The Sticky Side of Life

My Experience with Breastfeeding | The Good, Bad & Ugly

My Experience with Breastfeeding, the Good, Bad & Ugly. Normalize Breastfeeding. My Breastfeeding Story. My Struggle with Breastfeeding. I failed at breastfeeding. Breastfeeding Stories. Lactation Consultant. How to Ask for Help Breastfeeding. Nursing Back. I really wanted to love breastfeeding like so many other moms did. It is a natural next-step into mothering and everyone said it was so easy to do, plus the bonding is irreplaceable, etc, etc. I knew how important breastfeeding was and I studied it in every book I could just like everything else when preparing for parenthood. This first baby and I were going to rock this thing and continue winning at life, business as usual. But unfortunately, my experience turned out to be much different than hoped.

The Good | Breastfeeding at Work

Cash was born smack in the middle of wedding season, July 17th. This meant he and I had to go back to work asap. We had 8 weddings that month. At this time in my life, I had a big building I ran my business, Green-Eyed Girl Productions out of and it was the store front for my Etsy Shop. We had a lot of foot traffic, a lot of employees and now a newborn on staff. I ran the building so nobody could really tell me to go home. Cash and I went back to work {my building} for 45 hours a week when he was 2 weeks old until December 31, 2013, when I liquidated and shut down my building to work from home. How does this have anything to do with breastfeeding? I’ll tell you…

Baby Wearing in the Office

Going to work with a newborn wasn’t ideal, especially when your days at the office are 8-10 hours long, so I wore him most of the day in my baby carrier. With him in this I could run the register, follow around customers who were building their order and most importantly steam linens {yep, rental company, too} While I did this all day I literally breastfed without anyone even knowing. The baby carrier I used was the absolutely perfect accessory for me at the time because it had no straps and felt like a t-shirt. I was one with my baby and felt like the perfect embodiment of motherhood. We would only sit down to breastfeed when the customer ratio was low or if I could send an employee to the front for a bit. Life was great! Business Woman and glowing new Mom perfectly merged… However, my breastfeeding plan had some serious consequences.

The Bad | A trip to the Emergency Room

One night when I was rocking Cash at home, breastfeeding, I felt my back tightening up. Right between my shoulder blades, in the middle, it felt like someone had stabbed me with a giant knife and was turning it. I started to yell for my husband and when he walked in the door I practically threw the baby at him and fell to the floor. I was on my hands and knees, struggling to get air into my body in worse pain than my strongest contraction, and it would not end. It kept getting tighter and tighter which made my whole body contort as if being turned counter clockwise from an immobile center point.

“Nursing Back” is a thing

Billy called my mom who came over and took Cash while Billy rushed me to the Emergency Room. An hour of pain later I was in the ER being wheeled in a wheelchair back to a room when I suddenly said, “STOP! It’s gone” and then stood up out of the wheelchair. I turned around and looked at my husband and ER Nurse who was pushing me and they both looked as if they’d just witnessed an exorcism. The Nurse asked, “what do you mean gone?’ and I said, “I feel fine, it’s completely normal now.”

The nurse looked at me with crooked eyes and decided to still take me in for observation. A doctor came in and she explained what happened. He asked what I had been doing lately and I said, “breastfeeding, {obviously} we have a newborn.” At that moment he responded, “Ah, Nursing Back. Who is your lactation consultant?”  I told him and he told me to call her in the morning then sent me home.

The Ugly | I had failed at Breastfeeding

I went to see my Lactation Consultant a few days later. She watched me latch and asked, “How many kids do you have? Why are you here?” to which I responded, “Just this one, he’s our first.” She then said, “Well your latch is textbook” {and that made me feel awesome} but your posture needs a lot of work…. I was devastated. I still don’t really know why. Here is what went through my head in the next 30 seconds, sitting there with my lactation consultant fondling and maneuvering my boob:

I wasn’t doing it perfectly which clearly meant to me that I was a breastfeeding failure this whole time!

{I may have had too many hormones still, yes, we’ll go with that.}

Regardless, I felt like I had completely disgraced all the “successful” breastfeeding moms of the world. I wasn’t good enough to be on their team despite having studied all those books!

I’m a total mom fraud.

Reality Check Time

Thank goodness those thoughts only lasted 30 seconds. Thank goodness I was sent into the loving hands of a positive, warm hearted lactation expert who caught me in my fall from grace. Looking back now, having had a second baby and with Cash now 4 years old, I laugh a little at my ridiculous reaction to a mom life event. But in my defense, I had never heard anyone talk about a breastfeeding failure, ever. All I knew was that I should have been innately successful. But that my friends, is not the norm.

I now know that no matter what we do as moms, there will always be little failures {hopefully not ER failures again} but those don’t make us a failure. Here is my biggest takeaway from this story and why I write it 4 years later:

I was an incredibly naive first-time mom who thought she could learn everything by studying and reading “all” the books because that was my assumed “norm” for motherhood. I was very lucky to find the support I needed when I needed it most from a professional. There are moms out there in this world who are about to have naive moments and feel like a failure too. They are scared of breastfeeding or “doing something wrong” but shouldn’t be. Who will be their loving and warm-hearted support at the right time in their lives?

You’re not alone

If you are out there reading this right now and you think you’re failing at breastfeeding, you’re not. If you’re doing it at all, you’re doing it right! It’s hard, really hard, and even those of us accused of “having it all together” can stumble.

There is absolutely no shame in your struggle.

You’re #momwinning every day you’re trying and that includes moms who are using bottles, exclusively pumping or have even decided it was best for you to supplement. You’re doing it. If you’re struggling, know you have support and never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Breastfeeding may seem like a battle so we need an army of supportive women to get us all through it. It’s a battle worth fighting. Let’s normalize asking for help.

This post is written in honor of #worldbreastfeedingweek in the efforts to #normalizebreastfeeding

Thank you to all of you amazing Lactation Consultants out there! We need you and we would be completely, mentally, emotionally lost without you!

My Lactation Consultant | Miffy Davis – Womenscare

First Day Home Lifestyle Photography | Kelsea Joann Photography

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World Breastfeeding WeekHi There! I’m Kandice
Wife, WAHM and mother to 2 Hooligan boys, sharing my Sweet & Sticky Story of Motherhood.
Life changes after 2 Toddlers. {obviously} I’m sharing how I turn every day #MomProblems into a Story of #MomWinning. I’m building new Small Systems, Organizing Mom Routines and Making Mommy Money Online by Blogging.

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