My breastfeeding journey was not how I imagined it would go, but it was our journey. Waylon was born at 32 weeks and 2 days, he was feed my breast-milk through his feeding tube for the first 3 weeks of life then was switched to breast/bottle. He did not do well with either due to his inability to suck, swallow, and breath at the same time. We tried all kinds of different positions and techniques with both bottle and breast but no matter what he would continue to stop breathing during feeds because he would simply forget. At 5 weeks old, still in the NICU, we had a speech therapist come to asses him since things weren't looking any better for us. She determined that the "flow" on both breast and bottle was too much for him and that he should be on a preemie nipple, side-laying, and should be pace-fed. Even though this did help him tremendously, it was not a cure. He would still forget to breath while eating, just not as often. We were finally told we could go home after 6 weeks in the NICU! WAHOO! Once home we still battled his breathing issues for FOUR AND HALF MONTHS. It was awful. I pumped and fed him with the bottle every 2 1/2 to 3 hours for 12 months. Yes, that's right 12 months I was an exclusive pumper. My milk suddenly stopped when I had a miscarriage, I guess due to the hormones. I still felt so blessed to be able to give my baby "my milk" for so long, I know not all moms are able to do it. It was still a very hard journey with many days filled with "I want to quit", but i just kept telling myself, "one more day". I was also fortunate to be able to produce 3 freezer fulls of milk that I was able to donated to family and friends, who either could not breastfed or were having supply issues. That made all the hard days worth it! I was also able to store some breast milk aside for Waylon, so when my milk ran out suddenly, I had 3 months saved in the freezer. So to all you mamas out there be encouraged day by day, seek help, lean on a friend, ask for donor milk, call your lactation consultant, do what you can. If all your efforts fail, don't be hard on yourself, don't compare to other moms, pick yourself up and praise God for the blessing you have and for the courage and strength that you had to persist.
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