“I will never breastfeed.” Those were the words I repeated over and over again when asked by people during my pregnancy about my plans for feeding my child. I thought breastfeeding would feel weird and pumping would take too much time. I mean, I was fed by formula and I am fine!!! All this changed on February 21,2018 when I was admitted to the hospital with severe pre-eclampsia and placenta issues. My daughter was found to be severely underweight and I was admitted to the hospital for around the clock monitoring until her delivery. I stayed in the hospital for two weeks until the doctors felt it was better for my baby to be out of my body more so than staying in and I delivered her via C-section at 31 weeks gestation age. I was devastated, guilty, ashamed, confused, and depressed. I felt so helpless as I watched her lay in her incubator and felt there was absolutely nothing I could do to help her.
That was until a nurse and lactation consultant came to me and asked had my milk come in…” I don’t plan to breastfeed” I mentioned through my tears. “Well, I would hope you will consider it,” she exclaimed, “your milk is the single best food for your daughter and will help her with growing faster and healthier…some preemies cannot even tolerate formula and therefore do not grow, and it can be deadly for others.” That was all I needed to hear. Here was my chance to provide for my child. To pay her back for what I felt guilty for and I would do just that. My milk took days to come in and we used donor milk to supplement until it did. But when I received that first drop, I felt like the best mother in the world. I was still in the hospital and woke my husband up at 3 am to wheel me down to NICU to make sure she had these drops for her next feeding.
My daughter has currently been in NICU for the past 33 days. It has been an emotional journey but one thing I can say is she is exceeding all expectations. No major health problems…and has put on so much weight she looks like a completely different baby. I attribute this to God, kangaroo care, and breast milk. She is exclusively fed my milk which contains every nutrient she needs to thrive. I feel like as superwoman knowing that. I feel so proud of myself knowing that. As a NICU mom, my supply is less than those that have their babies home, so I have to work extra hard and I do. I have now started putting my daughter on my breast and It is NOT weird…it is the most beautiful feeling I have ever felt in my life. It hurts like hell with her little gums but there is a feeling that I cannot explain that happens when she is laying there looking up at me. My hope is that more women will understand how important breast milk is to a thriving child, especially those premature babies who need extra protection to the world, like my little DemiRose.