By Susan Bachle, guest blogger
My name is Susan Bachle, and after nearly 11 years of marriage my husband and I were blessed with a precious little girl 8 months ago. I have known I wanted to breastfeed since I was a little girl. I was extremely intolerant of formulas as a baby and suffered with lactose intolerance as a child. My mother expressed to me on numerous occasions when I was growing up that if she had breastfed me I would not have been lactose intolerant. Now whether that is true or not, I don’t know, BUT it put me on the path to breastfeeding! Nonetheless, when I had my daughter I did not feel as though my family was supportive of my decision and was told numerous times that I’d “give up” soon. They were almost right.
When Anna was only two weeks old I had a stomach ulcer perforate. I underwent an emergency repair surgery and was hospitalized for nearly a week. It was devastating to not only be away from my newborn baby but also not to be able to breastfeed her. I was not aware at the time that you could continue to breastfeed while taking some medications, so I followed the doctors’ orders, and pumped and dumped for the duration of my hospital stay. My surgeon, however, was highly supportive of breastfeeding and ensured that I was given an excess of fluids while in the hospital; he encouraged me to continue pumping. Of course it was difficult to maintain a strict pumping regime due to the effects of the medications, so my supply began to dip. Later during a follow-up visit he expressed his surprise that I was still able to breastfeed after the surgery. I am so relieved that he did not doubt my ability to do so during the time, as that certainly would have further discouraged me.
While I was in the hospital, I put out a call to the local breastfeeding Facebook group to request donor milk for my daughter. I was lucky enough to be able to obtain some from a very generous mother! My parents arrived to help my husband care for my daughter and gave her donor milk and formula. I just knew that when I finally came home Anna would no longer latch. She’d been on bottles and pacifiers while I was gone - my breastfeeding journey would surely be done.
For the next several weeks I was on a liquid diet only, but I continued to try to breastfeed and rebuild my supply. Anna re-latched like a champ - I was so relieved! Anna and I laid in bed for days with lots of skin-to-skin contact, latching at every opportunity. It was a challenge to maintain enough nutrition to exclusively breastfeed again, but within only a few short weeks we were back to 100 percent breastfeeding! Now at 8 months our breastfeeding journey continues and I have zero plans to quit until she is ready!