How I Figured Out Breastfeeding When It Was Really Freaking Hard

The Time I Fed My Baby Donor Milk

Written by: Janel Duffy
Posted: August 12, 2020
I was six days postpartum when we decided to call a lactation consultant to come check on me and my baby. I had no idea if she was getting any milk, my nipples were bleeding and in so much pain, and my baby wasn’t pooping. My loving lactation consultant, Donna, sat with me for four hours, showing me how to nurse my baby, how to use my breast pump, how to supplement with a syringe full of my pumped milk, and promised to be on-call for me if I had more questions. My daughter had dropped some weight since birth so we were all nervous and hyper-vigilant about how much she was eating. I remember keeping voice notes in my phone, detailing how much she’d eaten from the syringe, how long she was eating at my breast, and how many ounces I had pumped. I texted Donna at 1am on Saturday morning worried about whether or not I was making enough milk. She suggested that in the morning I supplement with formula or donor milk.
I was hesitant about using formula if I could avoid it, so at 6am I reached out to a new friend, Karla, who I’d only met two or three times before, and had a baby 3 months older than mine. 

I texted Karla a brief overview of our situation and of my hungry baby. She called me immediately, told me about her oversupply, and was beyond happy to share with us. She, her husband, and her new baby were at my house within a few hours with a gallon of frozen milk in storage bags, food, and a homemade remedy for my broken nipples.

I had never been so relieved to see anybody as I was to see her there at that moment. Part of it was the sea of hormones, but I cried multiple times while she sat with me, out of sheer gratitude. She showed me how she expressed milk, showed me different ways her son latched onto her breast, showed me how to hand express my milk, and different ways to hold my baby so we could all be comfortable. She held my baby while I ate the lunch they brought for me, her husband helped clean my kitchen. I had a few other girlfriends at my house who weren’t mothers who looked at her with amazement, she was truly an angel in that moment. When she was about to leave she gave me a big hug, and when she did I began to cry. I was so happy she was there, I was sad she was leaving, and I was so much more at ease knowing I wouldn’t have a hungry baby. She squeezed me tightly then looked at me and said “I get it.” It was the most perfect thing anybody has ever said to me. 

She wasn’t trying to fix how I was feeling, she wasn’t uncomfortable, and she REALLY did get it. 

 She and I have become very close friends from that day on. She fed my baby and now we're friends for life. We regularly send each other pictures of our babies nursing in “circus positions,” talk almost daily, and get together whenever we can. I am forever grateful for her help and friendship. Motherhood was never meant to be done alone, and I’m so glad I have the special bonds that I do with my friends who are also navigating motherhood.

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Category: Fourth Trimester
Tags: breastfeeding , mom friends , first time mom , support system , nursing , donor milk , lactation consultant


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