It will be great, they said.
Breastfeeding is easy, they said.
Breastfeeding my second child, Jedi, started off like most. My poor nipples suffered agonizing pain, feeling as if they were going to walk off into the sunset, bags in hand, in search of a better life. I was determined to nurse Jedi longer than the five days that I had nursed our eldest kiddo, Jax. Back then, I had little to no support in the breastfeeding department. This time around, I hoped for a different outcome and received support in the form of a local mama group. We were a gang of mamas, all seeking answers, comfort, and relief from Nipplegeddon (Armageddon, but for nipples.) Eventually, Jedi and I found our stride and went on to nurse until 2 years 7 months and 4 days, or until I became pregnant with Jupiter. By this time, I was nursed out, touched out, and completely over it. I was a breastfeeding champ. We did it. We did well. It was time for a new chapter.
Me and baby Jupiter’s early breastfeeding journey were wrought with tears, sleep deprivation and triple feedings. Prior to Jupiter’s birth, I was prepared for a long labor. After all, my previous births had proven to be long and arduous. (Jax 18 hours with Pitocin and Jedi 43 hours unmedicated.) Surprisingly, Jupiter’s birth was swift, lasting only 3 hours from start to finish. I remember he and I nestling up together, basking in all of our after birth glory. I latched Jupiter to my breast. My doula, Nicole, supported his head as we began our beautiful nursing initiation. All was well. All seemed well.
Two weeks later, Jupiter had yet to gain back his birth weight. I began to panic. Whenever and wherever I could weigh him, I would. My midwife, Racha, would be on the phone with me, talking me through the devastating pediatrician weigh-ins. Jupiter’s birth weight was 6 lbs. 12 oz. He was now 6lbs 7oz Our lactation consultant, Kimberly Durdin visited our home. It was made apparent that Jupiter had both a tongue and lip tie. My midwife secured donor milk so that we could bottle feed while we sorted everything out. In the meantime, our LC recommended triple feedings. What is triple feeding? It’s hell. It is sleep deprivation hell. Every two hours, I would breastfeed, bottle feed with the donor milk, and then pump. I would repeat this holy trinity every two hours hoping to boost my milk supply and to simply feed my child.
The days of triple feeding were intense. Let’s face it, doing anything in triplets is intense. Setting up my pump and having a bottle of breast milk ready at my bedside was a part of my bedtime routine. The nights turned into mornings. I began to lose track of time. Forming sentences and engaging in any form of conversation became quite the task. This is not how I imagined our breastfeeding journey. I had successfully nursed a baby before. In the words of the great Beyonce, I wasn’t new to this.
Being a birth worker, I was aware of a frenectomy (tongue/lip tie revision) as an option. With slight reluctancy, we decided to proceed with Jupiter’s tongue tie revision. I was sleep deprived and on the verge of giving up. My husband traveled quite a lot, so triple feeding (especially in the middle of the night without support) just wasn’t conducive or practical while raising two other children. After the tongue/ lip tie revision, I stopped triple feeding and simply nursed through the night, putting Jupiter to my breast in the side-lying position. During this time, I was introduced to Motherlove via my postpartum doula. I began taking their More Milk Tincture along with Moringa capsules. Between their supplements/tinctures and nursing on demand, Jupiter and I were able to find our breastfeeding rhythm.
“More than a generation ago, a young mother and herbalist founded MotherLove to empower women with the wisdom and healing strength of nature.” - Motherlove
Motherlove has proven to be an amazing support, enabling me to find all of my nursing essentials. My favorite being, More Milk Plus, is available in a traditional liquid Organic herbal extract and as a capsule. I love Motherlove because they are GMO-free, organic, and are tested for contaminants and heavy metals! As a breastfeeding mother, these are all things that make me feel safe using this amazing product. Along with their More Milk Plus and More Milk Special Blend, Motherlove also carries herbal supplements such as Shatavari and Malunggay (Moringa) along with nipple balms and diaper ointments.
“Known as the “miracle tree,” malunggay is widely recognized for its nutritional benefits and has been used for generations by breastfeeding women to support breast milk supply.” - Motherlove.
“Shatavari is an Ayurvedic herb native to the Himalayas that contains phytoestrogens that help balance the female hormonal system.” -Motherlove
The beginning of our breastfeeding journey was tiring AF. However, we made it and we are thriving. The takeaway? Gather support. Gather all the resources needed. Visit your local mama support group. Trust me, there is safety in numbers. It truly takes a village. Check out your local Le Leche League. Hire a lactation consultant. Can't afford an LC? Visit your cities local WIC office, where you will find trained CLEC’s (Certified Lactation Educator Counselors) available to support. Most importantly, try not to navigate breastfeeding struggles alone. Breastfeeding is not a one size fits all. Every nursing adventure is unique, presenting itself with its own set of triumphs and challenges. Nevertheless, the adventure is ours. Keep milking, mama. You’ve Got this!