew how to control it. It lasted until I was 6 months pregnant and then I enjoyed the remainder of the pregnancy and my infant daughter. Soon after our son came into the world and I was the happiest mother on the planet.
So, my greatest suggestion, if you are suffering with hyperemesis is consult your doctor and inquire about Zofran and also research it for yourself. For me it got to the point that I was popping them like candy, but it controlled it wonderfully. I was able to eat what I wanted and keep it down. In my second pregnancy I rarely was over the toilet because the moment I felt nauseated I took a Zofran pill and was good to go!
With my first child I began breastfeeding moments after she was born. It did take a couple of days for my milk to come in, but I was determined to nurse. She was in NICU (for a mild case of Jaundice), so I had to pump my colostrum and the nurses gave it to her in a bottle. I was able to nurse her from time to time but she couldn’t come out from under the lights often. So I had to make it work. One thing I did request was to co-sleep with her in the hospital so that we could be together. Thankfully they agreed and put us in a “nesting room”. They wheeled in the portable lights and I continued to pump so that she could still be nourished by mommy’s milk. After 3 days under the lights the jaundice was gone and we were able to go home. Nursing was going great with some wonderful support by my lactation consultant (highly recommended for first time moms).
After 2 months of nursing and bonding I found out I was pregnant again. Unfortunately due to my hyperemesis it was suggested by my OB at 3 months pregnant that I should consider weaning my daughter from the breast to formula because my new growing child inside of me would be taking most of the nutrients from within me and what was left would be needed for my own health. I was so very sad and disappointed in myself that I could no longer nurse. I knew and was familiar with women that nursed throughout an entire pregnancy, however I had to come to understand that they did not have hyperemesis. So the weaning began, after only 4 days of offering the bottle to my daughter she was fully weaned. She accepted the bottle fairly easily after maybe one day. I would say the first day was the worst, she cried, I cried. It was just great big crying fest. But it got easier and once she was happy–I was happy. Juggling an infant and a pregnancy at the same time was trying at times. But I loved every moment of it. I was so used to being able to sleep when I was tired or relax if I was drained. But I had a curious, beautiful, active baby that I had to give my attention to and forget about myself. Changing diapers on my belly, rocking her to sleep on my belly all while her brother was trying to push her off from the inside.
Surprisingly at 8 months pregnant, I began lactating and was able to hand express entire 8oz bottles. After consulting my OB, she said my body was just confused and wasn’t sure if I was pregnant or post-pregnant. So I just went with the flow, it came it went, it was what it was.
Once my son came out, again it was somewhat difficult to nurse him because he too was in the NICU after birth. However his duration was longer (10 days). I pumped, pumped, pumped with everything I had. Thanks to my heavy duty industrial strength Ameda Elite Dual Breast Pump, I was able to pump TWO 8-ounce bottles within 5 minutes. Anything other than this I may not have been able to handle, because I had a highly demanding 12 month old child that was desiring her mommy and didn’t care about my pumping needs for her brother at the hospital. Both of our children were born at U of M (I am Canadian/American or DUAL but married an American and moved to Michigan after marriage.) I love, love, LOVE the University of Michigan Mott’s hospital.
At one point our son came home, only to have them send us back to ER because his jaundice levels had gone dangerously high, and were threatening a blood transfusion. Due to the fact he had been discharged from NICU they admitted us into the Ped’s wing, where mommy, daddy and baby were able to stay for a few days until he got better. All the while I was still pumping and determined to nurse not matter what. Finally we were able to come home. Nursing was somewhat tricky at the beginning but soon after he got it. It was very painful for me because he had gotten use to a plastic nipple, however my nipple was not so durable. LOL.
But again I was determined. Gratefully, I can say my son just recently weaned and ended up nursing for around 20 months. Weaning for us was very easy once he was ready he just stopped wanting it on his own. He was a very picky eater and had a few allergies that limited him with what he could eat. I had tried weaning earlier but he did not like cow’s milk at all. Had he been a good eater and liked milk other than my own I may have weaned him earlier, but I just could not bring myself to force him to wean. Sure I got the rude comment, the stares, the opinions, but none of them mattered to me. I loved my nursing experience with both of my children, however very different between the both I enjoyed them nevertheless…
I do miss it, but I know the bonding never ends. Though I do love when my son climbs up to me and just rests his head on my chest like, “I miss our time mommy…”
I do shed a tear from time to time.
Ultimately, this experience has caused me to have a new outlook on the many experiences that us mothers enjoy with our little ones. I have also found a new sense of passion for lactation support. Due to the length and and multiple times of nursing, I have been able to be of support to countless family members and friends, simply thanks to my own experiences in life. I have acquired countless pieces of lactation supplies and equipment and have actually considered making a career out of it sometime in the future once I finish my degree in Education.
My passion for breastfeeding is beyond just the actual nipple in mouth, it is a sense of nourishing to the best of my ability far beyond the act of nursing. The bond that my son and I share is simply AMAZING! The way he climbs up on my chest just to fall asleep, the way he looks at me when he needs ANYTHING, I already know what it is.
The bond a mother has with her breastfed child goes far beyond words. However, if I was forced to put this into words it would simply be…
Disclaimer: Jennifer is not a medical expert, so any medical information mentioned in her article is simply Jennifer sharing her story. I highly recommend that you speak to your physician before changing anything involving your health.
a mother of two who is passionate about breastfeeding. She is a working mom who is also in school working towards her degree in Education.