There’s so much to say about my friend Marilyn, and none of which will be strong enough to express how much I adore her! Marilyn and I have been buddies for ages and it’s hard to believe we’ve never actually met! She’s an infertility sister and now, momma to the sweetest little thing. Mar is real, authentic, and as gorgeous as a sunset. Love her to pieces and so thankful she’s sharing with us today What It’s Like to be a breastfeeding mother! Enjoy!
Hi Friends, my name is Marilyn, and I am so honored to be featured today on my dear friend Chelsea’s blog.
First, I want to thank you for sitting in this quiet space with me. I am about to be raw and I am so deeply grateful you are here to listen. Not many women talk about breastfeeding and what it is like, especially at the beginning.
It was a given. This was going to be my thing. After 5 ½ years of battling infertility, breastfeeding was the one thing I was going to control.
I envisioned myself with long cascading black wavy mermaid hair grazing my plump pale bosoms, while holding my little rosy-cheeked cherub as she suckled my breast. In my mind, I had painted this glorious scene. Like a classical masterpiece, an interpretive dance between my little baby and I, and it was angelic.
This, my friends, was not the case. At. All. Not in the beginning anyway.
Mila was born via emergency c-section. I was dilated at a 10, she was making her way down the birth canal and turned her little head into face position. Meaning her head was tilted back and her coming out vaginally was neither safe nor possible. I was one thousand percent okay with that. I am happy she was born the way she did. I wouldn’t have changed it, and actually I had a really positive birth experience. God is so good, all glory and honor to him.
When I was transferred to my hospital room, the nurses handed Mila (who was wrapped like a baby burrito) to me, along with a chart to keep track of how many times she breastfed and for how long. You might as well have given me a book in Chinese to read because I did not know what I was doing, nor was I remotely prepared. The hospital room had a TV above the foot of my bed playing a “How-To” breastfeed video on loop. All I remember is the narrator saying, “Hold your breast like a sandwich”. I followed each step, left hand sandwich, right arm hold baby, guide baby’s mouth to nipple, baby latches, baby suckles, and then….nothing came out. NOTHING CAME OUT. My glorious vision did not manifest, and here I was again being sucked into a dark place where my body betrayed the crap out of me again. But I am a fighter, battling infertility made me a warrior and now that my miracle girl was here, and she was in my arms, there was nothing that would get in my way from being able to provide the best nutrition possible for my baby. I could do this. This was for her.
The first 24 hours after Mila’s birth consisted of nurses squeezing my nipples trying to get something, anything more than a grain of colostrum for Mila. It was rough. Nipples were raw, bloody, and I did not like breastfeeding. It hurt and no milk was coming out. After we were discharged (a few days later), my husband desperately searched for, and hired a lactation consultant. She came to our home. She saved me. I was in hysterics my first week as a new mother. First, hormones and post-partum, second, Mila had lost almost a pound her first week and we were desperate. We supplemented with formula, but I wasn’t going to give up on breastfeeding. Julie, my lactation consultant, did a thorough check on Mila’s latch, tongue, positioning, and then put me on a strict pumping regimen to get my milk to come in. I honestly felt like I was about to enter the Olympics for pumping vying for the gold medal. Julie looked me in the eye and asked, “Are you ready to do this, this is going to be hard, but I guarantee your milk will come in by tomorrow if you do this”. I tearfully responded, “Yes”. Julie had me pumping every 2 hours 24/7. It was hard, I’m not going to lie, but she was right. My milk came pouring in by the next day.
After getting the hang of it, (a few weeks later), breastfeeding became one of the most beautiful and heavenly experiences I have ever had. I became that vision I had during pregnancy. My exposed plump bosoms, my long black hair cascading around my shoulders, as if it were my shield while I held my rosy-cheeked baby in my arms. Gazing into her eyes while she nursed were my favorite moments, a gift from God. Thank you Lord!
I was a proud breastfeeding mama. I quickly realized how people were still shocked to see a woman at a park or in public breastfeeding and how we need to do more as a woman-hood, tribe, to normalize it and support each other without judgment. I am not a let-it-hang-out kind of woman, I wish I was, but I had no choice. Mila was not the kind of baby that liked being under a nursing cover, ever. She wouldn’t nurse, she would kick, pull, and I had to be bold and nurse my baby in the open, which made her happy. I am glad she pushed me out of my comfort zone. It allowed me to engage in many conversations about breastfeeding and not feel ashamed that I was feeding my baby in public. I was able to breastfed Mila, until she was 17 months old. I have nursed her just about everywhere. Especially when she would sign “milk”, with her little chubby hands, it didn’t matter where we were. I was ready to give her my breast, for comfort, for nutrition, for bonding. I still get teary-eyed. It was so beautiful and I loved breastfeeding.
What I learned throughout this process are the dozens of support and resources available to us. Also, many hospitals have a lactation consultant on-site, and some insurance companies cover the cost of a lactation consultant.
Here are a few of my favorite resources:
- Womenshealth.gov (search for breastfeeding)
Remember, no matter what you decide to do, whether breastfeeding or not, fed is best. Having a fed baby, whether through breastfeeding, donated breast milk, or formula, is most important.
All my love sisters.
Marilyn Gómez is a wife and mama of her miracle girl Mila. She enjoys traveling, real estate, interior design and kickboxing. She loves to cozy up with her favorite panda blanket, a glass of white wine and a good Lifetime movie. She is fearless, gritty, and brave, and is in love with Christ, her savior. She sees the glass half full in every circumstance and is a lover of people. She’s addicted to vulnerability, being real with others, and long talks about the Law of Attraction. You can connect with her on her Instagram page @lacasagomez and at her blog lacasagomez.com
PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called ‘In the Wait’!
PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cycles, raise a child with special needs, use an egg donor, be a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse, Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriage, suffer with endometriosis. experience depression, start a company, have a micro preemie, lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illness, fund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility, be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer, be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriages, have a surrogate, experience a late pregnancy stillbirth, be a police officers wife, and be a working mom. Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!