Re: Desperately Want to Breastfeed
Welcome! When I was pregnant with my first, I felt the same way about breastfeeding. That it was going to be magic. So you know just how surprised and let down I was when it turned into a nightmare of cracked nipples and low supply and pain. Ultimately, I discarded the romantic idea that breastfeeding is magic. It's more like running a marathon. It can be really physically and emotionally hard, especially the first time. It's natural- that is, it's something your body is probably capable of- but that doesn't mean it's easy. And just when you think you have everything figured out, the course changes and you're facing another challenge. And no matter how determined you were at the starting line, you might not make it to the finish line.
I wish I could say "Wow, your experience is really unique, I've never heard of that constellation of problems before," because then it would mean that fewer mamas were sharing your pain. But I can't. Everything you've mentioned is scarily common- c-section causing issues with breastfeeding, early supplementation leading to difficulties with latching, pumping being unable to maintain a good supply. And then to top it all off, a whopping helping of PPD and guilt leading to mom giving up completely. It's textbook.
So, can you breastfeed your next baby? YOU BET YOU CAN! Every baby is different and every nursing experience is different. In addition, many mamas notice that they have more milk the second time around (perhaps because the second pregnancy causes additional growth of milk-producing tissue). There are still no guarantees that you'll get your dream breastfeeding experience, but there are some pitfalls that can probably be avoided. Here are some things you can do:
1. Consider your birth options. Nursing after a vaginal birth is generally less challenging than nursing after a c-section. VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) is a good, safe option for many women.
2. If a repeat c-section is in the cards, make it a good one! If it's elective, make sure it doesn't happen before 39 weeks. Ask to hold your baby ASAP. Make sure your baby isn't subjected to unnecessary but routine interventions like being separated from you, or given formula or sugar water before you have a chance to nurse.
3. If you have a hospital birth, room in with your baby. You'll learn your baby's cues faster. You won't run the risk of someone shoving a bottle of formula in your baby's mouth "to let you get some rest." When your baby is hungry, you'll be able to nurse ASAP instead of waiting for someone to wheel him/her down the hall as he/she becomes frantic.
4. If you run into trouble, seek help from an IBCLC immediately, and keep going back until things are going right. I don't need to tell you how much a year's supply of formula costs- so whatever a few repeat visits with a LC cost, it's going to be the lesser of 2 financial burdens.
5. Choose a pediatrician who is supportive of and knowledgeable about breastfeeding. A lot of BFing relationships are derailed when a pediatrician tells mom "Your baby has lost too much weight/not gained enough weight" and suggests formula supplementation. (Sometimes there's a real need for formula, but often there isn't!)
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"