mama story: how we went from nursing every 2 hours to sleeping through the night

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Today's inspiring mama story comes from Lisa Stocco in Madison, WI.

I was around 30 weeks pregnant with my child (first + only), when my doctor asked me if I was planning on breastfeeding.

I remember not knowing how to answer.

I’ve had close friends try to breastfeed, and it not work out... and close friends not even attempt to breastfeed. So, I responded in the only way I knew how to by saying, “if it ends up working out for me and baby, then yeah.” I sort-of had one foot in, one foot out the door when it came to breastfeeding. I didn’t want to have this set plan, and then be upset if I wasn’t able to.

Fast-forward to my giving-birth-day. After a long, exhausting 30 hours, my son finally arrived. The doctor placed him on my chest and I just stared in awe of this beautiful baby that my husband and I created. The coolest thing then happened… my son started his “breast crawl.” He was searching for my breast to feed like he knew exactly what to do.

So right then and there, 20 minutes after being born, I started to breastfeed my son.

Beau, my son, was a pro! Latching great from the get-go in the hospital. The lactation consultant in the hospital was so helpful in giving me tips on ensuring proper latching, pillows, it was great. I was slightly concerned with when my milk would come in, if it would even come in, but the lactation consultant assured me to just keep giving my son the boob and my milk will eventually come in.

3 days later, we went in for our first weight check and my son had lost 10% of his birth weight.

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This concerned my pediatrician. We then new that Beau wasn’t getting enough milk, or that my milk wasn’t coming in strong enough. The pediatrician ordered me to feed every 2 hours for the next week. So I did. Seven days of around the clock feedings.

I had to set my alarm every 2 hours in order to feed Beau enough so that he could gain weight. I’m a new mom, zero clue what I’m doing, and now I’m having to breastfeed every 2 hours. By the time I was done with one feeding I had maybe 30 minutes before I had to feed again, because when they are that little they eat SO slowly, and for SO long. It was so exhausting and incredibly emotional. I didn’t think I could keep up with the lack of sleep, I didn’t think I could mentally do it. I honestly felt like I was running a race, but didn’t know how many miles I had left.

Those seven days were the hardest days of my life.

Within those 7 days I suffered from a terrible blister on my right nipple and the WORST pain from engorgement (that’s when I knew my milk was finally coming in strong), why didn’t anyone warn me about this? Not ONE person told me about engorgement and not ONE person told me it was even possible to get a blister on your boob...and it was awful. I would cry waiting to feed Beau, and cry while feeding Beau. I cried all day, everyday.

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I thought about quitting, and just switching to formula because it would be SO MUCH EASIER, or being able to have my husband help with feedings, but I so wanted it to work. I wanted to believe that my body knew what it was supposed to do. I kept telling myself that this is my bodies first time giving birth, first time breastfeeding, so it’s just taking a while to figure all this new stuff out.

And guess what? We went back to the pediatrician and Beau was not only back up to his birth weight, he was above his birth weight. I did it. 

Right there in the doctor's office, I just cried.

I was so happy, so relieved, so tired, so nervous still, just every emotion… I felt it. That was only the first seven days.

I was lucky to be able to stay-at-home with my son. This made breastfeeding easy. I didn’t have to pump at work, I didn’t have to stress about saving milk, but I felt isolated and I felt alone. I felt like no one I knew understood what breastfeeding was like. It was strange. I felt like I had to live my life in two to three hour increments, which basically meant I had zero alone time. I always had to be a short drive away to get back to feed my son.

But has the months went on, things slowly became easier and easier.

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I became a “better-breastfeeder” and my son became a “better-eater.” Wisconsin was transitioning out of winter (finally) and into a warmer, brighter, prettier spring. And with the seasons changing, things just got easier and better.

Beau somehow adjusted amazingly from eating every 2 hours, to every 3 hours, to now almost 9 months old he eats every 4 hours with NO NIGHT FEEDINGS. Like what? My baby boy feels so old. He used to eat for an HOUR straight. 30 minutes sometimes more on each boob. Now he gets what he needs in 10 minutes on each boob.

Momma, you CAN do this. I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but it IS SO WORTH IT.

I have the best bond with my child and I feel so proud that my body created those rolls on his wrists and ankles. Breastfeeding is not easy. I still randomly will get a clogged duct, or blister, or a weird look when feeding in public….and it sucks and it hurts, but you can get through it.

I don’t know how long I plan on breastfeeding Beau. Right now it just fits and it feels right, and it works. I feel like I’ll just know, or maybe Beau will give me signs when it’s time to end our journey. For now… feed on.