By the time my baby boy Judah came into the world in the middle of the night on Valentine’s Day in 2019, my husband and I were ready. For one, he was 11 days overdue, and he was pressing on alllll of my organs. So there was that. But I had also gone through multiple rounds of IVF treatment and embryo transfers to get to him. During that time I also had two miscarriages that introduced me to a depth of emotional pain and frustration I had never experienced in my life. So, after that most difficult wait for our baby, we had everything in place for his arrival. The adorable nursery. Baby gear up the wazoo. Onesies with tiny giraffes and hats with those irresistible little bear ears. We were all set, right? But you know where this is going.
Out Judah came, and he was perfect. He had his dad’s thin lips and thick brown hair. After hundreds of needles, countless injections, an ocean of heartbreak, I melted as I held this tiny little person in my arms. But with all of our preparation, there was one thing that caught us totally off guard: breastfeeding. As we discovered but hadn’t given much thought to beforehand, feeding your newborn baby is pretty vital. More important than assembling the Pinterest-perfect nursery, more important than getting all of the baby products. I looked like a deer in headlights during our stay in the hospital, begging the nurses to come show me how to breastfeed. After a largely sleepless 36 hour induction, I was exhausted and struggled to get my baby to latch. It wasn’t a pretty picture. The challenges only continued when we got home. I’d try to breastfeed, but something just wasn’t adding up. Judah would scream, struggle to latch, then fall asleep. Wash, repeat. After a few days, I thought we had figured it out. But when we went to the pediatrician, we found out he wasn’t gaining enough weight. So in the middle of the freezing cold winter in Massachusetts, a few times a week for the first two months of his life, I’d bundle Judah up, strap him in the car seat, and get my postpartum body in the driver’s seat. Then I’d drive to the pediatrician’s office and wait in a waiting room full of sick kids to visit the lactation consultant. She tried everything she could to help us, but we’d missed the window to establish a strong breastfeeding relationship. Although I did breastfeed my baby for the first few months of his life and supplement with formula, we never quite figured it out. It never felt…easy. And despite attending an hour long breastfeeding class before Judah’s arrival, I felt woefully underprepared for this one most important thing.
It turns out, I was not at all alone in my experience. Although the vast majority of moms in the US start off breastfeeding at birth, the dropoff in the first few weeks and months is steep. Pediatricians recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, but only one in four mothers make it that far. There are so many mothers like me who very much want to breastfeed their babies, yet give up before they’d hoped or intended.
When I turned online for answers and help, I couldn’t find modern, easy to understand, trustworthy information. There was so much misinformation floating out there on Youtube and in Facebook groups. I couldn’t find any resources from an expert that I could easily access in the middle of the night when I needed help. I’ve spent my career creating digital educational content, so I just knew I had to do something. This was my calling‒and it’s why I teamed up with a deeply experienced lactation consultant. Our powers combined, we’ve created video-based resources to help parents to feel more prepared, more confident, and better able to troubleshoot issues when they arise. Unlike any other resource, our classes don’t just talk about what to do about breastfeeding challenges once it’s too late. We teach you how to get breastfeeding off to the best possible start from the moment your baby is born. Unlike any other breastfeeding resource out there, we teach you how to avoid common challenges that lead mothers to stop breastfeeding, instead of only telling you how to deal with those problems once they’ve already taken root.
Of course, sometimes a one-on-one visit with an IBCLC is necessary. But there are so many things you can learn when it comes to knowing what to expect, what is common and normal, and what merits a trip to a professional. Breast milk is truly mighty – one of nature’s most incredible and fascinating achievements. My hope and dream is that I can take my struggles with Judah and turn it into a positive for others, so that more babies can get the milk designed just for them. I hope you’ll join me.