The Little Victories: Kelsey's Breastfeeding Journey

As I type this, our breastfeeding journey is still going strong at 13 months! I’m not sure at what point we really hit our groove, but it has been a long and bumpy road. As a former NICU RN, I know breastfeeding is a very natural process, that doesn’t usually come naturally! I was going to do the best I could for my little one and be prepared as possible. Most of my friends and family started out breastfeeding, and many made it 6 months or longer, so I knew I would have support in my decision to breastfeed. I’d also been there for their many horror stories that I knew I wanted to avoid. I booked a prenatal consult and took notes. But, even the best laid plans…

She was born full term but had difficulties and was taken to the NICU right away. I didn’t see her again for 5 hours, way past that magical Golden Hour I just knew was going to set up our breastfeeding journey for success. I didn’t even know she had been given her first bottles. With my OB’s blessing, I had collected and frozen colostrum before she was born, which ended up being my baby’s first feedings. I was brought a pump almost as soon as they took my baby out of the room and thanks to my prenatal consult, I figured it out quickly. In the midst of the worry and unknown, it made me feel like a little bit was within my control. The first time she latched, I just had a nurse there to snap a photo and then she left. It was not at all how I thought our first breastfeeding attempt together would go. Alone, behind a curtain, wearing a mask so my baby couldn’t even see me smiling down at her, the many NICU beeps and voices in the background, wires and tubes tangled everywhere, my arms awkwardly propped on the small rocking chair arms and thin hospital pillow. I brought the little bit of milk I pumped in with me since she still needed to take milk from a bottle afterwards.

I don’t remember now how many months we triple fed (with me breastfeeding, then giving her a bottle, then pumping for her next feed), but it seemed like forever and was absolutely exhausting. She had issues with prolonged jaundice, weight, and some minor medical concerns, but with help from Maudie at My Pure Delivery, we were able to find ways to make adjustments that helped my baby get all the milk she needed and kept my nipples from being injured. It’s been a learning experience for both me and my baby.
We had a couple months of thrush, an awful episode of mastitis, some clogged ducts that had me absolutely in a panic thinking it would progress to mastitis again, oversupply, worries about undersupply, nipple vasospasms, a baby who thinks my nipples are great for teething, various food intolerances… a very rough road with reflux and tummy issues, and four months of pumping and thickened bottles after we had finally graduated from triple feeding (what I saw as a huge step back). I was heartbroken when the doctor said I could not direct breastfeed my baby after how hard we worked to get to that point. It was devastating but after lots of crying I decided not to give up.
We’ve gone through so much, but I have a very supportive family, the wonderful friends I have made through the My Pure Delivery breastfeeding support group, and the IBCLCs there through the tough times, the tears, and the little victories that seem gold medal worthy! My amazing baby is thriving, happy, brilliant, and loves to sign her favorite word “milk” about a dozen times a day. Even more so with the pandemic, I am grateful with every drop to be able to give her the gift of the extra protection breastmilk can deliver. Not AT ALL the journey I planned for or expected, but it’s our unique adventure and through breastfeeding we’ve developed a bond nothing can break. Absolutely worth it all!


breastfeeding journey

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