My breastfeeding journey started after delivering my son over 4 years ago. I labored the majority of my 26 hours at home and when I got to the hospital, I was only 5 cm dilated. After making to it 9 cm, I eventually delivered via C-section to a healthy 8.1 lbs. baby. After feeling defeated, I now know that lead to my many challenges. I could not hold my son without the assistance of the hospital’s Lactation Counselor and eventually decided to give him formula because I feared him starving to death 1 day after he was born. One of my best friends would not let me feel defeated because she knew how much of a breastfeeding advocate I was and that I was always there to provide the support for mothers who have had breastfeeding challenges. Since I was having difficulty with latching, she purchased a Medela pump ($400 value) and had it delivered to me the next day. 13 months later, I exclusively pumped. My son never received formula again once I started pumping.
I eventually became a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor in Miami-Dade County where I was the only exclusively pumping mother. Most mothers did not exclusively pump, let alone for over a year. I than began to work for Healthy Start as a Care Coordinator, and had first-hand accounts of how the lack of support played a major role in a woman’s decision to breastfeed. I became pregnant in 2010 with my daughter and I was adamant to breastfeed. When she was born at home, she had no difficulty latching on. As a matter of fact, she is now 19 months and still breastfeeding. The very same pump I received in 2008 was used when I had to pump while at work.
My journey through breastfeeding may not be similar to those that you have read in books and heard about during La Leche League meetings. As a Lactation Counselor and Birth Doula, I realized how much my breastfeeding journey has led me to what I love. I now know that I should have not felt defeated because despite birthing my son the way I did, I look at him as a healthy 4 year old boy who was breastfed. He may not have nursed from my breast, but he was breastfed. He was loved and nourished with the best food for him. For all the breastfeeding mothers out there, just be re-assured that you are supported by a group of breastfeeding warriors that are here to carry the weight of desperation with you and help you overcome it all.
Gaetane Joseph is an active mother of 2 who keeps herself busy with activities with her family. Her passion for breastfeeding and birthing lead her to become a Lactation Counselor and Birth Doula. Her journey through motherhood has led to her blog at http://www.seedsofmommysoul.com.