coming to terms with my breastfeeding journey as a first time mom

This week is World Breastfeeding Week. And while breastfeeding is a truly wonderful, beautiful thing, I really wish “fed is best” would permanently replace “breast is best”. Feeding a baby is hard work. It doesn’t matter if you’re feeding them breast milk, formula, or a combination of the two. And the pressure put on moms to only feed their babies directly from the breast is very, very real. 

Before I had Henry I wish I’d known that exclusively pumping is breastfeeding too. That as his mom I don’t deserve to be shamed by choosing what will work best for me, for him, and for our family. The opinion of a lactation consultant who doesn’t know us or our journey shouldn’t matter. 

The nursing portion of my breastfeeding journey was difficult and short. Henry was SGA (small for gestational age) at birth and spent three days in the NICU. Our first attempt at nursing shortly after birth was unsuccessful. His tiny head and my much larger than average boobs with slightly inverted nipples made latching impossible even with a nipple shield. 

henry's birth story

It’s been almost three months since I gave birth to our little Henry. I’ve wanted to write his birth story for weeks but as a brand new mom I’ve struggled to find the time. As I type this from my laptop on the couch Henry is snuggled up in his daddy's arms while daddy plays a video game. Multitasking is the name of the game these days. And this post is going to be a long one.

Henry Grant Earl was born exactly two weeks early at 3:59am on Thursday, May 14. He weighed 5 lbs, 7 oz and measured 18 inches long. His early arrival into this world started at my 37-week OB appointment on Wednesday, May 6 when my blood pressure registered at 146/98. We’d been monitoring it closely since I'd hit the third trimester and while it’d been a bit high this was a significant change. 

My OB sent me to triage at the hospital where Henry and I were monitored for 6+ hours. Because of COVID, I had to go to triage alone. Thankfully my BP stabilized and Henry looked perfect so I got to go home. The next day I went back to triage for a BP check. It was in the 140s when I got there but settled down quickly so they sent me home. That weekend my church friends hosted a beautiful drive-by baby shower for me.