Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Memoirs of a Milk Maid

Breastfeeding really has its ups and downs. Here is my story.

The first few months were a blur. Cracked and bleeding nipples, crying through the pain, trying to get Dawson to latch, struggling with a nipple shield, People said it would help, it was just a pain in the butt Dawson attached to me for hours at a time, not knowing if he was getting enough to eat.... really there was nothing good about breastfeeding.. I wanted so badly to quit. If it wasn’t for my adoring and supportive husband I probably would have.

After we reached 3 months it felt as if we finally had a routine down. Wake up at 7, nurse then pump and store the milk in the freezer, nurse at 10, nurse at 1, nurse at 4 and nurse at 7 then bed. We were on a roll. No more pain, no more tears... We were professionals. Or so we thought... Next thing I know, I have a plugged duct. Most likely caused because of the start of solid foods in Dawson's diet at 4 months. My body kept producing the milk but he was no longer drinking it. I googled it online, find all the ways to try and get rid of it. (Massaging, hot compresses, lots of nursing, lots of pumping) and nothing works. I go to the DR. two days later and it has turned into mastitis. FAB-U-LOUS right? NO. Days of infection, hot and cold sweats, antibiotics and its finally gone... can you guess what else is gone?? My milk supply!!!

So now I begin the ever wonderful path of trying to increase my milk supply with every imaginable thing possible. Extra nursing, extra pumping, lots of oatmeal, lots of water, extra food (thus adding an extra 5 pounds to my baby weight). Nothing was working. So then I discovered fenugreek. It’s a natural supplement to increase your supply. The bottle says to take two a day but my lactation consultant said to take 3 pills 3x a day. And BOY did that work! I think I had milk coming out of every orifice of my body and spraying Dawson in the face like crazy! I loved it! During that time I saved over 200 oz of freezer milk and breastfeeding was going wonderfully!

Dawson was now almost 5 months old, the milk was flowing like wine and it had been a month since the plugged duct, mastitis, and low supply incident. Shortly after he turned 5 months old, my right breast began hurting TERRIBLY every time he would nurse and for at least 20 minutes after. It didn’t feel like anything I had ever felt before and it was hurting so bad that every time Dawson nursed I wanted to vomit throw him off of me to make the pain stop. I went back to the DR and she told me that I had a milk blister. It was most likely caused because of the backup of milk when I had the plugged duct and mastitis. I kept thinking to myself "are you kidding me God? What can go wrong next? What is with all these trials you're giving me? Do you want me to quit breastfeeding?" I was seriously beginning to lose faith in myself that I could make it through all this pain.

After TWO MONTHS of the milk blister pain, yes, two months. I still have no idea how I managed that. We were finally pain free, back on a schedule and smooth sailing. Dawson was now 7 months old and he was even sleeping 12 hours a night! It was fabulous! Wake up at 7a nurse, 11a nurse, 3p nurse and 7pm bottle of breast milk with daddy while mommy pumped. We were making our way through Breastfeeding Paradise. Nothing could stop us now. Only 2 months until the end of flu season and we will have reached our semi goal. Then 3 months after that he will be a year old. Where did the time go?

Dawson is now almost 9 months old. He is still nursing 4 times a day and eating 3 solid meals for breakfast lunch and dinner. The only issue we have with breastfeeding at the moment is that he doesn’t want to do it. He wants to play, explore and experience the world around him. No way does he want to be attached to mommy while he eats. So now his feeding sessions consist of sucking 10 seconds and sitting up to play for 20 seconds and repeat this about 20 times. It is quite frustrating and time consuming but he does eat like a champ so we finish this cycle in about 10 minutes. We have used up about half of our freezer supply but we still have enough left to thaw out 5 oz a week and still make it to a year.

I know we will make it. Now you are probably asking yourself, "Why in the world did Alysha breastfeed for so long when she went through so much pain and strife?"

Well my dear followers, I believe "breast is best". I am using what the good Lord gave me and trying my best to do what is best for Dawson. In no way do I feel that formula is bad. But I feel that if you CAN breastfeed, then you SHOULD. I don’t need to get into details for that. Breastfeeding is free, it’s healthy and I wouldn’t give up that bonding time with Dawson for anything in the world. I don’t regret a single moment of nursing my son and I can’t wait to do it with future children. We have 3 more months until our ultimate goal and I have faith that the Lord will help us reach our goal.

Breastfeeding my boy was well worth the soon to come "pancakes on my chest".

Alysha, 22
Mom to Dawson, 9 months


  1. Thanks for posting my story. :) Hope everyone enjoys it.



  2. Thanks for your breastfeeding story, Alysha! I was wondering if you have any tips/advice about a milk blister (you mentioned you had one). A few weeks ago, I had a clogged milk duct. With all the pumping and feeding, I think that I have a milk blister, as well. What you're describing sounds all too familiar! If you have any suggestions... that would be wonderful! Thanks!